Time to bust out your favorite party outfit and grab your family or friends because Fiestas de La Calle San Sebastian (or San Se for short) is right around the corner! As the final farewell to the holidays in Puerto Rico, San Se is a huge deal and the biggest block party of the year. This year the festival will take place on January 19th, through January 22nd. Keep on reading to learn how to tackle these next four days filled with music, food, drinks, parades, dancing, and fun.

What is San Se?

San Se is the largest street party in San Juan (kind of like Mardi Gras in New Orleans.) For many on the island, it is considered as the final send-off to the holiday season. Since 1970, thousands of locals and travelers alike have gathered on Calle San Sebastion to celebrate Puerto Rican culture and heritage with music, dancing, parades, artisan crafts, and religious ceremonies.

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During the day there will generally be more families, and at night there are more young people. Those looking for a calmer time should head over on Thursday or Sunday during the day, while those seeking a party will have more fun on Friday or Saturday night. We recommend attending both during the day and night to get a real feel for this classic festival. There will be four different stages set up throughout the city with musicians playing all day and night long. The main stage is at Plaza del Quinto Centenario. There will also be street vendors selling crafts, souvenirs, food, and drinks.

Be sure to get a good spot to see at least one of the many parades that will take place over the 4 days. These parades celebrate Puerto Rican life, culture, and history. Be on the look out for some stilt walkers and giant, paper mache heads called cabezudos. Don’t be alarmed by these characters; they represent important Puerto Ricans and are meant to be funny. Make sure you’re wearing your dancing shoes because at any moment you may hear a batucada (a group of drummers playing traditional Puerto Rican songs.)

San Se is a time to celebrate and let your hair down. There truly is something for everyone at this classic festival. Whether you go for one hour, one day, or all 4 four days you’ll find yourself celebrating the fun and lively culture of the island and its people.

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Tips and Tricks

  • Bring cash. Although the city is credit card friendly, most of the street vendors will not take credit cards.
  • Stay in Old San Juan if possible. You will have a much easier time enjoying the festivities and navigating your way through the festival if you are in the city. Also, if you snag a really good spot you may even be able to watch the parades from above. Airbnb and VRBO may still have some places available.
  • If not staying in Old San Juan, use public transportation. There will be shuttles throughout the weekend that you can take in and out of the city. It is $1.00 per person per round trip or $5 for an “express bracelet” that you can use all weekend long. The shuttles will meet at Sagrado Corazon and Bithron Stadium. The convention center will also have a $5 taxi service with $8 parking per car. Check out this link for more information on public transportation.
  • If you are planning on driving into the city, get there early. According to Puerto Rico Day Trips “Vehicular traffic into Old San Juan will be stopped at the bridge before getting to OSJ at 6:00 PM Thursday and Friday and at 11:00 am Saturday and Sunday.”
  • There are people everywhere. This is a huge event and people from all over the island attend. Prepare to be surrounded and be extra patient.
  • There will be extra security all throughout the city during the festival. Often times you will be able to find a police officer on every block. Additionally, there will be designated areas for open street drinking.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and light clothing. Even though it is January, you’re still on a tropical island with weather expected to be in the mid-80s. You’ll also be standing and walking all day, so strap on your comfiest pairs of flat shoes or sneakers.
  • Children under 16 must be with an adult over 21 years of age after 6:00 pm.
  • If you’re visiting Old San Juan on a cruise be aware that traffic will be much heavier than usual. Plan accordingly.

2017 Schedule of Events

Schedule found at Fiestas de las Calle San Sebastian Facebook and Puerto Rico Day Trips. Itinerary is organized by day and location.

Thursday, January 19

  • 10am to 9pm … Over 350 artisans will be displaying works at the Cuartel de Ballajá and and various Plazas and along Calle San Sebastian

• Plaza del Quinto Centenario

  • 5pm … Opening ceremony and dedication of the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián. Parade of Cabezdos starts from the Lincoln School on the far end of Calle San Sebastian at 5pm.
  • 6pm … Los Pleneros de la 23 abajo
  • 8:30pm … Trovador Waldo Torres
  • 10pm … Sonora Ponceña

• Plaza de Armas

  • 5pm … DJ Dano
  • 7pm … DJ Xtassy
  • 9:30pm … Viva Nativa

• Plaza de La Barandilla

  • 5pm … Monika Nieves
  • 6:30pm … Brenda Hopkins
  • 8pm … Banda Acústica Rodante
  • 9:30pm … Alegría Rampante

• Plaza Colón

  • 7pm … Intercambio Cultural de la Diáspora – Chicago y San Francisco
  • 8pm … La Mulenze
  • 10pm … Conjunto Quisqueya

Friday, January 20

  • 10am to 9pm … Over 350 artisans will be displaying works at the Cuartel de Ballajá and and various Plazas

• Plaza del Quinto Centenario

  • 6pm … Viento de Agua
  • 7:30pm … Tego Calderón
  • 9:30pm … Victor Manuelle

• Plaza de Armas

  • 6pm … Nicki Boom Box
  • 8pm … King Arthur
  • 10pm … Misa e’ Gallo

• Plaza de La Barandilla

  • 6pm … Amapola
  • 6:30 Mas que dos
  • 8pm … Ile
  • 10pm … Roy Brown

• Plaza Colón

  • 6pm … Carlos Esteban Fonseca
  • 7:30pm … Tamboboricua
  • 8:30pm … La Tribu de Abrante
  • 10pm … Andy MontañeZ

Saturday, January 21

  • 10am to 9pm … Over 350 artisans will be displaying works at the Cuartel de Ballajá and and various Plazas

• Plaza del Quinto Centenario

  • 2:30pm … Encuentro de pleneros – Tributo a Ismael Rivera
  • 4:30pm … Plena Libre y Angel Luis Torruella
  • 6:30pm … Pirulo y la Tribu/li>
  • 8pm … José Alberto El Canario
  • 9:30pm … Gilberto Santa Rosa

• Plaza de Armas

  • 4:30pm … DJ Scarface
  • 6pm … PJ Porrata
  • 8:30pm … DJ James
  • 10pm … Algarete

• Plaza de La Barandilla

  • 2pm … Lizbeth Román
  • 4pm … Mijo de la Palma
  • 5:30pm … Fernandito ferrer
  • 8:30pm … MIMA
  • 10pm … Homenaje a Oscar López con artistas a participar

• Plaza Colón

  • 3pm … Orquesta La Oferta
  • 4:30pm … Plenéalo
  • 6pm … Tony Ávila
  • 7:30pm … Andrés Jiménez
  • 9:30pm … Pedro Capó

Sunday, January 22

  • 10am to 9pm … Over 350 artisans will be displaying works at the Cuartel de Ballajá and and various Plazas

• Plaza del Quinto Centenario

  • 2pm … Orquesta de Conciertos de la Escuela de Bellas Artes de Carolina
  • 3:15pm … Encuentro de Trovadores con Ricky Villanueva
  • 4:45pm … Milly Quezada
  • 6:15pm … Yolandita Monge
  • 7:30pm … Lucecita
  • 9pm … La India

• Plaza de Armas

  • 4:30pm … Ivan Robles
  • 8:30pm … Emil Cedeño
  • 7pm … Vico C

• Plaza de La Barandilla

  • 2:30pm … UNNA
  • 4pm … Zoraida Santiago
  • 5:30pm … Fofé y los Fetiches
  • 7:30pm … Millo Torres y el Tercer Planeta
  • 9pm … Fiel A La Vega

• Plaza Colón

  • 3pm … Trío Los Sentimentales
  • 5pm … Humberto Ramírez – Tributo a Cheo Feliciano
  • 7pm … Choco Orta
  • 8:30pm … Joseph Fonseca

• Parque de las Palomas

  • 11am … Comparsa de los niños y las niñas hacia el Parque de la Palomas
  • 1pm … El árbol de las Palabras
  • 3pm … El Show de los Mocosos

No matter how you decide to celebrate, San Se will defintely be one of your favorite weekends of the year!