Plaza San José is a quiet little square at the corner of San Sebastian and Cristo Streets. Quiet, that is, if you’re not there on the third weekend of January, when the famous “Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian” (San Sebastian Street Fiestas) take place every year and thousands of visitors flood the area.
The square has a Statue of Juan Ponce de León in the center. It faces west, which was the direction in which he headed on his final voyage in search of the Fountain of Youth. The metal for this statue reportedly came from the melted canons and guns that were recovered from the English ships destroyed during a failed attack on el Morro in the 16th Century.
The Statue was originally placed at “Plaza de Santiago”, which was right behind the now demolished Santiago Gate on the east side of the city. On January 23rd, 1894 it was replaced by the now famous Christopher Colombus statue and the square was renamed as Plaza Colón. Since then, the statue of Juan Ponce de León has adorned the beautiful Plaza San José.
There are benches for people watching and many cafes and restaurants all around where you can experience Puerto Rican cuisine at its best.