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Puerto Rico Day Trips Travel Guide

San Sebastián Street Festival: The VIRTUAL Party of the Year

My best guess for San Sebastian Fest 2020 will be Jan 20-Jan 23, 2022. This is my guess…please confirm with the Municipio of San Juan before planning anything around the festival! Hoping for a normal, in-person festival for 2022- fingers crossed!

Jan 12/2021 – the 2021 San Sebastián Festival was Virtual. There will be artisans live on Jan 30 and 31 in OSJ, limited entry and COVID precautions. The music and other San Sebastian Fest activities will be virtual on Jan 29-Jan 31, 2021. We will update with itinerary and places to see the virtual event.

It is no secret that people in Puerto Rico know how to party, especially around the Christmas holidays. Announce that there will be a parade, music, dancing, libations, food — then add in local artisan crafts for sale — and it all adds up to one crazy celebration!

That is the usual San Sebastián Street Festival (Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián) in a nutshell. It has been an annual event on Calle San Sebastián in Old San Juan since 1970, and what started as community fund-raiser has become THE festival to go to. Loads of locals and tourists attend this multi-day event. For 2021, the Festival will be different, but it will happen!

Early Festivals

San Sebastian Festival

San Sebastián (Saint Sebastian) was a Christian who was martyred for his faith. There is a street on the north side of Old San Juan named in his honor.

The original "festival" (in the 1950’s) was organized by a priest at the San Jose Church, which is located on San Sebastián Street, to celebrate the feast day of San Sabastián. The annual feast-day festival lasted only a few years.

In 1970, the festival was restarted and it has been held annually ever since. It always occurs around San Sebastián’s feast day, which is January 20th. The festival is typically held on the third weekend of January, and usually runs from Thursday to Sunday. Always double check exact dates before making vacation plans around these dates as things have been known to change from year to year.

San Se Today

San Sebastian Festival

The San Se Festival has evolved over time, though it still is full of tradition and Puerto Rican cultural heritage. Mostly, it is a great big party, with people enjoying every aspect of it, music, alcohol, food, people watching, artisans and general fun! It is usually attended by hundreds of thousands of people, who are very much part of the entertainment scene. But this year, for health safety reasons and to try to get people back into the real tradition of San Se, things have to be different.

For 2021, Due to COVID-19, the Festival will happen but the music and festivities will be VIRTUAL from January 29- January 31st. And the Artisans will be live for the weekend of January 30 and 31.artisans will be limited to a total of 60, split equally among three squares: Plaza San José; Plaza de Armas; and Plaza Eugenio María de Hostos

San Sebastian Festival

There will still be lots of music shows, both traditional and contemporary. The performances and the parades and such will all be shown via Facebook and other media outlets, so people can sing “Voy subiendo, voy bajando” safely from our living rooms!

On Saturday and Sunday, There will be artisans selling their art works in the Ballajá area. That will include the Plaza San José; Plaza de Armas; and Plaza Eugenio María de Hostos.

Itinerary for 2021 Festival (It will be updated when itinerary is posted

They are proposing the First day to show a lot of the historical content. Second day many prerecorded Artistic presentations. Third day more Family entertainment, from music to craft workshops. The event will be televised on WAPA TV and WAPA America, on www.Sansefest.com, as well through the municipality’s Facebook page.

Friday, January 29, 2021

    • Entertainment

Saturday, January 30, 202

  • 10am to 5pm …Artisans will be selling their works in the Ballajá area. That will include the Plazoleta de Ballajá, Plaza San José; Plaza de Armas; and Plaza Eugenio María de Hostos..

• Entertainment

Sunday, January 31, 202

  • 10am to 5pm …Artisans will be selling their works in the Ballajá area. That will include the Plazoleta de Ballajá,Plaza San José; Plaza de Armas; and Plaza Eugenio María de Hostos.

• Entertainment

*Itinerary/schedule from

PuertoRicoDayTrips.com assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid … then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

Comments & Discussion Leave a Comment »

There are 53 comments on this article. Add to the Discussion »

The website is here: www.Sansefest.com

Comment by Cheny Gonzalez on 27 Jan 2021

no news yet...I doubt it will happen as usual unless something changes drastically with COVID.

Comment by Gwenn on 13 Nov 2020

Any update if they’re gonna do them in January 2021? :-)

Comment by Esther Valdivia on 13 Nov 2020

Dates are never official until about November. But it I am guessing Jan 14-17 2021.

Comment by Gwenn on 03 Mar 2020

What are the dates for 2021?

Comment by Jim Madgey on 02 Mar 2020

I can guess....probbaly Jan/17-20, 2019. "Always" 3rd weekend. But this is my best guess....

Comment by Gwenn on 22 Jan 2018

Any idea what the SanSe dates will be for 2019?

Comment by Humberto Vega on 21 Jan 2018

Contact the people at the ICP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/icppr/ or on their web page: http://www.icp.gobierno.pr/

Comment by Gwenn on 15 Nov 2017

Anyone know who to contact about participating in the festival as a vendor? I"m interested in understanding the requirements. Gracias!

Comment by douglas brauch on 01 Sep 2017

Sadly there was an incident this year. The news organizations reported a shooting, but I don't know the specifics.

Comment by Gwenn on 22 Jan 2017

Ok but with large crowds, lots of alcohol and of poor security somebody got shot. 3 locals shot and killed a white tourists in the street on Friday. Anybody reporting it? Anybody attested?

Comment by Randall Butt on 21 Jan 2017

Officially said by San Juan mayor Carmen Yulin, that the festival will start 01/19/2017 and end on Sunday 01/22/2017. Expecting more than 800,000 visitors. Transportation will be designated for the comfort of the visitors and participants, so that the street pf Old San Juan will not become congestioned. Get ready for the slow walks.

Comment by Miguel (Gueli) Velez on 15 Jan 2017

We are not associated with the Festivities, but from the local Festival sources, they say yes- date changed confirmed on 7/1. I believe them, HOWEVER...I don't think anything in PR is 100% locked. I suggest if it is really important to know, people need to confirm the dates with the source and then still be as flexible as possible! Our info from: https://www.facebook.com/events/324490601089158/permalink/506071746264375/ If your event doesn't coincide with SanSe, there are other things happening in OSJ all the time. Adoquin Jamming Nights every Friday for instance.

Comment by Gwenn on 06 Aug 2016

Can you please confirm that these dates (19-22) are 100% locked? I ask as I planned my wedding around the originally forecasted dates so the guests could attend, but now it looks like it has changed since the forecast. Given it has happened the 3rd weekend of every January, I was expecting the same in 2017 as well. I'm really hoping you can help confirm, as it was a very important part of the wedding festivities. Thanks in advance.

Comment by kelli schultz on 16 Jul 2016

That is an old poster....not sure exactly where you can get that one, but there are artisans that sell Tshirts and posters of the event. Try looking here: https://www.facebook.com/events/324490601089158/

Comment by Gwenn on 18 Jan 2016

Great memories, cultural , folklore music , African rhythm , live salsa bands and singers, great food, organized , lots of artist selling their art ware, near El Morro-Spanish fort 400 years old . I was fortunate to attend because I do not know the weeks I took for vacation included the Fiesta De San Sebastián from Jan 14-17, 2016. I was able to attend all days because my hotel-San Jorge Hotel was near and convenient to get to.

Comment by Javier E Perez on 17 Jan 2016

greetings! how can I get information on the fourth image (clown?) on this site? is it a poster or painting? is it available for sale? our son just happened to be in PR Thursday night and stumbled upon this festival. he said it was such fun and I'd like to get him something to remember it by. any information is appreciated. thanks so much!

Comment by dendy pappas on 17 Jan 2016

I believe they do. But if they do, the trolleys will be full. With about 80,000 extra people in town, it is unlikely you will be one of the lucky few that get one of the seats. Probably not an option.

Comment by Gwenn on 13 Jan 2016

Do they run the free trolleys during the festival? We are flying in for a cruise and had no idea this festival was going on and just remember last time that they had free trolleys that took you around Old San Juan.

Comment by Mary Jane on 13 Jan 2016

The music schedule is not usually posted until a few days before the festival. When I see it, I will post it.

Comment by Gwenn on 01 Dec 2015

Id like a schedule of music for 2016 please. I have company then and certain groups we like. When will it be arranged? Thanks. Your site I use a lot for places to see and do things. Wonderful help.

Comment by chris nyikos on 01 Dec 2015

My educated guess would be Jan 12, 13, 14 and 15th 2017

Comment by Gwenn on 16 Nov 2015

When will the festival be in 2017?

Comment by kristin weis on 16 Nov 2015

That hotel will actually work well I think! It is across the bay from OSJ, so it will not be too noisy from the festival. And San Juan usually has the convention parking lot as one of the bus/taxi collection points. You can't drive in- they close the roads. Only public transport and taxis can go. It is a crowded thing- we usually try to go early to avoid most of the crowds. There are loads of artisans- go the the Ballaja to see what they have. Live music throughout day/evening.Lots of drinking. Lots of people- did I mention it was crowded?! The forts and all the regular OSJ things are still open as usual during it also.

Comment by Gwenn on 24 Aug 2015

I'm so excited to learn there going to be a festival the weekend we are going to take a cruise, I seen someone state it some times take 1 hour for a 15 minute car ride. I'm just wondering we will be staying at the Sheraton on Convention Blvd Is this far from cruise port. Also this will be our first festival in SJ any suggestion on what to see during it. Thanks Nan

Comment by Nancy Carreiro on 20 Aug 2015

The forts and grounds around them are open during the day, even during San Sebastian. During the weekend of San Sebastian, they "close" the grounds outside the forts after dark to limit the trash/issues. So you are all good!

Comment by Gwenn on 18 Aug 2015

Hi, First off, love your site, my friend and I use it to look for new places to explore every trip we make to Puerto Rico. Coming up on the 4th trip in January. My question is this : We will be in Old San Juan on the weekend of the San Sebastian Festival. Per the information above "Grounds of El Morro – The GROUNDS of El Morro will be closed from 7pm to 5am on January 15 to 19, during the San Sebastian Festival in order to prevent damage to the site, according to federal law (36 CFR 1.5) which will be strictly enforced." Does this mean El Morro is closed every night from 7 pm to 5 am, or is it closed from 7 pm January 15 through 5 am January 19? While my friend and I have been to the fort every time we've been there, we are bringing in a group of friends we want to show around and, of course, the forts are a large part of that. Thanks!

Comment by Lisa Loftin on 18 Aug 2015

Thanks but Weird! I would have thought it would have tried to coincide with the 20th for San Sebastian's birthday! Good to know

Comment by Gwenn on 22 Jul 2015

Gwen, the Festival dates seem hard to predict, but is ALWAYS the weekend before the Martin Luther King holiday; confusing because it is a "floating" holiday - the 3rd Monday in January. 45 yr Old San Juan resident

Comment by Linda Williams on 17 Jul 2015

Yes, I am 95% sure it will be held those dates.

Comment by Gwenn on 24 Jun 2015

Hi, Is your educated guess still 14-17 Jan 2016? :)

Comment by Astrid on 24 Jun 2015

HAhaha! If you only knew...they don't officially give us the dates until about November! But if I was betting on it, I would say Jan 14-17, 2016.

Comment by Gwenn on 17 Jan 2015

Are the dates set for 2016? Would love to attend.

Comment by Joan on 16 Jan 2015

I don't know...I haven't heard of any, but I would be it would be the same as last year.

Comment by Gwenn on 16 Jan 2015

¡¡Buenos dias!! Quisiera saber, ¿si tendrán un lugar para guardar bicicletas?; como el año pasado en el estacionamiento de Haciendas. Gracias.

Comment by Desirée on 16 Jan 2015

Well....you may have missed it this year too! I happens at the start of the festivities- Thursday at 6pm. But they come out at random times trough out the fest. I think they also are in the parade after church on Sunday.

Comment by Gwenn on 15 Jan 2015

Thanks for the informative article. Do you happen to have more details about the "big head" parade. Where will it start and what time. I missed it last year.

Comment by Felicia on 15 Jan 2015

You must be referring to the Town of San Sebastian festival. The article is about the Festival in Old San Juan tha is on Calle San Sebastian.

Comment by Gwenn on 09 Jan 2015

Your website needs to be updated for 2015. The festival has begun this weekend at the town of San Sebastian, PR.

Comment by Marisol on 09 Jan 2015

CHECK THIS OUT

Comment by ANIS on 24 Nov 2014

Yes, for sure- Jan 15-18 2015

Comment by Gwenn on 12 Oct 2014

Just wanted to make sure that SanSe is going to be Jan 15-18th. Just have not heard the official word.

Comment by Dirk Gunderson on 11 Oct 2014

I haven't heard from official sources yet, but the hotels in OSJ are stating Jan 15-18 (as I guessed). I am 99% sure that is true. But I will post when I see the dates officially posted.

Comment by Gwenn on 07 Jul 2014

Hello, any news as to when the 2015 San Sebastián Street Festival will be?

Comment by Patrick McNearney on 07 Jul 2014

We were fortunate to have encountered the festival, while awaiting our cruise. How WONDERFUL! It was like New Orleans, only 10 times better! Culture, dancing, food and massive amounts of people; but very orderly (police were everywhere)! We arrived a few days early to soak up the culture, and the festival certainly gave us that opportunity. Thanks for good times and great memories!

Comment by Gregory & Angela on 29 Jan 2014

They said the AMA buses were running on their usual schedule and only after their normal hours would they be used for the festival. They usually stop at 10pm. There is always a taxi for late night trips.

Comment by Gwenn on 23 Jan 2014

Went to the festival Thursday night and was told by the the Bus drivers that the last bus (T5 Isla Verde, and the C53 thru Condado ) was leaving at 8PM. What a farce I had to cut short my stay and get on the bus by 8pm

Comment by John Brett on 17 Jan 2014

So, you're sayin' I should drive down before 8PM, right? Just kidding! Thanks for the detailed and accurate information - love the live feed of the street!

Comment by Rich Smith on 17 Jan 2014

Do you have an itinerary for the San Sebastion Festival yet? Thanks for doing such a great job!

Comment by Cheryl on 08 Jan 2014

Our guessimate dates look like they have been confirmed- San Sebastian Fest will be Jan 16-19, 2014

Comment by Gwenn on 21 Sep 2013

Hello! Where should I look to confirm the 2014 dates (or know when they will be confirmed). Best guess is great, though, thanks!

Comment by Mandy Torres on 12 Sep 2013

We strongly believe (90% sure) the dates are Jan 17-20 2013. But we have not had official confirmation yet.

Comment by Gwenn on 08 Nov 2012

Buenos dias necesito sabr la fecha de la Fiesta de la Calle San sebastian 2013 agradezco la informacion...

Comment by Ramon Mezones on 08 Nov 2012

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