San Nicolas, also known as Sunrise City, is the heart and soul of Aruba.
Welcome to San Nicolas
The perfect blend of history, culture, and art
San Nicolas, also known as Sunrise City, is the heart and soul of Aruba. As the second-largest city in Aruba, San Nicolas is famous for being the cultural district of the island. Upon entering the town, you immediately know you’ve arrived in the art district because of the many murals that brighten up the streets, all painted by Aruba’s finest artists and encouraged by the many art organizations that flourish here. The art is so vibrant and alive that San Nicolas has been called “the street art capital of the Caribbean.”
San Nicolas is also steeped in Aruba’s history. The oil industry set up shop here during a good portion of the 1900s, which encouraged the area’s multiculturalism. Some of the old architecture is still standing, including the Nicolaas Store, which now houses the Community Museum. Today, San Nicolas is known for its art, culture, museums, carnivals, festivals, and parties. It is a vibrant, active city filled with adventure that’s easy to access due to good public transportation. The housing includes luxurious beachfront villas, stylish condominiums, modern townhouses, and even spacious vacant lots for building your own dream home.
What to Love
The art and cultural district of Aruba
Glorious warm weather with sunshine nearly every day
Caribbean Sea crystal-clear water along white-sand beaches
Excellent public transportation
A short drive from upscale shopping and the Oranjestad nightlife
Laid-back atmosphere awash in multiculturalism and diversity
The spirit of art and culture makes people happy and a bit quirky. Local artists continually create and display their ware, and many also offer hands-on workshops. While the exclusive shops and fine-dining experiences of Oranjestad are always a short drive away, San Nicolas residents are more laid back and bohemian. The shops, bars, and eateries offer authentic local tastes unique to the area and cannot be duplicated.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
Pass by Kulture Cafe Aruba which is at the Nicolaas store to get a nice breakfast and coffee to start your day. Charlie’s Bar and Restaurant is an artistic and cultural experience in and of itself, but add in their creole seafood and especially the Hoere Hap, and you might think you’ve died and gone to heaven. For classic Caribbean pub food, head on over to Big Mama Grill for their beach-bar atmosphere and the Seafood Sandwich. Or enjoy sipping a craft beer or cocktail, listening to live music, and munching on the Grilled Grouper Platter at Rum Reef Cocktail Bar & Grill Aruba.
Fashionistas love the luxury retailers’ outlets in nearby Oranjestad. The Renaissance Mall & Marketplace has all the world-famous designers with the latest in clothing, handbags, shoes, jewelry, and perfume. Meander through the streets of San Nicolas that are decorated with murals, visit the art galleries, or go to the museums—all part of arts and culture in Aruba. Take your time learning about the “history of gold, oil, phosphate, aloe, and tourism through multimedia installations and elaborate displays” at the Museum of Industry located in the old water tower, built in 1939.
Things to Do
Baby Beach is famous for its warm, shallow water, snorkeling, and various huts placed around the beach to relax when you’ve had your fill of sunbathing. Nearby is Rodger’s Beach, which is a bit quieter and more secluded. Here you can relax in a more primitive atmosphere while watching the fishers come in. Aruba Carnival offers the “spirit of carnival” with two months of parades, live music, dancing, food, and more. Don’t miss the carnival village event known as “Parada di Luz San Nicolas.” and Soca Competition.