Must see attractions in San José

  • Top Choice

    Teatro Nacional

    On the southern side of the Plaza de la Cultura resides the Teatro Nacional, San José’s most revered building. Constructed in 1897, it features a columned…

  • Top Choice

    Museo de Jade

    This museum houses the world’s largest collection of American jade (pronounced ‘ha-day’ in Spanish), with an ample exhibition space of five floors…

  • M

    Top Choice

    Mercado Central

    Though josefinos mainly do their shopping at chain supermarkets, San José’s crowded indoor markets retain an old-world, authentic feel. This main market,…

  • Museo Nacional de Costa Rica

    Entered via a beautiful glassed-in atrium housing an exotic butterfly garden, this museum provides a quick survey of Costa Rican history. Exhibits of pre…

  • Barrio Amón

    Northwest of Plaza España lies this pleasant, historical neighborhood, home to a cluster of 19th-century cafetalero (coffee grower) mansions. Recently…

  • M

    Museo de los Niños & Galería Nacional

    If you're wondering how to get your young kids interested in art and science, this unusual museum – actually two museums in one – is an excellent place to…

  • B

    Barrio Escalante

    Formerly a residential enclave, the streets of this increasingly hip neighborhood are now lined with dozens of restaurants, cafes, bakeries and bars. The…

  • Parque Nacional

    One of San José’s nicest green spaces, this shady spot lures retirees to read newspapers and young couples to smooch coyly on concrete benches. At its…

  • Museo de Insectos

    Reputedly Central America's largest insect museum, this place has an extensive collection assembled by the Facultad de Agronomía (agronomy faculty) at the…

  • P

    Plaza de la Cultura

    This architecturally unremarkable concrete plaza in the heart of downtown is usually packed with locals slurping ice-cream cones and admiring the wide…

  • M

    Museo de Ciencias Naturales La Salle

    Ever wanted to see a spider-monkey skeleton or a herd of stuffed tapirs? This natural-history museum near Parque La Sabana's southwest corner has an…

  • P

    Parque Metropolitano La Sabana

    Once the site of San José’s main airport, this 72-hectare green space at the west end of Paseo Colón is home to a regional art museum, a lagoon and…

  • M

    Museo de Arte Costarricense

    This Spanish-style structure served as San José’s main airport terminal until 1955. The remodeled museum features regional art, a sculpture garden, a huge…

  • R

    Refugio Herpetologico de Costa Rica

    Costa Rica is full of wild reptiles, but for people who prefer meeting things with scales under controlled circumstances, there's the Refugio…

  • T

    TEOR/éTica

    This contemporary-art museum is the brick-and-mortar gathering space for the TEOR/éTica Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports Central…

  • M

    Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo

    Commonly referred to as MADC, the Contemporary Art & Design Museum is housed in the historical National Liquor Factory building, which dates from 1856. It…

  • C

    Centro Nacional de la Cultura

    Housed in the historical National Liquor Factory, this cultural center contains the museum of art and design, a video museum, a gallery and two theaters.

  • T

    Templo de Música

    Since the 1920s, this large metallic dome perched atop columns in Parque Morazán has sheltered concerts, dance parties and political rallies.