Top ChoiceNotable Building in San José

Teatro Nacional

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 neoclassical facade flanked by statues of Beethoven and...

Top ChoiceMuseum in San José

Museo de Jade

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 offering seven exhibits. There are nearly 7000 finely crafted,...

Top ChoiceMuseum in San José

Museo de Oro Precolombino y Numismática

Museo de Oro Precolombino y Numismática

This three-in-one museum houses an extensive collection of Costa Rica's most priceless pieces of pre-Columbian gold and other artifacts, including historical currency and some contemporary regional art. The...

Top ChoiceMarket in San José

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, lined with vendors hawking everything from spices and...

Museum in San José

Museo Nacional de Costa Rica

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-Columbian pieces from ongoing digs, as well as artifacts...

Museum in San José

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 start. Housed in an old penitentiary built in 1909, it's...

Area in San José

Barrio Amón

Barrio Amón

Northwest of Plaza España lies this pleasant, historical neighborhood, home to a cluster of 19th-century cafetalero (coffee grower) mansions. Recently many of the area’s historical buildings have been converted...

Area in San José

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 largest concentration stretches along Calle 33 and has...

Park in San José

Parque Nacional

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 center is the Monumento Nacional, a dramatic 1953 statue that...

Plaza in San José

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 gamut of San José street life: juggling clowns, itinerant...

Museum in San José

Museo de Insectos

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 Universidad de Costa Rica. After viewing the specimens,...

Museum in San José

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 extensive collection of taxidermic animals and birds from Costa...

Park in San José

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 various sporting facilities – most notably Costa Rica's National...

Museum in San José

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 (150 sq m) bas-relief mural of Costa Rican history from...

Animal Sanctuary in San José

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 Herpetologico. On display are a bunch of snakes, turtles, caimans and...

Gallery in San José

TEOR/éTica

This contemporary-art museum is the brick-and-mortar gathering space for the TEOR/éTica Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports Central American art and culture. Housed in a pair of vintage mansions...

Museum in San José

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's just across from the Parque Nacional. Modern...

Landmark in San José

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.

Landmark in San José

Templo de Música

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

Park in San José

Parque Morazán

Parque Morazán is named for Francisco Morazán, the 19th-century general who attempted to unite the Central American nations under a single flag (for his troubles, he was executed by firing squad). Once a...