Barrio Escalante

San José

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 been dubbed Paseo Gastronómico La Luz (La Luz Restaurant Promenade) in honor of a small grocery store that used to stand on the street’s corner.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby San José attractions

1. Cooperación Española Cultura

0.12 MILES

One of the city’s most vibrant cultural institutions, this Spanish-run center offers a full roster of events. There is also an audiovisual center and a…

2. Parque Francia

0.16 MILES

A lovely little space of former farmland, bordered by a French cafe and French-Spanish bookstore, as well as some restaurants. Shade trees and plenty of…

4. 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…

5. Asamblea Legislativa

0.56 MILES

Costa Rica's congress meets in this grand structure – known as the 'blue castle' – in the center of San José. It's scheduled to be replaced by a…

6. Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo

0.58 MILES

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

7. Museo Nacional de Costa Rica

0.59 MILES

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…

8. Centro Nacional de la Cultura

0.61 MILES

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.