Plaza de la Cultura

San José

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 vendors and cruising teenagers. It is perhaps one of the safest spots in the city as there's a police tower stationed at one corner. Fun people-watching. It's bordered by the Museo de Jade and Museo Nacional.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby San José attractions

2. Teatro Nacional

0.03 MILES

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…

3. Catedral Metropolitana

0.13 MILES

East of Parque Central, the Renaissance-style Catedral Metropolitana was built in 1871 after the previous cathedral was destroyed in an earthquake. The…

4. Parque Morazán

0.18 MILES

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…

5. Teatro Melico Salazar

0.18 MILES

On the north side of Parque Central is this theatre, which was built in 1928 in a beaux-arts style. It is named after the well-known Costa Rican tenor…

6. Templo de Música

0.18 MILES

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

7. Parque Central

0.19 MILES

The city’s central park is more of a run-down plaza than a park. At its center is a grandiose bandstand that looks as if it was designed by Mussolini:…