Plaza de la Democracia

San José

Between the Museo Nacional and the Museo de Jade is the stark Plaza de la Democracia, which was constructed by President Oscar Arias in 1989 to commemorate 100 years of Costa Rican democracy. The concrete plaza is architecturally dull, but some of its elevated terraces provide decent views of the mountains surrounding San José (especially at sunset). On its western flank is an open-air crafts market.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby San José attractions

1. Museo del Jade

0.03 MILES

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

2. Museo Nacional de Costa Rica

0.04 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…

3. Asamblea Legislativa

0.08 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…

4. Parque Nacional

0.17 MILES

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…

6. Centro Nacional de la Cultura

0.19 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.

7. Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo

0.19 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…

8. Parque España

0.24 MILES

Surrounded by heavy traffic, Parque España may be small, but it becomes a riot of birdsong every day at sunset when the local avian population comes in to…