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San Jose Sights

Centro Nacional de la Cultura (National Cultural Center)

  • C. 13, Avdas. 3–5 Map It
  • San José
  • Arts/Performance Venue

Fodor's Review

Rather than tear it down, the Ministry of Culture converted the sloped-surface, double-block 1853 Fábrica Nacional de Licores (National Liquor Factory) into this 14,000-square-meter (150,694-square-feet) cultural center, with government offices, two theaters, and a museum. It might seem strange that the liquor factory was state run, but the government here also owns the light and water utility, phone company, Internet service provider, bank, insurance, and hospital. The National Liquor Factory was housed here until 1981, when it moved to a modern facility in the Central Valley. The stone-block storage depot next to the water towers at the southeast side of the complex became the Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo. A stone gate and sundial grace the entrance nearest the museum. The complex sits amid government offices, at the point where downtown's northern reaches fade into the more residential neighborhood of Barrio Otoya. Free, hour-long tours on Wednesday mornings at 11 bring the complex to life—actors in period costume recount the old factory's history. Tours are in English, except for the last Wednesday of the month, when they are in Spanish. Advance reservations are required.

Sight Information


C. 13, Avdas. 3–5, San José, 10101, Costa Rica

Map It




Sight Details:

  • Tours free
  • Weekdays 8–5, Sat. 10–5; tours Feb.–Nov., Wed. at 11


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