San Jose

We’ve compiled the best of the best in San Jose - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Museo del Jade

    Downtown | Museum/Gallery

    San José's starkly modern Jade Museum displays the world's largest collection of the green gemstone. The holdings log in at 5,000-plus pieces...Read More

  • 2. Museo del Oro Precolombino

    Downtown | Museum/Gallery

    This dazzling, modern museum in a three-story underground structure beneath the Plaza de la Cultura contains Central America's largest collection...Read More

  • 3. Teatro Nacional

    Downtown | Arts/Performance Venue

    The National Theater is Costa Rica at its most enchanting. Chagrined that touring prima donna Adelina Patti bypassed San José in 1890 for lack...Read More

  • 4. Barrio Chino

    Downtown | Neighborhood/Street

    We should get one thing straight about the capital's Chinatown: San José is not San Francisco. But the Chinese government has financed the...Read More

  • 5. Catedral Metropolitana

    Downtown | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Built in 1871 and completely refurbished in the late 1990s to repair earthquake damage, the neoclassical cathedral, topped by a corrugated tin...Read More

  • 6. Centro Nacional de la Cultura

    Downtown | Arts/Performance Venue

    Rather than tear it down, the Ministry of Culture converted the sloped-surface, double-block 1853 Fábrica Nacional de Licores (National Liquor...Read More

  • 7. Correos de Costa Rica

    Downtown | Government Building

    The handsome, carved exterior of the post office, dating from 1917, is hard to miss among the bland buildings surrounding it. The lobby and...Read More

  • 8. Estatua de John Lennon

    Downtown | Memorial/Monument/Tomb

    A whimsical statue of John Lennon sits on a small, slightly out-of-the-way plaza across from La Soledad church. Sculptor José Ramón Villa's...Read More

  • 9. Jardín de Mariposas Spyrogyra

    North and East of Downtown | Zoo/Aquarium

    Spending an hour or two at this magical butterfly garden is entertaining and educational for nature lovers of all ages. Self-guided tours enlighten...Read More

  • 10. Mercado Central

    Downtown | Market/Bazaar

    This block-long melting pot is a warren of dark, narrow passages flanked by stalls packed with spices (some purported to have medicinal value...Read More

  • 11. Museo de Arte Costarricense

    West of Downtown | Museum/Gallery

    Located in La Sabana Park, which was once Costa Rica's international airport, this—the country's foremost art museum—was once its terminal and...Read More

  • 12. Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo

    Downtown | Museum/Gallery

    This wonderfully minimalist space is perfect as the country's premier modern-art venue. The MADC, as it's known around town, hosts changing...Read More

  • 13. Museo de los Niños

    North and East of Downtown | Museum/Gallery

    Three halls of this museum are filled with eye-catching seasonal exhibits for kids, ranging in subject from local ecology to outer space. The...Read More

  • 14. Museo Nacional

    Downtown | Museum/Gallery

    In the mango-color Bellavista Fortress, which dates from 1870, the museum gives you a quick and insightful lesson in English and Spanish on...Read More

  • 15. Parque Central

    Downtown | Plaza/Square/Piazza

    At the city's nucleus, the tree-shaded Central Park is more plaza than park. A life-size bronze statue of a street sweeper ( El Barrendero ...Read More

  • 16. Parque España

    Downtown | Park/Playground

    This shady little park is a favorite spot. A bronze statue of Costa Rica's Spanish founder, Juan Vásquez de Coronado, overlooks an elevated...Read More

  • 17. Parque La Sabana

    West of Downtown | Park/Playground

    Though it isn't centrally located, La Sabana ("the savannah") comes the closest of San José's green spaces to achieving the same function and...Read More

  • 18. Parque Morazán

    Downtown | Park/Playground

    Anchored by the 1920 Templo de Música (Temple of Music), a neoclassical bandstand that has become the symbol of the city, downtown's largest...Read More

  • 19. Parque Nacional

    Downtown | Memorial/Monument/Tomb

    A bronze monument commemorating Central America's battles against North American invader William Walker in 1856 forms the centerpiece of the...Read More

  • 20. Plaza de la Cultura

    Downtown | Plaza/Square/Piazza

    The crowds of people, vendors, and street entertainers at the plaza—it's a favored spot for marimba bands, clowns, jugglers, and colorfully...Read More

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