While it's tempting to make a beeline for Costa Rica's luscious countryside, take some time to get to know San José, Costa Rica's humming capital city. Wander historic neighborhoods such as Barrio Amón, where historic buildings have been converted into contemporary art galleries, and Barrio Escalante, the city's gastronomic epicenter. Stroll with Saturday shoppers at the farmers market, join the Sunday crowds in Parque La Sabana, dance the night away to live music at one of the city's vibrant clubs, or visit the museums of gold, jade, art and natural history, and you'll begin to understand the multidimensional appeal of Costa Rica's largest city and cultural capital.
If you're wondering how to get your young kids interested in art and science, this unusual museum – actually two museums in one – is an excellent place to…
Top picks from our travel experts
Screens the latest releases in a large renovated theater, along with independent films in English. The attached Kubrick Gastro Bar serves up delicious…
This architecturally unremarkable concrete plaza in the heart of downtown is usually packed with locals slurping ice-cream cones and admiring the wide…
This popular Barrio La California club stands out for its unusual mix of salsa, rock and stand-up comedy nights.
This atmospheric old Barrio La California bar has long drawn cheek-by-jowl crowds for live bands. Friday is a good night to visit, as is Monday, when…
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…
A cathedral just east of the Hospital San Juan de Dios.
This contemporary-art museum is the brick-and-mortar gathering space for the TEOR/éTica Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports Central…
The Alliance has French classes, a small library and rotating art exhibits in a Barrio Amón home. There are also cinematic and musical events. The classes…
This vibrant, quirky cultural space/gallery in a renovated mansion sports local artwork inside and out. There's cozy seating on vintage couches, plus…
For a foodie-friendly cultural experience, don't miss this fabulous Saturday market, a meeting place for San José's artists and organic growers since 2010…
East of Parque Central, the Renaissance-style Catedral Metropolitana was built in 1871 after the previous cathedral was destroyed in an earthquake. The…
This Spanish-style structure served as San José’s main airport terminal until 1955. The remodeled museum features regional art, a sculpture garden, a huge…
Expert guidance to help you plan your trip
San José has changed a lot since 1821, when it was dubbed the new capital of Costa Rica. Get to know the city with this guide to its neighborhoods.Read article
The capital of Costa Rica can be confusing and difficult to navigate, but it's always an adventure. Here's how to get around.Read article
Free Things to Do
Visiting Costa Rica’s capital won't break the bank if you know where to go. We've got the intel on the best free things to do in San José.Read article
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