San Jose, Costa Rica Attractions and Things to Do
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Hotel Attractions and Things To Do
Sustainable Design Workshop -A distinguished local upcycled handmade souvenir shop, located at Hotel Presidente´s lobby. Where you can find how we do our part to think globally and act locally to preserve our planet. We support only national artists with sustainable designs.
San Jose Attractions & Things To Do
National Theater -Opened in 1897, the National Theater is a monument of the musical and artistic heritage in Costa Rica. This magnificent architectural and cultural masterpiece of San Jose presents a variety of entertainment, theater productions, plays, shows, opera, dance, and music performances. The National Symphonic Orchestra season runs from March to November. International legends such as Prima Ballerina Anna Pavlova of the Bolshoi Ballet and Andres Segovia have graced its stage. The theater's Renaissance-style facade features statues of Calderón de la Barca and Ludwig van Beethoven. The interior is embellished with a magnificent ceiling mural, as well as impressive art, paintings, and sculpture. For events, visit www.teatronacional.go.cr.
Plaza de la Cultura -Located off Avenida Central Pedestrian Boulevard and across from the National Theater, this charming square is heart of downtown San Jose. The attractive plaza is a pleasant spot to absorb local culture, buy crafts and souvenirs, or watch marimba bands, jugglers, clowns and colorfully dressed Andean musicians entertain.
The plaza offers benches, shade trees, a fountain and the monument to Juan Mora Fernandez, the first President of Costa Rica. The Plaza hosts celebrations and performances throughout the year. Beneath the plaza is the Gold Museum.
Melico Salazar Theater -One of the most significant performing arts venues in Costa Rica, The Melico Salazar Theater presents a full schedule of music concerts, theatrical plays, dance productions and multicultural events. Located off Central Park San Jose, the beautiful, grand 1,500-seat theater represents the artistic and creative heritage of Costa Rica. The National Opera Society and the award-winning National Choir perform on this historic stage. Visit www.teatromelico.go.cr.
Centro Nacional de Arte y Cultura -National Center for Art and Culture host's San Jose's cultural activities, art exhibits and stage performances. Once the National Liquor Factory, the Center is a complex of theaters, a museum, performing arts centers and a restaurant around a brick courtyard and amphitheater. The Center houses the Center for Research and Conservation of the Cultural Heritage, which is dedicated to preserving cultural and historic values in the urban architecture and popular culture, FANAL Theater, and the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, which displays cutting-edge Costa Rican and Central American artists, as well as international exhibits. The National Center presents modern dance, experimental theater, and Costa Rican video. Visit www.mcjdcr.go.cr.
National Museum -Located in the Bellavista military headquarters from the Civil War of 1948, the Costa Rica National Museum explores Costa Rica's history, natural history and archeology. Acclaimed for its pre-Columbian artifacts, the museum exhibits Costa Rican history and culture from pre-Columbian times to the present, as well as religious art. In the pre-Columbian rooms, you'll discover the lifestyle of ancient cultures from 12,000 years B.C. to the Spanish Conquest in 1500 AD, including a 2,500-year-old jade carving. A vault houses pre-Columbian gold jewelry and figurines. The Archaeological Room presents fascinating objects unearthed at Costa Rica's archaeological sites, including Indian artifacts and pottery made of stone and clay, and ornate grinding stones. The Colonial Room displays artifacts and art from the Spanish conquest. Enjoy views of San Jose, the butterfly garden and Costa Rica's mysterious stone spheres in the Spanish-style courtyard. Visit www.museocostarica.go.cr.
Gold Museum (Museos de Oro) -Located under the Plaza de la Cultura in downtown San Jose, the Gold Museum has a spectacular collection of gold objects that reflect the culture of Pre-Columbian peoples of Costa Rica. The most valuable collection of Pre-Columbian gold in the world, the exhibit showcases 1600 pieces of Pre-Columbian gold work from 500 AD to 1500 AD, interpreting the social and cultural evolution of Pre-Columbian cultures and the relationship of the gold to daily life. The underground building that houses the exhibit creates a mysterious backdrop for the glittering gold artifacts. Visitors learn about the uses and meanings of the gold. On the second level, the Temporary Exhibition Galleries showcase dynamic visual arts from international and national artists. The museum store features items inspired by pre-Columbian art. Visit www.museosdelbancocentral.org/content/articles/5/1/General-Information/Page1.html.
Jade Museum -Housed in the National Insurance Company building in downtown San Jose, Costa Rica's Jade Museum displays an abundance of centuries-old artifacts, art and the world's largest collection of Pre-Columbian jade. The valuable collection has religious and historical significance for the Indian population in Costa Rica. With anthropological and archaeological themes, the beautiful museum also features excellent examples of indigenous craftsmanship in jade, gold, stone, and ceramics, and explain their significance throughout Costa Rican history. With its peaceful, dimly-lit halls and gorgeous views of the city and mountains, the Jade Museum is a place of calm and reflection. http://portal.ins-cr.com/social/museojade
Costa Rican Art Museum -Housed in a beautiful building in La Sabana Park, Museo de Arte Costarricense features gorgeous architecture and a collection of modern art by celebrated Costa Rican artists. El MAC has a diverse permanent collection and changing exhibitions that showcase the beautiful art and styles of Costa Rican painters and sculptors. Preserving the arts heritage of Costa Rica, the museum's national collection includes sculptures, paintings, prints and woodcarvings by artists such as Francisco Zuñiga, José Sancho, Jorge Jiménez Deredia, and Max Jiménez. Enjoy exhibitions and concerts in the Gold Room, or stroll through the sculpture garden. Visit www.musarco.go.cr
Museum of Contemporary Art & Design -Museo de arte Contemporaneo presents 900 works of contemporary art and design by Costa Rican and Central American artists. Located in the old National Liquor factory, the museum offers an industrial and artistic environment for its outstanding exhibits of painting, etching, sculpture, photography, installations, and video art. The Museum also features impressive international exhibits, including retrospectives by Mexican painter José Cuevas and Ecuadorian painter Oswaldo Guayasamín. The museum has four exhibition rooms with changing art, a dance and theater auditorium, and the Pila de la Melaza, an open-air space for performances and events. Exhibits convey aesthetic, cultural, and social issues that affect Central America and the world. Visit www.madc.ac.cr
Children's Museum -The Museo de los Niños in San Jose features interactive displays that inspire, entertain and educate young minds. Through hands-on play exhibits, children discover astronomy and the natural planet, science, ecology, human life and communications.
Experience a simulated earthquake and make music by dancing across the floor. The museum also offers limited shows of "serious" art and also the home of the National Auditorium. This Costa Rica museum is the perfect place for family fun and adventure. Visit www.museocr.com.
La Sabana Metropolitan Park -A tranquil retreat from the action of San Jose, La Sabana Park features open green space, woodlands, sports fields, a lake, running and skating paths, a shooting range, horseback riding trails and unique attractions. Costa Rica's largest and most exciting urban park, La Sabana is home to the Museo de Arte Costarricense and the National Stadium, which presents concerts, sports events and Costa Rica's soccer games.
Central Market (Mercado Central) -Edged by Main Avenue, San Jose's Central Market is a lively traditional marketplace with exotic spices, fish, fruit, vegetables, leather and crafts from local vendors. Walk through the narrow passages to find cultural treasures and culinary delights of Costa Rica.
Browse the many stalls with flowers natural herbs, candles, crafts, religious images, gifts, cloths, toys, fabrics and smell the aromas of coffee, spices, and foods. Stop by the many restaurants and cafes around the market. Central Market is open Monday - Saturday, 6am - 6pm.
Central Avenue Pedestrian Boulevard -Starting one block beyond Mercado Central, Central Avenue Pedestrian Mall is San Jose's pedestrian-friendly marketplace of shops, department stores, restaurants, cafes and banks. Stroll along this vibrant downtown promenade, surrounded by beautiful plazas and parks, and enjoy the culture and flavor of San Jose. You'll also discover artist markets, street performers and local vendors.
La Antigua Aduana Hall -The new cultural hotspot of San Jose, Antigua Aduana hosts festivals, fairs, art shows, events, and activities. Formerly San Jose's Old Customs Building, this magnificent brick building, with its architectural beauty, soaring ceilings, round windows, and historic charm is the perfect space for San Jose's top artistic and cultural events. The newly-renovated venue features a modern black box theater, a plaza for outdoor concerts and events, and unique spaces for artistic expression. A symbol of San Jose's hip and cultural vibe.
Simon Bolivar National Zoo and Botanical Gardens -Located near Morazan Park in San Jose, Simon Bolivar National Zoo is a popular family attraction. This small zoo features exotic animals from Costa Rica, Asia, and Africa, as well as a large variety of identified vegetation. Visit www.fundazoo.org/zoo.php
National Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana) -Destroyed by an earthquake and rebuilt in 1871, the National Cathedral is the largest church in San Jose, Costa Rica. Located across from Parque Central in downtown San Jose, the cathedral is distinguished by a dome and stain glass windows. The bright interior has painted wooden columns, a mosaic tile floor of brilliant colors and religious reliefs. A side chapel, Capilla de Santissimo Sacramento, is decorated with carved painted flowers and leaves.
San Jose Government and Financial District -The seat of government, politics and business in San Jose, the Financial District is home to city's government buildings and executive offices, including Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Banco Central, Asamblea Legislativa, Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones, Oficinas Banco Nacional de Costa Rica, and Poder Judicial Corte Suprema de Justicia.
- Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto: http://www.rree.go.cr/
- Ministerio de cultura: http://www.mcj.go.cr/
- Ministerio de Justicia: http://mjp.go.cr/
- Asamblea Legislativa: http://www.asamblea.go.cr/default.aspx
- Centro de cine: http://www.centrodecine.go.cr/
- Municipalidad de San José: http://www.msj.go.cr/
- Banco Central de Costa Rica: http://www.bccr.fi.cr/flat/bccr_flat.htm
- Ministerio de Salud: http://www.ministeriodesalud.go.cr/
- Instituto Costarricense del deporte: http://www.icoder.go.cr/