National Theater (Teatro Nacional)
Admission tickets include a tour of the theater covering stories about its storied history and its most celebrated performances, plus the building’s eclectic design. Admire elements inspired by classical Greece and Rome in the foyer, plus swaths of marble and the ornate neoclassical Pompeian style of the first and second lobbies. For the final act, step inside the sumptuous auditorium adorned with a large chandelier and romantic paintings depicting scenes from 19th-century life. At the end of the tour, visit the on-site café for a coffee and a bite to eat.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The National Theater is an ideal spot for art and culture lovers.
- A gift and coffee shop is located just off the lobby.
- Tours are offered in English and Spanish.
- The theater is wheelchair-accessible.
How to Get There
The National Theater is located on Avenida Segunda between Calle 3 and Calle 5 in the center of downtown San José. Walking is one of the best ways to get around the compact city as traffic can get chaotic and parking can be difficult to find. Public buses are plentiful and inexpensive. Be aware that drivers don’t often speak Spanish and they accept only local currency. The closest stops are Sabana Estadio and Barrio Luján, on opposing corners across the way.
When to Get There
The theater is open daily from morning until evening. Check the calendar for performance schedules. Free tours of the building take place typically at 11am and 3pm. Peak season in Costa Rica is from mid-December to April during the dry season. Come in March for the annual International Festival of the Arts when the capital city transforms into a giant stage with live concerts and festivities, organized by the National Theatre.
After catching a performance at the theater, visit the National Museum just down the street. Housedxa0 in the barracks of the Bellavista Fortress, the museum displays indigenous and pre-Columbian artifacts, religious artwork, and geological and archaeological pieces linked to the country’s colorful history since 1950. Separate rooms explore ancient cultures dating back some 12,000 years, as well as collections of ornate jewelry, medallions, and statues made of gold.
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