San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Art Walks

Cultural Events: Art City Tour is whirlwind guide to San José

There are art galleries and museums all over San José, but where are they? Even lifelong Chepeños sometimes have trouble finding them. That’s what the Art City Tour was designed for – introducing culture-minded locals and tourists to the wide world of San José art.

Art City starts around 5 p.m., when museums and galleries open their doors, and guests can enjoy free entry from the National Museum in downtown San José to The Museum of Costa Rican Art (MAC) in La Sabana. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can walk the two miles in-between, taking in the Plaza de la Cultura and Central Avenue on the way. Otherwise, you can hop aboard one of the free shuttles that navigate the city, stopping at various cultural highlights along the way. (Shuttles start at 5:30).

While the center of the action is probably the Central Bank Museums (MBC), right in the heart of the city, don’t forget about nearby neighborhoods like Barrio Amón, Barrio Escalante and Los Yoses, where more intimate galleries await. The MBC has permanent exhibits on gold, money and indigenous artifacts; the Museum of Art and Contemporary Design has revolving installations; and the National Museum boasts a variety of civic and historical exhibitions, including the butterfly gardens (although the butterflies are usually dormant at night).

Here is a bonus: MAC will host classical music performances in La Sabana from 6 p.m. onward – because nothing complements a night among paintings and sculpture like a Chopin recital.

Organized by the nonprofit GAM Cultural, Art City is San José’s most comprehensive survey of fine art in the region. Because the entire event is free and open to the public, consider buying a pin from one of the many volunteers. They cost only pocket change, they look great on a messenger bag, and they help a quality cause.

The Art City Tour takes place Wed., Feb. 12, throughout central San José. 5-9 p.m. Free. Info: GAM Cultural website.

Contact Robert Isenberg at

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