There are many wonderful things to do and see in San Jose, Costa Rica’s vibrant capital city, and if you find yourself here with young kids there are plenty of activities to keep them entertained. It’s not a huge city so while the streets are bustling and it can feel intimidating at times, it’s still a relatively calm city with a number of attractions that will be perfect for a couple of days of exploring. Here are our 5 recommended family friendly activities in San Jose.
Our first recommendation is to visit a museum. The Museo del Niño, Children’s Museum, has some marvelous, interactive exhibits with the aim of promoting science through entertainment. Also called the Center of Science and Culture, the museum looks like a bizarre fairy-tale castle and has over 40 different rooms guiding you through a series of adventures such as discovering the human body, learning about the universe, dancing through the music room, immersing yourself in ancient cultures and much more. There is also the Museo Nacional, the National Museum, where you can learn more about the history of San Jose. Stroll through the different exhibits and also enjoy the butterfly garden on arrival!
Who doesn’t love an amusement park? The Parque de Diversiones in San Jose is perfect for some family downtime with many rides suitable for all ages and with an indoor play area just for toddlers and babies. From adrenaline pumping rollercoasters to water slides, train and boat rides to a ‘cyber park’, there is something here for absolutely everyone!
Exploring one of the many squares, or plazas, can be a nice way to spend an afternoon as a family. At the Plaza Central, snap a family photo in front of the fountain and the SJO Vive sign. Or head to the Plaza de la Cultura and taste some local snacks, explore a museum, watch the street entertainment or check out what’s on at the theater.
If you’d prefer to be inside, or the kids need a break from busy San Jose city life, you could visit a mall. We recommend Oakridge shopping center or Terra Mall in the neighborhood of Escazu. Enjoy strolling around in the air-conditioned shops, catch a movie at the cinema or take a ride on the children’s train which travels through the shopping center.While this is certainly not a unique activity, it’s a good option for those looking for a more culturally familiar way to spend some time!
Our final suggestion is to explore a market! To give your little ones a glimpse of the life of the locals, pop to a market and explore the different stalls selling everything from souvenirs to clothes, toys to fruit, flowers to jewelry, the list is endless. In particular, the Mercado Central is a popular market to explore and attempt some haggling! There’s also a farmer’s market in Zapote where you can try some delicious local fruits and vegetables!
For exploring San Jose with kids we recommend taking lots of water, planning your day thoroughly and being sensible with what you take with you; San Jose is still a major city so be vigilant like you would be anywhere in the world!