National Theater, San José

4.5 out of 5 stars 21 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • National Theater
    by JessieLang
  • National Theater
    by JessieLang
  • Upstairs Lounge
    Upstairs Lounge
    by JessieLang
  • penumbra's Profile Photo

    Teatro Nacional

    by penumbra Updated Oct 4, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    For those rainy afternoons, tour the 1000 seat Teatro Nacional (National Theater). Completed in 1894 at the height of Costa Rica’s coffee and banana wealth, its stone exterior is eye-catching and its interior will take your breath away. Just stepping into the lobby with its Italian pink marble and gold trim makes you think you've stepped across the ocean to Europe. It hosts a Viennese-style café run by Café Britt, the same people that you’ll be buying souvenirs from at the airport. Enjoy coffee, tea or lunch while taking in the painted ceiling or local art exhibits.

    Lobby Teatro Nacional Entrance Caf��
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    National Theatre

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Nov 22, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This theatre was built in 1897 and is considered as San Jose's Architectural gem. It was designed by Belgian architects and decorated by Italian artists. With its 1,000 seating capacity, it is still being used today for performances which can limit your ability to visit inside.

    National Theatre National Theatre National Theatre
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • a005116's Profile Photo

    Teatro nacional

    by a005116 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The nacional theatre on the 'plaza de la cultura' is for me, the most beauitifull building in the country. If you're spending a day in the capital, not passing by would be a mistake.

    The concerts and drama's performed are an inexpensive and a good alternative to a 'cinema-evening'. Note that the're no performances in a great part of february and march.

    In the building you've a verry nice athmospheric, but unfortunately expensive bar where you can enjoy a Costa Rican Coffee. Just in front of the theatre you also have the terrace of the 'gran hotel'. Neither cheap, but it is the only (nice) terace of the country and the view on the theatre is also admirable.

    Was this review helpful?

  • besbel's Profile Photo

    National Theater

    by besbel Updated Mar 9, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    To me, the most beautiful building in San José. The National Theater, first opened in 1897, is important for not only its artistic treasures (the baroque architectonic style, following the model of the Paris Opera House; the decoration in the inside; the Italian paintings, ceiling frescos and sculptures, etc.) but also for their spectacles (the day I went there was a flamenco show). Attending the National Theater is the best way to get in touch with the cultural life in San José.

    National Theater
    Related to:
    • Theater Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo

    National Theater / Theatro Nacional

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Apr 14, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Located on the south side of the Plaza de la Cultura, Costa Rica's National Theater has been the nation's architectural show showpiece and cultural temple for more than a century. The theater had it's beginnings in 1890, when a European opera company featuring the prima donna Adelina Patti toured Central America but was unable to perform in Costa Rica because there was no suitable venue.

    Wealthy coffee barons voted a tax on coffee exports to fund construction of a theater. Craftsmen were brought in from Europe were imported to build the magnificent structure with a classical Renaissance facade. The Theater was inaugurated in October 1897, with a performance of Faust by the Paris Opera and its famous Corps de Ballet.

    Statues on the outside of the theater represent Dance, Music, and Fame. The inside foyer is decorated in pink marble with allegorical figures of Comedy and Tragedy. Beautiful murals depict native Costa Rican themes. A giant crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling.

    The auditorium floor was designed to be used as a ballroom as well as for performances by a manual winch which can raise the main floor to stage level.

    Guided Tours:
    Mon. - Fri. 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
    Saturday: 9 a.m. - 12:30 and 1:30–5 p.m.

    Admission: $3.00

    Costa Rica National Theater Inside the National Theater Statue in the National Theater Lobby The Crystal Chandelier Costa Rica Coat of Arms in the National Theater
    Related to:
    • Theater Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo

    Smoking Room

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Apr 14, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Smoking Room, on the front second story of the National Theater was so opulent that I thought it deserved a tip of its own. this was the prettiest part of the theater and certainly is in indication that smoking was looked upon more favorably a century ago than it is today.

    The room has pink marble with ornate gold trim, green velvet seats, statuary, and murals of naked celestial deities on the ceiling. From the windows of the room there was a very good view of the Plaza de la Cultura, and also the Grand Hotel, across the street from the Theater.

    The Smoking Room of the National Theater Ceiling Mural in the Smoking Room Statuary in the Smoking Room
    Related to:
    • Theater Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • TempNomad's Profile Photo

    Teatro Nacional

    by TempNomad Written Jun 21, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It's really beautiful, both inside and out. See as many shows as you can here and all around San Jose. It's one of the amazing parts of this city. There are ballets, operas, amazing plays, and art shows all the time. The local paper is a great source for these things.

    Teatro Nacional has daily tours, and there is a cafe inside.

    You can sit and watch people from the square
    Related to:
    • Theater Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • mim95's Profile Photo

    Teatro Nacional

    by mim95 Updated Mar 21, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    No doubt that the National Theatre is the prettiest building in San Jose. It has a Renaissance facade with 3 statues on top. The interior is even more intriguing, decorated with life-sized statues in the marble foyer. The theatre was built in late 19th century, and its exterior is currently under renovation.

    A 1-hr guided tour of the building is available for a small fee. I would have joined if I didn't have my heavy backpack with me. You can also buy tickets for operas and symphony orchestra performances.

    Beautiful interior of Teatro Nacional
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Music
    • Theater Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Sininen's Profile Photo

    TEATRO NACIONAL

    by Sininen Written Nov 6, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In my opinion the most beautiful building in San José. I should have gone in to see what it looks like, but now it is too late to think of it! The theatre was opened in 1897.

    During the day the building is open to the public for viewing from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • Kindra's Profile Photo

    Catch a performance at the Teatro Nacional

    by Kindra Updated Nov 14, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Teatro Nacional is a beautiful old building just off Avenida Colon in downtown San Jose. You can take tours to see the exquisitely decorated and restored rooms of the Theatre or even better, sneak a peak while visiting the theatre for one of the shows. The opera festival is August 4-11 followed up by the music festival. Plays, musical groups and dance troups often visit the Theatre.

    Teatro Nacional

    Was this review helpful?

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Teatro Nacional

    by grandmaR Updated Jun 9, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    On Monday, one of the things we did was a tour of the National Theatre (which was being renovated, so it wasn’t really a tour, and we didn’t pay for it because the guard at the entrance wasn’t there) and had lunch there ($12.91 for 2 including tip). I didn't take many photos because everything was shrouded with dust cloths.

    Now the visiting hours are December 1, 2011 to April 30, 2012 from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm

    Front of the theatre when it was under constructio Another building with scaffolding Stage as it is now
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Theater Travel
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • jorgejuansanchez's Profile Photo

    Teatro Nacional

    by jorgejuansanchez Written Jul 14, 2014

    This is a most remarkable building, constructed at the end of the XIX century to show the improving economy of the country thanks to the export of coffee. Marble was brought from Italy, glasses from France and precious woods. Its interior shows many pretty statues, some of them representing classic works of Spanish dramaturgos (Calderon de la Barca) and an alegoria to the coffee production.

    Teatro Nacional
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Backpacking
    • Adventure Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • JessieLang's Profile Photo

    Teatro Nacional

    by JessieLang Written Mar 28, 2015

    This beautiful building (1500 capacity) is their pride and joy. It was built by the government in 1897 with money from coffee taxes, and no expense was spared. There is marble and gold plate everywhere. The chandelier can be lowered to change bulbs, and the seats can be unfastened and raised to turn the theater into a ballroom. There are some “widow boxes” that are entered from outside and have screens on them. The president has a box is in the middle tier (center back) without screens.

    The lobby ceiling contains a colorful mural by Aleardo Villa, an artist from Milan, entitled Allegory of Coffee and Bananas. They liked it so much that it was featured on the 5 Colon banknote, but they eventually realized that it cost more than that to reproduce all the colors. (That bill is no longer in circulation, but you can buy it on the street as a souvenir—for a lot more than 5 colones!)
    Admission - $5

    Doorway Lobby Upstairs Lounge
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Theater Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • dustmon's Profile Photo

    Teatro Nacional

    by dustmon Written Dec 14, 2011

    Gorgeous building--when we visited they were having a young ballet troup practicing on the main stage when we peeked inside---we had lunch at the cafe on the left (great people watching of Central Park if you get a window table)---ask to use the toilet and you can slip past the guard and peek inside the theater. They had a wonderful creche outside for the Christmas season....

    Teatro Nacional creche in front yard
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Photography
    • Theater Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • ZeekLTK's Profile Photo

    Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica

    by ZeekLTK Written Mar 8, 2012

    The National Theater of Costa Rica is also located right in downtown San Jose. It is housed inside a very nice building and they put on shows from time to time. Unfortunately we weren't able to take in any during our visit, so I'm not sure about the pricing.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Theater Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: San José

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

28 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near National Theater
4.0 out of 5 stars
2 Reviews
0.1 miles away
Show Prices
3.5 out of 5 stars
2 Reviews
0.1 miles away
Show Prices
Show Prices

View all San José hotels