Explore San José
Sprawling across the entire eastern border of the Parque España, the former National Liquor Factory, dating from 1887, today houses an arts complex that includes the Centro Nacional de la Cultura, Juventud y Deportes (Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports), known as CENAC. Many Josefinos still refer to the buildings as the old Liquoría; indeed you can still see a massive old distilling machine in the grounds, complete with the nameplate of its Birmingham manufacturers. The main attraction here is the cutting-edge Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, or Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, entered from the corner of Calle 15 and Avenida 3. Opened in 1994 under the direction of dynamic artist Virginia Pérez-Ratton, it’s a highly modern space, with a cosmopolitan, multimedia approach – there’s an area specially designed for outdoor installations by up-and-coming Central American artists. The CENAC complex also houses two theatres, a dance studio (wander around during the day for glimpses of dancers and musicians rehearsing) and an amphitheatre.