This huge park, one mile west of San José  at the end of Paseo Colón, used to be the national airfield. Today it’s a focus for sports and recreation. A small lake on the south side is stocked with fish, and fishing is permitted.
The park contains the Urban Canopy Tour (tel. 506/2215-2544, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, $20), a 10-platform, eight-cable zip line between treetops and over the lake. The Estadio Nacional (National Stadium) was completed in March 2011 to much fanfare. Funded and built by the Chinese government (with Chinese workers), the 35,000-seat multipurpose stadium with a retractable roof replaces the dysfunctional and ghastly entity built in the 1960s. Now if only they can figure out where everybody is supposed to park.
The Sabana-Cementerio bus, which leaves from Calle 7 and Avenida Central, will take you there. Exploring the park on your own can be dodgy (muggings have been reported), and it should be avoided at night.
The Museo de Arte Costarricense (Contemporary Art Museum, tel. 506/2256-1281, www.musarco.go.cr , 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Tues.–Sun., free), located in an old terminal, faces Paseo Colón on the east side. The museum houses a permanent collection of important works by Costa Rica’s leading artists, including a diverse collection of woodcuts, wooden sculptures, and 19th- and 20th-century paintings. Revolving exhibitions of contemporary artists are also shown.
The Golden Hall (Salón Dorado), on the 2nd floor, depicts the nation’s history from pre-Columbian times through the 1940s; done in stucco and bronze patina, the resplendent mural was constructed by French sculptor Louis Feron. A highlight is the sculpture garden to the rear, combining magnificent contemporary and pre-Columbian pieces.
Museo La Salle de Ciencias Naturales (La Salle Museum of Natural Sciences, tel. 506/2232-5179, http://lasalle.ed.cr/museo , 7:30 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun., $2 adults, $1 children), in the Colegio La Salle on the southwest corner of Sabana Park, displays a comprehensive collection of Central American flora and fauna (mostly stuffed animals and mounted insects), plus geological specimens and other exhibits covering zoology, paleontology, archaeology, and entomology. Some of the stuffed beasts are a bit moth-eaten (others are so comic, you wonder if the taxidermist was drunk), but the overall collection is impressive. The foyer contains life-size dinosaurs (well, facsimiles). The Sabana-Estadio bus, which departs from the Catedral Metropólitana on Avenida 2, passes Colegio La Salle.
Towering over the north side of the park is the headquarters of ICE (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad). Technicians on a busman’s holiday might visit the Museo Histórico y Tecnológico del Grupo ICE (200 m north of ICE, tel. 506/2220-6054, 7 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Fri., free), with various exhibits relating to electricity and telephones. Signs are in Spanish only.
A short distance west, in Rohrmoser, the Museo de la Comunidad Judío de Costa Rica (tel. 506/2520-1013, ext. 129, http://museojudiodecostarica.tripod.com , 10 a.m.–2 p.m. daily by appointment only) tells of the Jewish community in Costa Rica. It also has a Holocaust exhibit. It’s inside the synagogue, behind huge metal gates. Entry is by prior application only; you will need to supply your passport details.