San Jose, California
Value for Money:
Personality Types that Like it Best
Did You Know … ?
- San Jose was California’s first civilian settlement (1777) and the state’s first capital (1850).
- Local mines produced more than 37,500 tons of mercury, more valuable than any California gold mine.
- The first Apple computer was created in a San Jose garage.
- The moniker, Silicon Valley, was coined by Journalist Don Hoefler in “Electronic News” (1971).
- San Jose has the largest Vietnamese community of any city outside Vietnam.
Capital of Silicon Valley
San Jose is a diverse city of about a million, located nearly 50 miles south of San Francisco and best known as the unofficial capital of Silicon Valley (officially, this is Santa Clara Valley). But there is more to this metropolis than nerds and microchips.
The city offers a number of attractions and diversions nicely concentrated within walking distance of one another downtown. Visitors may choose their kind of culture — from opera or theater to live music at a SoFA nightspot, from fine art to a museum devoted to technology — and complement that with the dining style and ethnic emphasis of their choice.
The city’s promotional agency, Team San Jose, emphasizes that foodies no longer have to travel to San Francisco for top-quality dining. Acknowledging the competitive appeal of its neighbor to the north, San Jose also brags of its nearby wine country where visitors can sample wines as good as those in Napa at less cost and without the crowds.
Finally, San Jose has an easy case to make when it comes to weather: It is better here than in San Francisco, with more than 300 days of sunshine annually and mean temperatures of 70F.
Those conditions are good for golfers. But outdoorsy types have a broader range of choices, given the city’s location between two mountain ranges, the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west and the Diablo Range to the east.
Geography — and the significant acreages set aside as parks — open multiple doors for those who want to hike, jog, ride a horse or hop on a bicycle — even a jump bike — for exercise and fun. For those who want to see a beach or even challenge the Pacific Ocean, Santa Cruz is about 30 minutes away by car.
Even active visitors may take a break to watch local professionals playing baseball, football, ice hockey or soccer.
Finally, San Jose promoters add these selling points — San Jose is a safe and clean big city, and its prices are “a screaming bargain” compared with those in other metropolitan areas.
Things to do for Venturers
- Explore San Jose’s cutting-edge galleries and nightclubs in the SoFA (South of First Avenue) neighborhood.
- Cycle into the area’s mountains. Do your jogging in any of dozens of city parks.
- Experience a simulated earthquake (based on real earthquake data) at the Tech Museum of Innovation. Or, check out others of the more than 200 interactive exhibits at this creative museum.
- Take a hike — along the green corridors of the Coyote Creek or Los Gatos Creek trail systems.
- Test your dirt jumping skills by cycling high over the chutes and berms at the city-funded Calabazas BMX Park.
- Buy game tickets and join the madly enthusiastic local fans cheering on the National Hockey League’s San Jose Sharks.
Things to do for Centrics
- Grant yourself a tasting tour in the Santa Cruz Mountains wine country, which is remarkably close to San Jose’s downtown. J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines operates a tasting center in San Jose itself.
- Eat at a sidewalk table on San Pedro Square, noted as a restaurant row.
- Schedule your visit to coincide with the summertime San Jose Jazz Festival or the biennial Zero1 art-and-technology festival.
- Try an after-sunset Flashlight Tour of the weirdly wonderful Winchester Mystery House, and let your imagination roam free.
- Go horseback riding or cycling in the city’s rugged, 720-acre Alum Rock Park.
- See mummies at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium, which is home to the West Coast’s largest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts.
Things to do for Authentics
- Hear opera at the California Theatre. Or, get tickets to a headliner concert at the HP Pavilion.
- Play golf on any of more than a dozen courses.
- Shop for the trendy stuff on Santana Row, called Silicon Valley’s answer to Rodeo Drive. Also, shop at America’s largest open-air flea market (120 acres), the San Jose Flea Market. Between 1,000 and 2,000 vendors are on site on weekends.
- Get soaked at Raging Waters San Jose, Northern California’s largest water park.
- Choose theater that suits your taste. The city offers musicals, drama, improvisation, comedy and more. The San Jose Repertory Theatre is a central feature.
- Take the kids to the ballet. The city’s ballet company offers its productions, on selected dates, in shortened versions designed for very young children.
For more information, consult Team San Jose, Inc., at www.sanjose.org