San Jose (California)
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San José  is a city located in California. Positioned in the northern part of the state in the Bay Area, it is often known as "The Capital of Silicon Valley", and is the largest city in the Bay Area and Northern California, the third largest city in the state, and the 10th largest city in America.
El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe (literally, The Town of Saint Joseph of Guadalupe) was founded by José Joaquín Moraga in 1777 near the present day intersection of Guadalupe Parkway and West Taylor Street. In 1797, the pueblo was moved to the Plaza Pueblo (now Plaza de César Chávez), around which San José grew. And the rest is, as they say, history.
True to its location in the heart of Silicon Valley, San José is now home to the headquarters of many "tech" companies such as Cisco Systems, eBay, and Adobe Systems.
There are many different neighborhoods in the geographic area of San José that, depending on where you are, you might not know if you're still in the same city. Like most Bay Area cities, San José is an expensive place to live -one of the city's few negatives. Some of the hip areas to live these days are in San Jose's downtown area, for those who prefer urban living, or Santana Row for a mixed living, shopping and dining community. You can find vintage California charm in the neighborhoods of Willow Glen and Rose Garden. The woodsy area of Almaden Valley is known for its excellent schools, and Silver Creek is known for its subdivisions of sprawling "McMansions." Evergreen is in East San Jose, right at the foothills of the city. Evergreen has some more affordable housing and is very residential. Since it is at the foothills, east San Jose is not as accessible as the other neighborhoods. Evergreen has excellent views of the foothills and many parks and recreational areas. Groseprick Park is located right in the heart of Evergreen and offers a mile long loop, basketball courts, baseball fields, playgrounds, and hiking trails.
In 1968, singer Dionne Warwick released her hit "Do You Know The Way To San José?" Well it seems most people have indeed found the way.
San José is home to one of the Bay Area's three major airports. The Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (IATA: SJC)  is located about 2 miles northwest of downtown San Jose. There are many direct flights from several US and international destinations to SJC.
- VTA #10 bus  goes from the airport terminals to the Caltrain 'Santa Clara' Station  in one direction and the VTA 'Metro/Airport LRT' Station in the other (for light rail train).
The two other options are San Francisco International Airport (IATA: SFO) and Oakland International Airport (IATA: OAK. SFO is located 35 miles northwest of San Jose off US Route 101 on the peninsula. This airport features nonstop flights from destinations around the US and worldwide. OAK is adjacent to the city of Oakland, about 35 miles north of San Jose off I-880 in the East Bay. It features nonstop service, mainly to/from western US destinations.
- By public transport take the CalTrain up to the 'Milbrae' stop  and transfer to the BART train to San Francisco International Airport.
- To get to the Oakland Airport continue on BART to the Daly City or West Oakland Station and transfer to the 'green' line train (to Fremont) or the 'blue' line train to (to Dublin/Pleasenton) and get off at the 'Coliseum/Oakland Airport (OAK)' stop. From there take the 'Air Bart' bus  to the airport terminals.
San José has two commuter and one inter-city rail line:
- Caltrain runs north along the Peninsula to San Francisco in one direction continues south to Gilroy in the other.
- Amtrak California's Capitol Corridor  line runs through the East Bay and then inland to Sacramento and Auburn. Amtrak's Coast Starlight  line runs once daily from Seattle, through the Bay Area (along the same route as the Capitol Corridor), and down the coast to Los Angeles. The Coast Starlight stops only in San Jose, Oakland Jack London Square, Emeryville, Martinez, Davis and Sacramento while the Capitol Corridor Line makes eight additional stops. Additional service to Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara (Connections to Pacific Surfliner), & Stockton (Connections to the San Jaoquin Train) are provided on the Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach (bus).
- The Altamont Commuter Express  runs from Stockton, Livermore, and Pleasanton into San José and the Santa Clara Valley in the morning and then returns in the late afternoon and evening through the Altamont Corridor.
All the above rail lines stop at Diridon Station, San José's central train station. It is located downtown, at 65 Cahill Street, just across West Santa Clara Street from the H.P. Pavilion . The station is also the bus station for local VTA buses & light rail and some long distance bus lines (mainly to southern California). See below under "By Bus"
Capitol and Tamien stations serve the southern part of the city.
The bus station for the "Hwy 17 Express" to Santa Cruz, Amtrak Thruway Bus, Megabus, and Ca Shuttle Bus and local VTA bus and light rail are at the Diridon Station (Amtrak & Caltrains). Greyhound, Tufesa and Hoang Express are at separate locations in other parts of town. See below:
- Bolt Bus, 100 Crandall St (Diridon Station), ☎ +1-877-265-8287, . Goes down to the downtown Union Station in Los Angeles. Stop is curbside along Crandall St between Cahill & S Montgomery St. edit
- California Shuttle Bus, 65 Cahill St (Bus stop is directly left of Caltrain Diridon Station entrance near handicap parking spots.), ☎ +1-408 294-1798 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . offers service to San Francisco in one direction and Los Angeles in the other. Charter buses with free WiFi, reserved seating, 2 bags allowed for free (3rd for $15), and bicycles allowed for $5. Prices start at $15. edit
- Greyhound, 70 S Almaden Ave (S Almaden Ave & Post St in downtown San Jose), ☎ 408 295-4151, . Travels primarily on Interstate 5/CA-133 (Los Angeles, Avenal, Gilroy, San Jose, S Francsico/Oakland); US 101 (San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Salinas, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Oxnard & Los Angeles); CA-152/99 (Oakland, San Jose, Gilroy, Los Banos, Madera, & Fresno); Interstate 580/CA-99 (San Francisco, Oakland, Hayward, Modesto, Fresno, Bakersfield, S Fernando and Los Angeles). Passengers transfer to other buses or Amtrak California in Los Angeles, Hayward, San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Barbara, Bakersfield and/or Fresno to get to other cities edit
- Highway 17 Express. ... is a service provided, jointly, by VTA (Rt#970 ); Santa Cruz Metro (Rt #17 ); and Amtrak California (Thruway Motorcoach Rt#17) between San Jose Diridon Station and Santa Cruz Metro Transit Center (Pacific & Elm St in downtown Sta Cruz) along CA-Hwy 17. edit
- Hoang Express, 2525 S King Rd (At King Plaza strip mall at S King Rd & Burdette Dr), . offers service to the Los Angeles, San Diego, and Phoenix. edit
- InterCalifornias, King & Story Rd, ☎ 408 929-3050, . From San Jose they go south to Los Angles via via Bakersfield, Fresno & San Fernando. From Los Angeles they go to Mexicali and Tijuana on separate routes edit
- TUFESA, 1118 E Williams St (E Williams St & McClaughlen Ave), ☎ 408 595-9095 or 289-1636, . Offers bus service to/from various points in Mexico, California & Arizona. edit
- megabus.com, 65 Cahill St (The stop is close to the circular driver to the main entrance of Diridon Caltrain Station), ☎ 1-877-462-6342, . Express bus service to/from Los Angeles. Double Deck Coaches with WiFi, Restrooms, Power Outlets and seats starting at $1 with dynamic pricing; average prices around $20. edit
San José is connected to San Francisco by two major freeways, US-101 and Interstate 280. From Los Angeles, take I-5 North to CA-152 West to US-101 North. From the East Bay, use either I-880 or I-680 South.
Travel time from San Francisco and Oakland is about an hour, but the trip is much longer during rush hour on US-101 and Interstate 880. Taking Interstate 280 from San Francisco is a scenic alternative, and consider a detour westward on Highway 92 to Half Moon Bay and the coastal Highway 1, which leads north to San Francisco and south to Santa Cruz. From Santa Cruz, take Highway 17 through the mountains.
The downtown area is compact and rather easy to get around on foot. Most of the streets are arranged in a grid, but the grid is not strictly aligned with north (more like north-northwest). Street address numbers increase (by 100 every 2 or 3 blocks) radiating from Santa Clara Street (an east/west street) or First Street (a north/south street). Furthermore, Santa Clara Street (and other east/west streets) carry the prefix East or West radiating from First Street; and First Street (and other north/south streets) carry the prefix North or South radiating from Santa Clara Street. This makes it somewhat easy to locate a downtown facility given its street address.
Outside downtown, things are spread out in San José, so a car is the most convenient mode of transportation. However, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, VTA , does offer serviceable transit around town. The frequency and hours of buses vary depending on the route and your location, so it's best to check a schedule beforehand. The Light Rail system (primarily the Mountain View-Winchester route and the Alum Rock-Santa Teresa route) provides quick service to, from and around downtown; a single fare, $2 for 2010, is good for 2 hours.
A VTA day pass lets you use buses and Light Rail lines all day and costs $6 for an adult, and $5 for a youth as of 2010. VTA Route #10  serves as a free shuttle between the SJC airport, Caltrain Santa Clara Station, and Light Rail - Metro/Airport Station. DASH (Downtown Area SHuttle), VTA Route #201, another free service connects downtown San Jose and the Light Rail with the San Jose Diridon Transit Center.
The 511.org website  is a wonderful resource for trip planning, whether by car or public transit (or a combination of both). Its Trip Planner spans all Bay Area transit systems. On the go, you can call VTA Customer Service at +1 408 321-2300 and listen to bus schedules on their automated system.
Many roads in San Jose have designated bike lanes and/or wide shoulders. A map of the city's bikeways is available on VTA's website . This, along with typically favorable local weather, makes biking a viable means of transportation within the city. Bus lines, Light Rail and Caltrain all accommodate bikes, making mixed-mode travel a simple affair.
Downtown San Jose is a mix of offices, shopping, hotels, numerous restaurants as well as a convention center and the SoFA (South First Area) nightclub district. Check out the San Pedro Square Farmer's Markets on Fridays and Saturdays for local and organic produce, or visit the new City Hall (2005) and the nearby San José State University campus. The new main Library (2003) is a prestigious, award-winning, joint-use Library combining resources of the City and San Jose State University. Get outdoors and take advantage of San José's invariably sunny weather on the Guadalupe River Trail or in one of the many city parks. You'll always find a wealth of cultural events at theaters, art galleries, and museums.
- The Tech Museum of Innovation, 201 South Market St (near Park Ave.), ☎ +1 408 294-TECH (8234), . A great interactive experience for all ages and backgrounds. The Tech Museum allows visitors to see how technology affects their daily lives. Permanent exhibits focus on the Internet, the human body, and exploration. You'll also find an IMAX Theater, a cafe, and a retail store featuring merchandise unique to the Silicon Valley. $16 (museum and IMAX). edit
- San José Museum of Art, 110 South Market St (at W. San Fernando St.), ☎ +1 408 271-6840, . Tu-Su 11AM - 5PM. Recognized for its contemporary collection of modern art, which highlights movements on the West Coast as well as national and international pieces. The museum started as a small civic art gallery in 1969 and has grown in step with its city. $8 general admission, $5 seniors/students. edit
- San José City Hall, 200 East Santa Clara Street (near S. 4th St.), ☎ +1 408 535-3500, . Designed by architects Richard Meier & Partners, the new City Hall, opened in 2005, consists of a free standing glass rotunda at the center, a council chambers wing to the south, and a separate tower to the east. Tours are available. edit
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, 150 E. San Fernando St. (at S. 4th St.), ☎ +1 408 808-2000, . A partnership between the San José Public Library System and the San José State University Library, the new Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library opened in 2003 as the the largest all-new library west of the Mississippi with 475,000 sq. ft. and 1.5 million items. The King Library is the library for San José State University and the Main Branch of the City of San José Library System. The Library is free and open to all - no identification or proof of residency is needed to use or enjoy materials within the Library. edit
- San José Museum of Quilts and Textiles, 520 South First St (near E. William St.), ☎ +1 408 971-0323, . Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. The first museum in the US to focus on quilts and textiles, the San José Museum of Quilts and Textiles has an outstanding collection on a rotating display. Exhibitions change quarterly at this exciting and modern museum. $6 general admission, $5 seniors/students with ID (free for everyone on the first Friday of the month). edit
- Winchester Mystery House, 525 South Winchester Blvd, ☎ +1 408 247-2101, . Tours daily 9AM-7PM. Check their website for a current schedule.. The legend is that Sarah Winchester, Winchester Rifle heiress, was afraid of being cursed by the ghosts of those who had been killed by Winchester guns. She thought that as long as construction continued, the ghosts would be kept at bay. Construction did continue (for 38 years!), resulting in a fantastic house full of mazes, stairs that go nowhere and other odd architecture. Letters were recently discovered that show that she kept remodeling the house as an excuse to keep relatives from visiting. Beware: visitors have reported seeing paranormal objects in the house, and the only way you can confirm their claims is to see them yourself! Mansion Tour: $26, Behind-The-Scenes Tour: $23, Grand Estate Tour (combined) $31 (discounted rates for seniors and children). edit
- Santana Row, 368 Santana Row (near S. Winchester Rd.), ☎ +1 408 551-4611, . A "European-style" village of shops, restaurants, and high-priced condos, with hotels and great nightlife. There's a year-round farmer's market on Sundays, and during the summer bands play free outdoor music every weekend. Santana row has become a hang-out spot for San Jose's residents. Even without the shopping, the numerous restaurants, bakeries, cafe's and central garden this is a place to spend an entire day relaxing. Although it has become a mecca of designers, there are also affordable shops ad eateries. Stores like anthropogie, J. crew, and surf shops bring people in of all ages for all different reason. Santana row's development has had a huge impact on the San Jose landscape and economy. edit
- Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium, 1664 Park Ave, ☎ +1 408 947-3636 (email@example.com), . M-F 9AM-5PM, S-Su 11AM-6PM. This museum of Ancient Egypt features exhibits funded by the Rosicrucian Order, who have secured artifacts from archaeologists working in the area since the 1920s. Take a tour through a detailed replica of an Egyptian tomb and browse their collection of authentic mummies and artifacts. $9 general admission, $7 seniors/students, $5 children 5-10, free for children under 5. edit
- Japantown, Between Jackson and Taylor on 1st-5th Streets ((VTA Light Rail Station Japantown/Ayer)), . The neighborhood surrounding Fifth and Jackson streets (a mile from Downtown) has some good restaurants, retail shops, and cultural facilities. Festivals are held several times a year, and there is a year-round farmer's market on Sundays. edit
- Willow Glen, Lincoln Avenue between Willow St and Minnesota St, . This charming shopping district was once the center of a town separate from San Jose. You'll find a variety of small shops and restaurants, as well as a farmer's market and a handful of community festivals and events throughout the year. edit
- San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, Naglee Ave between Dana Ave and Garden Dr, ☎ +1 408 277-2757, . 8AM to half hour past sunset. San José's 5 1/2–acre Municipal Rose Garden, once a prune orchard, draws thousands of visitors each year. The Garden is exclusively devoted to shrubs of the rose family and features over 4,000 rose shrubs with 189 varieties represented. Hybrid–teas comprise 75 percent of the plantings. free. (37°19′55.8″N,121°55′41.3″W) edit
- Heritage Rose Garden, Spring St and Taylor St, . half an hour before dawn to half an hour after dusk. This garden, initially planted by volunteers in 1995, has a collection of almost 4,000 plants of more than 3,000 rose varieties. free. edit
- Alum Rock Park, . half an hour before dawn to half an hour after dusk. Amazing park nestled in the Eastern foothills of Silicon Valley. Great for picnics, hiking, biking, and exploring. Great scenic trails, and 1800's era natural spring baths. free. edit
San Jose has two major professional sports teams, some fantastic amusement parks and a variety of theater and comedy venues to entertain you throughout the year. The city also hosts a colorful array of festivals and conventions and offers plenty of shopping options.
- A Wish Come True Gala, 88 S. 4th Street, . May 14, 2011. Hosted by the San Jose Chapter of the Professional Business Fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi. Black Tie Event to benefit the Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation®. Enjoy a 3 course meal, cocktail bar, live entertainment, silent auction. edit
- San Jose Sabercats. The local Arena Football League team plays their games at the HP Pavillion, and have proven to be one of the most successful teams in the AFL, winning several championships. edit
- San Jose Sharks, . The HP Pavilion (aka "The Shark Tank") hosts this National Hockey League team, which has enjoyed relatively good success since their inception in 1991. The Sharks have made the playoffs every year within the past decade, making the conference finals at least twice. Watch one of the more famous traditions as the team enters the rink out of a 17-foot high shark head. edit
- San Jose Earthquakes, . After losing their soccer team to Houston, the Earthquakes have resumed play after being on "hiatus" for the 2006-07 seasons of Major League Soccer. The "Quakes" currently play at Santa Clara University's Buck Shaw Stadium, as well as in Oakland at the Oakland Coliseum for larger games. A new stadium is planned for 2014. edit
- San Jose Giants, . San Jose's single-A minor-league baseball team (affiliated with the San Francisco Giants) plays in the California League from April to September. Games are held at historic San Jose Municipal Stadium. The BBQ area next to left field is a hit with fans before the game. edit
- California's Great America, 4701 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, ☎ +1 408 988-1776, . June-August. With roller coasters, thrill rides, children's attractions, the Boomerang Bay water park, and Vegas-style live shows, this huge theme park is fun for the whole family. 40. edit
- Raging Waters, 2333 S White Rd, ☎ +1 408 238-9900, . June-August daily, May and September weekends only. A favorite local spot to cool off in the summer, this water park features slides, rides and a 350,000 gallon wave pool. $23-32. edit
- Golfland, 976 Blossom Hill Rd, ☎ +1 408 225-1533, . M-F 10AM-midnight, Sa 9AM–midnight, Su 10AM-10PM. Classic miniature golf course, plus water slides (in the summer) and a great arcade. $8-25. edit
- Improv Comedy Club, 62 S. Second St, ☎ +1 408 280-7475, . A downtown venue showcasing well-known comedy acts, they have a full restaurant and bar. The club is also great for group outings for 10-400 people. edit
- ComedySportz San Jose, 288 S. 2nd Street (at the Camera 3 Cinemas), ☎ +1 408 985-LAFF (5233), . F 9PM, 11PM; Sa 7PM, 9PM. Named "Best Local Theatre" by the Metro's "Best of the Silicon Valley", ComedySportz is an interactive improv comedy show where two teams of "act-letes" compete in various comedic games, with the audience as the judge. $10-15. edit
- San Jose Repertory Theater, 101 Paseo de San Antonio, ☎ +1 408 367-7255, . Comedies and dramas with a creative flair; the Rep puts on six main-stage classic and contemporary plays a season. edit
- Opera San Jose, 2149 Paragon Drive (California Theatre), ☎ +1 408 437-4450, . Sep-May. San Jose's resident opera company performs on a restored 1920s vaudeville stage and features some of the most accomplished young voices in the country. $50-100. edit
- Children's Musical Theater San Jose, 271 S Market Street (Montgomery Theater), ☎ +1 408 288-5437, . This children's theater puts on productions the whole family can enjoy, from 'Peter Pan' to The Who's 'Tommy'. $15-25. edit
- Teatro Visión, 1700 Alum Rock Ave, Suite 265, ☎ +1 408 272-9926, . Known for putting on high-quality Chicano/Latino plays in San Jose for over 25 years, Teatro Visión celebrates community, culture, and the vision of a better world. edit
- Ballet San Jose, 255 Almaden Blvd (Center for the Performing Arts), ☎ +1 408 288-2800, . Oct-May. Formerly the San Jose Cleveland Ballet and more recently Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley, this highly skilled and innovative company includes dancers from all over the world. Each season, they perform an extensive repertoire of classical and contemporary works. $25-85. edit
- Cinequest, ☎ +1 408 295-QUEST, . One week every March. A film festival emphasizing digital production, with screenings and guest speakers at venues throughout San Jose. Named one of the Top 10 Film Festivals in the world by the Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide. edit
- San Jose Jazz Festival, . every August. A weekend of jazz as well as blues, salsa, and big bands, playing on a dozen mostly outdoor stages. Billed as the world's largest free jazz festival. free. edit
- San Jose Metro Fountain Blues Festival, . Every May. San Carlos Plaza at San Jose State University $5. edit This day-long concert will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2010. Around 8,000 blues enthusiasts show up yearly for an impressive lineup of blues musicians. It all happens in the open air on the university campus downtown.
- Music in the Park, Plaza de César Chávez (downtown), . Thursdays, June-August. . Free concerts weekly throughout the summer, sponsored by the San Jose Downtown Association. Music in the Park has many food, drink and crafts vendors free. edit
- Starlight Cinemas, San Pedro Square/ Historic District/ SoFA District. Most Wednesdays, June-August, dusk. free. editOutdoor movie screenings all summer long, held in a different neighborhood each week. Bring some lawn chairs and a picnic, or check out the nearby cafes and eateries. Films range from true Hollywood classics to newer hits. Once a month, Post Street Summertime Blues  joins Starlight Cinemas with a live blues performances before the show.
- Downtown Ice, between the Fairmont Hotel and the San Jose Museum of Art, . November - January. It doesn't get more California than an outdoor ice skating rink surrounded by a circle of palm trees. The admission price includes rental skates and ice time. $15 general admission, $13 children 12 and under. edit
- 5 de Mayo (Cinco de Mayo). First Sunday of May. The Sunday right before or after May 5th is the biggest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the Bay Area. A parade takes place downtown early in the morning, followed by music and cultural events held in Guadalupe Park and the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in the afternoon. edit
- Further Confusion, . January. One of the world's largest conventions for fans of furry (anthropomorphic animals or creatures) art, writing, comics, and costuming. If you like walking around in a dog costume, this 4-day event is for you. $60. edit
- Consonance, . March. A mid-sized convention devoted to fans of filk, a subgenre of folk music inspired by science fiction and fantasy themes. $40-50. edit
- Fanime, . May. The largest anime convention in Northern California. $30-35 one day, $60 full weekend.. edit
- California Extreme, . July or August. An all-you-can-play exhibition of classic pinball machines and arcade games. All games are free with for attendees, so you can leave your quarters at home! $30-35 one day, $60 full weekend.. edit
- Valley Fair, 2855 Stevens Creek Blvd, ☎ +1 408 248-4451, . One of the largest shopping malls in Northern California, Valley Fair has over 250 stores and several restaurants. Valley fair has gone under tremendous renovations within the last few years making it bigger and more modern. edit
- Santana Row, 368 Santana Row (off of Stevens Creek), ☎ +1 408 551-4611, . Across from Valley Fair is a "European-style" village of high-end and specialty shops, restaurants, and high-priced condos. There is also a giant chess board where you can battle using pawns that are half your size. edit
- Oakridge Mall, 925 Blossom Hill Rd, ☎ +1 408 578-2912, . This mall features Forever 21,H&M,BJ'S,Cheesecake Factory,California Pizza Kitchen,PF Changs China Bistro & is anchored by AMC,Nordstrom Rack,Target,Sears,Macy's & Old Navy. edit
- Berryessa Flea Market, 1590 Berryessa Rd, ☎ +1 800 BIG-FLEA, . A huge outdoor flea market including California's largest farmer's market. Everything from furniture and stereos to haircut salons and massages can be found here, if you look hard enough. Spanish is the lingua franca, but you can get by using English. edit
- Moon Zooom, 1630 W San Carlos St, ☎ +1 408 287-5876, . Stashed inside a converted home, this is San Jose's one-stop shop for your vintage clothing and costume desires. Explore racks and racks of retro styles from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. edit
- Fry's Electronics, 550 E. Brokaw Rd, ☎ +1 877 688-7678, . Offering the best selection in town for consumer electronics and gadgetry, this particular Fry's branch is unique for its Mayan-themed architecture and decor. It's one of several Fry's stores in the bay area. edit
- Arcadia - Modern American Steakhouse, 100 West San Carlos St., ☎ +1 408 278-4555, . ARCADIA Restaurant is the creation of internationally acclaimed Chef Michael Mina and is a true dining experience that is not to be missed. The 130-seat modern American Steak House offers guests extensive menus with innovative twists on classic American Dishes. The Sommelier can serve wine from California, Europe and beyond to enhance your dining experience. The Private Dining Room can accommodate up to 40 people. The "Wine Room", a new private dining room that can accommodate up to 10 people, is decorated with an array of exquisite fine wines from around the world. While you are sipping fine wines you will also enjoy the fabulous cuisine inspired by Michael Mina. edit
- Henry's Hi-Life, 301 West St. John St, ☎ +1 408 295-5414, . Lunch: Tu-F 11:30AM-2PM. Dinner: M-Th 5PM-9PM, F-Sa 4PM-9:30PM, Su 4PM-9PM. Special hours during NFL and NHL seasons.. A brick BBQ and steakhouse popular with local guys on their way to or from a Sharks game. Located close to the Shark Tank as well as the Guadalupe River, the restaurant has survived floods of both hockey fans and water. $15-30. edit
- Amato's Restaurant, 1162 Saratoga Ave (in Maple Leaf Plaza), ☎ +1 408 246-4007, . M-F 11AM-10PM, Sa 11AM-9PM, Su 11AM-7PM. This tiny shop in West San Jose specializes in cheese steaks and hoagies. With 35 sandwiches on the menu and sizes from 7 to 24 inches, there's something for everyone. $6-$30. edit
- A Slice of New York, 3443 Stevens Creek Blvd., San Jose and 1253 W El Camino, Sunnyvale, ☎ +1 408 247-5423 (SJ) - +1 650 938 6969 (SV), . T-Sat 11AM- 12PM (SJ), T-TH 11AM-9PM, Fri-SAT 11AM-10PM, Su 1PM-9PM (SV). This establishment specializes in award winning New York pizzas/slices, Calzones, and Strombolis. $3.25-$30. edit
- Gordon Biersch Restaurant Brewery, 33 E San Fernando St, ☎ +1 408 294-6785, . Su-W 11:30AM-11PM, Th 11:30AM-midnight, F-Sa 11:30AM-2AM. A lively downtown restaurant serving Californian fusion cuisine. Try a freshly-brewed beer and dine at a courtyard table in the (usually excellent) San Jose evening weather. Gordon Biersch is just a quick walk away from the Century 12 theaters. Don't forget to try their famous Garlic Fries. French fries smothered in garlic, and parsley these fries are the perfect dish for any garlic lover. They go great with a quick beer from one of their many taps and bottle options. $15-30. edit
- Sonoma Chicken Coop, 31 N Market St (and 2 other San Jose area locations), ☎ +1 408 287-4098, . Su-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM. Rotisserie chicken and California fusion cuisine in a casual atmosphere. As an added bonus, they brew their own beer and have a nicely sized covered patio area. $10-20. edit
- Poor House Bistro, 91 S Autumn St, ☎ +1 408 29-BLUES, . M-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 10AM-8PM (brunch 10AM-2PM). San Jose's "New Orleans Joint". The Poor House is close to the Shark Tank and serves a variety of New Orleans-style food including gumbo, red beans & rice, jambalaya and po' boys. They have live music on Fridays and Saturdays and a regular Jazz Brunch on Sundays. $10-15. edit
- In-N-Out Burger, ☎ 1 800 786-1000, . This famous burger chain has "Quality You Can Taste" and is highly regarded by fast food-loving locals. They've expanded throughout the state since their 1940s inception in Southern California, but it's still a quintessential California burger experience. The "secret menu" lists items that aren't advertised but are available at every location. If you don't know what to ask for, someone else in line will probably be happy to share their secret recommendations. $5-10. edit
- Bill's Cafe, 1115 Willow St (and 2 other San Jose locations), ☎ +1 408 294-1125, . 7AM-3PM daily. The perfect place for a weekend (or weekday) brunch, Bill's is known to get pretty packed, and for good reason. They offer an overwhelming selection of breakfast crowdpleasers like omelettes, Belgian waffles and a dozen different styles of eggs Benedict. For lunch, they serve homemade soups, meal-size salads, burgers, sandwiches and wraps. There's also a full bar, low-carb menu options and outdoor patio seating. $10-30. edit
- Scott's Seafood Grill and Bar, 185 Park Ave, ☎ +1 408 971-1700, . Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-5PM, Dinner: M-Sa 5PM, Su 4:30PM. A classic selection of seafood, as well as pasta and steaks from the grill and a full bar. Dress is business casual during the day, and a little dressier at night. Scott's is on the 6th floor and has a fantastic view of downtown and Silicon Valley. Reservations are recommended. $20-40. edit
- Original Joe's, 301 S 1st St, ☎ +1 408 292-7030, . 11AM-1AM daily. A San Jose classic, in business for over 50 years. Hearty American and Italian food and 70s diner decor. Always, always busy and one of the few places open late in the downtown core. Be prepared to wait for a table and leave with a full belly. $20-40. edit
- Il Fornaio, 302 S Market St, ☎ +1 408 271-3366, . M-Th 7AM-10PM, F 7AM- 11PM, Sa 8AM- 11PM, Su 8AM- 10PM. Located at the Sainte Claire Hotel (on the same block as Original Joe's), Il Fornaio offers a true Italian experience, often importing chefs from different parts of Italy and featuring special dishes from their region. Part of a California chain, they also have a bakery, which offers specialty coffees, unique baked goods, and authentic Italian artisan breads. San Jose's Italian natives have been known to pick Il Fornaio as their top eatery for Italian food. Il fornaio 's menu has select Italian pastas that will have you leaving with a full and satisfied stomach. Although probably the most picked, pasta isn't the only thing on the menu. Customers come with a ready appetite because of the appetizers and desserts that follow their entree's of chicken, veal, fish, steak of pasta and salad. Il fornaio is one of the few places in San Jose where a customer can find true and delicious Italian desserts. $15-$30. edit
- Aqui Cal-Mex Grill, 1145 Lincoln Ave, ☎ +1 408 995-0381, . M-Th 11AM-9PM, F 11AM- 9:30PM, Sa 10AM- 9:30PM, Su 10AM- 9PM. This place serves Mexican food as if it passed through a fun-house mirror. One of the first places to use gourmet burrito wraps. Inside the wraps you'll find fish and fillings from anywhere on the Pacific Rim: salmon, yellow-fin tuna, or plantains. Satisfying, fresh and creative. $7-10. edit
- Taqueria Corona, 601 N 4th St, ☎ +1 408 925-9336. This bright taqueria in Japantown is a traditional, leisurely, sit-down Mexican restaurant. Choose from seafood plates, chimichangas, al pastor and more. Their tortillas are homemade, and there's a nice selection of domestic and Mexican beers. $10-20. edit
- La Victoria Taqueria, 140 E San Carlos (and 2 other locations), ☎ +1 408 298-5335, . 7AM-3AM daily. La Victoria stays open late to cater to the local late-night revelers, who love their classic taqueria fare. Their claim to fame is their Orange Sauce, but don't bother asking for the recipe: they'll never tell. $5-10. edit
- Iguana's Burritozilla, 330 S. 3rd St.. 10:30AM-11PM daily. Iguana's Burritozilla is said to have the best burritos in town. You can choose several different burrito styles, 8 types of meat and 3 types of beans. Try the "Burritozilla" if you dare - it's 17 inches long and weighs in at a whopping 5 pounds!. $5-10. edit
- Okayama Restaurant, 565-A N 6th St, ☎ +1 408 289-9508, . T-Th Lunch 11AM-2PM, Dinner 5PM-8:30PM. F-Sa Lunch 11AM-2PM, Dinner 5PM-9PM. Su Dinner 5PM-8:30PM. One of the older restaurants in Japantown, Okayama is still run by the original family and is known for their signature salad dressing adapted from the original family recipe. Over the years the restaurant has added new twists to their menu to make things modern and original. Their pyramid lunch specials offer a lot of food for little cash. $10-30. edit
- Kazoo Restaurant, 250 Jackson St, ☎ +1 408 288-9611, . M-Th Lunch 11:30AM-2PM, Dinner 5PM-9:30PM, F Lunch 11:30AM-2PM, Dinner 5PM-10PM. Sa Lunch noon-2PM, Dinner 5PM-9:30PM. Su Lunch noon-2PM, Dinner 4PM-9PM. This Japantown restaurant has friendly service and a large selection of fresh sushi. Try sitting at their sushi boat bar, which can be a lot of fun and remove some of the mystery of ordering sushi for the uninitiated. The menu ranges from traditional to very Californian. $10-30. edit
- Gombei, 193 Jackson St, ☎ +1 408 279-4311, . M-Sa Lunch 11:30AM-2:30PM, Dinner 5PM-9:30PM. An inexpensive homestyle Japanese restaurant in Japantown. The udon and teishoku lunches are very popular, so try to schedule your lunch a little early or late to beat the crowd. $6-14. edit
- Minato Restaurant, 617 N. 6th St. (north of Jackson St), ☎ +1 408 998-9711. Tu, W, Th - Lunch 11:15AM -1:45PM; Dinner 5:00-8:30PM. Fr and Sa - Lunch 11:15AM-1:45PM; Dinner 5:00-9PM. Closed Sunday and Monday. Good inexpensive traditional Japanese food in Japantown; favorite among locals and visitors. Only problem is that it is closed Sundays and Mondays. $6-16. edit
- Kyoto Palace, 1875 S Bascom Ave # 2500, Campbell (in the Pruneyard Shopping Center), ☎ +1 408 377-6456, . M-F Lunch 11:30AM-2PM, Dinner 5PM-10PM. Sa 11:30AM-10PM, Su 11:30AM-9PM. This restaurant offers an exciting Teppan experience, where master chefs skillfully prepare meat, seafood and vegetables right at your table (which is also a six-foot-long grill). Great for families. They also offer sushi, and there is karaoke on Wednesday nights. $15-30. edit
- Royal Taj India, 1350 Camden Ave, Campbell, CA 95008 ((between South Bascom Ave and HWY 17)), ☎ +1 408 559-6801, . Daily, 11:30AM- 2:30PM and 5:30PM- 10PM. Located about 2 feet from a freeway on-ramp, this isn't a place where people just wander past and decide to stop in. Locals have been purposefully feasting here for decades, enjoying a warm atmosphere, friendly staff and generous portions of authentic Indian cuisine. Many vegetarian dishes are available. Royal Taj also offers a lunch buffet, outdoor seating and takeout. $15-$30. edit
- Krung Thai, . In spite of the building's nondescript exterior, it's some of the most loved Thai food in the area. If you tell them to make it spicy (or even medium spicy), be prepared to eat some VERY spicy food. The newer New Krung Thai Restaurant is managed by the same family, has the same menu, and is less than a mile away. $10-30. edit
- Hunan Taste, 998 N 4th St, ☎ +1 408 295-1186, . M-Sa 11AM-8:30PM. An offshoot of Henry Chung's original Hunan Restaurant on Kearny Street in San Francisco (the one with eight tables and a counter space which was once hailed by New Yorker magazine as "The Best Chinese Restaurant in the World"). A quintessential hole-in-the-wall, but the service could not be nicer, as is the hot, garlicky cuisine, if you're so inclined. Beer and wine are available. $10-20. edit
- King Eggroll, 1221 Story Rd, ☎ +1 408 999-0798, . 7AM-8PM daily. Often dubbed "The Asian McDonalds", King Eggroll offers a variety of fast-food style Asian dishes, dim sum, sandwiches and combination plates. As the name would imply, though, most come here for their famous egg rolls! $5-10. edit
- Good Karma Vegan House, 37 S. First St (between Post & Santa Clara, downtown), ☎ +1 408 294-2694, . M-Sa 11AM-9PM, Su noon-7PM. Even the local carnivores find something to love at this hipster vegan deli. The food is filling and flavorful, and the owners are friendly, mellow guys who donate what little wall space they have to local artists. They have a weekly bingo night, beer on tap and free internet access. They even offer vegan turkeys made-to-order during the holidays. Their menu is revolving, so there's always something new to try. $5-10. edit
- Dandelion Vegetarian Cafe - CLOSED, 322 E Santa Clara St, ☎ +1 408 288-6788, . Vietnamese, Japanese and Malaysian-inspired dishes, with a good selection of vegan items. They also serve an assortment of teas and drinks with tapioca pearls. You'll get a satisfying vegetarian meal for less than the price of a matinee movie ticket. $5-10. edit
East African and Middle eastern
- Falafel's Drive-in, 2301 Steven's Creek Blvd, ☎ +1 408 294-7886, . A family-run local favorite, there is always a line at the drive-in. They offer authentic Middle Eastern cuisine including falafel, hummos and gyros as well as hamburgers, fries and homemade milkshakes. $5-10. edit
- Zeni, 1320 Saratoga Ave (at Payne), ☎ +1 408 615-8282, . T-Th 11:30AM-10PM F 11:30AM-11PM, Sat noon-11PM, Sun noon-10PM. An Ethiopian restaurant that knows how to show off the complex flavors of the cuisine. Meals are served Ethiopian style, on injera bread. A full Ethiopian coffee ceremony is available, but they ask that you request it an hour in advance. Many options for vegetarians, as well as a full bar. $10-20. edit
Nightlife in the Downtown area is a mix of lounges, clubs, and bars which, according to locals, have either greatly improved the scene or marked the beginning of its decline. Santana Row has a number of upscale clubs and bars and has been the new hotspot since 2005.
- Goosetown Lounge, 1172 Lincoln Ave, ☎ +1 408 292-4835, . 9PM-2AM daily. Willow Glen's neighborhood bar and cocktail lounge; if you're into a late night pops and enthusiastic renditions of 'YMCA', this karaoke hotspot may be for you. $5-10. edit
- Agenda Lounge, 399 S First St, ☎ +1 408 287-3991, . W-Sa 5:30PM-2AM, Su 9PM-2AM. A three-level club with pounding house music on Fridays and Saturdays. Hip-shakers come for the salsa dancing on Wednesdays. $10-20. edit
- The Lobby Lounge, 170 S Market St. (in the Fairmont), ☎ +1 408 998-1900, . Noon-midnight daily. An upscale piano bar inside the Fairmont Hotel, with an impressive wine list, over 500 different cocktails and martinis, and an array of single malt scotches. They offer weekly wine tastings, live jazz and piano nightly, and free dance lessons on Fridays. $10-20. edit
- Smoke Tiki Lounge, 152 Post St, ☎ +1 408 292-4266, . M-Sa 11AM-2AM. Tropical tiki cocktails in a casual lounge atmosphere. Caters to a younger, college-age crowd. There's a full barbecue menu as well as DJs and live music. $5-10. edit
- Mission Ale House, 97 E Santa Clara St, ☎ +1 408 292-4058, . M-Sa 11AM-2AM. A downtown dive bar with a young crowd, a huge selection of beers on tap, and a patio that's been voted the city's best. They have live bands on Fridays and a weekly open mic. $5-10. edit
- The Vault, 81 W Santa Clara St, ☎ +1 408 298-1112, . Th-Sa 9PM-2AM. This hot spot for dancing and drinking is inside a renovated 1920s bank building, mixing historical architecture with a very contemporary club scene. Bottle service, pounding music, and usually a $20 cover on weekends. $10-30. edit
- San Jose Bar & Grill, 85 S 2nd St, ☎ +1 408 286-2397, . M-F 4PM-2AM, Sa 1PM-2AM, Su 5PM-2AM. Since one Happy Hour just isn't enough, the Grill offers all kinds of specials on wings, burgers and drinks throughout the week. It's a good place to watch sports, especially Sundays during football season. Weekly karaoke and DJs on weekend nights. $5-10. edit
- VooDoo Lounge, 14 S 2nd St, ☎ +1 408 286-8636, . M-F 5:30PM-2AM, Sa-Su 6PM-2AM. This dance club also hosts live local bands as well as bigger name acts. There's often a cover charge. PERMANTENTLY CLOSED ACCORDING TO GOOGLE MAPS. $5-50. edit
- Toon's, 52 E Santa Clara St, ☎ +1 408 292-7464, . 8PM-2AM daily. Calls itself a piano bar, but isn't. DJs on most nights and live local music on others. Possibly the first place you've been that has both a pool table and a dress code. Cash only. PERMANENTLY CLOSED ACCORDING TO GOOGLE MAPS $5-10. edit
- The Caravan Lounge, 98 S Almaden Ave, ☎ +1 408-995-6220, . 6AM-2AM daily. A dive bar of a dying breed, the Caravan is neighbor to (and was once a tenant of) a Greyhound bus station. When there isn't live music or a DJ, there's a good jukebox. There's always cheap beer, and there's NEVER a cover. Cash only. $5-10. edit
- Hookah Nites, 371 S First St, ☎ +1 408 286-0800, . Su-W 6PM-1AM, Th 6PM-1:30PM, F-Sa 6PM-2AM. Coffees, teas, snacks and hookahs. The sweet smells of tobacco and fruit smokes float into the street as patrons enjoy hookahs at sidewalk tables each evening. edit
- JJ's Blues, 3439 Stevens Creek Blvd, ☎ +1 408 243-6641, . M-Sa 5:30PM-2AM, Su 4PM-2AM. One of the most popular places in the Bay Area to hear live blues music, and one of the few San Jose clubs with live music every night of the week. JJ's has been around for two decades and hosts jam nights, unsigned acts and big names. There's a vintage Steinway that's up for grabs during intermissions, so you too can get the blues. $5-10. edit
- Splash, 65 Post St, ☎ +1 408 993-0861, . Th-Sa 9PM-2AM. San Jose's downtown gay video bar, nightclub and lounge is friendly to people of all persuasions. $5-10. edit
- Tanq, 301 S. Market Street, ☎ +1 408 280-1300, . 11:30AM-Midnight. Downtown San Jose's newest hip bar with a great aquatic theme,located on the corner of Market and San Carlos. Great drink menu (try their signature "Kiss the Fish")and to die for small plate menu. Must trys are the Ahi Tuna Poppers and the Angus Beef Slider. Tanq is also open for lunch and has some really great dishes, the Skirt Steak Salad is a favorite. edit
- Hotel Torremolinos (Hotel Torremolinos), San Jose (San Jose), ☎ 2222-5266, . checkin: 2:00; checkout: 12:00. Hotel close to san jose airport edit
- Courtyard San Jose Airport, 1727 Technology Drive, San Jose, CA 95110, ☎ 408-441-6111, . The Courtyard San Jose Airport Hotel offers a complimentary airport shuttle, newly renovated accommodations and a 100% smoke-free environment just minutes from top Silicon Valley attractions. edit
Hotels in Downtown
- Crowne Plaza Hotel, 282 Almaden Blvd (at W. San Carlos), ☎ +1 408 998-0400, . Ultra-modern decor, event facilities, and a fitness center are available at this hip, pet-friendly spot in downtown San Jose, near the west end of the Convention Center. edit
- Hotel De Anza, 233 W Santa Clara St (near San Pedro Square), ☎ +1 408 286-1000, Toll-free +1 800 843-3700, . A restored historic hotel set in the midst of all the exciting dining and entertainment of the downtown area near San Pedro Square. edit
- The Fairmont San Jose, 170 South Market Street (near W. San Fernando), ☎ +1 408 998-1900, Toll-free +1 800 527-4727, . Two tall buildings connected by a skywalk over the Paseo de San Antonio. On the Plaza of Cesar Chavez and near the east end of the Convention Center, this large luxury hotel offers a day spa, fine dining in several restaurants, a fitness center and a rooftop pool. edit
- Four Points by Sheraton San José Downtown, 211 South First St. (at pedestrian only Paseo de San Antonio), ☎ +1 408 282-8800, . One of the more intimate Four Points in a classic 1911 building, but still grand service with a lounge, outdoor patio, bocce ball courts, business and fitness centers. Near the east end of the Convention Center. edit
- Hilton San Jose, 300 Almaden Blvd (at W. San Carlos), ☎ +1 408 947-4450, . Attached to the west end of the Convention Center, this non-smoking hotel is very convenient for convention attendees. It's also located on the Light Rail route, making it a great option for visitors without cars. Pool and jacuzzi, high-speed internet and fitness room. Smaller pets allowed. edit
- Sainte Claire Hotel, 302 South Market St. (at W. San Carlos), ☎ +1 408 295-2000, . Stately hotel situated in the heart of downtown San Jose, near the east end of the Convention Center. Member of the Historic Hotels of America. edit
- San Jose Marriott, 301 South Market St (at W. San Carlos), ☎ +1 408 280-1300, Toll-free +1 800 314-0928, . Another popular choice among convention and business conference attendees. The San Jose Marriott is attached to the east end of the Convention Center. The Marriott is a AAA Four-Diamond hotel in the heart of Downtown San Jose that offers facilities and technology for meetings and presentations, as well as high-speed internet, a pool, a fitness center and a smoke-free environment. edit
Hotels outside Downtown
- Best Western Brookside Inn, 400 Valley Way, Milpitas, California (CA) 95035, ☎ 408-263-5566 (fax: 408-262-6866), . This extraordinary place was once known as the “Valley of the Heart’s Delight” - for many reasons, not the least of which is its natural beauty. edit
- Clarion Hotel San Jose Airport, 1355 North Fourth Street (1 mile east of San Jose International Airport), ☎ 888 453-5340, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. Resort-style hotel with complimentary hot breakfast buffet, business and meeting amenities, specials and packages, plus proximity to museums, golf courses and theme parks. US$87-$107 per night. edit
- Courtyard San Jose Airport, 1727 Technology Drive, ☎ 408-441-6111. *Doubletree by Hilton, 2050 Gateway Place (Less than half a mile from the San Jose airport), ☎ +1 408 453-4000, . A popular location for meetings and conventions. Pool and spa, 24 hour fitness center, and plenty of dining options. edit edit
- Homewood Suites by Hilton, 10 West Trimble Road, ☎ +1 408 428-9900, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. An all-suite hotel with fully-equipped kitchens. Complimentary hot breakfast daily, dinner with beer and wine M-Th, and high-speed Internet. edit
- Howard Johnson Express San Jose, 1215 South First St (a mile south of downtown), ☎ +1 800 509-7666, . Free high-speed and wireless internet, newspapers, breakfast, fax and copy services. edit
- Motel 6 San Jose South, 2560 Fontaine Rd, ☎ +1 408 270-3131 (fax: +1 408 270-6235), . Kids stay free, pets are allowed. Minutes away from the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. Outdoor pool, wifi is available for a small fee. edit
- Pruneyard Plaza Hotel, 1995 S Bascom Ave, Campbell, ☎ +1 800 559-4344, . A Tuscan-style retreat in downtown Campbell a few min drive from downtown San Jose. Smoke-free hotel with a pool and jacuzzi, fitness center and 24 hour business center. Free wifi, continental breakfast, newspaper delivery and parking. edit
- Red Roof Inn, 1440 N. First Street, San Jose, California 95112 (Near San Jose Airport), ☎ +1 408 53-7750, . Nearby the San Jose Airport, the Santa Clara and San Jose Convention Centers, and the HP Pavilion. 24-hour service. edit
- Residence Inn San Jose South, 6111 San Ignacio Avenue, ☎ +1 408 226-7676 (fax: +1 408 226-9916), . Smoke-free hotel has studios as well as spacious extended-stay suites. Outdoor pool, fitness center, free high-speed internet and breakfast. edit
- Sleep Inn Silicon Valley, 2390 Harris Way (3 miles from the airport), ☎ +1 408 434-9330, . Ideal for business travelers. Free high-speed internet, a large desk workspace and ergonomic office chairs. Fitness center, free continental breakfast, microwaves and refrigerators in every room. Very close to the Paramount's Great America amusement park. edit
- TownePlace Suites San Jose Cupertino, 440 Saratoga Ave, ☎ +1 408 984-5903 (fax: +1 408 984-5904), . Very close to the Winchester Mystery House and the shopping and entertainment of Santana Row. Smoke -free hotel with outdoor pool, jacuzzi and barbecue area for its guests. Free wired and wifi internet access. edit
- Vagabond Inn San Jose (SJC Airport), 1488 N. First St (Near San Jose Airport), ☎ +1 408-453-8882, . checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 11:00 AM. A discount hotel minutes from the airport. 24 hour Denny's restaurant on-site. Spa and heated pool, free continental breakfast and weekday newspaper. Pet-friendly rooms available. Business friendly rooms have work space, a larger TV with remote control, dual-line phones and a desk lamp with an additional outlet. Each room has free wifi, high speed Internet access, cable with ESPN, CNN and the Movie Channel. edit
- San Jose Vacation Rentals, ☎ +1 408 269-2339, Toll-Free +1 800 813-3510, . San Jose Vacation Rentals offers fully-furnished executive homes in Willow Glen and other San Jose locations. Extended stays are preferred. Pet friendly homes, high-speed internet, enhanced cable and enclosed backyards are available. edit
San Jose is one of the safest large cities in the United States. The only areas to be concerned about are a number of small slums in East San Jose and the Midtown neighborhood just west of downtown.
About an hour north is the city of San Francisco. San Francisco is a good source of various ethnic restaurants, shopping, parks, and oceanfront relaxation.
Just east of the city lies Alum Rock Park , a canyon through which Penitencia Creek flows, which is lined by sulfurous mineral springs and several small waterfalls. Above the park stands Mount Hamilton, one of the highest peaks in the Bay Area at 4,213 feet. The telescopes of Lick Observatory , operated by the University of California, crown the summit and are open to the public during daytime hours.
Other places to see in San Jose's backyard are the Scenic Drive in Saratoga Hills, the quaint and classy town of Los Gatos, and Mission Santa Clara at Santa Clara University . Palo Alto and Stanford University  are about half an hour's drive to the north. About 45 minutes northeast, you can visit Fremont's Mission San Jose and the Ardenwood Historic Farm .
Less than an hour away over the scenic Santa Cruz Mountains, the small coastal city of Santa Cruz is a nice day trip out San Jose. Spend the day enjoying the beaches and Boardwalk, or make it the first stop on a longer coastal drive. From Santa Cruz, you can take Route 1 (also known as the Pacific Coast Highway) south to Capitola, Monterey, and the charming town of Carmel-by-the-Sea.
The Pacific Coast Highway is a nationally famous highway. It goes along the whole coast of California giving off spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Many movies have shown this highway in scenes that take place in California, and it is also a main tourist attraction to drive along the coast. Route 1 can take you up to Pacifica which is about 30 minutes north of San Jose. Pacifica is a ocean side residential town that has affordable housing and sit's on hills that overlook the Pacific. The beach here is typical to the Bay Area and has a very rough current.
Less than an hour away is Half Moon Bay beach. This beach sits on the bottom of cliffs with a very rough current. During most the summer months the water is closed to swimmers because of rip tides and massive waves. The Pacific ocean is typically cold and in half moon bay this is still very true. The sunsets here have been know to lure in travelers and those wanting to rent beach houses. Since Half Moon Bay sits on cliffs, the sunset goes down over the water and seems to create perfect scenery.
The rolling hills of San Jose surround the city creating a valley. See the top of these hills by driving into East San jose. The houses on the hills are spread out and range from ranches, farms, and even mansions. These houses can be seen from the valley and the picturesque drive leads to the top of the hills where you can see the entire landscape of San Jose. On the Fourth of July, many San Jose natives come up to the hills to watch the spectacular firework show over the city.