San Jose is thought to be California’s oldest settlement, founded in 1777 as a farming community. Over the years agriculture production has been replaced by patent creation, making San Jose the top producing city in the country. Roughly 35 percent of venture capital funds invested into American companies end up in San Jose, influencing the city’s slogan, “Capital of Silicon Valley”.
In the recent years, the influx of art and recreation has transformed this city into more than a playground for venture capitalists. Let’s take a look at some of the attractions and nightlife that gives San Jose its character.
Attractions and events
Tech Museum of Innovation
The Tech Museum features thousands of gizmos and gadgets produced by Silicon Valley companies over the past 2 decades. The various exhibits host over 400,000 visitors every year featuring attractions like an earthquake simulator, a NASA jetpack chair, and an interactive display where attendees can design and build robots. Visitors attend free every first Sunday of the month! This downtown attraction is a great place for kids and adults to learn and explore.
Address: 201 S Market St San Jose, CA 95113-2008
Phone: (408) 294-8324
The Winchester Mystery House of San Jose
The Winchester Mystery House belonged to Sarah Winchester, the heiress to the Winchester rifle family, and is said to be haunted by every spirit killed by a Winchester gun. She believed that spirits would harm her if her carpenters stopped construction on the home. The mansion features roughly 161 rooms, 40 bedrooms, 2 ballrooms, 47 fireplaces, and 17 chimneys. Various dead ends and empty rooms were built to confuse spirits. The mansion hosts tours daily for anyone interested in spooky adventures.
Address: 525 S. Winchester Blvd. San Jose, CA. 95128
Phone: (408) 247-2101
San Jose Museum of Art
Contemporary art admirers should visit the San Jose Museum of Art in Downtown San Jose. Collections of paintings, photography, glasswork, and sculptures are displayed for the public and for private events. Exhibits are regularly moved out with updated galleries from California artists. Northern California’s history and appreciation for contemporary art makes this attraction a must see.
Address: 110 S. Market St. San Jose, CA. 95113
Phone: (408) 271-6840
SAP Center is home to the professional ice hockey team, San Jose Sharks. The Sharks advanced to the Stanley Cup finals after winning the Western Conference championship this season, but lost the finals to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. SAP Center hosts a variety of other events, such as concerts and shows. Most recently, SAP Center presented the USA women’s gymnastics Olympic Trials for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. Upcoming events are Stevie Nicks 24 Karat Gold Tour, World Famous Harlem Globetrotters, and Disney On Ice.
Address: 525 W Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA 95113
Phone: (408) 287-7070
South First Fridays
The SoFA (South of First Area) District of Downtown San Jose became an arts and entertainment area in the 90s. On every first Friday of the month painters, sculptors, musicians, and retailers gather on 1st St. to showcase their art as part of SoFa District’s “First Fridays” street festival. Attendees can grab a bite to eat from the SoFA food market while strolling around 1st Street to experience the local artists or sample an assortment of beers from the local breweries. The SoFA District is also where Onerent calls home at 505 S. Market St. Come stop by and say hi to your favorite rental solution!
Address: SoFA District. San Carlos St. and E. Reed St. San Jose, CA 95113
Phone: (408) 271-5155
Restaurants and Nightlife
Santa Clara Valley Brewing Company
Visit a newly established hole-in-the-wall hangout spot at Santa Clara Valley Brewing Company. This brewery opened in 2015 and features 16 in house beers on tap. Inside, regulars can be frequently seen treating themselves to a beer and a boardgame. Tom Clark, CEO of SCV, added historical elements to the taproom including concert posters from the 60s, wood walls and tables, and a huge painting of San Jose’s famous Electric Light Tower. The “iOS” brew, short for Imperial Oatmeal Stout, exemplifies the Silicon Valley perfectly with flavors of caramel, chocolate and creamy stout texture at 10 percent alcohol. Pay homage to San Jose’s history with a beer at Santa Clara Valley Brewing Company!
Address: 101 E Alma Ave. San Jose, CA 95112
Phone: (408) 288-5181
San Pedro Square
Nightlife lives in Downtown San Jose’s San Pedro Square. Live music illuminates the iconic San Pedro Square in Downtown San Jose every Thursday night. Trivia and karaoke nights are hosted by The Market. Diners can sample endless craft brews on tap and wines from around the globe. Recent success from the San Jose Sharks and the Golden State Warriors has made San Pedro Square a popular place to watch and celebrate playoff wins. Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and Coldplay celebrated around the corner at SP2 Communal Bar and Restaurant after Super Bowl 50. You might just see your favorite actor or musician at the Square during your next visit!
Address: 87 N San Pedro St. San Jose, CA. 95110
If you’re obsessed with spicy foods we’d recommend visiting the famous sports lounge and bar, Smoke Eaters. Man vs. Food TV star, Adam Richman, completed the Smoke Eaters Hellfire Challenge in Santa Clara, CA. To finish, Richman ate 12 hot wings smothered in Hellfire sauce. Rules are no drinks, no napkins, required to lick your fingers clean and sit 5 minutes to feel the afterburn. If you’re not interested in scarfing down a pound of fiery meat, Smoke Eaters serves a variety of finger foods with 108 delicious beers on tap as well!
Address: 3175 Mission College Blvd. Santa Clara, CA 95054
Phone: (408) 970-3300
If you’re on a mission for food challenges you can buy a 5 lbs, 18” super burrito called the burritozilla at Iguanas in San Jose. This family owned restaurant has two locations in San Jose and Santa Clara. Finishers of the Burritozilla Challenge get a free prize t-shirt and endless bragging rights. And we’ve got to say from personal experience, it is absolutely worth it.
Address: 330 S 3rd St. San Jose, CA 95112
Phone: (408) 271-9772
Where do Silicon Valley residents go to spend their money? Santana Row, an upscale shopping plaza in West San Jose. Santana Row displays a variety of brand name shops, twenty restaurants, nine spas and salons, and a movie theatre. Public events are often held here, such as the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony earlier on November 15, a holiday shopping wine stroll on December 6th, and the monthly “Cars and Croissants” exotic car show. Santana Row makes an outstanding weekend evening dinner with the family or friends!
Address: 377 Santana Row. San Jose, CA 95128
Phone: (408) 551-4611
Living in San Jose means enjoying sunshine 300 days of the year. Locals in particular are regularly treated with an opportunity to shop through farm-fresh produce from local growers at nearby farmers’ markets. Downtown San Jose, Campbell, Japantown, Evergreen, and Alum Rock all feature fresh produce, craft vendors, live music, and street eats that these iconic morning street festivals. Start reserving your weekend mornings for your local farmers’ market because you will be hooked on these rare neighborhood foods!
Find your local farmers market:pcfma.org/visit/markets
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