"San Jose - Silicon Valley" Top 5 Page for this destination San Jose by trvlrtom

San Jose Travel Guide: 376 reviews and 665 photos

Do you know what to do in San Jose?

Suburbs and strip malls define much of the San Jose area. There are, however, some notable locations that merit attention. Downtown is slowly revitalizing, if not as a shopping district, as a place for dining and going to clubs and bars. Neighborhoods like the Rose Garden, Naglee Park and Willow Glen have many examples of fine residential architecture, including Victorian, Craftsman and many mid 20th century Eichlers. Lincoln Avenue in Willow Glen is very popular for having a thriving small business district, with various shops and restaurants.

As the metropolitan area expanded throughout the San Francisco Bay area after World War Two, what were once small towns grew together. Today these areas still have attractive shopping streets that have a healthy pedestrian life, with restaurants, coffee shops etc. Close to San Jose are downtown Campbell, Los Gatos, Saratoga and Mountain View. Further up the penninsula toward San Francisco are Palo Alto, Menlo Park, San Mateo and Burlingame, each with their own attributes and local attractions.

One of the advantages of San Jose is its central location in northern California. There is a train that runs to San Francisco and takes about an hour, with a link to SFO airport. From San Jose it is also just a quick trip over to the coast. A popular destination is Santa Cruz, known for its beach scene, the mountains and wineries, the University and the cosmopolitan atmosphere that comes with it.

Old and New

San Jose is in the heart of California's Silicon Valley, and has experienced tremendous growth in the last 50 years. Newer buildings characterize much of the downtown as well as surrounding communities and suburbs. San Jose and many communities, however, have older core areas and neighborhoods. Adjacent to the old Peralta Adobe in San Jose, for example, you will see new skyscrapers going up.

San Jose was the first city to be founded in California, by members of the de Anza expedition from what is now Arizona. An original adobe building from that era, the Peralta adobe, sits nearly under the shadows of this new building. The new condos with "sexy views" serve as a backdrop for an old statue of early settlers. Neighborhoods adjacent to downtown have many examples of old homes, some beautifully restored and maintained, others in a sorry state that may lead only to demolition. Another old, original adobe house, the Roberto Adobe, sits quietly and almost hidden between downtown and the well-established Willow Glen neighborhood, south of highway 280. It is an example of the small architectural and historical surprises that one can find in Silicon Valley.

Palm trees by the HP Pavilion, aka Shark Tank

Many San Jose streets are lined with palms. You will find them downtown as well in some residential zones. Most of the trees are not native species, however.

San Jose's only national sports team, the hockey San Jose Sharks, have their home just behind these palms. An odd mix, don't you think? Palm trees and hockey.

  • Intro Updated Dec 14, 2008
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Reviews (51)

Comments (9)

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Aug 19, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    Great tips

  • hopang's Profile Photo
    Sep 26, 2009 at 10:29 AM

    San Jose looks wonderful and interesting to visit and explore. Thanks for the virtual tour. Thanks also for visiting our Malaysia travel page. ~ho & pang

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jan 6, 2009 at 1:34 PM

    Interesting tips on your home city! I think I would like the Tech Museum. I used to live and work in Berkeley, but have never really been in (through, yes) San Jose. Glad to hear there is train service to San Francisco.

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo
    Nov 17, 2008 at 3:56 PM

    Though the Sharks look tough again, I still think Detroit's the team to beat out west. I hope they lose b/c it would be a just reward for Hossa bailing on the Pens, but...

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Sep 27, 2008 at 5:11 PM

    Yes Santana Row is very nice and we like to eat in that Italian Rest - Maggiano's? Thanks for nice tips on San Jose - will be there Oct 2008

  • Gypsystravels's Profile Photo
    Sep 11, 2008 at 6:26 AM

    Hola Tom, estuve en San Jose unas semanas atras, que cambio!! Pase una tarde comiendo y de compras...espero regresar de nuevo muy pronto!!

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Nov 21, 2007 at 9:37 AM

    Awesome page with loads of tips Tom, you deserve a TOP 5! I've visited the Mystery House, that was awesome and spooky to see. I will be sure to check out your page again when I pass thru your lovely city again. Happy Trails!

  • canuck68's Profile Photo
    Oct 19, 2007 at 7:06 PM

    I enjoyed my trip through your town thanks to your San Jose Page. That is quite and amazing city hall. Your tips and pictures are very good. Thanks, Diane

  • sue_stone's Profile Photo
    May 11, 2007 at 12:11 AM

    Great food, and wine tasting nearby - sounds like a great place to live! : )

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