About San Jose Sprawling across the Santa Clara Valley between the Mount Hamilton and Santa Cruz ranges, San Jose anchors the southern end of the San Francisco Peninsula. This major city's beginnings date to 1777, when the small settlement of Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe was established to raise crops and cattle for the nearby presidios of San Francisco and Monterey.
In 1849 San Jose became the state's first capital, a distinction that lasted only until 1851. But flash forward to the last half of the 1990s and California's third most populous city gained a nickname, “Capital of the Silicon Valley,” thanks to a central role in the technological innovations that fueled the dot.com revolution.
The Japanese-American Internment Memorial , downtown in front of the Robert Peckham Federal Building at 280 S. First St., remembers those citizens confined in the U.S. during World War II. Narrative panels relate the experiences of those detained during this period.
One of the city’s historic things to see is the Moorish-style California Theatre, downtown at 345 S. First St., which opened in 1927 as an ornate movie palace. Opulently restored, it is home to both Opera San Jose and Symphony Silicon Valley. For schedule and ticket information phone the opera company at (408) 437-4450 or the symphony at (408) 286-2600.
At the junction of I-280, I-680 and US 101, just off King Road—in the middle of bustling, high-tech San Jose—is Emma Prusch Farm Park, a reminder of the city's agricultural past and one of San Jose’s fun things to do with kids. A barn, vintage farm equipment and fruit orchards are still at the site of this former dairy farm, as well as resident sheep, pigs, cows, geese and rabbits. It's a reminder of what life was like before the Santa Clara Valley hopped on the technological bandwagon; phone (408) 794-6262.
SAP Center at San Jose, at W. Santa Clara and Autumn streets, is home to the city's NHL hockey team, the San Jose Sharks. Other college and professional sporting events, concerts and live performances take place at the arena; phone (408) (408) 999-5757 for ticket information.
flickr / CC BY ND/Aaron Sholl
The Major League Soccer (MLS) San Jose Earthquakes play at Avaya Stadium, 1123 Coleman Ave.; from San Francisco, take the De La Cruz Boulevard exit off southbound US 101, following signs for San Jose and the stadium. Phone the box office at (408) 556-7700 for ticket and schedule information. The San Jose State University Spartans play basketball at the Event Center at San Jose State University, 7th and E. San Carlos streets; phone (408) 924-7589.
There are more than 50 wineries in the San Jose area, ranging from family-run establishments to large corporate ventures. Throughout the year festivals, concerts and other events celebrate viticulture. Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority provides transportation to regional wineries; phone (408) 321-2300 for additional information.
Visitor Centers Team San Jose 408 Almaden Blvd. San Jose, CA 95110. Phone:(408)295-9600 or (800)726-5673
Self-guiding ToursWalking tour maps are available from the San Jose Visitor Information and Business Center, located in the lobby of the San Jose McEnery Convention Center at 150 W. San Carlos St.
Shopping in San Joseflickr / CC BY ND/eosdude
For a shopping experience that’s anything but run of the mill, visit San Jose’s Santana Row (355 Santana Row), a tree-lined avenue designed to look like a shopping district in a quaint European village. This residential-commercial development was completed in 2002 and quickly became a San Jose tourist destination thanks to its lovely architectural details, manicured landscaping, upscale boutiques and a wide selection of places to eat.
One highlight that shows up a lot on Instagram is the Gothic chapel façade imported from France that now serves as the entrance to a popular wine bar. The long list of Santana Row retailers includes Anthropologie, Boutique Harajuku, Chico's, Crate & Barrel, Gucci and Ted Baker London.
San Jose’s Antique Row (1881 West San Carlos St.) occupies a compact three blocks but includes several stores such as Briarwood Antiques & Collectibles, Burbank Antiques and Memory Lane Antiques, as well as a host of nearby vintage clothing and consignment shops. Dozens of dealers display high-quality merchandise from yesteryear at Antiques Colony, the largest store in the district.
Another destination for antique hunters is The San Jose Flea Market (1590 Berryessa Rd.), a local institution since 1960 that offers more than 1,500 booths selling everything from books to jewelry to electronics. An entire row is dedicated to selling some of California’s best produce, and if you get hungry while perusing the seemingly endless aisles of merchandise, there are several eating places serving pizza, corn dogs, barbecue beef sandwiches, tacos and ice cream.
flickr / CC BY /Will Buckner
Downtown’s San Pedro Square is one of San Jose’s oldest neighborhoods and where you’ll find the 1797 Peralta Adobe, the city’s oldest building. It’s also one of the best places to go to sample fare from local restaurants. Bustling San Pedro Square Market (87 N. San Pedro St.) is crowded with food vendors selling a dizzying variety of cuisines as well as breweries pouring craft beer to suit every thirst. Check out San Pedro Square on summer Fridays from 10-2 for the Downtown Farmers’ Market, which offers fresh produce from more than 30 Golden State growers.
Several shopping malls in San Jose and surrounding communities serve the area’s retail needs including Eastridge Center (2200 Eastridge Loop), which has more than a million square feet of space dedicated to stores, local restaurants and entertainment, offering a variety of fun things to do with friends. The anchor stores here are JCPenney and Macy’s. What sets Eastridge Center apart from other malls: pets are welcomed as long as they are on a leash or in a pet carrier.
Westfield Oakridge (925 Blossom Hill Rd.) has Macy's, Target and Nordstrom Rack along with smaller chain stores recognizable from shopping centers across the country. The Oakridge light rail station is across Winfield Boulevard from the mall, making public transportation to the mall a convenient option.
On the site of a former Ford Motor Co. plant in nearby Milpitas, Great Mall of the Bay Area (447 Great Mall Dr.) is also near a light rail station (Great Mall/Main) and the Milpitas BART station connecting it to San Francisco. More than 170 outlet stores offer deals here including Calvin Klein, Last Call by Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th.
Things to Do Alum Rock Park
San Jose, CA
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