The largest municipality in Silicon Valley, affluent San Jose
has come to be known as a global city. Downtown San Jose
forms the heart of this city, and the San Jose Redevelopment Agency has worked over the past half century to develop a plan whose success brought a high level of class and sophistication to this area. One of its best features, the free public Wi-Fi network which serves many of downtown San Jose’s public spaces, allows local students and others to work and stay connected no matter where they might be.
Schools in Downtown San Jose
School data provided by GreatSchools
Restaurants & Nightlife
Restaurants can be found almost anywhere around downtown San Jose, but the vast majority sit on the southwest side near San Jose State University.
The west side of the downtown area has developed into Japantown, which has resulted in numerous sushi bars and Japanese restaurants competing to offer the finest cuisine imaginable. One prime example of this, Okayama Sushi stays open seven days a week. Its tantalizing sushi and sashimi can be every bit as beautiful to look at as it is tasty to eat. From classic rolls such as the California roll to scrumptious seafood entrees like broiled salmon, each dish has a masterpiece quality to its presentation.
On the east side of the downtown region, visit Casa Vicky for authentic and all-natural Mexican food and pastries. Tortillas, made fresh daily, form the basis of pretty much every meal here. Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, chimichangas and quesadillas – even the breakfast dishes here have been prepared with these yummy tortillas. Casa Vicky welcomes banquet reservations and offers catering too.
Diners enjoy organic vegan cuisine at the Vegetarian House, which prepares vegan fare from all over the world. Here you can try recipes from China, Vietnam, Thailand, India, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. The restaurant also provides gluten-free dishes. Serving fresh-squeezed juices, made-from-scratch sauces and noodles, everything at the Vegetarian House is certified to be animal-friendly, organic and locally sourced.
The nightlife here reflects the cosmopolitan nature of this city and ranges from casual and relaxing to extremely exciting and stimulating. For a cozy, little bar in Japantown, Jack's Neighborhood Bar & Lounge presents a stellar hangout. With five HDTVs to watch the games on and mounds of pub food served during NFL games, it’s almost like staying home without having to clean up the mess afterward.
Hookah Beats combines the relaxing atmosphere of hookah culture with the very best of today’s world music. With live DJs every weekend and a belly dancer performing every Thursday night, it comes as no surprise that this place tends to be packed.
Experience star treatment at the Silicon Valley Capital Club. The premier social- and business-networking hub, this unrivaled private club has breathtaking panoramic views from atop the Knight Ridder Building and a first-class setting to impress both old friends and business associates. Members enjoy a number of privileges and benefits, including a full calendar of events and the use of all facilities.
Cafe Stritch provides a mix of live music and DJ-driven dance music. Its full calendar, a well-stocked bar and a reasonably respectable food menu make this a great place to stop in and enjoy the evening.
History & Culture
Originally a farming community called El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe, and the state’s second incorporated city, San Jose also served as California’s first capitol. During WWII, the city’s focus shifted from agriculture to industrial manufacturing, and in the latter part of the 20th century, it shifted to computer-oriented industries. Downtown San Jose constitutes the central business district.
The Japanese American Museum of San Jose chronicles more than a century of Japanese American history, from early immigration to their leadership in the agricultural community, incarceration during World War II and other challenges they faced.
San Jose’s arts scene is supported by the San Jose Museum of Art, which focuses upon modern and contemporary art and provides education, including kids' art camps. The annual Ukelele Jams Festival , held every fall, celebrates the four-stringed instrument and those who love it.
For walking, biking or driving, this city provides numerous travel options and amenities within its boundaries. One of the most bicycle-friendly towns in the state, dedicated bike lanes line most major roadways here. Caltrain runs through, with a station near the university, and the downtown area shuttle provides service throughout this area. A light rail route also runs across the city. Residents have no trouble hailing a cab here, but Uber does not serve this region.
Public parking may be had for a fee, but don’t expect free parking in the downtown area unless it belongs to a store you intend to visit. Route 87 runs through here, connecting with 280, and may be accessed via East St. James Street.
The cost of living here, although high, ranks right in the middle of the city’s average. The median rent of $2,210 for a one-bedroom
residence may or may not include parking or any other amenities, but in most cases it includes water and sometimes cable TV/Internet as well.
The average price of a beer at the local pub runs a steep $8 to $10 a bottle, but when you catch a deal, you can score a pint of draft beer for $4 or less. Gasoline prices here sit right at the national average, give or take a penny.
Like the restaurants, most shopping can be found close to the university at the intersection of Route 87 and 280. As this town tends toward the affluent, the area has more posh and upscale stores than bargain or value stores. One notable example, the Petite Galleria provides a conduit through which the works of countless artists – from handmade jewelry, clothing and accessories to original paintings, hand-painted signs and rare art books – can be purchased all in one location.
Classic Rock ’s name might lead you to believe this store sells music or memorabilia, but it just happens to be the clever twist of a name for this purveyor of custom and designer jewelry. Diamonds, pearls, gemstones – set or unset – the sparkling wares here top the list for extravagant beauty and indulgence.
Grocery Outlet and Walmart Supercenter provide discount grocery options near the university, and Trader Joe’s sits on the west side of town. Locals buy fresh fruits and vegetables at the Downtown San Jose Farmers' Market.
San Jose has parks both large and small to suit just about any purpose. Watson Park, a 26.6-acre free neighborhood park, has restrooms, a picnic area with grills and two basketball courts as well as a soccer field. There are two playgrounds, one for tots and the other for older children and a dog park as well