Toyon – San Jose, CA

The Toyon neighborhood of San Jose sits in the East Foothills, a suburban section of the city pushed up against mountains. Located five miles from downtown San Jose, Toyon residents enjoy a quieter life away from the city center while still having easy access to the cultural amenities close by. A mix of detached single-family homes and condominiums populate the neighborhood. The San Jose Country Club also abuts the east end of Toyon.

Restaurants & Nightlife

Toyon's best restaurants reside in the Country Club Villa Shopping Center. The best of the bunch is Antipasto’s By Derose Gourmet Meat Fish & Deli. Locals rave about the meatball sandwiches and ravioli. The barbecued tri-tip sandwich, sold on Saturdays only, also remains a must-try. Just as good as the food is the customer service. Once the staff knows you, you're treated like family. Also not to be missed, Tacos Al Pastor feels like a cross between a large taqueria and a sit-down restaurant. The place fills up on Sundays in particular when locals dig into favorites like chicken enchiladas, al pastor tacos and carne asada quesadillas. The massive portions here definitely won't leave you walking away hungry.

History & Culture

San Jose was originally home to the Ohlone Native Americans. In 1777, the Spanish Empire took control and ruled until 1821 when Mexico gained control of the land. Various Mexican parties held power until 1848 when California became an official part of the United States of America. Two years later, San Jose became the second incorporated city in California. During the first decade of the 20th century, San Jose served as a center for pioneering invention, innovation and impact in both lighter-than-air and heavier-than-air flight. Although farming and agriculture served as the main economic driver for the first half of the century, aerospace and technology again came to the forefront during WWII when the Santa Clara County started to morph into the tech giant it is today. Residents can relive what life was like in 1880s San Jose at the History San Jose museum and landmark featuring replica buildings.

Transportation

The vast majority of Toyon residents drive although other transportation options do exist. VTA buses stop along Toyon Avenue and McKee Road. VTA light rails stop at McKee Station. Both of these systems run throughout the South Bay area while the Caltrain station in downtown San Jose provides regional transportation through the whole Bay Area. Uber cabs are another option to get anywhere in the Bay Area. A few taps on your phone is all it takes to have Uber send a cab to your exact location. Rates are similar to regular metered cabs as well. Walking and biking also remain options. Toyon is a safe neighborhood so despite the lack of bike lanes, cyclists and walkers alike feel safe moving around. While downtown falls a bit out of reach for most, getting around the neighborhood on foot or bike proves to be no problem. Driving remains king though. With Interstate 680 just west of the neighborhood, access to other areas comes easy. Just west of that, the 101 and I-880 provide yet more options for drivers. Street parking in the neighborhood can get tight at times, especially along Toyon Avenue, but most residents have driveways or a designated parking space in their condo's parking lot.

Cost

The cost of living in Toyon comes in slightly higher than citywide prices. A one-bedroom apartment in the neighborhood, for example, costs an average of $1,696 per month. This comes in about 18 percent higher than the San Jose average of $1,435. The $2 fare on VTA buses and light rails also sits a bit higher than most city's public transportation. While housing and transportation remain high, eating out costs come in on par with other cities, with an entree going for $12 and a beer, $5. Locals pay substantially more than the rest of the country at the pump, however — about 23 percent more.

Shopping

Capitol Square Mall provides Toyon residents with most of their shopping needs. Highlighted by retailers like Target, Marshalls, and Payless, the mall also has a 24-Hour Fitness and a Grocery Outlet where locals get most of the groceries from. The Berryessa Farmers Market a mile to the north provides another option for Toyon residents. The farmer's market is open every Saturday morning year-round. Local business supporters head to Fallas Discount Stores just outside the mall for basic clothing items such as T-shirts and socks for under $5. Loy Tingley Dressmaker on Ridge Vista Avenue is another local store within the local neighborhood. For custom dresses and alterations, this is the community place to go. Just south of Toyon, Carrasco Sports Gear has become the go-to place for personalized team jerseys. Ken provides excellent customer service — the kind you would expect from a trusted and established community store.

Parks

Northeast of the neighborhood into the hills, Alum Rock Park is the local favorite. This spacious park features hiking and biking trails as well as the peaceful Mineral Spring running through creating several nice picnic areas complete with BBQs. Nature lovers head to Mineral Spring Loop Trail or Penitencia Creek Trail to spot wildlife and take in the scenery while getting some exercise. You can also do a bit of horseback riding through the park as well. Cimarron Park is another common hang out for locals of the community. This is a family-oriented park, and many locals make use of it. Dogs are welcomed here, and the basketball courts are regularly in use every day of the week.