Located 50 miles east of the Pacific Ocean and 50 miles south of San Francisco in Santa Clara County, California's third largest city enjoys a beautiful Silicon Valley landscape of rolling hills and friendly climate. Mild year-round temperatures and winter rains provide the perfect conditions for growing wine grapes. Surrounded by gently-rolling hills that include some of California's oldest wineries, wine tasting and wine tours provide fun excursions to the nearby countryside.
In just a day or weekend you can get moving and never stop as you go from museum to museum, visit the downtown highlights, and shop at places such as Santana Row. Designed in the vein of Las Ramblas in Barcelona, the mixed residential commercial spaces feature street level shopping & dining along plazas that include some outdoor patio, a public courtyard where concerts and events are held on a greenbelt, and condominiums in second and third floor residences. For those living in San Jose, they appreciate the fact that it has ranked consistently between 1 and 10 in the top 10 safe cities in the U.S.
For vacations, there are some fun things to see and do, and the beauty of San Jose is that you can fly into the city's San Jose Airport, hop aboard the public transportation, and be downtown walking to everything.
Among some favorites after you check into one of the four diamond hotels is to put on some walking shoes and check out the world's largest Monopoly game board at Riverwalk near the San Jose Convention Center. The game pieces and game have to be reserved but as a tourist if you are lucky enough to wander by and watch, it's tons of fun to see. Another giant game board where you actually can participate is the chess board at Santana Row.
Virtually across the street from Santana Row is the odd and fascinating Winchester Mystery House. Skeptics are welcomed there and should not be surprised if something odd occurs. Winchester Mystery House is a unique house of over 20,000 square feet that includes stairways and closets to nowhere, many strange design features and items built with 13 components. The Winchester rifle heiress, Sarah Winchester, designed the house based on information provided by the spirits of those killed by the famous guns her husband manufactured. Sarah never worked from a set of plans, guests are told. Winchester Mystery House promises to provide an entertaining experience, including the flashlight tours that take you through the place in the dark.
In the heart of the city are two high-rise hotels making up the the two end-pieces of the convention center-- Marriott San Jose and Hilton San Jose and Towers. Restaurants and a smaller cafe featuring Pete's Coffee, and a Starbucks kiosk inside the convention center / hotel complex. You really never have to go outside if you don't feel like it.
Next door in historic hotel, the St. Claire, you will find an Italian chain restaurant, Il Fornaio. One hotel that seems elegant, yet warm and inviting is The Fairmont San Jose Located across a plaza from the convention center, it features a movie theater, restaurants and shops all within a block of its doors.
Across the street from the Convention Center is the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, a hands-on technology museum devoted to inspiring the innovator in everyone. Open daily, it features special and permanent exhibits (most are hands on and participatory), a wonderful gift shop and the Imax Theatre where films come to life though a special screen, advanced sound system and inclined cushioned seats. thetech.org
Blocks away from conventions is an establishment of higher learning--San Jose State University, the oldest higher education institution on the West Coast.
300 sunny days per year with an average annual temperature of 70 degrees
Getting to San Jose: The Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport is three miles from downtown. 12 major airlines servicing nearly 200 daily non-stop flights from all major U.S. cities. flysanjose.com
Getting around San Jose: An extensive freeway and expressway system provides drive-able trips for those with cars. A local train service, taxis, buses, and shuttles offer options for going to a variety of destinations in and out of the city.
Third Most Fun City in America by Cranium Inc.
America's Most Livable City Award by Partners for Livable Communities
Fifth Best Place to Live in America by Money Magazine
Safest Big City in America (population 500,000+) for 3 consecutive years
"The Epicenter of Silicon Valley" by Zagat.com
Things to see and do:
Skate Parks: In recognition of the growing skateboarding community, the City of San Jose is home to six public skate parks, including California's largest skate park, Lake Cunningham Regional Skate Park which features the world's largest cradle, tallest vert wall, and largest full pipe. The skatepark features eleven different bowls that range from beginner level to expert level and includes two thimbles, a flow section and a street course. The park cost $4.7 million to build. Location: 2305 S. White Rd. San Jose, CA 95148.
Golf: Three golf courses offer a variety of challenges.
San Jose Municipal (18-hole, Par 72 Course with Lighted Driving Range) 1560 Oakland Road San Jose, CA 95131 Telephone: (408) 441-4653. sjmuni.com
Los Lagos Golf Course (18-hole, Par 68 Course with Lighted Driving Range) 2995 Tuers Road San Jose, CA 95121 Telephone: (408) 361-0250. playloslagos.com
Rancho Del Pueblo Golf Course (9-hole, Par 28 Course with Lighted Driving Range) 1649 Hermocilla Way San Jose, CA 95116 Telephone: (408) 347-0990. ranchodelpueblo.com
Children's Discovery Museum
Christmas in the Park American - runs last week in November through Jan. 1 each year at Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park in downtown San Jose. Open 9 a.m. to midnight daily.
Musical Theatre of San Jose
Downtown Farmer's Market
Ballet San Jose
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
Center for the Performing Arts
Happy Hollow Park and Zoo
Children's Musical Theater
San Jose History Park
Opera San Jose
San Jose Jazz Festival
Japanese Friendship Garden in Kelley Park
San Jose Repertory Theatre
Lake Cunningham Park
San Jose Stage Company
Logitech Ice at San Jose
Mexican Heritage Plaza
Peralta Adobe and Fallon House Historic Site
Prusch Farm Park
Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
San Jose Municipal Rose Garden
San Jose Museum of Art San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles
The Tech Museum of Innovation
Winchester Mystery House
History: Founded on November 29, 1777 as Pueblo de San Jose, California's first civilian settlement and California's first capital.