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By: Ryan Thompsen of TravelingTriathlete – I love San Jose because I’m from the suburbs of northern Sacramento county, where everything fun is at least a 15 minutes drive away. Moving to San Jose for school flooded me with more options than I had time for. There are large office buildings for tech companies (Silicon Valley) and banks, small and large business, and almost any type of food you can think of.
- Where to Stay – Which part of town is the best to target for accommodations.
- Restaurants/Bars – Top picks for great food and drink in the city.
- Local Treasures – Places the locals love that 90% of tourists will miss.
- Tourist Attractions – Activities you may have heard of, but are still worth doing.
If you fly into SJC, you can easily take a bus to the light rail. This will connect you to several hotels up and down 1st Street, before you get into the heart of Downtown. There are plenty of chain hotel options to book with points (check AwardMapper.com). Naglee Park is on the east side of San Jose State and is a nice little neighborhood to look for an AirBNB. Be sure to save yourself 10% on AirBNB’s using this trick!
Downtown San Jose is filled with restaurants and bars with a lively night life, even on the weekdays. Twos-days at either Chaco’s or San Jose Bar & Grill (SJBG) will hook you up with $2 tacos. Then you can make your way to a bar like Tres Gringos Cabo Cantino for $2 drinks starting at 10PM. Grab brunch/lunch from either House of Bagels over on San Carlos and 11th or at Whispers Cafe between 2nd and 3rd.
South First Fridays are an art walk on South First Street (between San Carlos and William) on the First Friday of each month. There are some food trucks and beer in case you are hungry or thirsty. If you like to ride bikes or want to try, there is a velodrome at Hellyer Park which hosts a beginner “learn how to ride on a track” class each Saturday morning. San Jose has one of the very few Japan Towns in the US, which has its own stop along the light rail.
The Tech Museum, the San Jose Museum of Art, and the Children’s Discovery Museum can be found on the west side of Downtown. This is an easy walk from most hotels (such as the Marriott, Four Points, or Fairmont), or you can take the light rail from the hotels/motels closer to the airport. The Santa Teresa line will take you to the Children’s Discovery Museum. During the winter the city hosts Christmas in the Park at Plaza de Cesar Chavez.
San Jose and Sacramento are end points of who Amtrak lines, so you could take a train to see the Bay and Sacramento in one visit (3hrs each way on the train, but with Wi-Fi).
San Jose is a great place with seasonal festivities at Plaza de Cesar Chavez, loads of historical and cultural attractions spread throughout the big tech companies meaning there are plenty of sights for everyone to enjoy. What are your favorite things to do in San Jose? Let us know in the comment section below!
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