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Often known as "The Capital of Silicon Valley," San José is the largest city in the Bay Area, 3rd largest in California, and the 10th largest city in the United States. It was named the 4th safest big city in the US for 2008-2009.
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Points of Interest in San Jose
Downtown San Jose is a mix of offices, shopping, hotels, numerous restaurants as well as a convention center and the SoFA (South of First Area) nightclub district. Check out the San Pedro Square Farmer's Market on Fridays for local and organic produce, or visit the new City Hall (2005) and the nearby San José State University campus. The new main Library (2003) is a prestigious, award-winning, joint-use Library combining resources of the City and San Jose State University. Get outdoors and take advantage of San José's invariably sunny weather on the Guadalupe River Trail or in one of the many city parks. You'll always find a wealth of cultural events at theaters, art galleries, and museums.
- The Tech Museum of Innovation (Museum of Science and Technology), 201 South Market St (near Park Ave.), ☎ +1 408 294-TECH (8234). A great interactive experience for all ages and backgrounds. The Tech Museum allows visitors to see how technology affects their daily lives. Permanent exhibits focus on the Internet, the human body, and exploration. You'll also find an IMAX Theater, a cafe, and a retail store featuring merchandise unique to the Silicon Valley. $16 (museum and IMAX).
- San José Museum of Art, 110 South Market St (at W. San Fernando St.), ☎ +1 408 271-6840. Tu-Su 11AM - 5PM. Recognized for its contemporary collection of modern art, which highlights movements on the West Coast as well as national and international pieces. The museum started as a small civic art gallery in 1969 and has grown in step with its city. $8 general admission, $5 seniors/students.
- San José City Hall, 200 East Santa Clara Street (near S. 4th St.), ☎ +1 408 535-3500. Designed by architects Richard Meier & Partners, the new City Hall, opened in 2005, consists of a free standing glass rotunda at the center, a council chambers wing to the south, and a separate tower to the east. Tours are available.
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, 150 E. San Fernando St. (at S. 4th St.), ☎ +1 408 808-2000. A partnership between the San José Public Library System and the San José State University Library, the new Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library opened in 2003 as the the largest all-new library west of the Mississippi with 475,000 sq. ft. and 1.5 million items. The King Library is the library for San José State University and the Main Branch of the City of San José Library System. The Library is free and open to all - no identification or proof of residency is needed to use or enjoy materials within the Library.
- San José Museum of Quilts and Textiles, 520 South First St (near E. William St.), ☎ +1 408 971-0323. Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. The first museum in the US to focus on quilts and textiles, the San José Museum of Quilts and Textiles has an outstanding collection on a rotating display. Exhibitions change quarterly at this exciting and modern museum. $6 general admission, $5 seniors/students with ID (free for everyone on the first Friday of the month).
- Winchester Mystery House, 525 South Winchester Blvd, ☎ +1 408 247-2101. Tours daily 9AM-7PM. Check their website for a current schedule.. The legend is that Sarah Winchester, Winchester Rifle heiress, was afraid of being cursed by the ghosts of those who had been killed by Winchester guns. She thought that as long as construction continued, the ghosts would be kept at bay. Construction did continue (for 38 years!), resulting in a fantastic house full of mazes, stairs that go nowhere and other odd architecture. Beware: visitors have reported seeing paranormal objects in the house, and the only way you can confirm their claims is to see them yourself! Mansion Tour: $26, Behind-The-Scenes Tour: $23, Grand Estate Tour (combined) $31 (discounted rates for seniors and children).
- Santana Row, 368 Santana Row (near S. Winchester Rd.), ☎ +1 408 551-4611. A "European-style" village of shops, restaurants, and high-priced condos, with hotels and great nightlife. There's a year-round farmer's market on Sundays, and during the summer bands play free outdoor music every weekend. Santana row has become a hang-out spot for San Jose's residents. Even without the shopping, the numerous restaurants, bakeries, cafe's and central garden this is a place to spend an entire day relaxing. Although it has become a mecca of designers, there are also affordable shops ad eateries. Stores like anthropogie, J. crew, and surf shops bring people in of all ages for all different reason. Santana row's development has had a huge impact on the San Jose landscape and economy.
- Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium, 1664 Park Ave, ☎ +1 408 947-3636, e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 9AM-5PM, S-Su 11AM-6PM. This museum of Ancient Egypt features exhibits funded by the Rosicrucian Order, who have secured artifacts from archaeologists working in the area since the 1920s. Take a tour through a detailed replica of an Egyptian tomb and browse their collection of authentic mummies and artifacts. $9 general admission, $7 seniors/students, $5 children 5-10, free for children under 5.
- Japantown, Between Jackson and Taylor on 1st-5th Streets (VTA Light Rail Station Japantown/Ayer). The neighborhood surrounding Fifth and Jackson streets (a mile from Downtown) has some good restaurants, retail shops, and cultural facilities. Festivals are held several times a year, and there is a year-round farmer's market on Sundays.
- Willow Glen, Lincoln Avenue between Willow St and Minnesota St. This charming shopping district was once the center of a town separate from San Jose. You'll find a variety of small shops and restaurants, as well as a farmer's market and a handful of community festivals and events throughout the year.
- San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, Naglee Ave between Dana Ave and Garden Dr, ☎ +1 408 277-2757. 8AM to half hour past sunset. San José's 5 1/2–acre Municipal Rose Garden, once a prune orchard, draws thousands of visitors each year. The Garden is exclusively devoted to shrubs of the rose family and features over 4,000 rose shrubs with 189 varieties represented. Hybrid–teas comprise 75 percent of the plantings. free.
- Heritage Rose Garden, Spring St and Taylor St. half an hour before dawn to half an hour after dusk. This garden, initially planted by volunteers in 1995, has a collection of almost 4,000 plants of more than 3,000 rose varieties. free.
- Alum Rock Park. half an hour before dawn to half an hour after dusk. Amazing park nestled in the Eastern foothills of Silicon Valley. Great for picnics, hiking, biking, and exploring. Great scenic trails, and 1800's era natural spring baths. free.
- Lick Observatory, Mount Hamilton Rd, San Jose, CA, ☎ +1 408 274-5761. Lick Observatory can be found on the highest point of Mount Hamilton. It can be seen on a clear day in San Jose. It has a paved road climbing up to it which was originally a horse track, which it is a steady incline. There are three telescopes on the mountain, including a newer one within walking distance of the observatory. There are tours of one of the telescopes and a gift shop. Lick Observatory sometimes gets snow in winter and on a cloudy day it is above the clouds.
- Japanese Friendship Garden. Six-acre open, park-style garden designed to resemble the famous Korakuen in Okayama, Japan.
About San Jose
El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe (literally, The Town of Saint Joseph of Guadalupe) was founded by José Joaquín Moraga in 1777 near the present day intersection of Guadalupe Parkway and West Taylor Street. In 1797, the pueblo was moved to the Plaza Pueblo (now Plaza de César Chávez), around which San José grew. And the rest is, as they say, history.
True to its location in the heart of Silicon Valley, San José is now home to the headquarters of many "tech" companies such as Cisco Systems, eBay, and Adobe Systems, just to name a few.
There are so many different neighborhoods in the large geographic area of San José that, depending on where you are, you might not know if you're still in the same city. Like most Bay Area towns and cities, San José is an expensive place to live (many basic houses easily top $1M in price). Some of the hip areas to live these days are in San Jose's downtown area, for those who prefer urban living, or Santana Row for a mixed living, shopping and dining community. You can find vintage California charm in the neighborhoods of Willow Glen and Rose Garden. The woodsy area of Almaden Valley is known for its excellent schools, and Silver Creek is known for its subdivisions of sprawling "McMansions." Evergreen is in East San Jose, right at the foothills of the city. Evergreen has some more affordable housing and is very residential. Since it is at the foothills, east San Jose is not as accessible as the other neighborhoods. Evergreen has excellent views of the foothills and many parks and recreational areas. Groseprick Park is located right in the heart of Evergreen and offers a mile long loop, basketball courts, baseball fields, playgrounds, and hiking trails.
San Jose has two major professional sports teams, some fantastic amusement parks and a variety of theater and comedy venues to entertain you throughout the year. The city also hosts a colorful array of festivals and conventions and offers plenty of shopping options.
- San Jose Sharks. The SAP Center, formerly known as HP Pavilion, (aka "The Shark Tank") hosts this National Hockey League team, which has enjoyed relatively good success since their inception in 1991. Watch one of the more famous traditions as the team enters the rink out of a 17-foot high shark head.
- San Jose Earthquakes. After losing their soccer team to Houston, the Earthquakes have resumed play as an expansion team after being on "hiatus" for the 2006-07 seasons of Major League Soccer. The "Quakes" currently play at Santa Clara University's Buck Shaw Stadium, as well as in Oakland at the Oakland Coliseum for larger games. A new stadium is planned for 2014.
- San Jose Giants. San Jose's single-A minor-league baseball team (affiliated with the San Francisco Giants) plays in the California League from April to September. Games are held at historic San Jose Municipal Stadium. The BBQ area next to left field is a hit with fans before the game.
- Cinnabar Hills Golf Course, ☎ +1 408-323-5200. 27-hole course ranked among the top ten in Northern California.
- California's Great America, 4701 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, ☎ +1 408 988-1776. June–August. With roller coasters, thrill rides, children's attractions, the Boomerang Bay water park, and Vegas-style live shows, this huge theme park is fun for the whole family. $25-50.
- Raging Waters, 2333 S White Rd, ☎ +1 408 238-9900. June–August daily, May and September weekends only. A favorite local spot to cool off in the summer, this water park features slides, rides and a 350,000 gallon wave pool. $23-32.
- Golfland, 976 Blossom Hill Rd, ☎ +1 408 225-1533. M-F 10AM-midnight, Sa 9AM–midnight, Su 10AM-10PM. Classic miniature golf course, plus water slides (in the summer) and a great arcade. $8-25.
- Improv Comedy Club, 62 S. Second St, ☎ +1 408 280-7475. A downtown venue showcasing well-known comedy acts, they have a full restaurant and bar. The club is also great for group outings for 10-400 people.
- ComedySportz San Jose, 288 S. 2nd Street (at the Camera 3 Cinemas), ☎ +1 408 985-LAFF (5233). F 9PM, 11PM; Sa 7PM, 9PM. Named "Best Local Theatre" by the Metro's "Best of the Silicon Valley", ComedySportz is an interactive improv comedy show where two teams of "act-letes" compete in various comedic games, with the audience as the judge. $10-15.
- San Jose Repertory Theater, 101 Paseo de San Antonio, ☎ +1 408 367-7255. Comedies and dramas with a creative flair; the Rep puts on six main-stage classic and contemporary plays a season.
- Opera San Jose, 2149 Paragon Drive (California Theatre), ☎ +1 408 437-4450. Sep-May. San Jose's resident opera company performs on a restored 1920s vaudeville stage and features some of the most accomplished young voices in the country. $50-100.
- Children's Musical Theater San Jose, 271 S Market Street (Montgomery Theater), ☎ +1 408 288-5437. This children's theater puts on productions the whole family can enjoy, from 'Peter Pan' to The Who's 'Tommy'. $15–25.
- Teatro Visión, 1700 Alum Rock Ave, Suite 265, ☎ +1 408 272-9926. Known for putting on high-quality Chicano/Latino plays in San Jose for over 25 years, Teatro Visión celebrates community, culture, and the vision of a better world.
- Ballet San Jose, 255 Almaden Blvd (Center for the Performing Arts), ☎ +1 408 288-2800. Oct-May. Formerly the San Jose Cleveland Ballet and more recently Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley, this highly skilled and innovative company includes dancers from all over the world. Each season, they perform an extensive repertoire of classical and contemporary works. $25-85.
- Cinequest, ☎ +1 408 295-QUEST. One week every March. A film festival emphasizing digital production, with screenings and guest speakers at venues throughout San Jose. Named one of the Top 10 Film Festivals in the world by the Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide.
- San Jose Jazz Festival. every August. A weekend of jazz as well as blues, salsa, and big bands, playing on a dozen mostly outdoor stages. Billed as the world's largest free jazz festival. (Not available 2012) free.
- San Jose Metro Fountain Blues Festival. Every May. San Carlos Plaza at San Jose State University $5. This day-long concert will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2010. Around 8,000 blues enthusiasts show up yearly for an impressive lineup of blues musicians. It all happens in the open air on the university campus downtown.
- Music in the Park, Plaza de César Chávez (downtown). Thursdays, June–August. . Free concerts weekly throughout the summer, sponsored by the San Jose Downtown Association. Music in the Park has many food, drink and crafts vendors free.
- Starlight Cinemas, San Pedro Square/ Historic District/ SoFA District. Most Wednesdays, June–August, dusk. free.Outdoor movie screenings all summer long, held in a different neighborhood each week. Bring some lawn chairs and a picnic, or check out the nearby cafes and eateries. Films range from true Hollywood classics to newer hits. Once a month, Post Street Summertime Blues joins Starlight Cinemas with a live blues performances before the show.
- Downtown Ice, between the Fairmont Hotel and the San Jose Museum of Art. November - January. It doesn't get more California than an outdoor ice skating rink surrounded by a circle of palm trees. The admission price includes rental skates and ice time. $15 general admission, $13 children 12 and under.
- 5 de Mayo (Cinco de Mayo). First Sunday of May. The Sunday right before or after May 5th is the biggest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the Bay Area. A parade takes place downtown early in the morning, followed by music and cultural events held in Guadalupe Park and the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in the afternoon.
- Nikkei Matsuri, Japantown. Held in spring each year around late April/early May. Features Japanese-American arts, crafts and food.
- Sake San José, Japantown. Held in spring each year. Combines sake tasting with a walk through historic Japantown.
- Spirit of Japantown, Japantown. Held annually in the fall. Celebrates the historical and cultural diversity of Japantown with food, shopping, arts and exhibitions.
- Further Confusion. January. One of the world's largest conventions for fans of furry (anthropomorphic animals or creatures) art, writing, comics, and costuming. If you like walking around in a dog costume, this 4-day event is for you. $40.
- Consonance. March. A mid-sized convention devoted to fans of filk, a subgenre of folk music inspired by science fiction and fantasy themes. $40-50.
- BayCon. May. A long-running regional science fiction convention. $50.
- Fanime. May. The largest anime convention in Northern California. $30-35 one day, $60 full weekend..
- California Extreme. July or August. An all-you-can-play exhibition of classic pinball machines and arcade games. All games are free with for attendees, so you can leave your quarters at home! $30-35 one day, $60 full weekend..
- SiliCon. October. A small science fiction convention with a media track.
- Pacificon. October. Amateur-radio convention of the Pacific Division of the American Radio Relay League. $28 at the door, discount for pre-registration, free to youth 17 and under.
- Valley Fair, 2855 Stevens Creek Blvd, ☎ +1 408 248-4451. One of the largest shopping malls in Northern California, Valley Fair has over 250 stores and several restaurants. Valley fair has gone under tremendous renovations within the last few years making it bigger and more modern.
- Santana Row, 368 Santana Row (off of Stevens Creek), ☎ +1 408 551-4611. Across from Valley Fair is a "European-style" village of high-end and specialty shops, restaurants, and high-priced condos. There is also a giant chess board where you can battle using pawns that are half your size.
- Oakridge Mall, 925 Blossom Hill Rd, ☎ +1 408 578-2912. All the Westfield mall basics for those that are addicted to malls. Since its renovation, seems to largely be a clone of Valley Fair
- Berryessa Flea Market, 1590 Berryessa Rd, ☎ +1 800 BIG-FLEA. A huge outdoor flea market including California's largest farmer's market. Everything from furniture and stereos to haircut salons and massages can be found here, if you look hard enough. Spanish is the lingua franca, but you can get by using English.
- Moon Zooom, 1630 W San Carlos St, ☎ +1 408 287-5876. Stashed inside a converted home, this is San Jose's one-stop shop for your vintage clothing and costume desires. Explore racks and racks of retro styles from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.
- Fry's Electronics, 550 E. Brokaw Rd, ☎ +1 877 688-7678. Offering the best selection in town for consumer electronics and gadgetry, this particular Fry's branch is unique for its Mayan-themed architecture and decor. It's one of several Fry's stores in the bay area.
- Arcadia - Modern American Steakhouse, 100 West San Carlos St., ☎ +1 408 278-4555. ARCADIA Restaurant is the creation of internationally acclaimed Chef Michael Mina and is a true dining experience that is not to be missed. The 130-seat modern American Steak House offers guests extensive menus with innovative twists on classic American Dishes. The Sommelier can serve wine from California, Europe and beyond to enhance your dining experience. The Private Dining Room can accommodate up to 40 people. The "Wine Room", a new private dining room that can accommodate up to 10 people, is decorated with an array of exquisite fine wines from around the world. While you are sipping fine wines you will also enjoy the fabulous cuisine inspired by Michael Mina.
- Henry's Hi-Life, 301 West St. John St, ☎ +1 408 295-5414. Lunch: Tu-F 11:30AM-2PM. Dinner: M-Th 5PM-9PM, F-Sa 4PM-9:30PM, Su 4PM-9PM. Special hours during NFL and NHL seasons.. A brick BBQ and steakhouse popular with local guys on their way to or from a Sharks game. Located close to the Shark Tank as well as the Guadalupe River, the restaurant has survived floods of both hockey fans and water. $15-30.
- Amato's Restaurant, 1162 Saratoga Ave (in Maple Leaf Plaza), ☎ +1 408 246-4007. M-F 11AM-10PM, Sa 11AM-9PM, Su 11AM-7PM. This tiny shop in West San Jose specializes in cheese steaks and hoagies. With 35 sandwiches on the menu and sizes from 7 to 24 inches, there's something for everyone. $6-$30.
- A Slice of New York, 3443 Stevens Creek Blvd., San Jose and 1253 W El Camino, Sunnyvale, ☎ +1 408 247-5423 (SJ) - +1 650 938 6969 (SV). T-Sat 11AM- 12PM (SJ), T-TH 11AM-9PM, Fri-SAT 11AM-10PM, Su 1PM-9PM (SV). This establishment specializes in award winning New York pizzas/slices, Calzones, and Strombolis. $3.25-$30.
- Gordon Biersch Restaurant Brewery, 33 E San Fernando St (downtown, half a block from VTA Santa Clara Light Rail stop, the Camera 12 theaters, San Jose Rep, and various night clubs), ☎ +1 408 294-6785. Su-W 11:30AM-11PM, Th 11:30AM-midnight, F-Sa 11:30AM-2AM. California fusion cuisine and a wide variety of freshly-brewed Gordon Biersch beers. Eat inside or at a courtyard table. Recommended: Garlic Fries: French fries smothered in garlic, and parsley. $12-28.
- Sonoma Chicken Coop, 31 N Market St (and 2 other San Jose area locations), ☎ +1 408 287-4098. Su-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM. Rotisserie chicken and California fusion cuisine in a casual atmosphere. As an added bonus, they brew their own beer and have a nicely sized covered patio area. $10-20.
- Poor House Bistro, 91 S Autumn St, ☎ +1 408 29-BLUES. M-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 10AM-8PM (brunch 10AM-2PM). San Jose's "New Orleans Joint". The Poor House is close to the Shark Tank and serves a variety of New Orleans-style food including gumbo, red beans & rice, jambalaya and po' boys. They have live music on Fridays and Saturdays and a regular Jazz Brunch on Sundays. $10-15.
- In-N-Out Burger, ☎ +1 800 786-1000. This famous burger chain has "Quality You Can Taste" and is highly regarded by fast food-loving locals. They've expanded throughout the state since their 1940s inception in Southern California, but it's still a quintessential California burger experience. The "secret menu" lists items that aren't advertised but are available at every location. If you don't know what to ask for, someone else in line will probably be happy to share their secret recommendations. $5–10.
- Bill's Cafe, 1115 Willow St (and 2 other San Jose locations), ☎ +1 408 291-0677. 7AM-3PM daily. The perfect place for a weekend (or weekday) brunch, Bill's is known to get pretty packed, and for good reason. They offer an overwhelming selection of breakfast crowdpleasers like omelettes, Belgian waffles and a dozen different styles of eggs Benedict. For lunch, they serve homemade soups, meal-size salads, burgers, sandwiches and wraps. There's also a full bar, low-carb menu options and outdoor patio seating. $10-30.
- The Loft, 90 S. 2nd St. (downtown, less than 1 block from VTA Santa Clara Street Light Rail stop), ☎ +1 408 294-1125. Mon-Wed 11AM-10PM; Thur-Sat 11AM-11:30PM; Sun 12PM-10PM. Meat, seafood, vegetarian. The salmon pasta with capers in a white sauce and the sun-dried tomato and garlic soup are delicious. They also have a Campbell location, called Capers. $100 gift cards are sold for $70 (rarely $50) at local Costco stores. $12-29.
- Morton's Steakhouse, 177 Park Ave., ☎ 408.947.7000.
- Scott's Seafood Grill and Bar, 185 Park Ave, ☎ +1 408 971-1700. Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-5PM, Dinner: M-Sa 5PM, Su 4:30PM. A classic selection of seafood, as well as pasta and steaks from the grill and a full bar. Dress is business casual during the day, and a little dressier at night. Scott's is on the 6th floor and has a fantastic view of downtown and Silicon Valley. Reservations are recommended. $20-40.
- Original Joe's, 301 S 1st St, ☎ +1 408 292-7030. 11AM-1AM daily. A San Jose classic, in business for over 50 years. Hearty American and Italian food and 70s diner decor. Always, always busy and one of the few places open late in the downtown core. Be prepared to wait for a table and leave with a full belly. $20-40.
- Il Fornaio, 302 S Market St, ☎ +1 408 271-3366. M-Th 7AM-10PM, F 7AM- 11PM, Sa 8AM- 11PM, Su 8AM- 10PM. Located at the Sainte Claire Hotel (on the same block as Original Joe's), Il Fornaio offers a true Italian experience, often importing chefs from different parts of Italy and featuring special dishes from their region. Part of a California chain, they also have a bakery, which offers specialty coffees, unique baked goods, and authentic Italian artisan breads.
San Jose's Italian natives have been known to pick Il Fornaio as their top eatery for Italian food. Il fornaio 's menu has select Italian pastas that will have you leaving with a full and satisfied stomach. Although probably the most picked, pasta isn't the only thing on the menu. Customers come with a ready appetite because of the appetizers and desserts that follow their entree's of chicken, veal, fish, steak of pasta and salad. Il fornaio is one of the few places in San Jose where a customer can find true and delicious Italian desserts. $15-$30.
- Aqui Cal-Mex Grill, 1145 Lincoln Ave, ☎ +1 408 995-0381. M-Th 11AM-9PM, F 11AM- 9:30PM, Sa 10AM- 9:30PM, Su 10AM- 9PM. This place serves Mexican food as if it passed through a fun-house mirror. One of the first places to use gourmet burrito wraps. Inside the wraps you'll find fish and fillings from anywhere on the Pacific Rim: salmon, yellow-fin tuna, or plantains. Satisfying, fresh and creative. $7-10.
- Taqueria Corona, 601 N 4th St, ☎ +1 408 925-9336. This bright taqueria in Japantown is a traditional, leisurely, sit-down Mexican restaurant. Choose from seafood plates, chimichangas, al pastor and more. Their tortillas are homemade, and there's a nice selection of domestic and Mexican beers. $10–20.
- La Victoria Taqueria, 140 E San Carlos (and 2 other locations), ☎ +1 408 298-5335. 7AM-3AM daily. La Victoria stays open late to cater to the local late-night revelers, who love their classic taqueria fare. Their claim to fame is their Orange Sauce, but don't bother asking for the recipe: they'll never tell. $5-10.
- Iguana's Burritozilla, 330 S. 3rd St.. 10:30AM-11PM daily. Iguana's Burritozilla is said to have the best burritos in town. You can choose several different burrito styles, 8 types of meat and 3 types of beans. Try the "Burritozilla" if you dare - it's 17 inches long and weighs in at a whopping 5 pounds!. $5-10.
- Dia de Pesca, 55 N. Bascom St. (A short block north of W. San Carlos St. and the VTA 23, 61, and 62 bus stop), ☎ +1 408 287-3722. Sun-Thur 10:30AM-8PM; Fri-Sat 10:30AM-8:30PM. Mexican-style seafood with a few meat dishes. Casual: you order at the cash register and then sit inside or outside. The Caldo de Mares (Seven Seas Bouillabaisse) is delicious, though you may need a friend to help you eat it. It is served with the kind of tortillas that you can buy at a supermarket. The seafood tacos and burritos are also quite good. $3-21.
- Mezcal, 25 W. San Fernando St., ☎ 408.283.9595. Specializes in regional cuisine from Oaxaca.
- Okayama Restaurant, 565-A N 6th St, ☎ +1 408 289-9508. T-Th Lunch 11AM-2PM, Dinner 5PM-8:30PM. F-Sa Lunch 11AM-2PM, Dinner 5PM-9PM. Su Dinner 5PM-8:30PM. One of the older restaurants in Japantown, Okayama is still run by the original family and is known for their signature salad dressing adapted from the original family recipe. Over the years the restaurant has added new twists to their menu to make things modern and original. Their pyramid lunch specials offer a lot of food for little cash. $10-30.
- Kaita Restaurant, 215 Jackson Street, ☎ +1 408 287-5551. Cosy, quaint restaurant on Japantown's main strip. Authentic Japanese cuisine. Very good combo meals and whiteboard specials.
- Kazoo Restaurant, 250 Jackson St, ☎ +1 408 288-9611. M-Th Lunch 11:30AM-2PM, Dinner 5PM-9:30PM, F Lunch 11:30AM-2PM, Dinner 5PM-10PM. Sa Lunch noon-2PM, Dinner 5PM-9:30PM. Su Lunch noon-2PM, Dinner 4PM-9PM. This Japantown restaurant has friendly service and a large selection of fresh sushi. Try sitting at their sushi boat bar, which can be a lot of fun and remove some of the mystery of ordering sushi for the uninitiated. The menu ranges from traditional to very Californian. $10-30.
- Gombei, 193 Jackson St, ☎ +1 408 279-4311. M-Sa Lunch 11:30AM-2:30PM, Dinner 5PM-9:30PM. An inexpensive homestyle Japanese restaurant in Japantown. The udon and teishoku lunches are very popular, so try to schedule your lunch a little early or late to beat the crowd. $6-14.
- Minato Restaurant, 617 N. 6th St. (north of Jackson St), ☎ +1 408 998-9711. Tu, W, Th - Lunch 11:15AM -1:45PM; Dinner 5:00-8:30PM. Fr and Sa - Lunch 11:15AM-1:45PM; Dinner 5:00-9PM. Closed Sunday and Monday. Good inexpensive traditional Japanese food in Japantown; favorite among locals and visitors. Only problem is that it is closed Sundays and Mondays. $6-16.
- Omogari Korean Restaurant, 154 Jackson Street, ☎ +1 408 288-8134. Mon-Sat 11:30 AM to 9 PM. A busy local favorite.
- Rangoli, 3695 Union Avenue, San Jose, CA, ☎ +1 408 377-2222. Upscale Indian, long on flavor if occasionally a little short on mouth-burning spice. Extensive lunch buffet, excellent wine list, and a quiet, romantic atmosphere. $12-$22.
- Krung Thai. In spite of the building's nondescript exterior, it's some of the most loved Thai food in the area. If you tell them to make it spicy (or even medium spicy), be prepared to eat some VERY spicy food. The newer New Krung Thai Restaurant is managed by the same family, has the same menu, and is less than a mile away. $10–30.
- New Krung Thai Restaurant, 580 N Winchester Blvd, ☎ +1 408 248-3435.
- The Original Krung Thai, 640 S Winchester Blvd, ☎ +1 408 260-8224.
- Hunan Taste, 998 N 4th St, ☎ +1 408 295-1186. M-Sa 11AM-8:30PM. An offshoot of Henry Chung's original Hunan Restaurant on Kearny Street in San Francisco (the one with eight tables and a counter space which was once hailed by New Yorker magazine as "The Best Chinese Restaurant in the World"). A quintessential hole-in-the-wall, but the service could not be nicer, as is the hot, garlicky cuisine, if you're so inclined. Beer and wine are available. $10-20.
- King Eggroll, 1221 Story Rd, ☎ +1 408 999-0798. 7AM-8PM daily. Often dubbed "The Asian McDonalds", King Eggroll offers a variety of fast-food style Asian dishes, dim sum, sandwiches and combination plates. As the name would imply, though, most come here for their famous egg rolls! $5-10.
- Good Karma Vegan House, 37 S. First St (between Post & Santa Clara, downtown), ☎ +1 408 294-2694. M-Sa 11AM-9PM, Su noon-7PM. Even the local carnivores find something to love at this hipster vegan deli. The food is filling and flavorful, and the owners are friendly, mellow guys who donate what little wall space they have to local artists. They have a weekly bingo night, beer on tap and free internet access. They even offer vegan turkeys made-to-order during the holidays. Their menu is revolving, so there's always something new to try. $5-10.
- Dandelion Vegetarian Cafe - CLOSED, 322 E Santa Clara St, ☎ +1 408 288-6788. Vietnamese, Japanese and Malaysian-inspired dishes, with a good selection of vegan items. They also serve an assortment of teas and drinks with tapioca pearls. You'll get a satisfying vegetarian meal for less than the price of a matinee movie ticket. $5–10.
East African and Middle eastern
- Falafel's Drive-in, 2301 Steven's Creek Blvd, ☎ +1 408 294-7886. A family-run local favorite, there is always a line at the drive-in. They offer authentic Middle Eastern cuisine including falafel, hummos and gyros as well as hamburgers, fries and homemade milkshakes. $5–10.
- Zeni, 1320 Saratoga Ave (at Payne), ☎ +1 408 615-8282. T-Th 11:30AM-10PM F 11:30AM-11PM, Sat noon-11PM, Sun noon-10PM. An Ethiopian restaurant that knows how to show off the complex flavors of the cuisine. Meals are served Ethiopian style, on injera bread. A full Ethiopian coffee ceremony is available, but they ask that you request it an hour in advance. Many options for vegetarians, as well as a full bar. $10-20.
Nightlife in the Downtown area is a mix of lounges, clubs, and bars which, according to locals, have either greatly improved the scene or marked the beginning of its decline. Santana Row has a number of upscale clubs and bars and has been the new hotspot since 2005.
- Goosetown Lounge, 1172 Lincoln Ave, ☎ +1 408 292-4835. 9PM-2AM daily. Willow Glen's neighborhood bar and cocktail lounge; if you're into a late night pops and enthusiastic renditions of 'YMCA', this karaoke hotspot may be for you. $5-10.
- Agenda Lounge, 399 S First St, ☎ +1 408 287-3991. W-Sa 5:30PM-2AM, Su 9PM-2AM. A three-level club with pounding house music on Fridays and Saturdays. Hip-shakers come for the salsa dancing on Wednesdays. $10-20.
- The Lobby Lounge, 170 S Market St. (in the Fairmont), ☎ +1 408 998-1900. Noon-midnight daily. An upscale piano bar inside the Fairmont Hotel, with an impressive wine list, over 500 different cocktails and martinis, and an array of single malt scotches. They offer weekly wine tastings, live jazz and piano nightly, and free dance lessons on Fridays. $10-20.
- Smoke Tiki Lounge, 152 Post St, ☎ +1 408 292-4266. M-Sa 11AM-2AM. Tropical tiki cocktails in a casual lounge atmosphere. Caters to a younger, college-age crowd. There's a full barbecue menu as well as DJs and live music. $5-10.
- Mission Ale House, 97 E Santa Clara St, ☎ +1 408 292-4058. M-Sa 11AM-2AM. A downtown dive bar with a young crowd, a huge selection of beers on tap, and a patio that's been voted the city's best. They have live bands on Fridays and a weekly open mic. $5-10.
- The Vault, 81 W Santa Clara St, ☎ +1 408 298-1112. Th-Sa 9PM-2AM. This hot spot for dancing and drinking is inside a renovated 1920s bank building, mixing historical architecture with a very contemporary club scene. Bottle service, pounding music, and usually a $20 cover on weekends. $10-30.
- San Jose Bar & Grill, 85 S 2nd St, ☎ +1 408 286-2397. M-F 4PM-2AM, Sa 1PM-2AM, Su 5PM-2AM. Since one Happy Hour just isn't enough, the Grill offers all kinds of specials on wings, burgers and drinks throughout the week. It's a good place to watch sports, especially Sundays during football season. Weekly karaoke and DJs on weekend nights. $5-10.
- VooDoo Lounge, 14 S 2nd St, ☎ +1 408 286-8636. M-F 5:30PM-2AM, Sa-Su 6PM-2AM. This dance club also hosts live local bands as well as bigger name acts. There's often a cover charge. PERMANTENTLY CLOSED ACCORDING TO GOOGLE MAPS. $5-50.
- Toon's, 52 E Santa Clara St, ☎ +1 408 292-7464. 8PM-2AM daily. Calls itself a piano bar, but isn't. DJs on most nights and live local music on others. Possibly the first place you've been that has both a pool table and a dress code. Cash only. PERMANENTLY CLOSED ACCORDING TO GOOGLE MAPS $5-10.
- The Caravan Lounge, 98 S Almaden Ave, ☎ +1 408 995-6220. 6AM-2AM daily. A dive bar of a dying breed, the Caravan is neighbor to (and was once a tenant of) a Greyhound bus station. When there isn't live music or a DJ, there's a good jukebox. There's always cheap beer, and there's NEVER a cover. Cash only. $5-10.
- Hookah Nites, 371 S First St, ☎ +1 408 286-0800. Su-W 6PM-1AM, Th 6PM-1:30PM, F-Sa 6PM-2AM. Coffees, teas, snacks and hookahs. The sweet smells of tobacco and fruit smokes float into the street as patrons enjoy hookahs at sidewalk tables each evening.
- JJ's Blues, 3439 Stevens Creek Blvd, ☎ +1 408 243-6641. M-Sa 5:30PM-2AM, Su 4PM-2AM. One of the most popular places in the Bay Area to hear live blues music, and one of the few San Jose clubs with live music every night of the week. JJ's has been around for two decades and hosts jam nights, unsigned acts and big names. There's a vintage Steinway that's up for grabs during intermissions, so you too can get the blues. $5-10.
- Splash, 65 Post St, ☎ +1 408 993-0861. Th-Sa 9PM-2AM. San Jose's downtown gay video bar, nightclub and lounge is friendly to people of all persuasions. $5-10.
- Tanq, 301 S. Market Street, ☎ +1 408 280-1300. 11:30AM-Midnight. Downtown San Jose's newest hip bar with a great aquatic theme,located on the corner of Market and San Carlos. Great drink menu (try their signature "Kiss the Fish")and to die for small plate menu. Must trys are the Ahi Tuna Poppers and the Angus Beef Slider. Tanq is also open for lunch and has some really great dishes, the Skirt Steak Salad is a favorite.
- Single Barrel, 43 West San Salvador St, ☎ +1 408 792-7356. Tu-Su 5PM-2AM. Speakeasy Style, without the passwords and gimmicks, Inspired Cocktails crafted under the meticulous eye of a world-traveled master bartender, and Fine Cigars hand selected for your enjoyment, singlebarrel provides Jazz era cool to San Jose's downtown SoFA district.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article San Jose (California) on Wikivoyage.