Introduction to San Jose, California
San Jose, located in northern California in the Santa Clara Valley, is the third-largest city in the state (930,000) and the eleventh-largest in the nation. The oldest city in the state, San Jose was its one-time capital shortly after California became a US territory. The gold rush of 1849 and the arrival of railroads in the 1860s both created significant growth, making San Jose a major commercial center for the area's agricultural products. Agriculture is still a large part of the city's economy, with wine production and food processing/distribution among its leading industries.
But it's technology that has made San Jose what it is today, the largest city in northern California and the heart of the Silicon Valley, known for its prominence in the development of semiconductors and computer-related technology. Headquartered in San Jose are industry giants Adobe Systems, BEA Systems, Cisco, and eBay. Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Hitachi also have bases in the city. The technology boom of the 1980s and beyond has brought significant prosperity to San Jose, making it one of the nation's fastest-growing. The city also ranks among highest in the country for median household income, giving it a wealth of entertaining outlets to spend that income. Including Oakland, San Francisco and other communities in the Bay Area, San Jose is part of the country's fourth-largest metropolis. But despite its size, San Jose is one of the country's safest, ranking #1 among big cities on Morgan Quitno's Safest Cities in America list three years in a row.
San Jose Culture
The city has a strong arts community, with the San Jose Repertory Theatre, Opera San Jose, San Jose Wind Symphony and San Jose Chamber Orchestra all providing entertainment throughout the year. Among the area's many art museums are the San Jose Museum of Art, the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, and the Triton Museum of Art in nearby Santa Clara. Rosicrucian Park has a planetarium and a museum with one of the country's largest collections of Egyptian relics. The San Jose Historical Museum has 27 historical homes spread over 14 acres. The Blackhawk Museum in nearby Danville is a Smithsonian affiliate museum with a huge collection of automobiles and transportation relics. The city hosts a 13-week Sunday Jazz Series at the start of the year, and on a weekend in August, the AT&T San Jose Jazz Festival is the world's largest free jazz event. There is also a 2-week film festival in March and a 2-day cultural festival in July. For those who can't find enough to do within the city, attractions in San Francisco are less than an hour away.
San Jose Sports and Leisure
There's plenty of action for sports fans in San Jose. The NHL's San Jose Sharks play at HP Pavilion, affectionately known as "the Shark tank." The San Jose Giants, a single-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, play minor league baseball at San Jose Municipal Stadium. The city is also home to the Arena Football League's San Jose SaberCats and Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes. Just 45 minutes away, San Francisco and Oakland provide more big league action, with major league baseball's San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics, the NFL's San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, and the NBA's Golden State Warriors.
San Jose Outdoors
With 300 sunny days per year, an average annual temperature of 70 degrees and proximity to the ocean and mountains, San Jose is ideal for outdoor recreation. Almaden Lake Park within the city offers swimming, fishing, boating, wind surfing, hiking and volleyball. Along the Guadalupe River in downtown San Jose, Guadalupe River Park is the country's largest urban park under development. San Jose is just 20 minutes from legendary beaches along the Pacific Coast. Santa Cruz is a surfer's mecca. The birthplace of surfing on the American mainland has the first surfing museum and more than 60 surf breaks (including Steamer Lane and Pleasure Point) along a 45-mile, S-shaped coastline. San Jose is within easy access of California's nearby mountain ranges allowing hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter. San Jose is also within a short drive of some of the best golfing in the country. Within the city, Coyote Creek Golf Club features two Jack Nicklaus designed courses; the legendary courses at Pebble Beach are less than an hour away.
San Jose at Night
Named the third Most Fun City in America by Cranium Inc., San Jose boasts a wide variety of nightlife options. The "SoFA" (South First Area) district is a hotspot loaded with restaurants, bars and entertainment venues along First and Second streets.