Perhaps San Jose’s most whimsical treasure is the Winchester Mystery House. The Victorian-crafted mansion was built by Sarah Winchester, the wily heir to the Winchester repeating rifle fortune. As she believed she was haunted by the spirits of those killed by the rifle, Winchester built the house in an effort to thwart the spirits. The labyrinth was constructed and added onto until Winchester’s death, resulting in one of the strangest feats of architecture known to man. Endless stairs, corridors, mazes and secret passageways lead tour guides to instruct guests to stay with the group!
Serving as the cathedral for the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose in California is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph. The beautiful church follows the ground plan of a Greek cross, with a round altar beneath the dome. Bavarian glass and stained glass murals lend to the basilica’s stunning craftsmanship, along with a multitude of artwork, sculptures, paintings and the elegant Stations of the Cross. Originally built in 1803, St. Joseph’s has undergone several major fires and renovations to remain the lovely structure of today, and Mass is still held.
Channeling the spirit of Silicon Valley is the Tech Museum of Innovation. The Museum is a non-profit learning organization designed to immerse the public in the wonderful world of science and intellectual exploration. There are galleries with over 100 interactive activities encompassing a bounty of topics, as well as continuous learning for all ages. Various educational programs take place year-round, including The Tech Challenge, competitions for the youth and internationally-recognized programs like The Tech Awards.
The Japanese Friendship Garden was created out of reverence to San Jose’s sister city, Okayama, Japan. It is now an amazing and breathtaking park that is used quite often for weddings. There are six acres of waterfalls, landscaping, bridges, Bonzai plants and much more. Take a stroll or picnic in one of San Jose’s most beautiful treasures.
Fun for the family with children can be had at the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose, where children are encouraged to interact with and explore our world. There are 150 exhibits in the 52,000-square-foot museum covering themes of creativity, community and learning. Programs also run daily, providing more focused activities and interactions for children.
Willow Glen is San Jose’s chic urban district. Graced by trees and a warming sense of community charm, Willow Glen has everything from eateries to pharmacies. Countless cafes, coffee houses, restaurants, retail shops, boutiques and businesses make the area a quintessential epicenter of activities. Free parking along the streets and public parking lots make Willow Glen that much more accessible. Be sure to look into which festivals are taking place, for Willow Glen hosts annual street festivities that showchase both San Jose and the greater South Bay area.
The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art is an exclusive art space in downtown San Jose. Founded initially by local artists seeking to present great artwork to the area, the ICA has become a popular attraction. Contemporary art and innovations in creativity are displayed, presenting work and exhibitions from the region’s artists. Admission is free and the art speaks to a diverse audience.
The Mexican Heritage Plaza is a 200,000-square-foot cultural center designed to promote and strengthen the traditions of Mexico–one of the largest Latino centers in the nation. There are premier theatrical venues, thematic gardens and a Smithsonian-affiliated gallery. It is most certainly a sight to see and appreciate, with musical, dance and visual art activities taking place daily.
San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin was founded in 1902 as a Temple of the Jodo Shinshu Nishi Hongwanji sect of Buddhism. Located in downtown San Jose, Betsuin attracts countless visitors each year who are drawn to the Temple’s interminable beauty. Ornate altars, ponds and gardens make Betsuin that much more transcendent and its meditative peace resonates with everyone regardless of creed or background. Ikebana flower arranging classes are held, as well as Judo training and Japanese language programs.
The Almaden Quicksilver County Park is one of San Jose’s natural gems. The biodiversity is accompanied by a rich history of over 135 years and 4,152 acres. Wildflower displays, over 34.3 miles of hiking trails, 10 miles of biking trails and 23 miles of equestrian trails make Almaden Quicksilver the perfect getaway. The park is also pet-friendly and open to dog walking (as long as dogs are leashed). Ranger guided tours and walks are available.
The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum is dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of cultural and natural history. Employing multi-disciplinary methods of education, Rosicrucian teaches visitors about the complexities of past, present and future human relationships and endeavors. The research is collection-based, and the learning programs are collaborative and diverse. The architecture was modeled after the Temple of Amun at Karnak, and the museum boasts the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in western North America.
Cinnabar Hills is a grandiose, 27-hole golf course overlooking Coyote Valley. There are 6 different 18-hole combinations, making Cinnabar Hills one of the most regarded courses in Northern California. The public facility houses a restaurant that hosts breakfast on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and lunch daily. The full-service bar and cocktail lounge features a Happy Hour during the week.
Silicon Valley is home to the MLS's San Jose Earthquakes! Now finding home in a brand new stadium, Earthquakes soccer is always riveting and always the pride of San Jose. The MLS regular season runs from March until October, so check out the website for a schedule of the upcoming games and information on tickets.
Nestled along The Almaden is Elements Restaurant. French and Vietnamese fusion finds its way onto the menu to offer guests fine dining in contemporary style. The chefs use only the freshest of organic and locally grown ingredients, which contributes to an ever-changing menu. Elements also bears a wine list of American and European selections, spanning featured names and smaller vineyards. Among favorites on the menu are the Butternut Squash Soup, Tea Smoked Duck Breast and Papaya Salad with Prawns.
Le Papillon is at the apex of fine San Jose dining. Specializing in Contemporary French cuisine, Le Papillon puts a Californian-inspired interpretation on the seasonal menu. Local, organic products and ingredients go into every dish, and the wine list is incredibly extensive and varied. Le Papillon is considered one of Northern California’s most esteemed establishments.
Pizza Antica is California’s destination for craftsmen Italian cuisine. Their specialty is Roman-styled pizza, and the chefs allow the dough to proof for three days before crafting the pie with seasonal, locally grown ingredients and toppings. Do not be fooled, though–the menu holds far more than just pizza. Pizza Antica serves a variety of Italian and Californian fare, from fresh salads, antipasti and fish, to meats and chicken. Also in store is an extensive wine list featuring 50 wines by the bottle and 20 by the glass.
Hiding in downtown Willow Glen is Siena Bistro, an intimately designed Italian restaurant. The dishes are provocatively made, with the chefs taking the time to create a memorable experience for each guest’s meal. Choose from a selection of pasta, fish, meats, salads and wines. Carefully selected Californian and Mediterranean wines are on the list, providing a superb complement to all menu items. Dine inside or dine al fresco on the peaceful patio.
In accompaniment to beautiful sands, atlases and grand historic architecture, Morocco is also renowned for its great food. Menara Moroccan Restaurant graces the San Jose area with such cuisine and culture. Remaining under the original ownership of Arvind Shah for over 30 years, Menara possesses an award-winning menu and an equally acclaimed ambiance. Enjoy your meal with traditional belly dancing each night.
While Aqui Cal-Mex has four San Jose locations, the Willow Glen venue has been listed below. Known in the area for its intelligently designed menu and cuisine, Aqui is a fusion of Asian, American Southwest and Latin American cuisine–dubbed “Cal-Mex.” The menu items are created using seasonal herbs, meats and produce so each meal is fresh. Plus, all of the artwork lining the restaurants is by local artists.
The vision of Italy native Chef Umberto Pala and wife Sharlene Pala, Vin Santo is a romantic Italian restaurant. The menu features lunch, dinner, dessert and weekly specials, and there is also a wine list. The wines are mostly boutique names, meaning that each is entirely unique. You may choose to dine in the dining room, bistro, patio or bar.
The Grill on the Alley was fashioned after the fine diners of Chicago, New York and San Francisco. Therefore the atmosphere is reminiscent of the Rat Pack days, with white table cloths, a waiting staff adorned in white jackets, leather booth seating, and the like. The kitchen serves Traditional American cuisine with the finest UDSA Prime Steaks and premium Seafood. Take your pick from over 500 wines as well.
71 Saint Peter Restaurant is a unique blend of Mediterranean and French cuisine. Using the wealth of California's local ingredients, 71 Saint Peter prepares meals with fresh meats, produce, fish and chicken. Owner and Chef Luis Rodriguez's menu continues to achieve accolades and renown, making the restaurant one of San Jose's finest.
With four San Jose locations, the Willow Glen Bill’s Café adds that mystique that only the Willow could have. The fresh fruit is sliced, the oranges are squeezed for juice and the pastries are all prepared first thing in the morning. Breakfast is thusly warm and ready for diners to start their days at Bill’s. Lunch is equally scrumptious, with handmade soups, sandwiches, salads and specials. Other locations include The Rose Garden, San Jose/Santa Clara and Cottle Road.
Step aside from the beaten path of chain coffee houses and into Caffe Frascati. Modeling itself after the Umbrian central Italy, Frascati offers guests yummy pastries and Italian delicatessens. Coffees reminiscent of magnificent Rome waft their aromas in the air, stopping passerby mid-step and capturing their imaginations.
Having been awarded the 2006 “San Jose Bakery of the Year,” it is easy to see why Bijan Bakery & Café is a San Jose favorite. Owner Bijan Abachizadeh and his family have been crafting cakes, croissants and pastries since 1986. All of the ingredients are premium quality, with most being imported from Europe, and Bijan steers clear of preservatives and trans fats. Beyond delicious baked goods are the wedding cakes, which are exquisitely designed by Bijan himself. A second bakery location is found in West San Jose on 441 Saratoga Avenue.
Among The Fairmont San Jose’s wealth of premier eateries and venues is The Fountain Restaurant. It opens daily for breakfast and lunch with an a la carte menu and breakfast buffet. The Sunday Brunch is always enticing, and Pastry Chef Fernando Arreola wows guests with his dessert station.
A sweet yard outside or a positive, friendly vibe inside - you decide where you want to spend your time while having some of the most delicious food of the area. Discover this lovely piece of gem - sit back, take a sip from your favorite wine and let the sun shine on you!
Stop by the Trials Pub when you are in San Jose to have a drink with your friends. They offer a huge selection of different kinds of alcohol, such as beer and wine, to make sure everyone finds their favorite. While sipping your drink, try out one of the best fish and chips of San Jose as well.
The Hedley Club and Lounge is located in San Jose’s Hotel De Anza. Considered one of the area’s finest cocktail lounges, Hedley is styled in French Art Deco, with a bar made of marble and cherrywood and entertainment highlighting San Jose’s local jazz artists. A wood burning fireplace sets the tone for sultry recreation, while cocktails, wine and Mediterranean appetizers are always in season. The Hedley Club Live Music Calendar lists all upcoming events.
Serving as a testament to the days of Prohibition speakeasies and underground cocktail bars, Singlebarrel gives patrons a selection of crafted cocktails and fine cigars. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable of all drinks on the menu, and the bartenders will attentively craft the drink to your preference. The juices used are all hand-squeezed and fresh, and the vibes are chill and classy.
The Britannia Arms of Almaden is a genuine British pub and sports bar. Live music is featured every Friday and Saturday night, with Sunday and Wednesday nights featuring karaoke. “PubStumpers” trivia night is held on Tuesdays, and Thursdays are reserved for a live deejay set. There are flat screen televisions for all of the big sporting events, and a full kitchen and menu put the finishing touches on this popular venue.
Firehouse No. 1 is a self-proclaimed gastropub with craft beers, specialty cocktails and a full menu of Traditional American cuisine. The atmosphere is very relaxed and easy, with indoor and outdoor seating available. Firehouse happy hours are all the rave, with deals on beer, cocktails and appetizers.
Tanq is an ultra-modern cocktail lounge, with fascinating, ocean-inspired décor. Black leather booths and velvet seating stream seamlessly with blues, aqua and chrome accenting. Crystal and black, backlit designs alight the bar area during the evening while the large windows bathe the lounge in sunlight during the daytime.
Located in the Fairmont San Jose hotel, The Pagoda has recently received accolades for its trendy atmosphere. Live music imbibes the lounge, displaying local, international and diverse bands. The Pagoda Private Dining Room may be reserved for those seeking a more intimate setting.
A sight to see in and of itself, Santana Row is a picturesque deviation from the otherwise conventional shopping district. Santana Row is a touch of Southern France, a splash of Spain and a brush of Italy all in one medley. There are 70 retailers and boutiques, serving home to names like Anthropologie, Gucci and Crate and Barrel. Follow every whim and inclination and find yourself with a striking balance of shopping and elegance at Santana Row.
Westfield Oakfield Mall is a beautifully constructed shopping center featuring retail stores, restaurants, cinemas and more. Familiar brands in-house include Coach, Macy’s, LOFT, Nordstrom Rack, Old Navy, Sephora, and Bath & Body Works among others. Step over into 300 San Jose after shopping for an upscale, adult bowling experience. Offers happen weekly at various stores, so be sure to check the website for ongoing and upcoming sales.
The Eastridge Shopping Center bears a mosaic of both unique retailers and the more popular name brands. Find a host of women’s, men’s and children’s clothing and houseware at department stores Sears, Macy’s and JC Penney. For pharmacy and grocery needs, there is even a Fresco World Market. Dining and entertainment is also included at Eastridge, with restaurants and AMC cinemas.
The Plant is home to a variety of stores and restaurants. For shopping, there is a collection of apparel, specialty and department stores, as well as services. Choose from retail giants Target, Ross Dress for Less, Justice and others, and dine at favorites like Famous Dave's and Panera Bread.
The palm-lined Great Mall is Northern California’s largest indoor shopping outlet. There are over 200 stores, encompassing everything from sporting goods to jewelry. Shop at the likes of Saks Fifth Avenue or H&M and dine at Outback Steakhouse or Dave & Buster’s. Century Theatres 20 shows all the new releases, making Great Mall the ultimate shopping experience. The Mall serves the San Jose, Milpitas, Fremont and Santa Clara areas.
Once a favorite of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Greta Garbo and other Hollywood starlets, Salvatore Ferragamo is a world leader for luxury goods: leather goods, shoes, apparel, perfumes, accessories, silk products and more are all sold at various Salvatore Ferragamo locations. A single-brand store is available for shoppers in San Jose’s Santana Row. As founder Salvatore Ferragamo once stated, "There is no limit to beauty, no saturation point in design, no end to the material.” This sentiment is still shared in his stores.
San Jose is served by the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport, located 2 miles northwest of Downtown San Jose. SJC is a hub for Southwest Airlines, and services the following: Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airways, American Airlines, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, United Express, US Airways, Virgin America and Volaris. 118 daily flights average 9 domestic and international carriers to 31 nonstop destinations. For ground transportation, SJC offers door-to-door shuttles, hotel courtesy shuttles, inter-terminal shuttles, limousines, charters, public transportation, rental cars, taxis and scheduled buses.
San Jose is also served by the San Francisco International Airport, located 35 miles northwest of Downtown San Jose. SFO is a hub of United Airlines and Virgin America. The following airlines are serviced out of SFO: United Arilines, Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Southwest Airlines, airTran, Sun Country Airlines, Delta, jetBlue, Asiana Airlines, American Airlines, Virgin America, US Airways, Frontier Airlines, as well as Air Canada, LAN Airlines, TACA / LACSA, Aeromexico, WestJet, TACA and Avianca. SFO has domestic, European and Asian flights. Ground transportation is included both at SFO and to the airport, encompassing public transit, airporters, shared-ride vans, pre-arranged vans, taxis, limousines, charters and hotel courtesy shuttles.
The San Jose area is served by the Amtrak rail service, Caltrain, ACE commuter rail, BART and the local Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). The VTA connects downtown San Jose to Mountain View, Milpitas, Campbell, and Almaden Valley. There are also streetcars in operation from History Park that run during holidays.