SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Viewed from the air, San Jose seems a sprawling
city, with a small downtown and vast areas of suburban-style
housing and low-rise office complexes.
Yet there are a few distinctive neighborhoods spread around the
Located downtown is the city's oldest neighborhood, San Pedro
Square, which recently underwent a $1.5 million improvement
The street's public spaces were repaved with expanded sidewalks
to accommodate more pedestrian traffic and patio dining.
New landscaping was installed, including new trees, benches and
There is seating capacity for hundreds of people to eat outside
of the modern office buildings and historical structures.
The area includes two of San Jose's oldest buildings -- the
Peralta Adobe, built around 1797, and the Fallon House, the former
home of a 19th century mayor.
According to the convention and visitors bureau, the goal of
city officials is to have the area's restaurants expand to the
street, taking advantage of San Jose's mild weather and almost
year-round sunshine to create a European-style plaza.
Also downtown is the area of South First Street, which local
civic promoters have dubbed SoFa.
It is the city's arts and entertainment district, with some of
Silicon Valley's most popular nightclubs.
Some of San Jose's best-known restaurants are located in the
area, including Eulipia, Sal & Luigi and Pasquale's. There also
are art galleries and movie theaters.
When the area was given a face-lift in the 1980s, colored paving
stones were laid in a diagonal pattern along the sidewalks, which
are lined with palm and jacaranda trees.
One of San Jose's most elegant and handsome neighborhoods is
Willow Glen, which is less than 10 minutes from downtown by
The area is known for its charming collection of housing styles
and variety of shops, some of which date to the late 1800s.
The main street is Lincoln Avenue, a milelong shopping district
that has nearly 30 restaurants.
Several festivals are held each year in Willow Glen, including a
June street dance, a Founder's Day weekend in September, an arts
and crafts festival and a holiday season tree-lighting
One of San Jose's oldest ethnic neighborhoods is Japantown,
which dates back to the late 1800s when single men migrated to
Santa Clara Valley from Japan to work in the orchards and
The streets today are lined with cherry blossom trees.
There are several buildings of note, including the Issei
Memorial Center, home of the Japanese-American Historical Museum; a
Buddhist church built in 1937, and the Wesley United Methodist
Church, built in 1941.
Japantown is home to several restaurants that serve sushi,
teriyaki and other Japanese specialties.
In nearby Kelley Park is the Japanese Friendship Gardens,
patterned after the Korakuen Garden in San Jose's sister city of
The park features ponds with koi and quaint footbridge.
San Jose CVB
Phone: (408) 295-2265