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Travel & Holiday Tips


Traces of San Jose's history can be found at San Pedro Square. A must-see is the Tech Museum of Innovation, where visitors can make a movie in its digital studio or be shaken in a simulated earthquake – just two of the Tech's more than 200 interactive exhibits. Visitors should also make time for the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium, the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles and Guadalupe River Park & Gardens.

San Jose, California's climate also allows for some great hiking and bicycling at places like Alum Rock Park, San Theresa County Park and Coyote Peak, and Henry W. Coe State Park. For shoppers, check out Willow Glen, a small but charming collection of shops and restaurants.

Places of Interest

Downtown San Jose

An extensive 1980s face-lift gave formerly downtrodden downtown San Jose a spate of five-star hotels and museums, a convention centre, and an arena on par with any in America. All that was needed was a bit of refinement in the go-go '90s to give it the cosmopolitan air of a world-class city. Thriving and sophisticated, downtown feels like the Capital of Silicon Valley. Looking out over the Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park, The Fairmont Hotel reigns over a bevy of beautiful luxury hotels; nearby is the stately Hotel De Anza. The great number of popular bars and restaurants present a challenge to the visitor, while the galleries, coffeehouses and theatres of the SoFA (South of First Street) District give downtown a bit of SoMa/SoHo urban chic.

Among the civic and architectural profile of San Jose's downtown are the HP Pavilion (home rink of the NHL's San Jose Sharks), the massive San Jose McEnery Convention Center, the Tech Museum of Innovation, Children's Discovery Museum, the San Jose Museum of Art and the San Jose Center for Performing Arts. The San Jose Museum of Art is an architectural mix of old and new. At the corner of Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park is the stately Cathedral Basillica of Saint Joseph. A few blocks away is Saint James Park and the San Jose Repertory Theater, cloaked in post-modern, neo-industrial metal.

In addition to being a cultural and entertainment magnet, San Jose is a working downtown: software giant Adobe occupies Adobe Towers, which covers a highly conspicuous block of valuable real estate; the nearby Park Center Plaza is home to a number of financial and technical enterprises.

Downtown San Jose's parks add leisure and beauty to the somewhat forbidding technopolis. The Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park is the original plaza of the first Spanish pueblo and is now the site of outdoor music festivals and numerous other cultural and community events. Spacious Guadalupe River Park and Gardens is an attractive area giving breathing space to an increasingly congested city centre.

Willow Glen

Willow Glen is a small and attractive residential community with a reputation for some of San Jose's most beautiful homes, built mostly in the 1930s in the Southwestern, Colonial and Italian style. The community displays an undeniable civic pride with manicured lawns, well-tended flowers, and precious mailboxes. Willow Glen sits just southwest of downtown San Jose, yet has an engaging downtown of its own along Lincoln Avenue. One can stroll Lincoln Avenue for everything from coffee to billiards to a fair share of restaurants and attractive boutiques. Willow Glen is particularly noted for its antiques – Adopt-A-Doll being one of the most popular shops.

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