San Jose may seem like an unlikely place to travel to but it’s actually the largest city within Silicon Valley. I used to travel to San Jose, each week, for a couple of years because of client work I had as a management consultant. It can be a fun city – if you know where to go (and what to skip!). I recently went back up to visit a few friends so I thought I would do a round up of where to stay, where to eat, and where to hang in this guide to San Jose.
Where to stay
Hotel Valencia – This is the most gorgeous boutique hotel. If you want to be in close proximity to one of the major areas to hang out in, in San Jose, this hotel is it. It’s directly in the middle of Santana Row, which is a strip of the trendiest shops – such as Anthropologie, Madewell, Lou & Grey, and many more. During the day this row of shops can be quiet but it’s a bit deceiving because come night time, the restaurants are bustling and an eclectic mix of people come out to dine and play. So staying at the hotel is a great mix of both quiet and also right at the center where all the action is.
Hotel Valencia offers a pool, rooftop bar, and many of the rooms even have a balcony for you to overlook the shops below. This was perfect to let some fresh air into the room! It felt less hotel for me and more European getaway with its Mediterranean-inspired decor. Sometimes it’s nice not staying in a big chain hotel that can feel stark and cold because then you get a chance to feel more comfortable like it’s a home away from home, while you travel.
What to eat
Oveja Negra – The main restaurant at Hotel Valencia was DELICIOUS. Sometimes you might be tempted to go outside of the hotel for food but honestly the dinner we had at the hotel restaurant called Oveja Negra was so good, plus it helps that it was convenient to the hotel we were staying at! It’s a tapas style menu and between my friend and I, we ordered 3 dishes plus dessert and it was definitely enough! We loved the deconstructed paella and braised short ribs.
Pizza Antica – This is another cute restaurant that happens to be on Santana Row. They have gluten-free crust options which is great. I ordered the margherita pizza with gluten free crust and it was delish!
Aquis – If you enjoy alcoholic drinks, you must try the Swirls at Aquis for a next level time. They taste a bit like juice – so pace yourself, they’re dangerous 🙂 I used to go here a few years ago for happy hour drinks after work and it’s always a fun time.
Back a Yard Caribbean Grill – I’ve only been to the downtown San Jose location but they have several in nearby cities. I’ve tried the jerk fish of the day special combo plate as well as the salads for lunch and all have been very filling and great if you’re looking for something to eat that’s a little different.
Where to hang
Santana Row – As mentioned above, Santana Row is a great strip of shops that have literally everything you need. There’s even a farmer’s market and events in the park that are open to the public that could be a great family activity.
San Pedro Square Market – This is a cross between a place where to hang and experience some activities but also there’s so much food here! There’s two food halls that have representation from many different types of cuisine. On days where there’s a sporting event they will show the big game on big screen tv’s all throughout the hall so you can gather a group of friends and enjoy an afternoon out.
Where to sweat
SoulCycle – The tried and true – it’s great to experiment with different fitness studios but it’s also nice to go to a familiar spot where you know what type of workout you will get. SoulCycle is conveniently located in – you guessed it – Santana Row.
SMUV Studios – I’ve been more and more into low impact (yet effective) workouts and SMUV is definitely it. Despite only working on the megaformers, don’t let that fool you. It’s definitely a workout that will get you sweating and shaking from minute #1!