Just a hop, skip and a jump from San Francisco, the Bay Area city of San Jose attracts some of the country’s best tech companies, entrepreneurs and families looking for great communities. Since I have family in San Francisco, I spend a great deal of time in the city, yet I rarely make it out to San Jose. So after a fun-filled weekend in San Francisco with family, I decided to change things up and spend a day exploring San Jose, which was convenient, since I was flying out of the San Jose Airport the next day.
As I was about to head out of San Francisco, I realized I needed a place to stay that night. So I pulled up HotelTonight’s app and had a last-minute hotel room in San Jose booked in just a few short minutes. With my bags packed and my accommodations taken care of, I hopped into my rental car and made my way to the beautiful Bay Area town of San Jose.
I needed to grab some breakfast and some coffee before I could really start exploring San Jose, so I made my way to Los Gatos, a charming upscale town with great cafes and shopping in the Old Town Center. I was lucky to be in Los Gatos on a Sunday, as there’s a weekly farmer’s market in the Los Gatos Town Plaza where you can find great selections of fresh produce and artisanal products. I taste tested my way through the farmer’s market and ended up purchasing a warm pastry and some fresh fruit for breakfast.
Once I was all fueled up and ready for the day, I decided to head to South San Jose to embrace the beautiful weather and the wide-open natural spaces. South San Jose is full of rolling green hills and expansive terrain that is perfect for hiking and biking, and there were plenty of locals on the trails enjoying their sunny Sunday morning. I laced up my shoes and hit the trails for a scenic three-mile hike. By the time I got back to my rental car, I was a bit hungry, so I was grateful that I had purchased some locally grown nuts and fruit back at the farmer’s market.
By mid-day, I’d gotten plenty of hiking in, but I still wanted to enjoy the beautiful day in Northern California. So I made my way to San Jose’s Municipal Rose Garden, which spans five and a half acres and is one of the most picturesque, fragrant public spaces I’ve ever been to. Within minutes of arriving at the Rose Garden, I understood why it’s considered one of the most beautiful rose gardens in the entire world. I enjoyed every second of wandering through the colorful roses, of which there are 189 varieties in this one garden, and ended up finding a comfortable seat where I could relax, read my book, and yes, smell the roses.
I’ve been to several Chinatowns during my travels, but I’ve never been to a Japantown as historic and authentic as San Jose’s. Since I’m always in the mood for sushi, this neighborhood was like a little slice of heaven for me. I walked by a small, hole-in-the-wall sushi restaurant that was packed with locals, so I popped inside since I knew it must be good. The sushi was delicious and my server told me an interesting fact about San Jose’s Japantown – the Japanese founded their own community in San Jose back in the early 20th century, when immigrants were moving to California for the plentiful farming opportunities.
Due to the booming tech industry in Silicon Valley, downtown San Jose has experienced a recent surge in popularity. This urban center features trendy hotel lounges and rooftop bars, as well as casual sports bars and music venues. In this small, walkable downtown, there are more than 250 restaurants, which is why I decided to head downtown for dinner. There were almost too many dining options to choose from, but I finally settled on a hip eatery with a great happy hour menu. During my brief time downtown, I discovered that this vibrant neighborhood attracts lots of young couples and tech industry employees, most of whom want to live in an urban environment yet don’t want to make the commute from San Francisco every day.
I packed a lot into 24 hours in San Jose, and I have HotelTonight to thank for making my last-minute travel plans possible. For me, flexibility is of utmost importance when traveling, which is why I love using HotelTonight to find a great hotel room at a moment’s notice. I finally got to see why San Jose locals love their city so much, and I know this definitely isn’t my last time visiting this beautiful Bay Area city.