San Jose


2010: 945,942, #10 in U.S., #3 in California

1950: 95,280, #118 in U.S.

2010 Metropolitan Area: 1,836,911, #31 in U.S.

1950 Metropolitan Area: 290,547, #64 in U.S.


San Jose was founded in 1777 in the Santa Clara Valley, at the southern end of San Francisco Bay. Since the 1970s, the Santa Clara Valley has more often been known as “Silicon Valley” because of the large number of high-tech businesses in the area. San Jose State University is on the east side of downtown.


Tallest buildings: The 88 (2008), 286 feet, and San Jose City Hall (2005), 285 feet

List of Tallest Buildings

Downtown San Jose has a height limit for buildings (about 300 feet) because it is in the flight path for the airport.


San Jose Market Center (2006), an outdoor shopping center just northwest of downtown, has a Target store.


Amtrak has service from San Jose north to Oakland and Sacramento on the Capitol Corridor, as well as south to Los Angeles and north to Portland and Seattle on the Coast Starlight. Amtrak uses the old Southern Pacific station (1935), just west of downtown.

Caltrain runs commuter trains from the San Jose Amtrak station to San Francisco.

The Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) operates 42 miles of  light rail service in the San Jose area, with several stops downtown and a stop at the Amtrak station. The service began in 1988.

The Altamont Corridor Express (ACE Rail) has operated a commuter train between Stockton and the San Jose Amtrak station since 1998.

Downtown San Jose


The San Jose Museum of Art, the Children's Discovery Museum, and the Tech Museum are located downtown.


3 Below Theaters shows independent films downtown. 

Symphony Silicon Valley and Opera San Jose play at the California Theater, a restored 1927 movie palace. Broadway San Jose presents touring shows at the Center for the Performing Arts.

The Montgomery Theater hosts Children's Musical Theater San Jose.


The San Jose Giants, Single-A California League affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, play at Municipal Stadium (1942), southeast of downtown. The NHL San Jose Sharks play at SAP Center (the former HP Pavilion, 1993).

Map of Downtown San Jose

San Jose Downtown Association