35 Things To Do in San Jose

By Janet Benoir – April 9, 2024

Located in Northern California, San Jose stands out as a key center for technology, rich in culture, history, and natural beauty. As the most populous city in Northern California, it provides a wide range of exciting activities for everyone.

Here are the top 35 things to do in San Jose for a memorable experience in Silicon Valley.

Winchester Mystery House

The Winchester Mystery House is a fascinating place full of oddities, like doors leading nowhere and staircases going up to the ceiling. This sprawling mansion, constructed by the widow Sarah Winchester, is an architectural marvel designed to confuse the spirits she believed haunted her. The house’s eerie beauty and complex design make it a must-visit for those fascinated by the supernatural and architectural oddities alike.

Explore the Winchester Mystery House

Each corner of the mansion holds a story, a secret passage, or an unsolved mystery, inviting visitors to ponder the line between the living and the spectral. The guided tours offer a glimpse into Sarah Winchester’s mind, revealing the reasons behind the home’s endless construction. It’s a place imagination of all who walk its haunted halls will be captivated.

Santana Row

Santana Row offers a luxurious escape in the heart of Silicon Valley, blending high-end shopping with fine dining and lively entertainment in a beautifully designed Mediterranean-inspired setting. It’s a place where luxury and lifestyle converge, inviting visitors to enjoy everything from daytime shopping sprees and leisurely brunches to spa treatments and vibrant nightlife.

Shop at Santana Row

This prestigious area stands out as more than a shopping center; it’s a vibrant lifestyle hub in San Jose. Santana Row is the go-to spot for those seeking an elegant experience, whether for a casual day out or during its bustling evening events and holiday festivities, making it a cornerstone of the city’s social life.

The Tech Interactive

At The Tech Interactive, the future of technology unfolds in a vibrant display of interactive exhibits that both educate and excite visitors. It’s a space where curiosity meets innovation, inviting people of all ages to dive hands-on into the wonders of science, engineering, and digital creativity. This museum is a playground for the mind, designed to inspire visitors with the endless possibilities that technology holds.

Innovate at The Tech Interactive

Serving as a crucial link between the achievements of Silicon Valley and the broader community, Tech Interactive demystifies the impact of technology on our lives and what lies ahead. It champions problem-solving and creative thinking, positioning itself as an essential educational hub that celebrates human ingenuity and the ever-evolving world of tech.

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose showcases a vast collection of artifacts about the life, culture, and mysteries of the Egyptians. Its architecture, reminiscent of an Egyptian temple, enhances the immersive experience, allowing visitors to journey through the different ages. This museum provides a unique glimpse into the rituals and daily lives of a civilization that continues to intrigue the world.

Step inside the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

Adjacent to the museum, the Rosicrucian Peace Garden offers a serene retreat, designed after ancient Egyptian gardens, where visitors can reflect and find tranquility. The museum’s engaging exhibits, including those on mummification and an authentic tomb replica, offer a comprehensive exploration of ancient Egypt’s rich heritage. It’s an educational adventure that appeals to visitors of all ages, making the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum a must-visit for everyone.

San Jose Museum of Art

The San Jose Museum of Art is a key highlight in the city, offering a rich array of contemporary and modern art that captures the vibrant and innovative essence of the area. Through its varied exhibits, including paintings, sculptures, and multimedia installations, the museum provides a platform for visitors to engage with art that challenges and stimulates conversation, appealing to both art lovers and newcomers.

Visit the San Jose Museum of Art

This institution also plays a pivotal role in the community through its educational initiatives and events, aimed at promoting art appreciation and active engagement among the public. The San Jose Museum of Art stands as a hub of creativity and a gathering place for diverse perspectives, solidifying its status as a vital part of the city’s cultural fabric and a source of inspiration for all who visit.

Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph is not just a place of worship but an architectural masterpiece that captivates all who enter. Its grand façade and ornate interior are adorned with stunning stained glass and intricate sculptures. This historic cathedral serves as a spiritual center for the community and a testament to the beauty of religious art and architecture.

Reflect inside the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph

Visitors are welcomed into a serene atmosphere that invites contemplation and reflection. The cathedral’s rich history dates back to the 18th century. It is woven into the fabric of San Jose, making it a key landmark and a source of pride for the city. Whether attending a service or simply admiring its beauty, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph offers a moment of peace and awe.

Alum Rock Park

Discover the stunning wilderness of Alum Rock Park, a natural sanctuary that showcases California’s outdoor splendor. Ideal for hikers, bird enthusiasts, and nature lovers, the park features a variety of trails that wind through verdant valleys and alongside serene streams, offering breathtaking views and uncovering the area’s hidden gems.

Unwind in the Alum Rock Park

Beyond its scenic appeal, Alum Rock Park stands as an educational resource, highlighting the area’s unique geology, diverse ecosystems, and indigenous wildlife. This park provides a peaceful escape from city life while fostering a deeper appreciation for the environment. It’s a perfect spot for anyone eager to connect with nature and learn more about the natural world around them.

Children’s Discovery Museum

The Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose is a colorful and vibrant space where young minds are encouraged to explore, create, and learn through play. Each exhibit, from interactive science displays to creative arts and crafts areas, is designed to spark curiosity and foster a love of learning. It’s a place where children can be scientists, artists, and explorers, all within the walls of this imaginative museum.

Wander inside the Children’s Discovery Museum

The museum’s commitment to providing engaging educational experiences makes it a favorite among families and educators. Through its hands-on approach to learning, the Children’s Discovery Museum not only entertains but also educates, laying the foundation for a lifelong journey of discovery and innovation.

Japanese Friendship Garden

The Japanese Friendship Garden is a serene sanctuary that captures the essence of traditional Japanese landscape design. With its manicured gardens, tranquil koi ponds, and elegant bridges, the garden offers a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle. Inspired by San Jose’s sister city, Okayama, the garden is a symbol of friendship and cultural exchange, reflecting the beauty and harmony of Japanese aesthetics.

Relax in the Japanese Friendship Garden

Walking through the Japanese Friendship Garden, visitors enter a peaceful realm of beauty and balance. It’s more than just a place to see—it’s an experience that offers a moment of Zen in San Jose’s bustling atmosphere.


San Jose’s Japantown is a vibrant community that celebrates the rich heritage and traditions of Japan. This historic neighborhood, one of the last three authentic Japantowns in the United States, is alive with cultural festivals, traditional cuisine, and unique shops. From the savory flavors of sushi and ramen to the intricate beauty of Japanese crafts, Japantown offers a glimpse into the heart of Japanese culture.

Stroll along the Japantown

The streets of Japantown are a mosaic of history and modernity, where century-old businesses stand alongside contemporary galleries and boutiques. It’s a place where the past is honored, and the present is celebrated, making it a must-visit for anyone seeking to experience the depth and diversity of San Jose’s cultural landscape.

San Pedro Square Market

Step into the heart of San Jose’s culinary scene at San Pedro Square Market, a vibrant gathering place for food lovers and adventure seekers alike. This bustling market is a treasure trove of gourmet eateries, offering a taste of the world with its diverse food stalls. From artisan pizzas to international cuisines, every palate is catered to, making it a perfect spot for culinary explorations.

Satisfy cravings at the San Pedro Square Market

Beyond the flavors, San Pedro Square Market pulses with the energy of live music, lively bars, and artisanal shops, crafting an atmosphere that’s both inviting and exhilarating. It’s not just a place to eat; it’s a vibrant community hub where locals and tourists alike come together to share in the joy of food, drink, and good company.

Happy Hollow Park & Zoo

Happy Hollow Park & Zoo in San Jose is a wonderful destination for families, combining fun, education, and the chance to make memorable experiences together. This enchanting park features amusement rides, hands-on animal interactions, and educational programs that emphasize conservation, appealing to visitors looking for both entertainment and learning opportunities.

Learn at the Happy Hollow Park & Zoo

At the zoo, visitors can meet a wide array of animals and learn about their habits and habitats in a space dedicated to their well-being and conservation. From the playful nature of meerkats to the grace of jaguars, Happy Hollow offers an engaging and informative experience. It is an ideal place for guests of all ages to explore the wonders of wildlife.

Municipal Rose Garden

The Municipal Rose Garden in San Jose astounds with its array of over 4,000 rose bushes, creating a colorful and fragrant oasis in the heart of the city. Visitors are invited to stroll along its scented pathways, surrounded by a kaleidoscope of roses, offering a serene escape from urban life’s pace and noise.

Appreciate the Municipal Rose Garden

This gorgeous garden showcases nature’s beauty across the seasons. With every rose bloom, from spring’s first blush to autumn’s final flourish, the garden captures the enduring charm of roses. It’s a beloved spot for those who appreciate gardening, a touch of romance, or anyone in search of a peaceful, natural haven.

San Jose Heritage Rose Garden

The San Jose Heritage Rose Garden is filled with stories and beauty of roses that have been loved throughout history. It has a wide variety of old roses from all over the world. From roses that have been around for centuries to those that were favorites of famous people in history, each type of rose adds its own special touch to the garden.

Enjoy the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden

This garden is a place where the art and science of growing roses come together. It draws in people who love gardening, history, and roses with its colorful blooms, sweet scents, and fascinating stories. The San Jose Heritage Rose Garden invites everyone to come and see how history and nature are closely linked through the simple beauty of roses.

History Park

Step back in time at History Park, an outdoor museum in San Jose that brings the city’s history to life. Wander among historic buildings and replicas that showcase San Jose’s rich cultural and architectural past. Experience the charm of old San Jose with attractions like a working trolley and an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, transporting you to a bygone era.

Get nostalgic in the History Park

History Park isn’t just a place with old buildings; it’s a lively area where history is celebrated with various events, exhibits, and educational activities. From Victorian mansions to a historic Chinese temple, the park offers an intriguing look at the stories and people that have shaped San Jose. It’s an essential stop for anyone interested in history or looking for a unique journey through time.

San Jose Flea Market

Step into the bustling world of the San Jose Flea Market, a vast and vibrant marketplace. It’s a treasure trove for those who love to search for unique finds, offering everything from retro collectibles to handcrafted items. Every visit is filled with the potential to uncover something special, be it an old-school album, a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry, or an intriguing artwork.

Get souvenirs in the San Jose Flea Market

More than a shopping destination, the San Jose Flea Market stands as a lively hub for the community. It’s an amazing shopping experience complete with delicious food from around the globe. It’s the perfect spot for anyone looking to spend a day immersed in a rich tapestry of sights, sounds, and flavors.

Psycho Donuts

Dive into the unique and playful atmosphere of Psycho Donuts, where donuts go beyond the ordinary. This shop stands out with its imaginative approach to making donuts, turning each one into a delicious work of art. From the creatively named “Cereal Killer” to the tribute to Elvis, the “Dead Elvis,” their menu takes you on an adventurous taste journey crafted by the inventive minds of their bakers.

Delight in Psycho Donuts

Visiting Psycho Donuts combines art, a sense of humor, and the pleasure of indulging in sweet treats. The shop’s fun and eccentric decor encourage guests to step out of their daily routine and into a space where the possibilities of what a donut can be are endless. It’s a spot not to be missed for those looking to sprinkle some excitement and novelty into their visit to San Jose.

Lick Observatory

Travel to Mount Hamilton to visit the Lick Observatory, an ideal location for both stargazing and enjoying views of Silicon Valley. By day, it serves as a center for space exploration, displaying various telescopes and space-related exhibits. Come nightfall, it offers a chance to gaze into the depths of the universe.

Marvel at the Lick Observatory

The Lick Observatory is a place of amazement, suited for anyone interested in the cosmos. Whether you’re passionate about astronomy or simply enjoy looking at the stars, the observatory promises an unforgettable experience. It showcases the vast potential of the universe and is a must-see for those looking to widen their understanding of what lies beyond our planet.

California’s Great America

Dive into the excitement at California’s Great America, an amusement park filled with heart-racing roller coasters and rides. Experience the thrill of high-speed drops and sharp turns on rides like the Gold Striker and RailBlazer. It’s a destination for those who love an adrenaline rush and adventures that defy gravity.

Experience adrenaline in California’s Great America

But there’s more to California’s Great America than just thrill rides. It’s a family-friendly spot with water attractions, entertaining shows, and areas designed just for kids. This park is perfect for family outings, offering a mix of fun that everyone can enjoy. It’s a place to create lasting memories, from the thrilling moments to the joyous laughter, making it a must-visit in San Jose.

Downtown Ice Skating

Embrace the magic of winter in the heart of San Jose at Downtown Ice, the city’s beloved outdoor ice skating rink. Glide across the ice under the open sky, surrounded by the festive atmosphere of the holiday season. Whether you’re a seasoned skater or stepping onto the ice for the first time, Downtown Ice offers a picturesque setting for creating winter memories.

Glide in Downtown Ice Skating

Surrounded by holiday decorations and the buzz of the city, the rink becomes a gathering place for friends, families, and couples looking to capture the spirit of the season. With the chill of the ice below and the warmth of shared moments, ice skating at Downtown Ice is a classic San Jose experience, offering joy to all who visit.

SAP Center

Experience the thrill at the SAP Center, known as the “Shark Tank,” where the energy is electric. This is where hockey fans come together to root for the San Jose Sharks. Beyond the games, this venue is a hub for entertainment, hosting concerts by international stars. The vibrant atmosphere and enthusiastic crowds ensure an unforgettable time.

Create core memories in SAP Center

As the SAP Center’s lights go down, it becomes a haven for music lovers, with performances that resonate and connect. Legends of the music world have graced this stage, leaving audiences with memories that last a lifetime. Whether you’re there for the sports or the music, the SAP Center offers moments of happiness and high spirits, making every event a special occasion.

San Jose Improv

The San Jose Improv is a hub of comedy in Silicon Valley, bringing people together through laughter. This historic venue comes alive with excitement as audiences look forward to a night of sharp wit and humor. Here, both well-known and up-and-coming comedians take the stage, turning simple life moments into hilarious stories.

Laugh in the San Jose Improv

As laughter echoes throughout the San Jose Improv, the atmosphere becomes one of joy and amusement. This place is where people come to forget their troubles and enjoy a night of fun. Whether you’re on a date or out with friends, a visit to the San Jose Improv ensures an evening filled with laughter and good times.

Guadalupe River Park & Gardens

Guadalupe River Park & Gardens is a peaceful haven in the middle of San Jose. It provides a break from city noise with its lush trails, gardens, and open areas alongside the Guadalupe River. It’s a unique spot where you can enjoy nature without leaving the city, perfect for a quiet moment to unwind.

Slow down in the Guadalupe River Park & Gardens

Walking through the park, you’ll be surrounded by natural beauty and tranquility, with the sounds of the city replaced by nature’s calm. The gardens burst with colors, changing with the seasons, making it a great place for everyone from bird lovers to joggers looking for a scenic run or families seeking a peaceful outing.

Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve

Atop Silicon Valley, Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve offers a haven for those seeking adventure and a love for nature. Its trails wind through varied terrains, showcasing stunning views of the valley and providing a peaceful retreat into nature. It’s a place where the vastness of the sky meets the ruggedness of the earth, offering crisp air and vistas filled with natural beauty.

Ascend the Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve

This preserve celebrates the diverse landscapes of California, from its rolling hills and vibrant wildflowers to the wildlife that calls it home. Whether you’re hiking, biking, or horseback riding, each path presents its own unique challenges and tranquil spots for contemplation. Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve is an experience that immerses you in nature, revitalizes your spirit, and sharpens your senses.

Santana Row Farmers Market

Every week, the Santana Row Farmers Market comes alive with fresh, local produce and unique handmade products. It’s a gathering spot where the community celebrates the abundance of local farms, with vendors offering everything from shiny strawberries to the inviting smell of freshly baked bread. It’s a sensory delight, promising the taste of home with every bite.

Buy produce at Santana Row Farmers Market

This market isn’t just for shopping; it connects you to the origin of your meals. It encourages a greater appreciation for the efforts of those who grow and make our food. As you explore the stalls, trying out different foods, the Santana Row Farmers Market becomes a showcase of the area’s variety and abundance, nourishing both body and spirit.

SOFA District

The SOFA District sits at the core of San Jose, buzzing with artistic spirit and cultural vibrancy. This area is a live canvas, showcasing art in every form, from gallery exhibits to street murals, and hosting music and performances that draw you in. It’s a dynamic center for creative minds and innovators, offering endless opportunities for exploration and engagement.

Appreciate Art in the SOFA District

Here, every turn reveals something new and exciting, whether it’s a wall covered in murals or a cozy venue for live music. The community comes together to celebrate art and creativity, making the SOFA District a lively spot for anyone looking to experience the arts up close. It’s an essential stop for those in search of inspiration and a taste of cutting-edge culture.

Almaden Quicksilver County Park

Almaden Quicksilver County Park is a blend of history and nature, where the remains of a historic mercury mining operation are set against a backdrop of beautiful landscapes. Visitors can explore trails that take them past mining relics while surrounded by natural beauty. This park invites you to discover the lives of those who worked here long ago.

See the Almaden Quicksilver County Park

This park is a haven for wildlife and a place with breathtaking views. With its diverse ecosystems, it supports a wide range of animals and plants, making every visit a discovery. For anyone interested in history, and nature, or just looking for a tranquil escape, Almaden Quicksilver County Park is a journey through both the resilience of nature and the enduring spirit of human history.

San Jose Jazz Summer Fest

Every summer, downtown San Jose lights up with the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest, an exciting music festival that attracts musicians from all over the world. The city comes to life with the sounds of jazz, classic to modern styles, creating a captivating atmosphere. This event is a meeting point for people to come together and enjoy the universal language of music in a celebration that goes beyond just tunes.

Have fun in the sun at San Jose Jazz Summer Fest

The festival fills the streets with a lively energy, with performances that showcase talent and passion. The San Jose Jazz Summer Fest is not just about music; it’s a cultural event that mirrors the diversity and spirit of the community. For anyone who loves music or wants to experience the essence of San Jose, this festival is a deep dive into the world of jazz.

Mount Hamilton

Mount Hamilton is an adventurer’s dream, towering over the valley below. The drive-up is filled with stunning views. For those who love nature, Mount Hamilton is a treasure trove of natural beauty.

Hike the Mount Hamilton

The mountain features different environments at various elevations, including lush woodlands and open chaparral. It’s a place of peace and natural wonder, where the only sounds are the rustling leaves and wildlife. Mount Hamilton is a celebration of the earth’s beauty, inviting all to enjoy and appreciate the great outdoors.

Los Gatos Creek Trail

The Los Gatos Creek Trail offers a peaceful escape amid Silicon Valley, winding through urban spaces to provide a scenic path for biking, running, and walking. This trail connects neighborhoods, offering a slice of nature with its shaded paths and calming creek views, a stark contrast to the nearby city life.

Stroll along the Los Gatos Creek Trail

It’s a versatile trail that caters to both those looking for an active day out and others desiring a quiet walk. A popular spot for families, friends, and solo explorers alike, the Los Gatos Creek Trail is more than just a route. It’s a vibrant part of the community that celebrates the great outdoors and the pleasure of simply being outside.

Tech Museum of Innovation

Dive into the intersection of technology and creativity at the Tech Museum of Innovation, where the future is at your fingertips. This museum is an interactive journey through the cutting edge of science and technology. Experience the thrill of virtual reality, meet robots that blur the line between machine and intelligence, and explore exhibits that challenge your view of what’s possible.

Discover the future at the Tech Museum of Innovation

This museum is a wonderland for anyone with a curious mind, offering hands-on experiences that both educate and entertain. Uncover the intricacies of cyber security, witness the creation of engineering wonders, or delve into the wonders of the human body. It’s a place designed to ignite your imagination and inspire innovation, making it an essential destination for families, tech lovers, and future visionaries.

Overfelt Gardens

Overfelt Gardens offers a peaceful escape within the city, showcasing nature’s beauty amidst the urban landscape. As you stroll through the garden paths, surrounded by lush greenery and vibrant flowers, you’ll discover the Chinese Cultural Garden. This area celebrates traditional Chinese architecture and art, creating a space for reflection and tranquility.

Feel serenity in the Overfelt Gardens

Every visit to Overfelt Gardens brings a new experience, reflecting the changing seasons with its diverse plant life and scenic views. Whether you’re seeking a quiet place to relax by the water, a shaded spot for contemplation, or a peaceful moment alone with nature, Overfelt Gardens provides a sanctuary for the soul. It’s more than a park; it’s a place to reconnect with nature and find inner peace.

Santa Clara Paintball

Get ready for an exciting day at Santa Clara Paintball, where fun and strategy combine for an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re new to paintball or a seasoned expert, you’ll find yourself immersed in action-packed games. With top-notch equipment, you’ll weave through expertly designed courses, engaging in fast-paced matches that test your reflexes and strategic thinking.

Play inside the Santa Clara Paintball

Santa Clara Paintball is the go-to spot for an adrenaline-fueled adventure. Offering various game types, each round is a fresh opportunity to improve your paintball skills in a fun, competitive environment. It’s the perfect setting for group outings, whether you’re with friends, family, or coworkers. Here, shared laughter, tactics, and the excitement of the game forge lasting bonds and memories.

San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

Step into the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles and be enveloped by the warmth and beauty of fabric art. This museum celebrates the intricate art of quilting and textile creation, showcasing a dazzling array of works from local and international artists. Each piece tells a story, woven with threads of tradition, innovation, and personal expression.

Love fabric art at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

The museum not only honors the history of textile arts but also explores contemporary themes and techniques, bridging the past with the present. Visitors can marvel at the craftsmanship, color, and creativity on display, gaining a deeper appreciation for this enduring art form. The museum offers a captivating experience for art lovers, crafters, and anyone interested in the rich tapestry of human creativity.

Downtown San Jose

Downtown San Jose pulsates with energy, serving as the city’s vibrant center where culture, food, and innovation merge. During the day, it buzzes with business activities and the charm of its historical sites. When the sun sets, it transforms, with neon signs lighting the way to lively eateries, bars, and entertainment venues.

Walk along the Downtown San Jose

This lively area caters to a variety of interests, attracting art lovers to its galleries and museums, and food enthusiasts to its diverse culinary offerings. Downtown San Jose is a rich tapestry of old and new, celebrating the city’s dynamic essence. It’s a place of discovery and excitement, offering memorable experiences and the chance to immerse in the city’s vibrant life.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park, set within California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, is a vast expanse of natural beauty that spans over 750,000 acres. It’s a place where adventurers and nature lovers explore its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, and giant sequoias. The heart of the park, Yosemite Valley, is renowned for its iconic landmarks such as El Capitan, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls.

Snap shots at the Yosemite National Park

The park is not only a haven for outdoor activities like hiking and climbing but also plays a vital role in conservation and serves as a habitat for diverse wildlife. Yosemite’s changing seasons bring about stunning vistas, from spring wildflowers to autumn’s fiery colors, showcasing the park’s timeless beauty. Here, you can connect with the natural world deeply, offering peace and adventure amidst its grand landscapes.

San Jose is a unique mix of tech innovation and rich culture, providing a variety of experiences for all visitors. From its historical sites and beautiful gardens to thrilling amusement parks and outdoor activities, there’s always something new to discover.

Whether you’re interested in history, nature, technology, or food, San Jose has something for everyone. Get ready to explore Silicon Valley’s vibrant city and enjoy an adventure you won’t forget in San Jose.

The 10 Best Restaurants in San Jose

San Jose is a great place for food lovers located in the center of Silicon Valley. It has many different types of food that show off its diverse culture and creativity. The city has everything from fancy Michelin-starred restaurants to charming places by the creek, making its food scene exciting and welcoming for everyone.

Here are the top ten restaurants in San Jose that serve tasty food and provide a special dining experience, making your visit memorable. These are the best spots to eat in San Jose, ensuring a journey filled with unforgettable meals.

Straits Restaurant

At Straits Restaurant, experience the essence of Asian culture through each dish, inspired by the vibrant flavors of Singapore. Led by Chef Chris Yeo, the kitchen merges Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese, and Indian culinary traditions into an exciting fusion. The lively atmosphere feels like a modern urban gathering, where the coming together of friends enhances the rich, diverse flavors.

Walking into Straits Restaurant is like entering a realm where dining is an adventure. The modern decor, characterized by sleek designs and inviting lighting, creates the perfect setting for an evening of culinary discovery. The menu offers a journey through Asian cuisine, encouraging shared meals and the joy of conversation, making every visit a memorable experience.

La Foret

La Foret offers a unique dining experience that blends historical charm with exquisite cuisine, set in a beautiful natural setting. Each dish, from poached lobster tail to rack of lamb, showcases culinary skill and creativity, using top-quality ingredients to tell a story of sophistication and taste. The restaurant itself, surrounded by ancient trees and the sound of a creek, provides a tranquil backdrop, turning each meal into an unforgettable escape.

Dining at La Foret feels like a peaceful journey through a gourmet forest, where every tasting menu reveals delightful surprises. The ambiance, combined with the culinary masterpieces, creates a special moment where the love for food meets the beauty of nature. It’s an experience that stays with you, making every visit to La Foret a cherished memory.

Falafel’s Drive-In

Falafel’s Drive-In is a cherished spot in San Jose, known for its delicious Middle Eastern food like crispy falafels, tasty gyros, and unique banana shakes. It’s not just a place to eat but a hub of tradition and community, buzzing with energy and the rich history of family recipes. The lively atmosphere reflects the enduring popularity of these dishes, passed down through generations.

This eatery is a key piece of San Jose’s cultural and culinary landscape, offering a warm, inviting experience to both locals and visitors. Each meal at Falafel’s Drive-In tells a story of heritage, taste, and the pleasure of eating together. It stands out as a welcoming spot where the food is made with care and eating feels like joining a family gathering.

Aqui Cal-Mex

Aqui Cal-Mex blends Mexican flavors with California’s fresh ingredients, creating innovative dishes like burritos, bowls, and tacos. Their signature drink, the Industrial Strength Swirls, offers a fun twist on margaritas, showcasing the restaurant’s creative spirit. This spot is a bright example of Silicon Valley’s blend of innovation and tradition in the culinary world.

Visiting Aqui Cal-Mex is about enjoying the simple pleasures of eating well in a relaxed setting. It’s a place for gathering with loved ones, where every dish is prepared with attention and served with warmth. In a region famous for innovation, Aqui Cal-Mex proves that creativity in the kitchen can turn simple meals into memorable dining experiences.

Back A Yard

Back A Yard is a vibrant spot in San Jose that brings the heart of the Caribbean to life, thanks to Chef Robert Simpson’s authentic Jamaican dishes like curried goat, jerk chicken, and sweet festivals. It’s a place where food is celebrated, offering a warm and welcoming experience that embodies the spirit of community and the joy of Jamaican culture.

This restaurant is more than just a place to eat; it’s a home away from home for those looking to indulge in the rich flavors and lively atmosphere of the Caribbean. The combination of delicious cuisine and a friendly environment provides a delightful escape, making every visit a chance to experience the love and unity that food can bring.


Naschmarkt in San Jose brings the essence of Vienna’s famous market to California, offering authentic Austrian cuisine with style and sophistication. Chef Matthias Froeschl crafts traditional dishes like wiener schnitzel and Hungarian goulash with attention to detail, creating a dining atmosphere that feels like a festive Austrian celebration. The restaurant’s warm lighting and comfortable seating add to the overall charm, making each visit memorable.

Naschmarkt is more than a dining spot; it’s an authentic European journey nestled in San Jose. Its commitment to genuine flavors and beautifully presented meals positions it as a top choice for those looking to experience the best of European cooking. The inviting and culturally rich setting ensures a unique and unforgettable dining experience, highlighting why it’s a standout destination for food lovers.

Zeni Ethiopian Restaurant

Zeni Ethiopian Restaurant in San Jose offers a unique dining experience that highlights Ethiopia’s tradition of communal eating. The restaurant centers around serving dishes with injera, a spongy bread used to scoop up a variety of flavorful stews, in a warm and welcoming setting. This way of eating not only brings people together but also allows them to create memorable moments.

Dining at Zeni is an exploration of Ethiopian cuisine’s rich flavors, textures, and colors. The restaurant provides a glimpse into the country’s culinary culture, where every meal is a festive occasion of sharing and connection. Each visit to Zeni is a chance to experience the diversity and depth of Ethiopian cooking, making it a rewarding experience for anyone looking to try something new.

Black Sheep Brasserie

Black Sheep Brasserie in San Jose offers a unique blend of French-American cuisine that combines traditional and modern flavors with style. With dishes such as oxtail rillettes and pan-roasted duck breast, the restaurant showcases its dedication to high-quality food. Its elegant yet comfortable setting enhances the dining experience, making it both upscale and welcoming.

At Black Sheep Brasserie, every meal is treated as a masterpiece, featuring bold tastes and creative presentations that delight the senses. The specially crafted cocktails complement the meals perfectly, adding to the overall gourmet experience. This place is a haven for those who appreciate the art of food, where traditional and innovative culinary techniques come together to create unforgettable dining moments.

Le Papillon

Le Papillon in San Jose stands out for its exceptional Cal-French cuisine, led by the creative Chef Scott Cooper. The menu offers a mix of innovative and traditional dishes, like the delicate ragout of Burgundy snails and the richly braised duck breast, showcasing a deep appreciation for the art of fine dining. Each dish is a blend of vibrant flavors and culinary expertise, making meals here a unique celebration.

This restaurant is a treasure for food lovers, blending global flavors with local ingredients to create extraordinary dining experiences. Le Papillon’s sophisticated atmosphere and dedication to outstanding service turn every meal into a lavish journey of taste. It’s a place where food is not just eaten but experienced, setting a high standard for what dining should be.


Adega, a Michelin-starred restaurant in San Jose, is renowned for its exceptional Portuguese cuisine, blending traditional flavors with modern creativity. Its commitment to excellence is seen in everything from the carefully chosen wine list to the detail in every dish. The atmosphere is both intimate and elegant, making a meal here more than just dining—it’s a memorable experience.

Being recognized as a Michelin star highlights Adega’s significant role in enhancing San Jose’s food scene, introducing diners to the rich tastes of Portugal with innovative twists. This restaurant is a must-visit for anyone looking for a blend of traditional and contemporary culinary artistry, ensuring a dining experience that’s both unforgettable and emblematic of Silicon Valley’s culinary excellence.

San Jose’s food scene is rich and varied, reflecting the city’s mix of cultures and traditions. Restaurants like La Foret, with its historic appeal, and Aqui Cal-Mex, known for its creativity, each provide a unique taste of San Jose’s essence. Whether you’re looking for comforting tastes or adventurous new dishes, San Jose offers a culinary adventure that’s sure to excite and inspire.

35 Things To Do in San Jose