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San Jose is synonymous with Silicon Valley, and for good reason: It’s the heart of the valley. It is San Jose that is Santa Clara’s county seat. It’s San Jose that is the largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area and it is San Jose which has earned the nickname “Capital of Silicon Valley.”

If you’re considering a move to this gorgeous city on San Francisco Bay, do read on to learn more.

San Jose quick facts

  • The population of San Jose is nearly 1,027,000, as of the last census.
  • The city is the third most populous in the state and tenth in the United States.
  • San Jose comprises nearly 180 square miles.
  • The city is located about 50 miles southeast of San Francisco, nearly 42 miles southeast of Oakland and 390 miles north of Los Angeles.
  • San Jose was founded in 1777 and incorporated in 1850.
  • San Jose was California’s first state capitol.
  • You will love the weather here — 300 days of sunshine every year and an average temperature of 70 degrees (84 in summer and 41 in winter). The area receives an average of 15 inches of rain a year (California’s average is 18.51 inches per year).

San Jose’s schools

The San José Unified School District serves most of the city’s public school students. Total enrollment in the 42 schools tends to hover around 32,000 students and the district employs more than 300 staff members.

The district’s highest rated school among those ranked by U.S. News, is Pioneer High School. With a 94-percent graduation rate and a 76-percent Advanced Placement® course work and exam participation rate, U.S. News ranked Pioneer as number 86 in California and awarded the school a silver medal.

Parents can also choose from among the more than 50 private schools in the city. Consult these Yelp reviews to get an idea of some of the more popular private schools in San Jose.

Higher education opportunities abound in San Jose. The Evergreen Community College District administers Evergreen Valley College and San Jose City College, both accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

Finally, San Jose is home to San Jose State University, one of 23 campuses of the California State University system. The San Jose campus offers the following colleges:

  • Applied Sciences and Arts
  • Business
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Humanities & the Arts
  • International and Extended Studies
  • Science
  • Social Sciences

Business and industry in San Jose

No discussion of industry in San Jose would be complete without pointing out the obvious: there are a ton of tech companies here! In fact, according to the City of San Jose, there are “more than 6,600 technology companies, employing more than 254,000 people.” But, that’s not all we do here in the Capital of Silicon Valley.

San Jose has also been successful in building a robust bioscience industry. Home to more than 600 such businesses that employ 21,000 workers, the city boasts the most companies, universities, and organizations working in nanotechnology than any other in the country.

Other businesses and industries of note include those in media/entertainment, energy, and medical device manufacturing.

Getting around in San Jose

Transportation options abound in San Jose, from CalTrain, the ACE Train, light rail and the VTA bus lines. The latter, by the way, are equipped with ramps or lifts for those in wheelchairs.

VTA also offers an easy-to-access paratransit service to residents with disabilities that preclude the use of the bus and light rail systems.

Several freeways bisect and intersect with the city, including Interstates 680, 280, 880, California State Route 237 and US-101.

The City of San Jose promotes alternative modes of transportation as well and has an extensive bicyclist program to prove it. From bike lanes to bicycle routes, paths, and trails, getting around the city on a bike is a snap.

San Jose arts, entertainment and events

Naturally, any city the size of San Jose offers its residents a wealth of amenities but we feel that those you’ll find in San Jose are a few steps ahead of those in other cities.

Whether you want to take in a Shark’s game, watch the Earthquakes bend it like Beckham or cheer on the San Jose Giants, as a sports fan you’ll have no shortage of opportunities.

San Jose is a kid-friendly town as well and the little ones love the attractions on offer. Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, run by the City of San Jose, is a favorite, but kids also enjoy Raging Waters, Winchester Mystery House, California’s Great America (located in Santa Clara), Lake Cunningham Skate Park and more.

California is famous for its fabulous farmers and flea markets and San Jose is home to the largest open-air market in the country, the San Josè Flea Market. With loads of shopping, yummy food, and live music, it’s almost like a city-within-a-city.

Speaking of shopping, San Jose is home to some amazing malls, including Eastridge, Westgate, Oakridge, and Valley Fair.

What our residents seem to enjoy most about entertainment in San Jose are the many festivals and other events in the city. From the Chinese Summer Festival to Christmas in the Park and the various ethnic festivals, San Jose loves throwing parties.

Getting outdoors in San Jose

With more than 200 parks, San Jose residents have a hard time choosing where to picnic, hike, fish, bike, swim or just take a sunset stroll along any of the 60-miles of scenic trails.

San Jose is dog-friendly as well and yours is welcome at any of the nine dog parks that dot the city.

Golfers will find plenty of ways to keep busy in their leisure time in San Jose. Los Lagos Golf Course, a par-68 course, is located right off of the freeway and adjacent to Coyote Creek. It offers a pro shop, practice facilities, and a restaurant.

Rancho Del Pueblo is an executive course located in East San Jose. The ideal home course for the San Jose newcomer, it offers groups and leagues for golfers of all skills – a great way to make new friends.

The renovated, 18-hole San Jose Municipal Golf Course is not only a local favorite but draws golfers from across the greater Bay Area.

Now, the previous three courses represent our muni courses and San Jose offers golfers many private courses as well. Some require membership while others are open to the public. Cinnabar Hills Golf Club, offers “27 holes – A combination of 6 different 18’s,” and bills itself as “The Best Golf in the Silicon Valley.” The challenging Ranch Golf Club and the private Silver Creek Valley Country Club are two you may want to try as well.

Homes in San Jose, California

Don’t let San Jose’s median home price scare you. Typically sitting around $920,000, it represents the mid-point of the price range, meaning that half of the homes cost more and half cost less. In fact, the low-end of the price range is around $400,000 and the top is often near $7 million.

Home styles here range from historic to modern. The former includes architecture such as Italianate, Greek Revival, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Art Deco and more.

Mid-century modern homes are quite popular in San Jose and you’ll find a fair amount of Eichler homes, especially in the Willow Glen South-Lincoln Glen area of San Jose.

We invite you to learn more about San Jose by exploring its various neighborhoods and communities. Click on the name and you’ll be taken to the neighborhood’s page.

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