Friday, June 30, 2023

One of my favorite quotes about Downtown San Jose

This Silicon Valley Business Journal article came out almost two years ago, yet I've kept it bookmarked all this time as it has one of my all-time favorite comments about Downtown San Jose. It comes from Gary Dillabough, a real estate investor with Urban Communities working on multiple projects throughout Downtown San Jose--including the Paseo project mentioned over the weekend.

“You need to change people’s mindsets because I think a lot of the mindset here is that ‘pretty good is OK.’ And that San Jose is, ‘we’re just a second-tier city, and for us to think of being a top-tier city is a little too aspirational.’ I think that’s absolutely incorrect. When you really look at all the infrastructure, the people, the companies, the weather — the list goes on and on — this should truly be one of the country’s greatest cities.

Jeff (Arrillaga) and I are spending a lot of time just trying to help people think about it: Just don’t be ‘pretty good’ — let’s be exceptional. I think you start with that vision, then you have a mindset, and then how do you start to create some momentum?" 

-Gary Dillabough interviewed by J. Jennings Moss

This still resonates in 2023. Despite the pandemic, the collapse of the commercial real estate market, and all of the other reasons why Downtown San Jose should have failed year-after-year... a chance at true success has never felt closer. The quality of the projects being proposed far exceeds what we were seeing 10 or 20 years ago, and something about Downtown's brand is just different. We're not trying to be San Francisco or even Palo Alto. Proprietors, artists, and restauranteurs are trying to build things that are exceptional and uniquely San Jose. It's okay to be aspirational and there is no need to be like X or Y. San Jose is a city litteraly built around innovation, all we have to do is be ourselves.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Starlight Cinemas

Outdoor movies are heading back to St. James Park this summer staring July 1st with Mean Girls. This event is free, just bring a chair or blanket to the park. July 15th will feature Ferris Bueller's Day Off, then Moana on July 29th and Back to the Future on August 5th will close out the series.

Showtime is around 8:30pm. There are also pre-movie activities like lawn games at 7:30pm on July 1st and July 15th and 7pm on July 29th and August 5th.

For more info head over here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

"NUDES" designed a rainwater harvesting tower for San Jose

A company called NUDES created an insane looking concept for the Guadalupe River Park. This was one of the design competition entries for Urban Confluence's project to bring a new landmark to San Jose.

The general idea is that the 200ft tower would catch and transport water into a shallow rainwater harvesting pool which would also somehow be connected to the neighboring Guadalupe River. It would also serve as a public space and event venue focused around water conservation and climate change.

While the chances of this coming to fruition are close to nil, it's a great example of how you can create a stunning structure while staying within San Jose's height requirements do to the airport.

Source: Jawz, Designboom

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

The San Jose Blog Housekeeping

Today I started a long overdue cleanup of the links to other San Jose blogs and sites over on the right-hand side. Unfortunately, so many of them are now long gone. In fact, here's a list:

  • Live & Local SJ: Music Spotlight
  • What Up! Silicon Valley
  • San Jose Silicon Valley Tours
  • DTSJ.Events
  • LiveSV
  • San Jose Metblogs
  • SoFASloane
  • San Jose Food Blog
  • Think Bigger San Jose

Rest in peace old friends­č¬Ž 

I did add a few new links and am looking for more. SJ Today has excellent content, especially around food. The San Jose History FB page is frequently updated and has many unique photos of Silicon Valley's past (including the one below). For Pro Sports, I added the San Jose Barracuda. 

If you can think of any others that should be added, please email me or post in the comments. Thanks to spammers I have to manually approve each comment, so it may take some time for comments to show up. Thanks for your patience as we get this blog rolling again.

Blum's Dept Store.
South First Street. San Jose.
Posted by Bob Emerson on the San Jose History Facebook Group

Monday, June 26, 2023

Long-vacant Market by Safeway space finally finds a tenant

The 88 high-rise is finally getting a new anchor tenant! When the condo tower was first built, there was a lot of excitement to have a Safeway in the middle of downtown San Jose, even though it was a scaled back "Market" concept. Safeway struggled with parking, which most Safeway customers in Silicon Valley were accustomed to getting for free. Once they started charging for parking it was game over.

Now, four years later, OneMedAll will be taking that vacant 24,000 SQFT space at the corner of 100 S. Second. This location will focus on oral and general medical care. You can learn more about the company at the OneMedAll website.

I would have loved to see another grocery store here on this key corner spot, but who couldn't use a bit more health and wellness.

Source: SVBJ

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Urban Putt and Unofficial Logging coming to Paseo Project in Downtown San Jose

Paseo is getting more the super cool looking bar "Eos & Nyx" mentioned yesterday. Also planned is a 13,300 SQFT Urban Putt miniature golf course a 6,800 SQFT ax-throwing and restaurant space called Unofficial Logging.

Below is one of the first renders of Urban Putt. As far as I can remember, this will be the first miniature golf place in Downtown San Jose. As for Ax-throwing... well, that is starting to get pretty popular. We already have Axe-Men on 14 South Second and AxeVentures just outside Downtown. 

This will be Unofficial Logging's 2nd locations, with the first being in Bend, Oregon. Urban Putt has two other locations: San Francisco and Denver.

Source: Silicon Valley Joe from the San Jose Development Forum

Saturday, June 24, 2023

New Downtown SJ bar "Eos & Nyx" looks stunning!

The proprietors behind Original Gravity, Paper Plane, and Miniboss have yet another Downtown San Jose project in the works and it may be their most ambitious one yet. They leased 3,800 SQFT in Paseo which is a mixed-use office, restaurant, and entertainment space in the former shell of Camera 12 Cinemas Downtown.

The two-story, indoor/outdoor bar and restaurant will serve brunch, lunch, dinner, and of course the craft cocktails this team is famous for. It will be a welcome addition to the area when it opens later this year!

Source: Dirk_Birkin from the San Jose Development Forum

Friday, June 23, 2023

San Jose Sticker Fest 2023

Love stickers? You won't want to miss Sticker Fest 2023, a two-day event that celebrates all things stickers. Sticker Fest 2023 will feature over 150 artists, makers and creators who will showcase their unique and amazing stickers, as well as other products. You'll also enjoy a special nostalgia themed photo booth, activities and activations that celebrate sticker culture, and free admission and parking. The first 1,000 attendees each day will receive a free Sticker Fest 2023 Sticker Pack.

Sticker Fest 2023 will take place this weekend, June 24-25 at Westgate Shopping Center in San Jose, CA. The event venue is located next to Tuxedo Warehouse at 1600 Saratoga Ave #403, San Jose, CA 95129. The event will run from 11 AM to 5 PM each day and is open to all ages. Service animals only.

Don't miss this opportunity to discover new stickers, support local artists and makers, and have fun with fellow sticker enthusiasts. For more information, visit or follow @sanjosemade on Instagram.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Pobladores Night Market kicks off today in the SoFA District

If you are looking for a fun and festive way to spend your Thursday nights this summer, look no further than the Pobladores Night Market at Parque de los Pobladores in the SoFA district. This new 10-week series of markets launches today and features artisan vendors, food trucks, live music, beer and wine garden, and more. 

The Pobladores Night Market is a collaboration between Filco Events and the San Jose Downtown Association, with the goal of celebrating the diverse cultures and history of San Jose. This week the Night Market will be super-sized by coinciding with a Block Party, a new initiative that will bring live music from multiple bands and highlight 30 businesses in the area.

The night market will showcase local artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs who reflect the spirit and creativity of San Jose. Whether you are looking for a unique gift, a delicious bite, or a lively atmosphere, you will find it at the Pobladores Night Market. The market runs every Thursday from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm until August 24th. Don't miss this opportunity to support local businesses and enjoy Downtown San Jose at its best!

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

What does AI think of Downtown San Jose?

As I delve more and more into AI for my day job, I thought it would be interesting to see what the latest algorithms think about Downtown San Jose. Remember these systems are trained by gathering the collective knowledge and sentiment from a wide range of sources with billions of virtual neurons reaggregating the data to form cohesive answers.

So I asked Google's Bard to write me a poem about Downtown San Jose and here is what I got:

Downtown San Jose

The streets are wide and open,
The buildings tall and proud.
The people come and go,
A never-ending crowd.

The sun shines down on all,
The rain falls soft and free.
The wind blows through the trees,
A gentle melody.

The city is alive,
A vibrant, beating heart.
It is a place of dreams,
A place of hope, a start.

Here, anything is possible,
The future is unwritten.
So come and join us now,
In Downtown San Jose.

Okay, that's not bad. Very debatable but at least there is no negative subtext. Well done Google. Now let's go to the market leader in this space, ChatGPT:

Here’s a poem about Downtown San Jose:

The heart of Silicon Valley, Downtown San Jose is the place to be, A tech cluster with a cultural vibe, It’s where the city comes alive.

The SoFA district is where it’s at, Arts, culture and entertainment that’s a fact, Located behind the Convention Center, It’s the perfect place to unwind and enter.

The Poetry Center San Jose is here, A place for poets and poetry lovers near, With events and workshops all year round, It’s where creativity can be found.

Love it! Especially since SoFA is one of my favorite places to hang out Downtown. Again, the sentiment is very positive. Nothing about empty streets or any other negative stereotypes that may or may not be true about Downtown. Now for the ultimate AI challenge... Midjourney, please draw me a picture of Downtown San Jose.

Okay, I'll give it an A for effort. It did capture the mountains in the background and our color scheme. Now let's step it up just one more notch. "What will Downtown San Jose look like in 50 years?"

Interesting--especially the autonomous pods and the extra height on that one tower. I think Downtown will actually look a look more interesting that this, but it still blows my mind that these types of requests can be answered in less than a minute and be drawn from scratch without repurposing or reusing any existing images. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Petiscos and LeYou added to the Michelin Guide

Two San Jose restaurants were recently added to the Michelin Guide for the first time. Just being mentioned in the guide means the restaurants are worthy of a visit.

The first is none other than Petiscos in SoFA. This restaurant comes from a very special pedigree since the owners are the same as ADEGA, the first and only restaurant in San Jose to ever get a Michelin Star. Petiscos has a wide variety of Portuguese small plates designed for sharing with family and friends and some seriously delicious and unique cocktails you can't find anywhere else. The interior features a hand-painted mural of Five Wounds Portuguese National Church, a San Jose landmark off of Highway 101. It's well worth a visit and is reasonably priced given its background. At Petiscos I would highly recommend the flaming chouri├žo, shrimp turnovers, green bean tempura, duck rice (my favorite), octopus, peas & eggs, the pica pau, and the chocolate mouse. The Sangria and Gintuga won't disappoint if you're looking for a libation.

The second restaurant is LeYou Ethiopian off of First Street. While I haven't been there in person, it was one of the best Doordash meals I've had. With a newborn it's become a challenge to get out to new restaurants in person. I would recommend the platters and extra injera bread so you can try as many flavors as possible. I'm a total carnivore, but the vegetarian dishes blew me away. Definitely get the Four Vegetarian Sampler and the Beef Tibs. If you can handle some spice, the Katenga (toasted injera) was something I've never had before at an Ethiopian restaurant.

After a rough few years, it's great to see that the San Jose food scene is still alive and well! Bon App├ętit.

Monday, June 19, 2023

The Future of St. James Park

One of San Jose's most underutilized resources is St. James Park. It has such a great location and historical significance, yet it has become little more than a bastion for the homeless. The SJDA is doing their best to activate it with movies and yoga, but the park itself needs to change. This is especially needed with several high-density housing projects planned for the immediate area.

Now, plans to transform St. James into a modern flagship community amenity are coming together.

Below are illustrations of the new spaces that are being planned that will offer a variety of experiences. These includes a live music venue, children's park, dog park, and plenty of open spaces. All this while keeping the original trees, fountains, and statues. The ETA to see this to fruition is 2028. It sounds like an eternity, but this could be St. James Park in less than 5 years.

Source: SVBJ

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Santa Clara Parks Summer Program

It's amazing that you can live someplace your entire life and still not have visited all of the local amenities. I have yet to visit the Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum, that is the last major museum in San Jose on my list.

Below is a visitor center in Coyote Creek that wasn't even on one of my lists--I never even knew it existed. It sounds like Coyote Creek Visitor Center has all sorts of family friendly activities throughout the summer and is located close to Anderson Lake. For the adults out there, I see quite a few wineries in the area as well.

Dates and times for the events are listed below, all ages are welcome and no reservations are needed. It looks like a neat place to visit with family even when no events are going on. The address is 19245 Malaguerra Ave, Morgan Hill, CA 95037 (it's literally at the border of San Jose).

Friday, June 16, 2023

Father's Day in San Jose

As a new father, I was curious what sort of events were happening this weekend but I thought I would put a twist on a standard post. For the first time I would ask AI what's happening for Father's Day in San Jose and see exactly how good the results are. I tested both Google's Bard and ChatGPT, and this was the best result (ChatGPT):

"Father’s Day is a special day to celebrate fathers and father figures. San Jose offers many weekend events to celebrate Father’s Day and pay homage to dads everywhere in the Silicon Valley. From free admissions to auto shows and foodie brunch or dinner, there are a lot of fun things to do in San Jose on Father’s Day that are sure to bring on the smiles to their face and create lasting memories! 

Here is a list of fun events and things to do in San Jose on Father’s Day

  • Father’s Day Car Show at Bernal Church: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 19, 160 Bernal Road, San Jose. Celebrate Father’s Day at this spectacular car show complete with barbecue, live music.
  • San Jose Giants vs. Modesto Nuts: 5 p.m. June 19, Excite Ballpark, 588 E. Alma Ave., San Jose.
  • Father’s Day Brunch at The Fairmont San Jose: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 19, The Fairmont San Jose, 170 S. Market St., San Jose.
  • Father’s Day Brunch at the Winchester Mystery House: 10 a.m. to noon June 19, Winchester Mystery House, 525 S Winchester Blvd., San Jose.
  • Father’s Day Brunch at the Tech Museum of Innovation: 10 a.m. to noon June 19, The Tech Museum of Innovation, 201 S Market St., San Jose."

Damn, that was actually pretty good! Could I push my luck and generate an image for this post using AI as well? The answer to that is... not really. The image below is entirely AI generated and is almost convincing until you realize it's not San Jose, something funky is happening with the streetlights, and what's up with everyone's arms? Is that a claw? Is the father grabbing the girl by the head? Oh, the humanity... On that note, Happy Father's Day =)

Thursday, June 15, 2023

San Pedro Square 2.0

One of the best changes to San Pedro Square during the pandemic was closing San Pedro Street to foot traffic. This greatly expanded outdoor seating and helped the neighborhood come alive. Now just about every single restaurant space on the street is leased and there are some great new comers like Gyukaku, Serious Dumpling, and Dr. Funk.

The next step is to create a permanent outdoor dining zone and pedestrian area. Last month the City Council approved a design that would provide 20 feet on both sides of the street for restaurant seating with a pedestrian walkway in the very middle that is about 20 feet wide.

The project would take 2-3 years and cost about $9.5 million, but given it is one of the most vibrant parts of Downtown San Jose today I think that's well worth it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

New Speakeasy coming to San Jose!

Another speakeasy bar could be coming to center of Downtown San Jose! Based on the render it looks like the underground bar could have a second area hidden in an old bank vault. 

The location is exceptional as it's close to other nightlife and is a short walk from everything. You have MINIBOSS, Paper Plane, 55 South, Temple Bar, and Five Points within two blocks--not to mention the whole Qmunity district and new spots like Goodtime Bar and the excellent Fox Tale Fermentation Project.

Below is the description from the sign. You'll have to zoom in quite a bit to see the layout. What a great way to make use of an underground space!

Project Description: Conditional Use Permit to allow a bar with late night use until 2:00am in the basement of an existing commercial building on an approximately 0.28-gross acre site.

Source: jgordo32 from the San Jose Development Forum

Monday, June 12, 2023

Naglee Park PorchFest returns June 17th, 3-7pm

The Naglee Park PorchFest brought together the neighborhood during the pandemic and is now returning on June 17th. This event turns porches, driveways, and lawns into stages for bands. The Campus Community Association and Messenger events organizes the bands, food trucks, and bathrooms but the real party is being hosted by the neighbors of Naglee Park.

In it's inaugural year--Summer 2020--bands were loaded onto trucks and paraded through the neighborhood while neighbors watched on their lawn. This year they have grown to 10 bands in 10 different locations which you can find on the map below.

It all does down this Saturday from 3-7pm on 12-14th Streets just south of Santa Clara Street.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Viva CalleSJ - Downtown Westbound

Viva Calle SJ is back for it's 2nd event of 2023! Miles of city streets will be completely shut down to let people walk, run, bike, unicycle, or skateboard down the streets of San Jose. 

Viva Calle Downtown Westbound features three activity hubs which are basically festivals-within-a-festival that highlight the local area. This time the activity hubs will be at San Carlos, Roosevelt Park, and SoFA. You can expect live music, vendors, food, activities, bike parking, and good times at all four hubs. In between the activity hubs you will still find all sorts of interesting stops, hydration stations, and stores. Up to 100,000 people attend this event, but it never feels crowded given how spread out it is.

Viva CalleSJ 2022 takes place on Sunday, June 11th from 10am to 3pm (streets are closed until 4pm). There is no beginning or end and the traffic flows in both directions. It's completely free and you can use the handy map below to locate the routes and festivities. For more info, head over here.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Spirit Airlines begins flying from SJC today

Super low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines has officially begun service from SJC's Terminal A. They are starting with two flights per day to Las Vegas, one to San Diego, and another to Dallas Fort Worth. Unfortunately these are all routes that are currently being served by other airlines at San Jose International, but the competition will help drive prices down.

Ironically, travelers on San Jose's lowest cost carrier will have easy access to airport lounges as both of them at SJC are in Terminal A--One by gate A8 and another on the way to Terminal B around gate A15. You can enter for free with Priority Pass or buy a day pass to enjoy a meal and cocktails before your flight.

Spirit flights start at only $39 each way, but there are many potential upcharges such as baggage, selecting a seat, and even overhead-bin access.

Source: SVBJ