Showing posts with label downtown san jose. Show all posts
Showing posts with label downtown san jose. Show all posts

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Levitt Pavilion San Jose hosting Madison McFerrin today in St. James Park

Live music is returning to St. James Park for the fall... starting today!

Every Sunday (October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29) bring a picnic, drop a blanket on the lawn and enjoy free, all ages, high quality concerts from 3pm – 6:30pm in Historic St. James Park. There will be a Beer & Wine Garden featuring Coterie Winery and local breweries, and delicious local food trucks will be on hand to ensure a stress free Sunday evening in the park.

Formed in 2016, Friends of Levitt Pavilion San Jose is a nonprofit with a mission to build community through free, all-ages, high-quality live music shows and performances on a permanent stage in historic St. James Park.

The Levitt San Jose Spring Concert Series will feature top local and national artists, giving a sneak peek of what’s to come when Levitt Pavilion San Jose joins the community of 
permanent Levitt venues across the country.

Levitt San Jose has held 2 previous concert series (Spring ‘23 & Fall ‘22) featuring National and Local touring acts including Antibalas, Lyrics Born, Jose James, La Dona, Maurice “MoBetta” Brown & Melanie Charles, La Luz, Los Yesterdays, JC Smith Band, Noah & The Arkiteks and Orgone. 

Today's artist is Madison McFerrin. Her full bio is below.

Artist bio:

Throughout her fruitful independent career, spanning three EPs and multiple collaborations, Madison has earned accolades from The New York Times, NPR, The FADER, and Pitchfork, who named her a Rising Artist in 2018. Her genre-bending work has led to Questlove dubbing her early sound “soul-appella.” In addition to a stirring performance on the renowned COLORS Studio platform, McFerrin has also performed at Lincoln Center, Central Park SummerStage and BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn, and shared stages with the likes of De La SoulGallant, and The Roots. Off the stage, Madison’s music has been featured in episodes of Comedy Central’s Broad City and HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness. Working at the intersection of artistry and community building, McFerrin co-curated programming for the BRIC Jazz Festival in 2021, and in 2022, aligned her MAD LOVE initiative with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy to provide some much needed space for healing from the collective trauma of the pandemic. Last fall, she mesmerized crowds at sold out shows in London and Paris during her It’s Been Too Long… European tour and made her debut at the Corona Capital Festival after releasing, "Stay Away (From Me)," which she performed live on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s  #LateShowMeMusic series. Ahead of releasing new music in 2023, Madison has continued to blow away sold out crowds at shows in New York City and Los Angeles.

San Jose local, 23 year old self proclaimed Jazz school drop out turned rhinestone rebel, JOY. will be opening for Madison McFerrin.

Friends of Levitt San Jose social links: FacebookInstagram and Twitter,

The Levitt San Jose Music Series is supported in part by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, which partners with towns and cities across America to activate underused publi
c spaces through the power of free live music, creating welcoming, inclusive destinations. Presenting a broad array of music genres and cultural programming, Levitt venues and concert sites are community anchors where families, friends and neighbors of all ages and backgrounds come together. Learn more at

FYI - You may have heard about Levitt San Jose’s efforts to break ground at St. James Park. Having dealt with a progress-halting
lawsuit and the current appeal of the Court’s initial decision, Friends of Levitt Pavilion San Jose perseveres, and sets the tone for the future site of a Levitt Pavilion with this concert series. By recognizing the magic of live music to bring communities together and activate public spaces, Levitt San Jose strives to carve out a new era for Downtown San Jose’s most historic park.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Rock 'n' Roll Marathon this Weekend

If you’re looking for a fun and fast way to experience the spirit of San Jose, look no further than the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose marathon. This annual event, which will take place on September 30 and October 1, 2023, is part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series that features live music, cheer squads, and a festive atmosphere along the course.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose marathon offers four distances to choose from: half marathon, 10K, 5K, and KiDS ROCK. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a beginner, you’ll find a challenge that suits your level and goal. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy the scenic views of downtown San Jose, the Rose Garden, and the Alameda as you run.

The race weekend kicks off with a two-day Health & Fitness Expo at the San Jose Convention Center, where you can pick up your race packet, shop for running gear, and get inspired by guest speakers and experts. On Saturday, you can join the 5K or the KiDS ROCK races, which are perfect for families and friends who want to have some fun together. On Sunday, you can test your endurance and speed in the half marathon or the 10K races, which are known for being flat and fast.

But the fun doesn’t stop at the finish line. You’ll also get to celebrate your achievement with a medal, a T-shirt, a free beverage, and admission to the Finish Line Festival and Post-Race Concert. There, you can rock out to live bands, enjoy food and drinks from local vendors, and mingle with other runners and spectators.

If you’re feeling generous, you can also run for a cause by joining the St. Jude Heroes program. By fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, you’ll get free race entry and other perks, such as an exclusive medal, a race singlet, and access to the race weekend hospitality experience. You’ll also help St. Jude lead the way in treating and defeating childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Register now for the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose marathon and get ready to rock your run. You’ll not only have a blast, but also make some lasting memories in Speed City (new nickname for San Jose?). For more information and registration details, visit the official website of the event.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Urban Confluence meeting to discuss placing Breeze of Innovation in Plaza de Cesar Chavez

Urban Confluence is working on building a new landmark for the city of San Jose that plays homage to the San Jose Electric Light Tower, an innovative structure that may have provided some inspiration for the Eiffel Tower. They are looking for your feedback on the new project and have an event coming up tomorrow, Sep 29th, from 5:30pm to 6:30pm at the San Jose Chamber of Commerce (101 West Santa Clara Street).

The agenda will cover a history of the project, the Plaza de Cesar Chavez master plan, and plenty of time for public comments and questions.

Below is an early concept render, but no finalized design currently exists. The project will be developed in collaboration with park neighbors, event producers, visitors, and all interested citizens of San Jose.

Some of the ideas being thrown around for the project in its new location are:
  • Improved infrastructure such as a stage, lighting, and sound for park events such as concerts and Christmas in the Park
  • A possible expansion of the park footprint based on recommendations from the San Jose Department of Transportation
  • Elements that honor Cesar Chavez
To participate, please either send a text to (408) 813-5984 or email 

Monday, September 25, 2023

Little Italy San Jose Street Festival this weekend

The 6th Annual Little Italy San Jose Festival kicks off this Saturday, September 30th from 6-10pm and continues on Sunday, October 1st from 11am-7pm. It'll feature authentic Italian cuisine, entertainment, Cal-Italia wine tasting, Italian supercars, arts & crafts, and will of course highlight both the existing and new Little Italy San Jose businesses. There is also a silent auction to benefit the Italian Museum & Cultural Center which is located right inside Little Italy.

The list of sponsors includes some big names like Google and The Sobrato Organization, which is great since over 15,000 people could participate this year. It's always a fun event and a great way to explore one of San Jose's newest districts. I would recommend parking at San Pedro Square and walking over or using Uber/Lyft so you can really enjoy those Cal-Italian wines.

For more information head over here!

Friday, September 22, 2023

Sidewalk Shops every Sunday through October 29th at San Pedro Square from 1pm to 5pm

A retail experience highlighting local entrepreneurs is taking place every Sunday in front of Moment SJ (60 N. San Pedro Street). Twelve different makers and artists will set up pop-up shops each week along the four local small business storefronts that already exist there--Woofboard, Tiny Keyboard Shop, Boho Moon Art, and Plant Slut.

You can park free for 90 minutes with no validation needed in the San Pedro Garage on-site. Enter the garage at 45 N. Market Street.

It's all outdoors, admission is free, and it's dog friendly. 

It's also a great opportunity to check out your favorite eateries or some of the newer restaurants on San Pedro such as Serious Dumpling, Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ, Dr. Funk, and Slice of Homage Pizza.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Original Gravity in Downtown San Jose will transform into two new unique lounges

Original Gravity was the first large-scale craft beer pub and taproom in San Jose. You could argue Good Karma was across the street was technically the first, but they typically only had a handful of unique craft beers while Original Gravity had dozens rotating constantly. 

After Original Gravity, the proprietors went on to open Paper Plane next door focusing on craft cocktails and elevated gastropub food. Miniboss was their 3rd project, literally taking it to the next level with arcades, pinball machines, and a gaming twist to their craft cocktails on Santa Clara Street. In 2024, they'll open Eos & Nyx--a stunning two-story restaurant and bar that will be a key anchor for the Paseo building (formerly Camera 12) along with Urban Putt and an Unofficial Logging.

So after all this success, they shut down Original Gravity earlier this year. Why?

The proprietors believe that craft beer has become more common and local breweries like Strike, Camino, and Clandestine now all have their own taprooms. So they are pivoting and using the space for a new dual-concept space.

The front will be a listening lounge called Still OG. It'll feature a DJ area, shelved filled with vinyl, and an acoustic ceiling. Here they will primarily serve pre-made draft cocktails.

In the back will be Alter Ego, a more modern lounge that will feature handmade craft cocktails with a lot of focus on presentation. Drinks will have unique glassware and unusual garnishes and ingredients. Seating will be mostly by reservation with limited space reserved for walkups. To me it sounds like a modern day speakeasy.

Both Still OG and Alter Ego are scheduled to open in November. Everything this team has done so far has been excellent, so I can't wait to try out their latest concepts.

P.S. If you want great craft beer in Downtown San Jose, you still have Market Beer Co. inside of the San Pedro Square market with a killer selection of both taps and bottles.

Source: The Merc

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Downtown San Jose office tower converting to housing

Urban Catalyst is building two high rises near city hall, one is a 26-story high-rise with 389 residences and the other was supposed to be a 20-story office building called Icon with 525,000 SQFT of office space. Now given market conditions, it looks like the office building is going to pivot into more housing.

The converted project would have 650 multifamily units after getting city approval. There is a significant need for housing and a lot of vacant office space right now in Downtown San Jose, so this sounds like a wise shift.

Source: The Merc

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

The Signia San Jose (former Fairmont) added to ResortPass ☀️🏊🏻🍸🍹

ResortPass is a site for "Daycations" meaning if you live locally instead of staying at a hotel you can pay to come and use the hotel's amenities. This includes things like the pool, poolside bar, gym, and spa. You're essentially a guest, but without the room.

The Signia by Hilton (formerly the Fairmont) is the latest hotel to be added to the program. This is a huge addition as it has the best swimming pool of all the Downtown San Jose hotels and maybe all of the South Bay hotels period. If you have never stayed here, you probably didn't even know this pool even exists. It's hidden on the podium on the 4th floor of the hotel, and looks down at Plaza de Cesar Chavez in the middle of Downtown San Jose. From the park if you look at the hotel and see the palm trees, that's where the pool is.

A day pass costs $50 for adults and $15 for children and includes the pool, steam room, sauna, lounge chairs, towel service, and the fitness center. You can also book a cabana for $130 that is good for 2 adults and 2 children and comes with a complimentary snack pack (two non-alcoholic beverages, popcorn, kettle chips, a protein bar, and candy).

It's a rare opportunity to stay and San Jose's fanciest hotel without paying for a room. You can book your daycation at The Signia over here or check out other San Jose options here. 

Hayes Mansion, the DoubleTree by Hilton, Hyatt House San Jose Airport, Hyatt Place San Jose Airport, and the San Jose Marriott Downtown are also available on the site.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Viva CalleSJ: Calle >> Matsuri (San Jose's Japantown, Kelley Park, and Tamien Park)

Viva CalleSJ is back for it's 3rd event of the year! Miles of city streets will be completely shut down to let people walk, run, dance, bike, unicycle, skateboard, or hoverboard down the streets of San Jose. 

Calle >> Matsuri features three activity hubs which are festivals-within-a-festival that highlight the local area. This time the activity hubs will be at Japantown, Kelley Park, and Tamien Park. You can expect live music, vendors, food, activities, bike parking, and good times at all of the hubs. In between the activity hubs you will still find all sorts of interesting stops, hydration stations, and stores. Watch the video below to get a feel for the event if you've never done one.

As an added bonus, Happy Hollow Park and Zoo will be providing free admission for anyone participating in the Viva CalleSJ. This is the first time I remember this happening, so it's worth taking advantage of--especially if you're going with your family.

The event takes place on Sunday, September 10th 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.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Rollati Ristorante - New 7,000 SQFT flagship restaurant coming to Downtown San Jose

There has been some debate lately on the state of Downtown San Jose. A viral video has been circulating around showing all the empty storefronts throughout Downtown, but it glossed over not only areas that are very active today but failed to point out the exciting new projects coming to our city's core. Rollati is definitely one of those projects.

The Silicon Valley Business Journal snagged an exclusive about the new restaurant. If you have a subscription you can access it here. Below are my notes.

Rollati Ristoranti is coming from the same team behind Left Bank Brasserie, LB Steak, Meso Modern Mediterranean and Camper in Menlo Park. It will be one of the anchor tenants on the ground floor of the Miro apartment towers across from City Hall. The restaurant is 7,000 SQFT large (massive) and will seat up to 189 people between an indoor dining room, bar and lounge, private dining rooms, a retail cafe, and outdoor space. A large outdoor dining area will be on both sides of the restaurant and accommodate up to 52 people.

The "retail cafe" definitely piqued my interest when I read the article. This will be a market that sells pastas, house-made sauces, and some prepared items like meatballs. It's catered towards the residents upstairs and Downtown workers that might want to quickly grab some items to take home.

The CEO of the company behind the restaurant described the menu as a "love letter to Italian-American cuisine" and stated that "a modern American-Italian restaurant hasn't been done in the caliber we're hoping." Bring it on I say!

Two sides of the restaurant space will have floor to ceiling windows to let in a lot of natural light and the vibe is going to be modern yet nostalgic.

The grand opening is slated for some time in September and dinner hours will be 5pm-9pm Sunday through Thursday and 5pm to 10pm on Friday and Saturday. For near real-time photos and additional info as it becomes available, follow The San Jose Blog on X.

Source: SVBJ

Saturday, September 2, 2023

San Jose's secret video game vault in Downtown San Jose

Downtown San Jose already has several great venues for gamers. You have the epic-sized Guildhouse and LvL Uproar Brewery in SoFA, Miniboss for arcades and pinball, and San Pedro Social. However, did you know there is a treasure trove of video game nostalgia in a basement at 124 East Santa Clara Street?

Below a nondescript IT repair shop is Gameshop Downstairs. Here you can find classic games, vintage consoles, and all sorts of memorabilia from the many decades video games have been around now. If you're looking for Pokémon trading cards, yes they have those too.

As games are increasingly going digital, it's nice to know there is still a place where you can find a physical piece of gaming history. The N64 was my favorite console of all time and you can still buy cartridges here instead of dealing with eBay or garage sales. If you love games, I'd highly recommend swinging by next time you're in the area. Full address and hours below:

Gameshop Downstairs
124 E Santa Clara St, #B
Monday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tuesday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wednesday Closed
Thursday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Friday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday Closed

Thursday, August 31, 2023

The WOW Festival 2023 in Downtown San Jose

A three-day music festival is taking place this Labor Day Weekend at Plaza de Cesar Chavez. The WOW Festival is showcase of emerging talent from San Jose and beyond, curated by Outside Live and featuring genres like indie rock, hip hop, EDM, folk, and more. 

Within the festival will be a variety of attractions, activities, food, a full bar, and "good vibes." Speaking of which, bad vibes are explicitly prohibited from this event according to their website.

It's open to all ages, although VIP tickets are 21 and over. The WOW festival runs from September 1st to 3rd, starting at noon each day and most musical acts ending around 10pm. For more info, head over here.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

New Downtown San Jose mural celebrates AAPI achievements

You can find a beautiful new mural honoring Asian American Pacific Islanders on the side of Pono Hawaiian Grill at 86 N. Market Street. The shark is not-so-suble nod to San Jose. In the upper left you'll see the message Malama Aina which means "care for the land." This is more appropriate and resonant today than ever. 

The artwork was sponsored by the San Jose Downtown Association and the work was done by artist Taylor Reinhold assisted by Erik Smiley and Casey Landaker. You can watch the artists at work below with a 1 minute making-of video.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Google's Downtown San Jose project still has signs of life

While it's not the promised mixed-use megacampus many were excited about, Google is still planning to be active in the Downtown San Jose area. They are hosting Creekside Socials at various locations within the footprint of their proposed project near the Shark Tank and Diridon Station. These events are designed to celebrate the local culinary and creative community. There will be live music, food trucks, interactive art, a bike valet, children's programming, and a small maker's faire. 

The first Creekside Social will be on September 9th from 11am-3pm at 20 Barack Obama Boulevard across from the SAP Center.

Google is also preserving the historic San Jose Water Company building and is working with local artist to enhance the "Downtown West" neighborhood they will hopefully be anchoring in the coming years and/or decades.

Source: The Merc

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

New permit activity for Orchard Residential in Downtown San Jose

A 30-story apartment tower called Orchard Residential is slowly moving forward. Plans were approved last November, but some revisions were requested such as cutting car parking by half. They are hoping to receive their full building permit by fall to proceed with a pretty stunning 294-foot tall project.

The building will have 502,340 SQFT dedicated to residences, 13,860 SQFT of ground-floor retail, 104 parking spaces for cars, and 176 spaces for bicycles. The renders below are not just concepts--they are actually planning to plant 312 fruit trees and additional plants across the facade which is something more projects should consider doing.

Source: SF YIMBY, Dirk_Birkin from Skyscraper City

Monday, August 14, 2023

San Jose office building may be converted to residential or hotel

A 10-story, 113-year-old office building at 2 West Santa Clara St. might be converted to become either a residential building or a hotel.

Like many urban areas today, Downtown San Jose has a very high office vacancy rate. In Q2 it was 26.6%, partially because the massive 200 Park office tower was completed, adding greatly to the amount of available office space in the area. Santa Clara is also at 26.1% and San Francisco has a whopping 31.6% office vacancy.

So it makes quite a bit of sense to take some of the older office buildings and convert them to other uses that have more demand. Some of the plans up for consideration for 2 West Santa Clara are 65 residences, a hotel with 147 rooms, or a 73-unit co-living space (e.g. The Grad). 

The building has a great location in central Downtown San Jose but is only 100,000 SQFT and has small floor plates that are not popular with tech companies these days. Since every office has windows already, it should a pretty easy conversion to residential or a hotel.

Source: SFGATE

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

San Jose Jazz's Summer Fest 2023 Guide

SJ Today has a handy guide for anyone interested in attending Summer Fest this weekend. Running from August 11-13th, it's the largest Jazz event in San Jose and is one of the largest and best Jazz festivals in the US. It features over 100 performances across eight different stages and supplemental events that will let you party all night long.

To see a great summary of the event, head over here.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Park Avenue in Downtown San Jose is reopening

The massive 200 Park Avenue office tower is pretty much complete, and that means that Park Avenue between Market Street and Almaden can reopen. However, this street got a major facelift with new pedestrian improvements, bike lanes, and bioswales (organic channels or trenches that collect rainwater runoff and filter out pollutants).

200 Park is 19-stories above ground and has four levels of underground parking. There is a total of 840,000 SQFT of office space, 26,000 SQFT of outdoor terraces, and 2,000 SQFT of retail. Each floor of office space is a whopping 54,000 SQFT... it's massive.

Park Avenue won't be open indefinitely as other high-rise projects are planned for City View Plaza across the street from 200 Park. Eventually that entire block will be torn down and replaced with three large interconnected buildings that could add another 3.8 million SQFT of office space to Downtown San Jose. The timing might not be great for that project today, but in the future when funding and demand allow... it will make for a very large tech campus in a great location.

Source: Downtown Dimension

Future CityView Plaza Proposal

Monday, August 7, 2023

List of major Downtown San Jose projects under development

After many years of relatively generic proposals for Downtown San Jose throughout the early 2000s and 2010s, we are starting to see some bolder proposals that better reflect the diversity and uniqueness of Silicon Valley. 

I especially love projects that combine historic buildings with newer elements above or beside the original building, like what Bayview Development is doing at 150 E. Santa Clara.

For more details on each of these projects, hit the source link below.

Source: SVBJ

33 S. Montgomery St. (1.2 million SQF office, retail, and restaurants)

150 E. Santa Clara (75,285 SQFT Office + Retail)

The Terraine (319-unit residential, 12,263 SQFT of retail)

The Mark (Housing for 1,000 students)

Woz Way (1 million SQFT office, 10,100 SQFT retail)

Friday, July 28, 2023

San Jose's secret hotel

There is a secret hotel hiding in plain sight right across from City Hall. It's called the WhyHotel by Placemakr and it takes up a chunk of MIRO Towers. I believe at some point MIRO struggled to lease all of their apartments, so they partnered with Placemakr to create sort of a hybrid between a hotel and Airbnb.

Since these are technically luxury apartments, all rooms have kitchens and are at least 592 SQFT. The largest room is a 2 bedroom 2 bath for up to 4 people at 1,227 SQFT. Prices are generally the same or less than hotels in the area but you get a ton more space and the convenience of a kitchen and in-unit laundry. 

I'm not aware of any hotels Downtown that have two-bedroom suites as a readily available option (outside of some rare and very expensive Presidential suites). So if you are staying with a larger group of family and friends and don't want multiple rooms, this is likely your best option. If you're curious about what it would be like to live in Downtown San Jose, it's also a nice way to do a test run for a week or so.

Some other perks include a modern fitness center, yoga studio, and private dog park. I'm not sure how long this hotel will be around, so if you're interested here is the link.