Showing posts with label guadalupe river park. Show all posts
Showing posts with label guadalupe river park. Show all posts

Thursday, June 27, 2024

New mural by the Children's Discovery Museum in Downtown San Jose painted by acclaimed local tattoo artist

A beautiful new mural has been completed along Discovery Meadow, part of the Guadalupe River Park. As a frame of reference this is right outside the Children's Discovery Museum Downtown. The artist is Taki "Ryudaibori" Kitamura, a Japanese-American tattoo artist that founded State of Grace Tattoo in San Jose's Japantown.

The mural is entitled "Serpentine Fire" and is the twelfth mural added to the Guadalupe River Art Walk, enhancing what has become the Bay Area's longest public art corridor. The mural celebrates the year of the dragon and the multiculturalism of San Jose.

Below are several photos of the mural (credit to Lan Nguyen Photography) along with the full press release.

June 21, 2024: San José, CA – New mural painted by local artist and longtime tattoo shop owner celebrates the unifying significance of dragons and serpents across cultures. San Jose Walls (SJ Walls) and Guadalupe River Park Conservancy (GRPC) unveil the new mural along the Guadalupe River Park at Discovery Meadow, adjacent to the Children’s Discovery Museum in downtown San José. Entitled “Serpentine Fire,” the new installation is the twelfth mural artwork added to the Guadalupe River Art Walk, enhancing the Bay Area’s longest public art corridor.

This year’s Artist-in-Residence is Taki "Ryudaibori" Kitamura, an acclaimed Japanese-American Tattoo artist, who in 2002 founded the shop, State of Grace Tattoo, currently located in Japantown. Kitamura’s shop serves as a regional home for traditional Japanese tattooing, connecting resident artists trained in Japan and those from the Bay Area to deepen the art of tattooing through exchange, apprenticeship, and collaboration.

“To celebrate this lunar year of the dragon and the multiculturalism of San José, Serpentine Fire represents dragon mythology around the world,” says Kitamura. “With this mural, I am expressing the diversity of serpent divinity and sacred spaces - the dragon and serpent have been symbolic in cultures all over the world and in this, I see our common humanity.” The mural depicts various scenes where the public may interact with the artwork.

The new artwork and public engagement is supported by the City of San José to increase park visitation and usage in the Guadalupe River Park. The mural was curated in response to feedback from the Guadalupe Washington and Gardner neighborhoods just south of San José’s downtown core, favoring themes around community and diversity.

“Art has the ability to welcome people to a space. Growing up in San José, I believed there was a missed opportunity for public art to highlight our rich diversity,” says Natasha Lamperti, GRPC’s Project Manager. “I am so excited to see how future visitors will react to the mural.”

“The goal of the Guadalupe River Art Walk is to envision the Guadalupe River Park as a natural public art gallery and community gathering space” says Stacey Kellogg, San Jose Walls Director. “It has been five years and over a dozen installations since we started and the changes to the trail and park are really rewarding to see.” 

Mural painting will continue through Friday, June 21st and is accessible now to the public. 

Additional support for this year’s artist residency is provided by Applied Materials Foundation and World Wide Walls. For more information and ways to support, please visit


About Artist-in-Residence Taki "Ryudaibori" Kitamura:

Taki “Ryudaibori”Kitamura is an acclaimed Japanese-American tattoo artist local to San Jose.

State of Grace Tattoo was founded by Taki “Ryudaibori” Kitamura in September of 2002. Originally located on Berryessa Road, Taki moved the shop to the San José Japantown neighborhood in 2009. With the support of the Dobashi Family, State of Grace reopened the second floor of the historic Shanghai Building. While definitely seen as a home of traditional Japanese tattooing, including two resident artists straight from Japan, the diverse staff strives to offer an authentic experience for the discerning collector. In addition to a full time tattoo schedule, the shop has been involved in publishing, museum exhibitions, lectures, art shows, murals and Horitomo’s lifestyle brand: Monmon Cats. 

For more information about State of Grace Tattoo visit You can find Taki on instagram at @stateofgracetaki.

About San Jose Walls:

San Jose Walls (formally POW! WOW! San Jose), established in 2017, is Northern California’s regional branch of the Worldwide Walls network of festivals happening in over 20 cities  around the world. Led locally by Empire Seven Studios —a contemporary urban art gallery and cultural institution in Japantown, San José, California.

Over the past six years, San Jose Walls has grown into the Bay Area’s premiere art festival with a line up and experience that provides some of the best in the world. Much more than a multi-day festival, San Jose Walls is an amenity with substantial economic and community impact. It is also a vehicle to celebrate our city’s  past, present, and future creative culture.

To date, San Jose Walls has produced over 80 murals and art installations throughout the City with a focus on underserved neighborhoods and most recently, the Guadalupe River Park and Trails. The goal is to strengthen community ties by bringing local and worldwide contemporary art to our City as a way  to highlight its rich diversity.


For more information on SJ Walls contact or visit

About GRPC:

The Guadalupe River Park Conservancy (GRPC) provides community leadership for the development and active use of the Guadalupe River Park & Gardens through education, advocacy, and stewardship.

Founded in 1996, GRPC is the City of San José’s nonprofit partner leading park programming and management. They envision the Guadalupe River Park & Gardens as a civic greenway that connects people to nature and each other, and uplifts neighborhoods through San José’s front yard.

This two-and-a-half mile ribbon of parkland runs along the banks of the Guadalupe River in the heart of downtown San José. The River Park & Gardens serve as a north/south connector and contain beloved features such as the Guadalupe River Trail, the Rotary PlayGarden, the San José Heritage Rose Garden, and various public art including the Guadalupe River Art Walk.

Programming within the park includes educational opportunities, volunteerism, and a variety of year-round events for the public to enjoy. For more information visit

Saturday, June 15, 2024

San Jose Pride Block Party on June 22nd

The Guadalupe River Park Conservancy and Silicon Valley Pride are hosting a free block party on June 22nd from 12pm to 4pm at the Arena Green West (N Autumn St.) in San Jose. The event includes live music and DJs, food, wine/beer, a drag show, and resource booths. Yet another fun event in Downtown San Jose!

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Culture Night Market today

The Guadalupe River Park Conservancy is hosting a Culture Night Market today right outside Little Italy in Downtown San Jose. The free event includes live music, a soccer tournament, a screening of Shrek (7:30pm-10pm), food trucks, and of course the vendors you would expect from a night market. It's going to be 77 degrees outside--perfect weather for an event like this.

The event is both kid and pet friendly and will run from 4pm-10pm at Arena Green East, 340 W. St. John St., San Jose, CA 95110.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

San Jose looking for options to prevent encampments on the Guadalupe River Trail

The Guadalupe River Trail and Guadalupe River Park is essentially San Jose's "Central Park." The core of the trail and park network stretches from San Jose International Airport, through Downtown San Jose, all the way to the Children's Discovery Museum. Last year, San Jose received $ 2 million to relocate the homeless living in encampments along the trail and reclaim the trail for public use. Unfortunately, the encampments have come back.

Mayor Matt Mahan is proposing to redirect existing city funds to address this issue as soon as possible. He is also hoping that a similar policy could be used to address re-encampment in other public spaces in San Jose.

The Guadalupe River Trail and Park system has the potential to be one of the best urban parks in the Bay Area. It should be safe and accessible to everyone, and clearing or relocating the encampments is critical to that goal.

Source: KRON4

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

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Guadalupe River Park - Adopt a Rose

Looking for a great last-minute Valentine's Day idea? The Guadalupe River Park Conservancy is offering a $60 package that includes adopting a rose (post your personal message in the garden), a box of chocolates, a cookie, and a free rose each month for a year.

Best of all, the proceeds go towards support the park and the purchase is partially tax deductible. You don't have to tell your significant other that last part.

To learn more and to order this special Valentine's Day package, head over here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The new San Jose Light Tower is moving forward

San Jose is a city that has been in search of an internationally recognizable landmark for quite some time. Fortunately, a grassroots organization has come together with a mission to do just that. The San Jose Light Tower Corporation (SJLTC) is a nonprofit with the goal of building a world-class iconic structure that will represent our city for generations.

The project is broken down into four phases, and is surprisingly far along.

Phase 1 - Launch the Documentary: The Light Between Two Towers 

FUNDED. This exciting film by Thomas Wohlmut ties the historic San Jose Light Tower (built in 1881) to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It has been in the works for 8 years and will finally be complete in 2019. The film will be part of the promotional campaign for building a new tower that will represent the San Jose of today and tomorrow.

The Light Between Two Towers - Trailer from WMS media Inc. on Vimeo.

Phase 2 - Site Selection 

FUNDED, IN PROGRESS. The Light Tower Corporation initially evaluated six different sites in Downtown San Jose. When seeking city council support earlier this year, they received unanimous approval from all 11 seats. Now, we have a final candidate and that is the Arena Green (photo below). This location would highlight San Jose's flagship park and would be easily accessible from the SAP Center and Diridon Station, which is destined to become the busiest transit hub on the West Coast. It would also sit in the middle of some 10+ million SQFT of new development that will be built over the coming decade or two.

By December 4th, the City Council will decide whether or not to approve the location. The odds are looking quite good so far.

Phase 3 - Idea Competition

FUNDED. This one is hot off the press. On Sunday the San Jose Light Tower Corporation held a fundraiser to launch this next stage, an international competition to find the best design concept for the tower. It does not have to look like the 1881 historic tower, in fact it may not look like a traditional tower at all. As a wild futuristic example, the tower could be made out of drones. We are in the innovation capital of the world, it should be creative and reach a bit into the future.

The goal of the fundraiser was to secure the remaining $300,000 required to launch the competition. It may have helped that four (!) San Jose mayors were in attendance, but the goal was nailed.

Phase 4 - Construction

TBD. After the design competition, we will have some idea of what will be included as part of the project and what the costs will be. The preferred location supports a structure up to 150 feet tall, but there may be ways to add virtual height such as with creative lighting or projections. As soon as any new details are available, we'll provide updates ASAP. If you are interested in contributing to this exciting project, you can donate over here.

A New Iconic Monument for San Jose from WMS media Inc. on Vimeo.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Swenson reveals spectacular proposal for the Guadalupe River Area

Swenson Builders just blew my mind with their proposal to turn the Downtown stretch of the Guadalupe River into a 6.81 million SQFT mixed-use development. Apparently, Swensen has been contemplating this for decades.

The 30-acre project would incorporate and expand existing parks on both sides of the Guadalupe River and even create a second river (!)... more on that in just a moment. Perhaps take a quick break to scroll down and look at the photos and then head back up here.

The square footage breakdown would be 3.8 million SQFT for office space, 2 million SQFT of residential space (~2,400 units), 420,000 SQFT of retail in a 5-story terraced shopping center, and 590,000 SQFT of hotel space (~1,100 rooms). Bridges would zig-zag over the river(s) to easily get from one side to the other. If there was ever a proposal to rival the San Jose Google HQ, this would be it.

One of the most interesting aspects of the proposal is to create a man-made river parallel to the original Guadalupe River. The purpose of this would be to allow for recreational water activities in Downtown San Jose such as kayaking, surfing, and stand-up boarding. Above the river would also be zip-lines, allowing for a fun adventure combining both a natural and urban backdrop.

Right now this is more vision than a formal proposal, but can you imagine is this is what the Downtown Guadalupe River area looked like 20 years from now? This would be a tremendous amenity and entertainment draw while highlighting one of Downtown's best kept secrets--the river.

Source: SVBJ (Subscription Required)

Monday, June 26, 2017

Wishlist: An Urban Linear Park

When traveling, one thing I can count on is that local parks are probably the best way to get to know a city. For some cities, it's due to a signature park or tourist attraction within the park. For the rest, I find it most satisfying to explore a city through a linear park.

Wikipedia defines an urban park as a "park in an urban or suburban setting that is substantially longer than it is wide". This usually means there are two ends to the park, and it is designed to encourage pedestrian traffic between the end points (i.e. a trail). A properly designed, public, pedestrian- and bike-friendly pathway can allow visitors to see more of the city while simultaneously activating otherwise deserted spaces.

Urban Linear Parks in Other Cities

The High Line, New York City

Some of this activation comes from re-purposing paths that are no longer in use. The High Line in New York used to be a stretch of railroad elevated railroad. Now visitors on The High Line can walk parallel to 10th Ave, but with a lot more green and some escape from the rush of the streets below.

Other examples include waterfront walks. While waterfronts are generally already pedestrian destinations, these parks naturally draw visitors to walk along side them. One example not far from home is the Embarcadero in San Francisco. The walk stretches from AT&T Park on the southern end to Fisherman's Wharf in the north. Along the way there is public art, a nice view of the Bay Bridge, restaurants, and of course, piers.

The Embarcadero, San Francisco
My favorite example of a linear park is actually from a recent trip to Panama City (in Panama, not Florida). The Cinta Costera is also a park along the waterfront, but is on a different level when it comes to pedestrian involvement. I walked along most of it, which took approximately an hour.

Playground at Cinta Costera, Panama City
Street vendors at Cinta Costera, Panama City
Here's what it had to offer:
  • Outdoor exercise areas
  • Playgrounds
  • Food carts
  • Toy vendors and DIY carnival games
  • Basketball and futsal courts
  • Sculptures
  • Music
  • People in Disney costumes (for photos)
  • Plenty of seating, and plenty of people seated
This park was the place to be for kids and adults, tourists and locals alike. The eyes, foot traffic, and lighting provided a sense of safety. The entire stretch of the park felt lively and festive. Wouldn't it be nice to have something similar in San Jose?

Guadalupe River Trail & Park

San Jose doesn't have much of a waterfront to flaunt, and it doesn't (yet) have large stretches of unused rail or road to convert into a park. Until Alviso is a more appropriate destination for visitors, the park with the most potential to become an urban linear park to showcase the city is probably Guadalupe River Park and Trail. A large section of it already intersects with the most urban part of San Jose (and the South Bay). It is somewhat connected to various pedestrian walkways, and isn't fully contained within a large, isolated park. 

Interestingly we caught glimpses of what the park could become during the Pokemon Go craze. Just the equivalent of a couple of highway exits down from the park, masses of people gathered between the SAP Center and Little Italy near the Guadalupe River trail. At night there started to be music, hot dog carts started to show up, and people eventually seemed to go to the park just to hang out. The natural benefits of a successful public space were in full display, albeit a result of the mobile game.

Guadalupe River Trail during the Pokemon Go craze

Over time, the crowds started to dwindle until the park was empty once again. However, I couldn't help but wonder how great it would be if we had people enjoying our parks this much on a daily basis.

Safety is #1

From what I see, hear and read, the biggest obstacle preventing many people from visiting parks around San Jose is the fear for their safety. In my observations about Cinta Costera, I mentioned that it felt safe. That's what prompted me to take the one hour walk rather than call a taxi: the park both intrigued and welcomed me. It was easy to call for help with so many pedestrians nearby. The open layout meant I could see what was coming from a great distance. It was next to an expressway, so not many cars were parked on the side of the road. There wasn't a single poorly lit stretch of the path.

On the contrary, the Guadalupe River Trail is mostly isolated rather than integrated with the city. The miscellaneous trees and bushes mean it's hard to know what's ahead or around the corner. While San Jose is still one of the safest large cities in the US, its reputation within the Bay Area has suffered in recent years due to the growing homeless population (and related news). With most people afraid or uncomfortable walking through the parks, and refusing to visit, the opposite of the Pokemon Go impact occurs. The quieter the park, the more people are worried that something bad may happen in the next corner, or behind the next bush, and no one would be around to help them. It's a cruel cycle.

What's Next?

There did appear to be an effort to re-imagine Guadalupe Trail Park from 2009. As far as I could tell, this was nothing more than a brain exercise for the planning group. The presentation certainly looks interesting, but is also clearly outdated. For example, with movement on the St. James Park redesign (which includes a stage), does it make sense for Guadalupe River Park to also have a major entertainment venue?

Ken Kay Associates' vision of Guadalupe River Park
I do like many of the ideas outlined in this plan (an efficiently run fountain would be a great contrast to the mostly dry river), but it's missing a critical consideration. The park is connected to the trail. As the downtown, Diridon, and Japantown areas become more pedestrian friendly, the trail will be the best way for many locals to arrive at the park. Revamping with park itself without turning the stretches of Guadalupe Park Trail into a safe, welcoming walkway could mean that the park remains barren and inactive during most of the week.

As the urban core of San Jose develops, it'll be increasingly important that there's an all-ages, all-genders public space for us to gather as a community. Focusing on making Guadalupe River Park and Trail the best they can be would help us achieve that goal. A comprehensive plan must include turning the urban stretch of the trail into our own take of the urban linear park concept. It has the potential to not only become a unique attraction to the area, but also become a crucial pedestrian pathway between neighborhoods.

- Lawrence Lui

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Rotary PlayGarden Centennial Project

The Rotary Club of San Jose decided to do something pretty incredible as part of their 100th anniversary. They built an impressive PlayGarden on a 4.5 acre site in the Guadalupe River Park specifically designed for both children with special needs and those without to play side by side.

Again, this isn't a park exclusively for those with special needs and it isn't a park that just happens to have a couple of attractions that those with special needs can use. The idea is for all children to play together--a novel and innovative concept appropriate for Silicon Valley. Children with disabilities will gain access to the traditional playground experience and children without disabilities will learn about awareness and acceptance.

The park will officially open to the public either on the last Week of April or first week of May. Please watch the two minute video below for an idea of all the neat attractions in the park, which may be the best in all of San Jose. The Rotary did an exceptional job here!

San Jose Rotary PlayGarden Ribbon Cutting 2015 from WMS media Inc. on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Searchlight San Jose: Setting Sail on the Mighty Guadalupe

Brown water adventures in San Jose... what?? Searchlight San Jose has discovered that you can do urban kayaking runs up the Guadalupe River! Head over here for all the details and check out the video below of the Stanford Kayak Club pulling off some impressive tricks near 880.

Oh, and while you are at Searchlight San Jose, you might as well "Dress Up Quetzy." Quetzy is the nickname for the statue in the middle of Plaza de Cesar Chavez that looks like a giant turd. Not a bad idea considering that any changes you make can only be an improvement over what it looks like today. This reminds me of the famous Manneken-Pis statue in Brussels that gets dressed up regularly for special events.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pumpkins in the Park Tomorrow

If you are looking for a kid-friendly Halloween event, look no further than Pumpkins in the Park tomorrow at the Discovery Meadow in Guadalupe River Park. The event runs from 10am to 4pm an includes all of the activities listed below:

  • Giant Pumpkin Patch
  • Costume Swap with Children's Discovery Museum
  • Costume Parade
  • Carnival Games
  • Kid-Sized Straw Bale Maze
  • Great Food
  • Fresh Apple Cider
  • Guadalupe River Education
  • Lots of Free Kid's Activities
  • Children's Concert

For more information check out the Pumpkins in the Park website over here.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Breathe Deep Bay Area 5k Walk/Fun Run on June 1st

Breathe Deep Bay Area is a grassroots event planned and managed by a small group of volunteers from the Bay Area whose lives have been impacted by lung cancer. This 5K walk and run is an opportunity for our community to rally together against lung cancer. They started in 2011 and their next run is one week from today--Sunday, June 1st--at the Discovery Meadow Park behind the Children's Discovery Museum. It's a great cause and they have already raised over half of their $30k goal!

Who: Anyone in the Bay Area!
What: Breathe Deep Bay Area, 5K walk and fun run
Where: Discovery Meadow Park in Guadalupe River Park & Gardens, San Jose (180 Woz Way)
When: Sunday, June 1st, 9:00am for the run, 10:00am for the walk
Why: To raise money for lung cancer research and to raise awareness for this disease!

For more information:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fantasy Faire This Weekend at Guadalupe River Park

Renaissance Productions is hosting the Fantasy Faire San Jose next to the SAP Center. The event will feature hundreds of costumed performers across multiple fantasy genres (ogres, pirates, sci-fi, steampunk, etc.) as well as shopping, arts & crafts, and various performances. The Fantasy Faire runs from April 12-13th and guests of all ages are welcome (but not pets). For more info, just head over here.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Beavers Find the Way Back to San Jose

Well, I can honestly say that I had no idea beavers ever existed in the Bay Area. For the first time in 150 years, beavers have apparently returned to the Guadalupe River and made a home for themselves within the Downtown San Jose area. Even the beavers see the value in moving Downtown! Check out the video below and the source link for all the info.

Thanks Dan for the tip!

Source: Bay Nature

Friday, March 29, 2013

Community Easter Egg Hunt

Tomorrow from 10am-10:30am, bring your Easter baskets to Discovery Meadow for a free Easter Egg Hunt. The focus this year will be on sharing, generosity, and equality. The event is happening rain or shine and the hosts are also giving away prizes. For more info, just click here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New All-Access Play Garden Near Guadalupe River Park

The Downtown San Jose Rotary Club is planning to build an all-access play garden where children with and without special needs can play together. This would be the first of its kind in San Jose about would be located on 4.1 acres near the Guadalupe River Park and Gardens Visitor Center (Coleman and Autumn St.). Special equipment will allow wheelchair accessibility to slides, swings, merry-go-rounds, and other park attractions.

The total cost is going to be $6.35M. Groundbreaking is targeted for the end of 2013 and the opening should happen in 2014.

Source: SVBJ

Saturday, August 6, 2011

First Annual San Jose Renaissance Faire This Weekend

Just a reminder that the Renaissance Faire is kicking off in Downtown San Jose for the first time later this morning. Check out the flyer below for details!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Renaissance Faire is coming Downtown!

Wow, this is an interesting new event for Downtown San Jose I really didn't see coming. On August 6th and 7th, Guadalupe River Park will be transformed into a medieval kingdom complete with jousting, minstrels, magic, and of course the obligatory turkey legs. You can find more information on the First Annual San Jose Renaissance Faire in the poster below or at there website right over here.