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

Friday, May 17, 2024

Free Comic Con at the Santa Clara Central Park Library

What more appropriate place is there to host a ComicCon than a library? Well, perhaps a place that actually publishes comics. In any case, the Central Park Library in Santa Cara is hosting a free ComicCon on Saturday, October 12th.

The event will bring together local artists, comic book shops, cosplayers, and games for a full day of celebration. There will be panels, signings, anime screenings, vendors, crafts, and tons of special guests. They are still building out the full agenda, but some of their guests and vendors are already listed here.

It's rare to have access to events like this for free. If you're interested you can RSVP here.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Starting this week on a high note with Purple Lotus

A prime 2,100 SQFT corner space that was formerly Peet's Coffee at 66 West Santa Clara Street has reopened as Purple Lotus cannabis store. They just had their ribbon cutting last Friday..

I believe this is the first urban dispensary in San Jose. Most are tucked away in industrial areas, including the original Purple Lotus location at 752 Commercial Street. That dispensary is much larger and has a thriving business for both in-person and delivery. The family-owned business employs 139 people and is currently San Jose's largest dispensary.

The Downtown location will take advantage of relaxed hours that were voted in last November and will be open from 8am to 10pm. This may actually be a significant draw for Downtown (and perhaps help nearby restaurants). While I have personally never bought anything at a dispensary, I also wouldn't underestimate their potential impact. San Jose collected $16.6 million in taxes from dispensaries last fiscal year.

Sources: SVBJ, The Mercury News

George Avalos/Bay Area New Group

Monday, April 29, 2024

Cirque du Soleil is back in San Jose

For the first time since the pandemic, Cirque du Soleil has brought one of their Grand Chapiteau shows to San Jose. Kooza is running across the street from the Santa Clara County fairgrounds until May 26th. I hope this means that Cirque du Soleil will go back to their typical cadence of bringing shows to the South Bay every 18 months.

This is actually the 2nd time Kooza has been in San Jose, the first was way back in 2008. There have been a few changes since then, but the entertaining storyline and incredible acrobatics are still there. It's a great show and worth checking out--perfect for a date night or family outing. 

Tickets range from about $50 for standard seating to $300+ for VIP tickets that include food and cocktails in a lounge, gifts, and a photo op with the performers. You can still easily get tickets for the remaining dates here.

Source: The Mercury News

Monday, April 22, 2024

Sky Zone is bringing indoor zip lines and climbing walls to West San Jose

A major indoor active entertainment space is coming to Westgate Center at 1600 Saratoga Avenue. Sky Zone will feature zip lines, trampolines, climbing walls, and drop zones inside a 34,800 SQFT anchor retail spot.

Kids will get to run, jump, and play in a safe environment. Some of the activities also include aerial dodgeball, basketball dunking, gladiator-style jousts, and free climbing. There is also a toddler zone for younger children.

There is still no ETA for when Sky Zone will open, but when it does it'll be a great addition for the many young families that live in Silicon Valley.

Source: The Mercury News

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Save-the-date for all the 2024 Block Parties

Below are the dates and locations of all six block parties in Downtown San Jose. Each will highlight the local restaurants and stores in the area and add additional amenities like food trucks or live music. The 2023 block parties were a lot of fun and all six of these regions have had new businesses open in the past 12 months. Mark your calendars!

Monday, March 25, 2024

SJC celebrates 75 years with a giant chick in Terminal B

If you have flown out of San Jose recently, you might be wondering why there is a giant inflatable baby chick at baggage claim. The bird is there to commemorate the airport's 75th anniversary. The first commercial flight at SJC arrived in 1949 with two pilots, seven passengers, and 2,550 baby chickens. Only the chickens exited at SJC, the rest of the passengers continued on to LAX.

For the full history of the airport and a contest to win some swag by taking photos with the chicks (there are multiple throughout the airport) fly over here.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Introducing San Jose Monopoly!

Monopoly has been running local city editions for some time now, and finally San Jose gets their own version of the famed game. This is long overdue, especially considering that San Jose has the largest Monopoly board in the world.

The entire board features local landmarks and even the money has been personalized for San Jose. Properties include San Jose State, San Pedro Square, Municipal Rose Garden, and Plaza de Cesar Chavez. Instead of railroads, you have the VTA. I also like how the game uses one of my favorite photos of Downtown San Jose towards the bottom of the board. 

The question everyone was wondering is which two locations get the coveted Boardwalk and Park Place spots--the most valuable on the board. One is the Winchester Mystery House and the other is Original Joe's. Okay, here is where the criticisms start. I get the Winchester Mystery House, it's easily one of the top attractions in San Jose. Original Joe's? It's not even originally from San Jose, the first one was in San Francisco. I like Original Joe's and it was one of my favorite restaurants growing up; however, I really think that spot belonged to Santana Row.

Second, Downtown San Jose has it's own spot but so do many locations that are within Downtown San Jose. I'm not sure how you can own Downtown without owning everything inside of it. I think it would have made more sense to put a Downtown neighborhood like SoFA on there or the SAP Center which is oddly missing.

Thirdly, there are three spots dedicated to the Santa Cruz area. Everything else is from San Jose, so those could have been the Alviso Marina, the Salt Flats, Almaden Beach, etc.

I know, it's just a game and I'm probably taking it too seriously. I'm still thrilled that it exists, caveats and all.

Now actually finding the Monopoly San Jose Edition might be a bit more difficult than you would think. It's sold out every place I checked and hopefully will be back in stock at Amazon at some point over here. I was able to get a copy right when it came out, but now it's gone. The VTA is giving away 20 copies as part of a contest in January.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Break Stuff - San Jose's "stress relief demolition center"

I have heard of "rage rooms" before but didn't actually know of one that existed in San Jose. Before getting into a flurry of Thanksgiving and Christmas posts, I figured I would plug one option for getting your stress out before the holidays.

"Break Stuff" is a place that celebrates exactly what the name implies. It's the Bay Area's first and only stress therapy demolition center. Their purpose is to provide a venue that encourages controlled chaos, and by that I mean you get to break all sorts of old TVs, computers, glass bottles, garden gnomes, etc... whatever your heart desires.

Their packages range from $100 for 30 minutes of B.Y.O.B. (bring your own stuff to break) to $200 for 6 electronics and 60 glass items that they will provide for you. They have two rooms that can each hold 5 people at a time. If breaking things isn't your cup of tea, they also have axe-throwing.

Break Stuff has a Yelp rating of 4.8/5 with 256 reviews, which is very impressive. If you are looking for a unique corporate event or alternative way of hashing out family drama, it's worth a shot! Break Stuff is located at 860 S. 1st Street (between Camino and Clandestine Brewing) and is open Thursday through Sunday. You can read all of the rules and make reservations over here.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

San Jose's Frontier Village Remnants

Did you know San Jose once had a Western-themed theme park that opened in the 1960s? A Palo Alto entrepreneur built Frontier Village for $2 million after being inspired at Disneyland. It was built on about 60 acres near Hayes Mansion.

Some of the highlights were staged gunfights, saloons, and several rides including a roller coaster, a Ferris wheel, railroad, canoe rides, and horse-drawn carriages. An expansion was planned in 1977, but neighbors complained and the San Jose City Council denied the plans. Unfortunately, due to this and further competition from Marriott's Great America the park closed in 1980.

However, you can find all sorts of remnants and tributes for the theme park at Edenvale Garden Park across from Hayes Mansion. This includes five scale buildings placed where their original structures were and a play structure that is themed after the park's railroad. Next time you are visiting Hayes Mansion, it's worth a detour to check out the park and see how many references you can find related to a shuttered theme park.

Source: SJtoday

Saturday, October 21, 2023

The Bernal Scream Haunted House in South San Jose

I've posted about a lot of family-friendly Halloween events this year. If you’re looking for a more thrilling and terrifying way to celebrate Halloween, look no further than the Bernal Scream, a haunted house attraction located at 620 Blossom Hill Road, San Jose, CA 95123. The Bernal Scream is the creation of father and son duo Mike and Abel Barrera, who started it as a free show in their backyard in 2013. Since then, they have grown it into a commercial attraction that has attracted thousands of visitors and rave reviews.

Unfortunately co-founder Abel Barrera passed away from pancreatic cancer as they were working together on their next haunted attraction. Now, seven years later the dream of finishing what was started by the duo all those years ago is coming to fruition.

The Bernal Scream is not your typical haunted house. It is a high-endurance attraction that is intense. The theme for this year is Lucifer’s Wrath, a dark and twisted journey through the underworld. You will encounter demons, zombies, clowns, chainsaws, and more as you try to escape the wrath of the devil himself.

The Bernal Scream is open every day up to October 31 from 7pm to at least 10pm (Midnight on the 27th, 28th, and 31st). Tickets are $25 for general admission and $35 for VIP admission, which includes front-of-the-line access and a souvenir photo. You can buy tickets online at their website or at the door. The attraction is recommended for ages 13 and up, as again it is very intense and scary.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Día de los Muertos at the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose

Día de los Muertos honors the lives of departed ancestors and loved ones. The Children's Discovery Museum is throwing a special event on October 28th for visitors to learn more about Día de los Muertos. Attendees will also be able to make sand paintings with stencils, build cardboard skulls, and watch a parade with massive skeleton puppets led by Teatro Familia Aztlán.

Visitors can also write down the names of loved ones who have passed and bring personal mementos to share on a community altar. The event takes place between 9:30am to 12:30pm and 1:30pm to 4:30pm on Saturday, October 28th.

Source: The Merc

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

New San Jose winery open for tastings 🍷

Yes, you read that correctly. A winery--not a wine bar or wine store--is open in San Jose. Now while we were never Napa, our region has been know to produce some quality grapes. J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines is actually based in San Jose but most if not all of the wine production is now done elsewhere. Like the orchards and farmland, real estate values make it highly impractical to have wineries in San Jose these days. However, there are still some rebels out there that are going to try.

In Evergreen if you keep following Quimby Road you will eventually fine a vineyard on the hillside called Bella Montagna. The owner, Victor Klee, sold his Vino Vino wine bars to focus on the new winery (I still miss the original San Pedro Square Market Vino Vino).

The land Bella Montagna sits on was once owned by the Mirassou family which were pioneers in the US winemaking industry. The 12-acre property was also once owned by the Bay Area Girl Scouts, who put it up for sale in 2001 after plans to turn it into a retreat didn't materialize. Now it's an actual vineyard and winery, in San Jose, in the year 2023.

Bella Montagna winery is currently making Sauvignon Blanc, Merlots, and an award winning Cabernet Sauvignon which you can buy on their website over here. They also have a wine club and you can schedule weekend tastings by emailing

I should also mention that the vineyard looks gorgeous. Up on a hill it has amazing view of Silicon Valley. Hopefully they will do tastings and events more regularly. For now you have to make a reservation via email. 

Source: The Merc

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

100 Things To Do In San Jose Before You Die - 2nd Edition

Welcome to the blog post that has stayed in "draft" the longest. I started writing this right as COVID had just started to spread and decided to table it until the pandemic was over. Then last year, life got crazy... so this has been in draft for over three years!

Five Eight years ago I read the first edition of Susannah Greenwood's "100 Things To Do in San Jose Before You Die." As a hardcore San Jose aficionado, I was shocked (and delighted) that I had only done 54 out of the 100 things to do in the book. There is so much to do and see in San Jose.

25% of the entries on the second edition are new, and the rest have been updates with extended tips. I have used the book as sort of a checklist to see how many I can do. The answer is 52. In the 2nd Edition I have been able to do 52/100.

Some of the new entries include:
  • Hiking Mount Umunhum
  • Having a picnic at the Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve
  • Bike, Blade, and Board at Viva CalleSJ
  • Letting your taste buds travel with a Little Ethiopian in Little Ethiopia
  • Indulge at Adega (I think this will be updated for the 3rd Edition)
  • Pair farm-fresh food with gorgeous valley views at the Mount Hamilton GrandView Restaurant
  • Celebrating the geekiest week of the year with Star Wars Day and Free Comic Book Day
...and many, many more. It's a great book and still very relevant, especially if you want to get the most out of the beautiful place where you live and uncover as many hidden gems and fun attractions as possible in your own home. San Jose is one of the most underrated cities in the United States, and this book will help explain why.

If I haven't been super clear, I highly recommend the 2nd edition (even if you have the first). You can get the book in paperback or Kindle form over here.

"In sitting down to revise the book, I thought a lot about San Jose, how it has and continues to change, as well as what a successful travel experience for me personally constitutes. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to 6 continents and I examined what my favorite places were and why they ranked so. Certainly natural beauty, history, cultural offerings and great weather all play a part in connecting one to a destination and creating a positive travel memory, but what it really comes down to for me, are the people. That is the x factor. The people you meet, at least in my experience, can leave as much of a lasting impression in many cases as the food or the views or the activities you engage in. The people you meet have the power to transform a moment into a story and create a shared experience that extends its impact well after you’ve returned home. In short; conversations create connection and that connection is ripe for the picking in San Jose.

They say it’s not about the destination - it’s the journey, but I think San Jose truly proves they’re both very much intertwined. The featured places and events in the book were especially selected to not only represent our culture and highlight our tremendous natural landscape, but to underscore our strong sense of community. Each of the entries certainly qualifies as a stand-alone adventure, but each of them also strives to put the participant directly in the path of our cities most magical asset; San Joseans. These are the places you’re most likely to strike up that all important conversation with the most passionate and knowledgeable secret tour guides, each genuinely eager to enhance and elevate your experience with additional history, tidbits, and previously undocumented advice. It’s less of a guide to physical places perhaps as it is a curation of potential conversations by which one can better understand and enjoy our awesome City.

Whether you're a first time visitor to this biggest little city in the heart of Silicon Valley, a regular traveler to the area, or a local this 2nd edition is a great catalyst to exploring what makes San Jose tick and getting to know the authentic San Jose." -Susannah Greenwood

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Santa Clara County Fair

The Santa Clara County Fair is back with a vengeance today after a COVID-related hiatus. Instead of running for three or four days, it will do a full 10-day run for the first time in 25+ years.

Today there will be a VIP ribbon cutting around 2:30pm followed by a 7pm parade. Each day there will be entertainment such as live music, magic, and even a hypnotist. The list of events and exhibits are too long to mention, so check out the full schedule and get tickets over here.

Source: The Merc

Thursday, July 6, 2023

San Jose Obon Festival in Japantown this weekend!

The San Jose Obon Festival 2023 is a celebration of Japanese culture and heritage that takes place every summer in the heart of San Jose's Japantown (one of only three remaining in the US). 

This year, the festival will be held on July 8th and 9th, from 11 am to 10 pm, and will feature traditional music, dance, food, crafts, games, and more. The highlight of the festival is the Obon Odori, a folk dance that honors the spirits of the ancestors. Everyone is welcome to join in the dance, which starts at 7:30 pm on Saturday and 6pm on Sunday. 

The festival is organized by the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin and is supported by many volunteers and sponsors. Come and experience the joy and beauty of Obon, a time to remember and celebrate our loved ones and our community.

This is the the largest annual festival in San Jose's Japantown and you can easily find it on 5th Street between Taylor and Jackson Streets. For more details, head over here.

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.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

April 2023 Downtown Dimension Highlights

  • SJDA's Street Life team plans to take strategic action that brightens downtown streets with enhanced lighting features meant to appeal to pedestrians, help them feel more comfortable and connect the more active parts of downtown that already exhibit nighttime vibrancy.
  • Spirits are high as downtown's outdoor event season opens this month in San Jose with Viva Calle on April 23 and MACLA Family Art Day / SoFA Street Fair doubling up on April 30.
  • Five ideas that would contribute to downtown's revitalization are winding their way through the City's budget process for Fiscal Year 2023-24, which begins in July.
  • Brenda Zendejas assists with Business Resiliency in Downtown and Alum Rock areas.
  • Javier Montoya becomes Groundwerx's first full-time painter.
  • Hula Bar and Kitchen, which made its name with food trucks and as stadium food vendors, has opened its first full-time locations on East Santa Clara Street.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

March 2023 Downtown Dimension Highlights

  • A Downtown Vibrancy team of downtowners handed the Mayor and City Council  a list of recommendations of how downtown can improve, and the Council may consider some of them for additional funding in the Fiscal Year 2023-24 cycle. Four other teams dealing with other topics also had some downtown-related suggestions.  They are all outlined in the March edition.
  • In keeping with the vibrancy theme, San Jose Downtown Association will host a Town Hall Meeting March 9 starting at 4:30 p.m. at Open San Jose, 38 S. Second St. Please attend to learn more about SJDA and how you can get involved in creating a more robust downtown. Register here.
  • The other theme of the March edition is about downtown businesses that are going "all in:"
    • Cafe Eden and The Loft are back in business after prolonged closures due to Covid and its lingering effects. Their owners explain what got them back in the game.
    • New-businesses Slice of Homage pizza and Little Wine House, both grew from pandemic-related roots and feature chefs who spent their years of seclusion wisely in training.  
    • And "Littlest Little Italy" (Say that fast three times in a row!) just opened. It divides the 5,000-square-foot, former Enoteca La Storia restaurant into five businesses that pair very well with one another. 
  • Say hello to Mark Michaud, who returned to San Jose and has made his mark in a very short time on keeping downtown clean with Groundwerx

Please share this subscription information with your neighbors and employees so they can stay up-to-date on downtown business news and information of general interest through Downtown Dimension:

Monday, February 6, 2023

February 2023 Downtown Dimension Highlights

  • San Jose Downtown Association CEO Alex Stettinski has had a very busy and active first months and likes what he has seen so far of downtown San Jose.  Looking ahead, he's ready to take more important steps toward an improved and more prosperous center city.
  • Downtown city council rep Omar Torres, who was sworn into his elected position in January, answers our questions in the tradition of our incoming District 3 representatives.
  • To keep up with the times and bring news and information to downtown businesses and more downtown audiences, Downtown Dimension will make a transition to an all-digital format starting this spring.
  • Workingman's Emporium is making plans to move. That store and its owner, Gary Wing, have seen it all after 54 years in downtown.
  • Thang Le, owner of several local Lee's Sandwiches locations, is modernizing the menu and concept for a new generation of customers.
  • Like so many Groundwerx Clean Team members, Joel Ramirez went beyond the call of duty during the recent storms to keep downtown "ship-shape."

Please be sure you click through to read this edition!

Business owners and subscribers:
 Please share this subscription information with your neighbors and employees so they can stay up-to-date on downtown business news and information of general interest.
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Monday, January 2, 2023

January 2023 Downtown Dimension Highlights

Download the JANUARY 2023 Downtown Dimension.
This month's newsletter highlights:
  • Downtown Property Owners approved more Clean and Safe services starting in 2023 and Dimension reports on what has already happened and what is planned as Groundwerx ramps up services.
  • SJDA Board President Alan "Gumby" Marques writes a letter of hope and optimism for the new year.
  • San Jose's City Council approved an extension of incentives for developers to build more residences downtown over the next seven years.
  • Restaurateurs Carlos and Fernanda Carreira have ventured into the nightclub business with Noite, on the second floor above their SoFA restaurant Petiscos
  • Entrepreneurs continue to invest in downtown. This time, it's The Selfie Spot, a special place to be creative.
  • Groundwerx safety ambassador Victoria Manzanares shows how taking the initiative pays off.