Sunday, June 2, 2024

U.S. News ranked San Jose 4th in quality of life

A ranking earlier this year called San Jose a diverse area with an innovative spirit. U.S. News rankings of top places to live put San Jose in 4th place. The study looked at general satisfaction, crime, health care, quality of education, and average commute times. Our city was only beat out by Ann Arbor, Boulder, and Madison.

Source: Yahoo News

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Second installation of Sharks mural in East San Jose

A new mural has been commissioned by the San Jose Sharks called "Recuerdos de Este" or "Memories of the East." The 35-foot mural is inspired by other East San Jose public art displays and is one of a seven-mural project sponsored by the Sharks Community Connections Project and Local Color.

You can find the colorful mural at the Latino Business Foundation at 1652 Alum Rock.

Source: SVBJ

Friday, May 31, 2024


SJMADE's most popular event of all time is returning this weekend on June 1st and 2nd at History Park San Jose. SJMADE FEST features over 250 makers, artists, designers, chefs, backers, crafters, and small businesses. For food, there are over 50 food trucks and vendors... a staggering amount for any event.

There are some other surprises there like a Kitten Lounge, K-Pop Plaza with live dance performances, and door prizes. The event is completely free which also makes it a great opportunity to check out History San Jose. It runs from 11am to 6pm on both days and is both kid and dog friendly (leashed). For more info, the full vendor list, and parking suggestions, head over here.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Epic San Pedro Square mural is coming along

Over 1,200 volunteers have come together to paint one of the largest murals in California in Downtown San Jose. The art is inspired by a sarape blanked and represents the diversity of San Jose. Much work has already been done over Memorial Day weekend and it could be complete as soon as tomorrow. To check on the progress, just head over to San Pedro Square... you literally can't miss it.

Source: Fox KTVU

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Wednesday Wishlist: Universal Studios San Jose?

I haven't done a proper Wednesday Wishlist post in years, but I saw something in the Catalyze SV newsletter that got me thinking. The Pleasant Hills Golf Course in East San Jose has sat vacant for ages--114 acres of prime space rotting away unused. Catalyze SV has several prudent suggestions for what this space can be utilized for such as affordable housing and open space. However, I wanted to throw out a wild idea.

San Jose has been doing more than it's fair share of adding housing in Silicon Valley and is one of two cities in the South Bay that is not resistant to building high-rise housing. There is plenty of space and opportunity for infill housing throughout San Jose, but it is extremely rare to have this much contiguous space anywhere.

So my crazy idea is to utilize the space for large-scale entertainment. It was a golf course in the past, why not a theme park?

Great America is shutting down to build housing in a matter of years and we almost lost Raging Waters this year--which is already only a seasonal park. Side note that Raging Waters is being renamed to CalBunga Waterpark and is right next door to this vacant land. One of the biggest criticisms of the San Jose area is lack of things to do... so why not use this space for fun and entertainment.

You might be thinking that this couldn't possibly be enough land for a legitimate theme park. However, it is more than enough. You can see it's size in relation to CalBunga and Cunningham Lake above. 

Again, this is 114 acres. Universal Studios has just proposed a new theme park resort concept in Waco, Texas that is oriented for kids under 13-years old. Think of it as the next step above Happy Hollow. It's being built right in the middle of a residential area and is oriented in a way where most of the rides are indoors and the buildings themselves will minimize noise travelling outside the park. 

The entire space including a hotel, surface-level guest parking, employee parking, and room for expansion comes out to be 97 acres.

Okay, but what about a theme park for everyone including adults and teens? One of the most efficiently laid out theme parks I have been to is Universal Studios Singapore. It features a dozen major attractions for all ages, is beautifully themed, and has multiple hotels connected to the property. The park itself is only 62 acres. They also have an aquarium, casino, and other attractions that would all fit within the envelope of this space.

It seems like Universal Studios is now taking some risks and is aggressively expanding. They are building one of the largest and most immersive parks in Florida, have a new concept coming to Las Vegas, and are pushing for a new park in the London area. Building something in the affluent Silicon Valley area could be an interesting opportunity. Any hotels could also serve a dual or triple purpose to support conventions and business travel. This area is only a 12 minute drive away from Downtown San Jose and the San Jose Convention Center.

This is obviously a long shot, but I've seen stranger ideas come to life!

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

San Jose Greek Festival 2024!

This weekend is the annual San Jose Greek Festival, one of the largest ethnic festivals in the Bay Area. If you like amazing Greek food, live entertainment, and friendly people, this is a San Jose tradition you won't want to miss. 

The festival is entirely volunteer run and all the food is made using family recipes that have been used for generations. The Greek folk dancing will be done by teams that compete nationally and the costumes the dancers wear are handmade and unique to many of the regions in Greece. It's a very authentic experience all around.

Admission is only $5 per person, children under 12 are free.

The festivities take place on May 31st (5pm-10pm), June 1st (11am-10pm), and May 31st (11am-8pm). The area immediately surrounding St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church (1260 Davis St.) is the epicenter of the event. Free parking and shuttle service is available at 1900, 1922, 1960, and 2022 The Alameda.

For a preview, below are photos by Victoria Symrniotis from last year's event.

Monday, May 27, 2024

Downtown San Jose gets its first Japanese Ramen restaurant

Hinodeya Ramen has officially opened a restaurant in Downtown San Jose near the intersection of Market Street and Santa Clara Street. Surprisingly, this will be Downtown's first Japanese ramen restaurant--not the first Japanese restaurant but the first specifically specializing in ramen.

Hinodeya in headquartered in Japan and has a few other US locations. There are a number of outposts in San Francisco and one in Campbell, Newark, and Dallas.

This is long overdue Downtown and fortunately the restaurant is off to a great start.

Hinodeya is located at 9 N Market Street and is open from 11am to 10pm from Sunday through Thursday and 11am to 11pm on Friday and Saturday.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Spartan Keyes neighborhood getting new townhomes in place of industrial building

Valley Oak Partners has plans to redevelop a single-story industrial building on a 3.87-acre site into 68 townhomes. The three-story townhomes would be split into 12 two-bedroom 2.5-bath units, 28 three-bedroom 3-bath units, and 28 three-bedroom 2.5-bath units with an optional 4th bedroom. Sizes range between 1,428 SQFT to 2,030 SQFT.

This project is worth mentioning as there are very few new options with a family-friendly four-bedroom configuration, and there will be up to 28 of those units here. 

The location is very central, close to Downtown San Jose and blocks away from amenities like Happy Hollow Park & Zoo, Kelley Park, History San Jose, and Sharks Ice. An action park is also being planned nearby. At the same time, the neighborhood is an odd mix of both residential and industrial uses. This leads me to believe the townhomes will be reasonably priced relative to other projects of similar size in Silicon Valley.

Source: SVBJ