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12 Things to Know Before Moving to San Jose

San Jose is more than a destination—it’s a lifestyle. In the heart of Silicon Valley, this California city has a thriving tech industry, a gorgeous natural landscape, and cultural diversity. If you’re thinking of moving to San Jose, here are 13 things you should know before you get there!

Amazing Weather

Green space with wildflowers in the foreground, homes in the background and white clouds in the blue sky. Photo by Instagram user @bongarang

Photo via @bongarang

If you’ve been dreaming about playing beach volleyball on Christmas or having sunny days in winter, then living in San Jose is a must for you! Temperatures average around 68 degrees in the summer and around 50 in winter. Also, the air quality index is 3% better than the national average. And with 300 days of sunshine a year, there’s no excuse to stay indoors!

A Healthy Economy

When you’re moving to San Jose, be prepared to be surrounded by innovators and quick thinkers, as this city is the largest in Silicon Valley! The job market in San Jose has continued to grow at a high rate with technology and computer engineering among the top fields. Due to the constant increase of tech startups popping up, the area’s unemployment rate sits at 2.8%, and local residents are even some of the top earners in the U.S. The biggest employers in the San Jose area include Cisco Systems, eBay, Adobe Systems, IBM, Google, and Apple.

Top-Rated Higher Education

Three students sitting on a greenspace at San Jose State University with campus buildings in the background. Photo by Instagram user @sjsu

Photo via @sjsu

If you want to be a college student and further your education, San Jose is the place to be! The oldest public university on the West Coast, San Jose State University is a premier institution with over 30,000 students earning their degrees from one of 145 bachelors and masters programs with 108 concentrations. It’s also one of only three schools in the Bay Area that houses a NCAA Division I football team: the San Jose Spartans. The California University of Management and Technology is a great place to attend for those interested in computer science or information technology, as many students from here go on to be tech professionals in Silicon Valley. Community colleges in the San Jose area include San Jose City College, West Valley College, Mission College, and Evergreen Valley College, which offer tons of associate degrees, as well as adult and continuing education programs.

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A Diverse Culture

Teens playing drums on the street during an outdoor performance with people watching in background. Photo by Instagram user @sanjosetaiko

Photo via @sanjosetaiko

San Jose has no shortage of cultural diversity. Japantown is one of the last authentic Japantowns in the U.S. and offers visitors a chance to explore the vivacious culture of the Japanese through food markets, restaurants, and events all while paying homage to the Japanese-Americans who were interned during WWII. There’s also the San Jose Greek Festival, which takes place during the summer with food and fun for the entire family. And don’t forget the annual Tet Festival, which celebrates the Vietnamese New Year with dancing, music, and more!

Close to Weekend Getaway Spots

View of mountains on the horizon with rocks and trees in the foreground. Photo by Instagram user @yosemitenps

Photo via @yosemitenps

While there’s plenty to do in San Jose itself, its proximity to other areas of California makes for excellent weekend trips! San FranciscoNapa Valley, and Sacramento are just a few hours north. There’s also Lake TahoeYosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park, which are about four hours east and perfect for nature-filled vacation. And, of course, you can always drive up and down Pacific Coast Highway for beautiful views of the ocean!

Good for the Environment

Closeup of blooming yellow flowers with a fountain and trees in the background. Photo by Instagram user @visitsanjose

Photo via @visitsanjose

If you want to live in an eco-friendly city, San Jose is just what you’re looking for! In 2007, the city instituted The Green Vision into their economic plan, which focused on specific goals to reduce environmental impact. Goals included converting landfill waste into energy, reusing wastewater, and moving public vehicles to clean energy. There was also a city-wide ordinance signed into law in January 2012 that prohibits the use of plastic bags in supermarkets and retail stores, so make sure you have totes!

Quirky Attractions

Not sure what to do in the South Bay? See all of the weird and wonderful San Jose attractions! Gather some friends together to play on the World’s Largest Monopoly Board, which is certified by the Guinness World Records. Get your adrenaline pumping with a tour of Winchester Mystery House, the creepy former mansion of the heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune. Join the nearly half a million visitors to drink hot chocolate, listen to carols, go ice skating and check out the holiday decorations in Downtown San Jose during Christmas in the Park. Or stop by the San Jose Flea Market to try BBQ and churros from 30 different snack bars, shop fun jewelry from 6,000 vendors, ride the ferris wheel, and much more. No matter the time of year, there’s always something unique to do in San Jose!

An Appreciation for Film

View of empty stage with two red chairs and a large screen with CINEQUEST shown on it and a full crowd in the audience. Photo by Instagram user @cinequestorg

Photo via @cinequestorg

San Jose has its very own film festival that’s been recognized all over the world for its innovative and unique premieres. Cinequest takes place each March and showcases over 200 films from filmmakers and artists in 50 countries. Not only will attendees get to see up-and-coming feature films, but they’ll also get to participate in workshops, witness groundbreaking innovations, go to an award show, have virtual reality experiences, and more. Get out of the way, Sundance!

City for Sports Fans

San Jose Sharks hocket players celebrate after a goal while two opposing players look on with disappointment. Photo by Instagram user @sanjosesharks

Photo via @sanjosesharks

San Jose is no Los Angeles when it comes to the amount of NBA, MLB, or NHL teams, but it definitely has its fair share of professional sports! Cheer on the San Jose Sharks (NHL) and San Jose Barracuda (AHL) at the SAP Center (also known as The Shark Tank). Witness the San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) do scissor kicks to fake out their opponents and score goals at Paypal Park. Or catch the San Jose Giants—the city’s MiLB team and affiliate of the San Francisco Giants—stealing bases at Excite Ballpark.

Taco-bout Festivals

Closeup of taco pie slice on a white plate. Photo by Instagram user @mvblfeast

Photo via @mvblfeast

San Jose is lauded for its innovative technology companies, but did you know the city is also known for its innovative tacos? Considered one of the most fun things to do in San Jose, the Taco Festival of Innovation is an annual event built around a love of great music and food. Each spring, curator Movable Fest gathers 30 of the best taco trucks from the area, and a panel of judges selects the best taco! With live music, Mexican wrestling, and all the tacos you can eat, this festival is a can’t-miss!

Your Taste Buds Will Thank You

Closeup of crab boil with corn, potatoes and more with two people reaching for it. Photo by Instagram user @boilingcrab

Photo via @boilingcrab

With an area as diverse as South Bay, residents will have no problem finding delicious food and amazing places to eat to in San Jose! Enjoy and cook your own all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ like Volcano Chicken, Cheese Pork Cutlet, and Hawaiian Steak at Gen. Dine at The Boiling Crab, a favorite among locals and visitors for their crawfish, crab legs, and shrimp covered in the famous Whole Sha-Bang sauce. Order Gyros in a Pita, Falafel Salad, or Baklava from Falafel Drive-In. Feast on classic Vietnamese dishes like Bun Rieu, Ap Chao, and Pho Bo with rare filet mignon at Pho Kim Long. Visit La Victoria Taquria—one of the best restaurants in San Jose—and try Al Pastor Super Nachos, a Chile Rellano Burrito, or Carnitas Tacos smothered in the Orange Sauce. Or have dessert for breakfast and order a Dirty Turtle, Cinnamon Troll, or Mello Submarine doughnut from Psycho Donuts!

Hopping Beer Scene

Downtown San Jose is home to several fantastic breweries. Santa Clara Brewing Company has a comfortable, sleek taproom offering a variety of seasonal and year-round brews. Strike Brewing was started by two athletes who wanted to pay homage to the sport of baseball, and they’re known for their excellent Double IPA. Whether you’re a seasoned drinker or a craft beer newbie, there’s something for everyone in San Jose.


Moving to San Jose soon? Extra Space Storage has several storage facilities in the area that can help with your transition. Find a storage unit near you!

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