(Do you know the way to) San José


Last Saturday I took myself into San José, the self-proclaimed capital of Silicon Valley. This city lies at the foot of the peninsula, and about 50 miles south of San Francisco. Like me, you may be surprised to learn that this city is not only the 10th largest in the US, but also more populated than it’s more famous Bay Area counterpart, San Francisco. According to the FBI, it is also America’s safest city.

There seems to be a huge amount invested into the city over recent years - a new city hall, library, light rail system, recreational areas, arena, and more investment on the way from the continuing construction work I could see. The downtown area has been beautifully landscaped and maintained, and alongside the newer office blocks (notably those of Adobe), there are also a lot of the older styled buildings you would expect to see in any American city.

Ordinarily, I would fall in love with a city such as this, but there was something very unusual about San José.

I visited during a Saturday afternoon during a rare spell of sunshine (California has been decidedly un-Californian weather wise during my stay). Yet the streets seemed deserted, and those residents that could be seen, gave the place a definite ghetto vibe - to me it certainly didn’t feel like the safest city in America, and I felt a little unnerved when taking photos. (Those I did take can be seen here however.)

Next stop: LA - I’m sure I haven’t seen the strangest US city just yet!

Update: Thanks Trevor for reminding me of the (obvious) song about San José. I knew there was a musical connection somewhere!


3 responses so far. Go on, add yours!

 Gravatar#1 On April 15, 2006 3:01 PM, Krystyn said...

Oh lovely, now I have Dionne Warwick in my head. Do do do do do dododododo. La lalalala la la la lala la.

I visited San Jose a couple years ago and felt the same way. There seemed to be a lot of new construction near my hotel -- movie theatre, restaurants, etc -- but not many people. I thought perhaps I was in a tourist area and it was off-season. Did you see the Winchester House?

 Gravatar#2 On April 15, 2006 8:04 PM, Paul said...

This is really interesting to hear - I thought my experience may have been a one of, but perhaps this really is how this city, well 'is'. I didn't see the Winchester House (I was on a self guided tour, and didn't actually read about places to see until after my visit... yeah I know!). Is it worth seeing?

 Gravatar#3 On April 21, 2006 9:31 PM, Krystyn said...

Winchester House is bizarre. I can't remember the cost but I remember I was wondering if it would be worth it. It was. We had a great tour guide, a roundish woman with short gray hair. She made it a lot of fun with her ghost stories and great sense of humor.

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This entry was written on 12 Apr 2006, 7:07 AM and is filled under , .