Downtown San Jose

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Downtown San Jose
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Clockwise from top: Downtown skyline from the West; San José City Hall, Hotel De Anza & Almaden Boulevard, Downtown skyline from the North, Adobe World Headquarters
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Downtown San Jose
Location within San Jose and Silicon Valley
Coordinates: 37°19′55″N121°53′24″W / 37.332°N 121.89°W / 37.332; -121.89
Country United States
State California
County Santa Clara
City San Jose
ZIP Code
95110, 95112, 95113

Downtown San Jose is the central business district of San Jose, California, in Silicon Valley. It is the largest urban center of Silicon Valley. Downtown is one of the largest tech clusters in Silicon Valley, as well as the cultural and political center of San Jose.



The Art Deco Medico-Dental Building was built in 1928. Multi-Unit (3029294372) (cropped).jpg
The Art Deco Medico-Dental Building was built in 1928.

The town was first settled in 1777. The area that now makes up downtown was first settled twenty years later, when the town of San Jose moved somewhat inland from its original location on the banks of the Guadalupe River. In 1850, San Jose incorporated to become California's first city and the location of California's first state capitol.

Despite widespread destruction caused by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, a number of neighborhoods around Downtown San Jose still retain their original, pre-1906 housing stock. These neighborhoods include the South University, Naglee Park, Hensley Historic District, Reed Historic District and Vendome neighborhoods.

Contemporary era

The downtown area was typical of a small, agriculture-based city of under 100,000 residents until city manager A. P. Hamann spearheaded aggressive expansion during the 1950s and '60s. As the city rapidly expanded into outlying areas, the downtown area entered a period of decline. In the 1980s, mayor Tom McEnery, whose family owned several buildings in downtown, initiated significant gentrification in the area.

The San Jose Redevelopment Agency, the largest such group in the state, would eventually become a key player in revitalizing the downtown area and, to a lesser extent, surrounding neighborhoods. In some cases, historic downtown buildings were bulldozed in order to make room for new hotels, office space, condominiums, museums, theaters and parks; to widen or re-align streets, and to build parking lots and garages.

As part of its apparent effort to stimulate economic growth and increase tax revenue within the downtown community, the San Jose Redevelopment Agency began encouraging builders to construct high-rise residential towers, and the agency offered subsidies and lifted the requirement to provide affordable units that were characteristic of other redevelopment projects throughout the city. [1] The agency's master plan has incorporated high-rise condominiums since 1980. [2] In 2008, the city's first high-rise project began selling units. [1] Construction or planning has begun on at least seven additional high-rise projects. [1] The agency states the high-rises will contribute to the creation of a more vibrant and well-to-do downtown culture. [1]


The Tech Museum of Innovation is dedicated to the history and industry of Silicon Valley. The Tech Museum of Innovation in Downtown San Jose.jpg
The Tech Museum of Innovation is dedicated to the history and industry of Silicon Valley.

Many of the 19th century buildings in central downtown appear on the National Register of Historic Places, in particular the area surrounding St. James Park, such as Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.

Downtown San Jose's early 20th century housing is diverse and includes many smaller Victorian homes along with a few fairly large gingerbread or Italianate-style Victorians, Craftsman, Mission and California Bungalow architecture in the neighborhoods surrounding the downtown core. [3]

Downtown is home to many of the city's landmarks, including the San Jose Museum of Art, the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose, the Tech Museum of Innovation, the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, the San Jose Repertory Theatre, the San Jose Stage Company, the historic De Anza Hotel, the Fairmont Hotel, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, the campus of San Jose State University and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library. The SAP Center, just west of Guadalupe Parkway, is also normally considered to be part of the downtown community.


Downtown is a major tech cluster in Silicon Valley. It is home to Adobe World Headquarters, BEA Systems HQ, and numerous facilities and offices of major tech companies, including Amazon Lab126 and Google. The Bay Area's largest news organization, the Mercury News is headquartered on St. James Park. Downtown San Jose has a large concentration of hotels and hospitality services in San Jose, including The Westin San Jose, the Hilton San Jose, Marriott San Jose, Sheraton San Jose, largely concentrated near the San Jose Convention Center.

In February 2018, San Jose's city council approved a stage of a sale of downtown property to Google for $67 million. [4]

Downtown also is home to several important network service providers and Internet service providers, many of them located in Market Post Tower. Although the cost of office and technical space is relatively high downtown, this is offset by the low cost of peering and internetworking, an effect of proximity to other networking companies.

Many of the public areas of downtown San Jose are covered by a public, free, Wi-Fi network, including the areas surrounding Plaza de César Chávez and San Pedro Square. Downtown is also the hub of the VTA's light rail system, and the home of the main campus of San Jose State University.

Panoramic Downtown San Jose.jpg
A daytime panoramic view of downtown San Jose from the top of Marriott Hotel.


The downtown residential area primarily consisted of Caucasian residents through the mid-twentieth century. A notable exception was the Northside Neighborhood, where ethnic minority groups were invited to establish their homes and live their lives freely. With a vibrant African-American community and a Chinatown that grew into today's Japantown, San Jose's Northside welcomed everyone and helped to form the inclusive, diverse and vibrant downtown San Jose community of today.[ citation needed ]


San Jose State University, the West Coast's oldest public university. San Jose State and beyond.jpg
San Jose State University, the West Coast's oldest public university.

Downtown San Jose is home to the campus of San Jose State University. SJSU is the founding campus of the California State University system and the oldest public university on the west coast of the United States. SJSU enrolls approximately 31,000 students.

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, shared by the city of San Jose and San Jose State University, is located on the campus of San Jose State University in downtown San Jose. The King Library represents the first collaboration of its kind between a university and a major U.S. city, and has won numerous awards including the Library Journal's prestigious 2004 Library of the Year award, the publication's highest honor. [5] The library first opened its doors in 2003.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 [Flannery, Colleen. (2008, January 14) High Hopes for San Jose Residential Towers. California Real Estate Journal.]
  2. [Prodis Sulek, Julia. (2008, June 15) Condo buyers’ ‘sexy views’. San Jose Mercury News, p. 1A, p. 17A.]
  3. , City of San Jose Web Site PDF
  4. Christopher Carbone (October 5, 2018). "'Greedy' Google: Community activists slam tech giant over planned San Jose mega-campus". Fox News . Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  5. John N. Berry lll (June 15, 2004). "Library Journal Library of the Year 2004: San Jose Public Library and San Jose State University Library". Library Journal. Retrieved January 11, 2010.

Coordinates: 37°19′55″N121°53′24″W / 37.332°N 121.890°W / 37.332; -121.890