Moving to San Jose, CA? Read Our Ultimate Moving Guide
If a move to San Jose is in your future, get ready for a unique lifestyle in a scenic city at the very heart of the global tech industry. While San Jose is famous for its Silicon Valley locale, there's a lot more to the city. Read on for what you need to know to get the most out of living in San Jose, then call on Suddath's San Jose residential moving services to get you there.
Tech Is Just the Beginning
Your first question after moving to San Jose is whether the city is in the Santa Clara Valley, the San Francisco Bay Area, or Silicon Valley. The answer is yes, to all three! San Jose is the seat of Santa Clara County, located on the southern shore of San Francisco Bay, and an important part of California's high-tech hub. This third-largest city in California is about much more than startup companies and microprocessors, though—San Jose is a cosmopolitan city with a diverse population, and a nearly perfect climate (if your idea of perfect is an abundance of sunshine and a January high temperature of 72°F). It's also home to more than 15,000 acres of city parks and just a short drive from San Francisco.
It's true that the cost of living is notoriously high, thanks to the influx of affluent tech people from all over the world, but there aren't too many other shortcomings in this expansive city. Check out the rest of our guide to help you know what to expect as you plan your move to San Jose.
Getting Around San Jose
Unlike many other major American cities, two of the best ways to get where you're going in San Jose is by foot or bicycle. Many San Jose neighborhoods are thoroughly walkable and roads are bike-friendly, making the city a place you live without a car.
When it comes to in-city transportation, San Jose truly leads the way. Its mass transit strategy is seen in everything from its investment in reducing congestion on local roads to employers that offer incentives for those who commute via public transportation or carpooling. There are several excellent public transportation systems (with great savings for residents who purchase a pass), including:
- The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) runs several bus lines, three light rail lines, and special transportation services for people with disabilities. It offers service to a number of surrounding cities, such as Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Santa Clara.
- Caltrain is a commuter rail line that runs from San Francisco south to Gilroy. It has 32 stations, most of which offer daily service.
The city is served by the San Jose Mineta International Airport (SJC), which is known as "Silicon Valley's airport" and is just four miles from downtown. If you don't find the flight you want from among SJC's 170+ flights a day, it's an easy drive to the international airports in Oakland and San Francisco, which can take you anywhere in the world.
San Jose also has all of the ride-share services you'd expect in a tech-savvy town, such as Lyft and Uber, plus bike-share services, hourly car rentals, and more options that you may not find in the city you're coming from.
San Jose for Families? Yes!
Where else can you wander through the redwoods one weekend and visit kid-friendly wineries the next? If you've wondered what moving to San Jose with kids is like, you may be surprised just how family-friendly the city and the surrounding Bay Area can be. In and around Silicon Valley, the multiple museums, aquariums, wildlife centers, botanical gardens, indoor play spaces, bike parks and paths, zoos and so much more provide a nearly endless list of places for kids of all ages to go. San Francisco—one of the world's great cities—has everything a family could want for entertainment and recreation, while San Jose's own neighborhoods each offer something great to do or see.
Parents will be glad to know it's not all fun and games, though—the schools in the San Jose area are excellent. In addition to the top-notch public school system, the county also offers educational alternatives, including a long list of charter schools, most with a particular focus. There are more than 70 public elementary, middle and high schools, and more than 180 private schools throughout the area. Twenty-two of San Jose's high schools are recognized on the U.S. News & World Report's Best High School rankings.
Visit the Santa Clara County Office of Education's website and these links for more information about San Jose schools:
Things to Do and See
Have you never met a bike trail that's too challenging? Or is quality time spent sampling the latest ale at a great brewery more your speed? Whatever you do for entertainment or enrichment, San Jose and the surrounding region have you covered.
Here's just a fraction of the area attractions, landmarks, and culture available:
There are plenty of out-of-the-ordinary options as well, including San Jose Semaphore, art installation atop Adobe's headquarters that invites visitors to get interactive, 24/7 gaming at Casino M8trix, and a gigantic Monopoly game with a 930-square-foot permanent game board at Monopoly in the Park.
When it comes to the visual arts and exceptional museums, it doesn't get much better than what San Jose has to offer visitors and residents:
San Jose Sports and Recreation
Maybe it's the year-round great weather or perhaps there's just something in the water, but either watching or participating in sports and related activities are very big in San Jose and the Bay Area.
Like to support the home teams? These are just some of the major league teams in the San Jose and Bay Area:
If you can't just sit on the sidelines, there are plenty of opportunities to take part in your favorite recreational activities. Here are just a very few ways to get in the game:
- Golf: Choose from municipal courses and private clubs throughout the area.
- Surfing: A short drive takes you to the sandy beaches of Santa Cruz ("Surf City," according to some).
- Archery: San Jose has more than its share of archery clubs and ranges for beginners and pros.
- Climbing: Visit one of dozens of indoor climbing gyms or get out in one of the any state parks to tackle real terrain.
- Fishing: You can drive to the shore for saltwater fishing, or cast a line on the thousands of acres at one of the recreation areas, lakes or reservoirs, including Calero Reservoir, Anderson Reservoir, or Coyote Lake.
- Skateboarding: Wherever you land when you move to San Jose, you probably won't be far from a skate park. Some are part of larger "adventure" parks, while others are freestanding.
- Paintball: In addition to a large paintball facility right in San Jose, there are several other fields and facilities within easy driving distance.
- Hiking and biking: San Jose and the Bay Area is an outdoor adventurer's paradise. With forests, mountains and beaches, there are trails for every level of ability.
Higher Education Opportunities in San Jose
If you're reading this guide, there's a reasonably good chance you're moving to the San Jose, CA area to attend one of the area's public or private colleges or universities. That's because the area's population is near the top for education level in the U.S.
The Bay Area draws students from around the world to elite and highly renowned schools such as Stanford University, The University of California, San Francisco, and The University of California, Berkeley. Right here in town is San Jose State University, ranked as one of the top 15 public master's universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report, and a destination for engineering, business and science students. Browse the Wikipedia page for an extensive list of colleges and universities in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Neighborhoods and Districts
The best way to describe San Jose neighborhoods and communities in a word is "diverse." Whatever your idea of a Bay Area neighborhood is, San Jose probably has a good example. These are just some of the most popular neighborhoods to consider if you're planning on moving to San Jose, plus a few that are always worth visiting:
Downtown San Jose: The crowds and cost of living in San Francisco make downtown San Jose an increasingly desirable destination for those who want a downtown living experience without many of the downsides.
St. Leo's: It's walkable, close to downtown San Jose, and is a center of gay life in the city. If you're a homebuyer who prefers houses with character and history, you'll want to look into this neighborhood, since the majority of homes were built before 1930.
The Alameda: You'll want to return again and again to this district to sample great food, wine and craft beer, and everything else this area's restaurants and tasting rooms have to offer. The Alameda also has a 200-year history and stories to tell.
West San Jose: If you want to come home to a more leisurely pace after a workday in the city, West San Jose is right for you. It's a good spot for families, since it's mostly residential.
Almaden Valley: Peaceful and pretty, with open spaces all around, Almaden Valley is known for its stellar views overlooking San Jose. Located in southwestern Santa Clara County, Almaden Valley is relatively more affordable than many other San Jose neighborhoods. It also has a low crime rate and high-quality schools.
Japantown: This neighborhood is a top choice in San Jose, thanks to its one-of-a-kind vibe and environment. Downtown is only one mile from Japantown, but people choose to live in the neighborhood for many more reasons, including its cultural options, great shopping and restaurants, and year-round farmer's market.
Little Italy: This small district packs a lot of diversity, culture and great Italian fare into its few blocks. Come for dinner, the annual Little Italy Street Festival, and an interesting lesson in the neighborhood's history.
Willow Glen: This neighborhood is urban and upscale, but still feels like a small town. It's a very popular area, thanks to its easy commute to downtown to its north, a great collection of shops, bars, eateries and coffee shops, and a choice of beautiful, historic homes.
Evergreen: Great, scenic views of the foothills provide the backdrop to a range of communities in this newer San Jose neighborhood. Its high schools rank as some of California's best.
Cupertino: Yes, it's home to Apple's world headquarters, but plenty of residents call it home as well. Cupertino's schools are exceptional, making it a good spot for families with children.
Silver Creek: Silver Creek is known for its large, luxury homes and affluent residents, but it has a somewhat more affordable side as well. You'll find plenty of people who live here to get away from their high-powered work lives in Silicon Valley's tech sector.
San Jose Restaurants Bring You the Globe
Authentic ethnic restaurants capture the best of San Jose's multicultural population and style, and it will take you a long time to sample them all. San Jose's food scene gives San Francisco a real run for its money, with don't miss food destinations like these:
Shop 'Til You Drop in San Jose
San Jose shoppers can expect nothing but the best, with luxury retail options with top designer brands. There are also malls, of course, great deals at outlets, the year-round San Jose Flea Market (which gets more than four million visitors each year and is the nation's largest outdoor market), and everything in between. These are just some shopping choices in and around San Jose:
Important City Links
Planning to move to San Jose? Visit the following links for important information for new residents.
Esri. Find statistics on San Jose, CA, based on ZIP code.
DMV/Licenses. Get your California state ID or driver's license at the local State of California Department of Motor Vehicles office. You can find the closest San Jose DMV location based on your address by using the location map.
Voting Locations. Use the County of Santa Clara Elections website to find polling places.
Hurricane and Emergency Shelters. The county of Santa Clara offers several shelters that residents can use. You can use the county's website to locate the shelter should the need arise.
Evacuation Maps for Natural Disasters. Use the emergency management website at SanJoseCA.gov to find out where to go and what you should have prepared.
Utility Companies. San Jose has one power and light utility company: Pacific Gas and Electric Company. San Jose residents can also get water and sewage service from the city.
Trash/ Recycling Services. San Jose residents can get trash pickup and recycling services from the city.
Cable and Internet Providers
Let the Experts Move You to San Jose
If you’re planning on moving to San Jose, learn more about the full suite of moving services Suddath® provides, including residential moving, employee relocation, office moving and much more. We invite you to request a free, no-obligation moving quote online, over the phone, or via your mobile device with a smartphone video estimate. You can also read reviews from our San Jose customers.
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