Map of San Jose California Area
San Jose, a major urban region of central-coast California about equidistant from the state’s north and south borders, is known as the Capital of Silicon Valley. While the city has a robust history starting as a Spanish settlement, its focus on technology and innovation for the past seven or so decades established the area as a global economic powerhouse.
Located not far off the Pacific Ocean at the southern tip of San Francisco Bay, the city itself is home to just over a million people, ranking it the 10th largest city in the United States. It is part of the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metropolitan statistical area, which altogether boosts the population figure to 1.9 million.
While technology has taken over the San Jose area in recent decades, it might also be well-known for the reason the Silicon Valley was created in the first place: high-quality universities and colleges nearby. In fact, it was an instructor from Stanford University of Palo Alto, just north of San Jose, who started what would later be termed Silicon Valley by urging his students to start businesses while in school.
San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley
The instructor and students ended up locating companies where there was land nearby, which was … San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley. Stanford and Santa Clara University still thrive in the San Jose metro area, and they along with not-far-away schools like the Berkeley and Santa Cruz campuses of the University of California continue to deliver thousands of computer science and engineering graduates into the region.
Aside from technology, San Jose might be known for its high-affluence suburbia, or maybe some major professional sports teams. It’s continuing growth places San Jose behind only Los Angeles and San Diego in all of California in terms of population — and it has become the biggest city people-wise in Northern California.
What is San Jose Known For?
Mainly, in a single word, tech is what San Jose is known for. The list of Fortune 1000 companies with their headquarters in the San Jose metro area is astonishing, including:
- Adobe Systems Incorporated
- Cisco Systems, Inc.
- eBay Inc.
- Intel Corporation
- Intuit Inc.
- Netflix, Inc.
- SanDisk Corporation
- Symantec Corporation
- Tesla Motors, Inc.
- Yahoo! Inc.
This global hub for technology and internet businesses originated due to the Great Depression, when a Stanford engineering professor worked to create job opportunities for his students, encouraging them and even securing grants to create high-tech companies. A relationship with Stanford grew through World War II and soon land near the Palo Alto campus was leased to General Electric, Eastman Kodak, Lockheed, and Hewlett-Packard. The term “Silicon Valley” was not coined until 1971, in articles in the publication Electronic News.
San Jose and the surrounding cities and communities are all among the most-expensive to live, in terms of property values, with the median home price exceeding $1 million. It is, in short, the most expensive housing market in America, and ranks fifth globally according to a 2017 report. The San Jose metro area has the most millionaires and billionaires living in it, per capita, in the entire nation. Of all the U.S. cities with more than 280,000 residents, San Jose’s median income is the highest.
San Jose became a “Major League City” when the National Hockey League added the San Jose Sharks club in 1991, followed by the San Jose Earthquakes, which won the first Major League Soccer game in 1996. Baseball’s San Jose Giants minor league club dates back to its beginnings as the Bees in 1962. The area as a whole got a boost starting in 2014, when the San Francisco 49ers football team started playing home games in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, immediately west of San Jose.
With an average of 301 days of sunshine a year, San Jose residents and visitors come to appreciate the area’s comfortable climate. This features warm and sometimes hot summers, and mild to cool, but relatively wet, winters. Since it’s a valley and not directly on the Pacific Ocean, San Jose does not get the rainfall known in San Francisco and other Bay Area cities. San Jose has an annual mean temperature of 60.5F, with almost 16 inches average rainfall each year.
The Silicon Valley attracts top engineers globally, so the region is filled with individuals and families from nations around the world. With over 2,000 tech companies headquartered there, the trend shows no indication of changing. The 2010 U.S. Census reported that 42.8% of residents identified as white, and 32% as Asian — including 10.4% Vietnamese, 6.7% Chinese, 5.6% Filipino, and 4.6% Indian. About 33.2% of residents had a Latino background. To give an idea about how the community has developed, in 1970, whites accounted for over three-quarters of the population.
Best Places to Live in in San Jose
San Jose is made up of four valleys — the aforementioned Santa Clara Valley, along with the Almaden Valley in the southwest, Evergreen Valley to the southeast, and Coyote Valley at the very southern edge. The center of the Santa Clara Valley has developed into the main urbanized area. From there, suburbs branch out like spiderwebs, providing quite a mix of neighborhoods to choose from to call home.
Among the best neighborhoods to live in the San Jose area include, in no particular order:
- Cupertino. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because it might have popped up on your iPhone — as this suburban community west of San Jose is where Apple’s headquarters is located. The town offers spacious properties and superb schools.
- Evergreen. For something more affordable, and with views of hills to boot, this highly residential neighborhood in East San Jose has many parks and recreational areas, and lots of recreational amenities like baseball fields, basketball courts, and hiking trails.
- Willow Glen. For something closer to downtown San Jose, just to the south is this spot with a short commute. It’s an upscale neighborhood with small-town architecture and a mix of old bungalow-style home structures.
- West San Jose. For more true suburban living, this residential neighborhood is just about 15 minutes by car from downtown — and includes the nice shopping center called Santana Row, along with parks, and plenty of walking pathways.