20 Things You Need to Know Before You Move to San Jose

Dionne Warwick once famously asked, “Do you know the way to San Jose?”

For a while, that was a legitimate question, because no one really knew where San Jose was. But thanks to a tech boom, a wave of diverse immigration and some really computer-savvy college dropouts, San Jose has blossomed into a top city to live in.

We’re not shrouded with fog and hippies like San Francisco (sorry, we promise still love you!), or fraught with hipsters and unseasonably hot weather like LA (ehhh). We’re the happy medium. The perfect city to rest your bones and brag about how you made it in California.

That’s San Jose.

Excited to move here yet? Here are 20 essential facts you need to know before coming here.

1. We’re the capital of the tech industry.

eBay? Invented right here. Adobe? Here too. Cisco? You bet. Tech had to start somewhere, and that somewhere was San Jose. We’re home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other region except New York. If you don’t believe me, you can Google it.

2. We love our hockey.

San Jose is Sharks territory. California might not be the first place you think of when you think of ice hockey, but here in San Jose, we’re all about it. Catch us at a Sharks game rocking the teal and black.

3. We do what we love, and we love what we do.

According to CareerBliss.com and Glassdoor, the San Jose area is one of the happiest places to work in the nation. So if you’re looking for a job, Silicon Valley is the perfect place to start.

4. Two words: Orange. Sauce.

In SJ, La Victoria Taqueria is an institution. Their orange sauce — hot sauce mixed with mayo and a whole lot of goodness — is a staple in any San Jose resident’s fridge.

5. …And Vietnamese food.

San Jose has more Vietnamese expats than any other city in the US. That means you’ll be filling up on banh mi and pho all night. And we do mean all night: Many pho restaurants in the city don’t close until 3 am.

6. Not craving pho?

Don’t worry, we have plenty of Japanese fare too. San Jose is home to the country’s oldest Japantown, centered on Jackson Street. The Japanese American Museum of San Jose displays exhibits on everything from local farming to a full-scale model of a Japanese internment barracks.

7. Get used to your commute.

We’re not proud of it, but our traffic ranks among the worst in the nation. Chalk it up to California car culture, or to a less than stellar public transportation system (ahem, VTA).

8. Paper or plastic? Either way it’s going to cost you.

We charge a minimum of $0.10 if you want a store to give you a paper or plastic bag. Pro tip: Bring your own bag the next time you go grocery shopping and skip the fees.

9. You won’t have to worry about walking around alone at night (generally).

San Jose consistently ranks as one of the top safest large cities in the country, with low crime rates and low crime activity.

10. It’s always sunny in San Jose.

SJ has some of the best weather on the West Coast, with over 300 days of sunshine each year.

11. Earthquakes happen a lot. No biggie.

Some of them are minor shakes, and some of them are strong enough to knock a couple of soup cans from the shelf. You’ll get used to it.

12. Look left, right and down when you cross the street.

The City of San Jose commissioned several artists to paint crosswalks in downtown. They feature intricate patterns — everything from a river to a computer chip pattern.

13. …And then look left and right a couple more times just to make sure.

The light rail’s unique setup in downtown means it’s right in the middle of a footpath. That wouldn’t be such a big problem, were it not for the fact that it passes directly in front of San Jose’s most prominent bars and nightclubs. You better hope for your safety you can walk in a straight enough line to dodge a train.

14. We’re super healthy.

Gym memberships, hiking trails, bike trails — if you want to fit into San Jose, you better live an active lifestyle. SJ was recently ranked the second healthiest city in the US. I’ll raise my glass full of kale juice to that!

15. But don’t get us wrong, we love to eat too.

San Jose is the capital of competitive eating. Two of the top five competitive eaters in the world, Joey Chestnut and Matt Stonie, call this city their home. San Jose: Home of the steel stomachs.

16. You’ll be in and out of In-N-Out more times than you’d like to admit.

In-N-Out Burger is the holy grail of meat, cheese and bun goodness in the Golden State. In-N-Out might be a SoCal thing, but we’ve perfected the art of a good burger here in NorCal.

17. No one does the holidays like us.

Every holiday season, Christmas in the Park takes over Plaza de Cesar Chavez. For six weeks, half a million visitors will gawk at over 500 Christmas trees and two acres of carnival displays.

18. Need something for cheap? The Flea Market has it.

If you’re looking for clothes, food, or literally anything else, visit the San Jose Flea Market, one of the country’s largest swap meets.

19. Get ready to spend a pretty penny if you want to live here.

The median home price in San Jose is around $1.085 million. But don’t let that scare you: all of us have made it here, and you can make it here too! (Without resorting to living at work at that…)

20. You’re going to hella love it here.

Get hella used to hella. You’re hella going to hear it. Like hella.

Lloyd Alaban