Downtown San Jose, California in One Afternoon

San Jose

Earlier this year I visited San Jose, California for the first time and I had one free afternoon to spend downtown as a tourist.  I’m sure there’s a lot more to San Jose than what I saw but with no car access and only three spare hours, I tried to make the most of it by plotting my own walking tour of the downtown core.

Stop 1
San Jose Museum of Art, 110 South Market Street,

The building itself is lovely and so is its layout.  The collection in small, even smaller than normal during my visit since one of spaces was between collections, but I’m sure it’s always small.  Generally “small” is not a positive attribute for a museum but it’s great when you have limited time!  I took my time and viewed the entire gallery in one hour.  If you’re not sure the art is for you (it’s all from the 20th and 21st century), you can get a pretty good idea of the collection by checking their website.  The museum is open Tues-Sun 11am-5pm, admission for adults is $8.

Stop 2
Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph, 80 South Market Street,

Understated from the outside, breathtaking when you step inside.  The timing didn’t work out for me but drop-in tours are offered Tues-Fri 1pm-3pm.

St Joseph Cathedral

Stop 3
Public Art and Public Spaces,

This caught me by surprise.  I hadn’t heard about the public art before visiting but following the art dotted around town is definitely a great way to explore.   A guide/map is available (unfortuantely I didn’t find this guide until now).

Stop 4
Kaleid Gallery, 88 South 4th Street,

An unscheduled stop.  It’s an art gallery with a range of items for sale (including a number of low costs trinkets).  I managed to pick up some lovely uniquely San Jose gifts.

Stop 5
City Hall, 200 East Santa Clara Street, (link to virtual tour)

Intersting.  Simple.  Beautiful.  And it should be since it apparently cost $343 million and they have falcons!

Not everything worked out as planned but all-in-all I was impressed by downtown San Jose.  With lots of things that pulled by attention and easy to find my way around, walking around downtown San Jose made for one wonderful afternoon!


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