San Jose Nightlife • A Complete Guide

Welcome to San Jose’s premier nightlife guide.

On this page, you’ll discover the vibrant and varied nightlife scene in San Jose. You’ll find the perfect venue for you and your preferred night out. Whether you want to go all-out clubbing or if you’d like a more laid back dinner and drinks with a view, we’ve got your covered.

Enjoy!

A small introduction to San Jose, California

The City of San Jose is the official name of San Jose. This city is the economic, cultural and political center of Silicon Valley. San Jose is the largest city in Northern California (both by population and area). With an estimated population of 1,035,317 (2017). It is the third-most populous city in California and the tenth most populous in the United States. The city is the county seat of Santa Clara County and the most affluent county in California. It is one of the most affluent counties in the United States. San Jose is the most populous city in both the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland Combined Statistical Area and the San Francisco Bay Area.

San Jose is located in San Francisco Bay on the southern tip near the Santa Clara Valley, 48 miles south of San Francisco and 40 miles south of Oakland. The area is known as the Southern Peninsula. San Jose is the metropolitan area, the seat of Santa Clara County bordered by the Santa Cruz Mountains on the west and the Diablo Mountain range on the east. An area of 179.97 square miles is covered by the city San Jose. The Coyote and Guadalupe rivers run through the city. The climate of the city, San Jose is mild and semi-arid, with humidity varying from 67 percent in January to 51 percent in July.

The Nightlife
The Nightlife

José Joaquin Moraga founded the city, San Jose in 1777 as a Spanish farming community and was named Pueblo de San José de Guadalupé for St. Joseph (San José). It was a first civic settlement in California.

It was a medium-sized city at the center of a thriving agricultural area. San Jose transformed in less than 30 years into a huge metropolis and a phenomenon in U.S. economic history. San Jose became the capital of the “Silicon Valley,” a vast complex of electronics industries that stretches throughout California’s Santa Clara County. The city had a tremendous period of growth and prosperity from 1950 to 1980. The population of San Jose increased rapidly. Like other major urban areas, however, the city has been forced to confront the problems that come with unbridled development: traffic congestion, air pollution, housing shortages, and strained infrastructure. In 1985 period of recession had started in the Silicon Valley which helped to produce a stagnant economy. With the help of stagnant economy the city recovered by the twenty-first century. San Jose consistently ranks high in polls that rate cities for business climate, livability, and fun.

San Jose is a global city, having a high cost of living. San Jose’s location within the booming high tech industry, as a cultural, political, and economic center has earned the city the nickname “Capital of Silicon Valley”. It is one of the wealthiest major cities in the United States and the world. San Jose has the third highest GDP per capita in the world (after Zürich, Switzerland, and Norway). With a median home price of $1,085,000, San Jose has the most expensive housing market in the country. The city also has the fifth most expensive housing market in the world, according to the Demographic International Housing Affordability Survey (2017). Major global tech companies such as Cisco Systems, eBay, Adobe Systems, PayPal, Broadcom, Samsung, Acer, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Western Digital maintain their headquarters in San Jose, in the center of Silicon Valley.

The Nightlife in San Jose

The Nightlife of San Jose
The Nightlife of San Jose

The city of San Jose is the third largest in California and the tenth largest in the whole of the United States based upon population. The area is now known for its booming high tech industry and has gained the nickname ‘Capital of Silicon Valley’. It is not cheap to live in this city and to purchase a property you need to be fairly affluent. The city has a colorful history that includes the Spanish as well as the Mexicans. The city has also wonderful places where you can enjoy your evening and night with your friends and family. You can go to the museums, theatre, restaurants and night clubs. You can enjoy the following activities to delight your tour with the true experience of San Jose’s culture.

Visit the Winchester Mystery House

Winchester Mystery House
Winchester Mystery House

If you are looking for something a little different, then visit the Winchester Mystery House as it is a great and different place to visit. Initially, the house was the property of Sarah Winchester, she was the widow of William Winchester, a famous gun magnate. Sarah Winchester inherited a huge amount of wealth when he passed away and construction on this strange house started soon after. The house took 38 years to construct, and work was forever ongoing until the day that Sarah Winchester herself died. The building was built from the ground up and is an interesting maze of rooms and alcoves with no real plan behind them.

The Tech Museum of Innovation

The Tech Museum of Innovation
The Tech Museum of Innovation

The Tech Museum of Innovation is a lovely place for the whole family. In the beginning, the museum was in a garage and it proved to be so popular that after 8 years in the garage it moved into the 132,000 square foot facility that you see today. The aim of the museum is to show a glimpse and momentary view of Silicon Valley and also to inspire future generations. This is a great building to walk and enjoy, this place goes so much further than that as it engages with the youth of today to improve the world of the future.

The Children’s Discovery Museum

The Children’s Discovery Museum
The Children’s Discovery Museum

This museum has seen more than 7 million people walk through its doors since it has been started in 1990. The museum is full of attractive exhibits and displays that are designed to respond to the different needs that children have. This is a great museum for children to enjoy and learn. The museum is constantly expanding and another expansion is planned in the near future. There is also much-talented staff working within the building to make sure your children are getting and learning the most out of their visit.

Enjoy a Trip Back in Time to the Pharaoh’s

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

This Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose is a museum dedicated to the ancient Egyptians. The museum has the biggest collection of items from Ancient Egypt in the Western United States. Apart from the artifacts though, the museum is constructed in the architectural style of the Ancient Egyptians to make you really feel like you are there. There are several attractive and memorable exhibits in the museum including, a statue of Taweret and a stone figure of Cleopatra VII. By visiting the museum you can learn about Egyptian history.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph is a Roman Catholic Church set in the center of downtown San Jose. The cathedral was named after Saint Joseph, the patron saint of the universal church. This is the fifth church that is there for several years as other churches are destroyed by an earthquake. Over the time several phases of restoration have been undertaken, with the most recent taking place in 1990. The Cathedral is truly attractive with amazing artwork and attention to detail. Well worth a visit on a trip to San Jose as it gives a pleasing view.

Alum Rock Park

Alum Rock Park
Alum Rock Park

The beautiful Alum Rock Park is located at the foothills of the Diablo Mountain Range. It is one of the oldest municipal parks in California. People enjoy 740 acres of rugged beauty there and enjoy a lot. You can do various activities there as you can go jogging, hiking and cycling and then stop off somewhere secluded for a picnic. There are different wild animals all along the park including mountain lions, deer and bobcats. There is even an active mineral spring in the park as well as nine barbecue pits that can be booked in advance.

Look Out For Your Favorite Convention

Alum Rock Park
Alum Rock Park

The Alum Rock Park is located at the foothills of the Diablo Mountain Range. It is one of the ancient municipal parks in California. 740 acres of rugged beauty is the attraction that visitors enjoy. You can enjoy various activities like you can go jogging, hiking and cycling and then stop off somewhere secluded for a picnic. There are many wild animals throughout the park including mountain lions, deer and bobcats. There is also a nine barbecue pits that can be booked in advance to enjoy your night and make it beautiful.

View the Different Culture in Japan town

Japan town
Japan town

In the beginning, Japan town was next to Chinatown in San Jose. However, during World War II the humans were removed from their town and put to work in camps. When the war was finished the Japanese returned, settled down and located themselves in a different part of the city. Due to the rise of Silicon Valley, many have left for different areas but the town still remains and is designated as an authentic and genuine ethnic neighborhood. There are various and delicious Japanese restaurants here owned by the locals who put all their knowledge into making the best Japanese food in the city.

Shop till You Drop at Santana Row

Santana Row
Santana Row

The famous Santana Row is an outdoor shopping mall that is located in San Jose. Here you will find a various range of brand name shops, small local boutiques and twenty restaurants to enjoy. There are also nine spas, a movie theater and a hotel where you can enjoy your evening and night with your besties. The shops stock different luxury products including Gucci and Kate Spade. The area has won various awards over the years for its impressive and bespoke design. During the building of the area, an incident of fire took place in the largest building causing $130 million worth of damage and ruining 13 buildings.

San Jose City Hall

San Jose City Hall
San Jose City Hall

The design of the San Jose City Hall is what that attracts many visitors. On the east side of the building is an 18 story tower, on the west side a 3 story wing and in the middle a domed rotunda that is the equivalent of about ten stories. The building was designed by renowned and famous architects Mr. Richard Meier and Partners, it has been designed in such a way that you cannot help but stop, enjoy and stare at its beauty. The entire building covers a big area of 530,000 square feet of public and office space. You can enjoy your evening in admiring its beauty.

Santana Row

San Jose is a beautiful city. In this city, there are many places for outing and enjoyment. Santana Roe is one of them. We can do shopping, dining and partying in Santana Row. Santana Row has it all. Shops like Z Galleries, Salvatore Ferragamo, Ann Taylor Loft, Anthropologie, Gucci, Burberry and Tommy Bahama. Restaurants serving everything from fast food burgers and subs to elegant Indian, French, Asian and Italian cuisine. The food in its restaurants is very delicious. And nightlife options abound whether you’re into casual Irish pubs, sophisticated wine bars or trendy dance clubs.

Little Theatre Group

Little Theatre Group
Little Theatre Group

Nightlife appropriate for the whole family. The family members can enjoy their night in San Jose. The Little Theatre Group offers productions in both Spanish and English, and is well-known as the oldest troupe in Costa Rica; it’s now in its 62 years. The experience of the group and expert management is evident in the quality productions it puts on throughout the year, commonly four different shows per season. Past shows have included Agatha Christie’s whodunit “The Mousetrap” and Canadian Noel Montagano’s “Tuesdays with Morrie.” All types of professional and amateur actors are selected during casting calls, lending a dynamic mix of maturity and eagerness to performances. As the name suggests, the theater itself is intimate and has members from the audience are in close connection with the stage.

Jazz Café San Pedro

Jazz Café San Pedro
Jazz Café San Pedro

Once the only place to check out consistently high-quality and pleasing live music, especially jazz, in San Jose, The Jazz Cafe remains the best venue to see, hear, drink and eat under one roof. It is located in the San Pedro neighborhood, has a restaurant with good food and a full bar go with the music. The shows vary from night to night, and past artists have included Mike Stern, Julien Lourau, Diego Urcola, Dennis Chambers, Frank Gamble, Steve Smith, and Scott Henderson, to name a few. You’ll find tourists, expats, Costa Ricans, and an international crowd at the Jazz Cafe, so it’s a nice place to socialize with musically like-minded folks in the city.

BEST RESTAURANTS

The capital of Silicon Valley is full of stellar cheap eats, family-run holes-in-the-wall, and even a Michelin star or two. The best restaurants in San Jose run the gamut from taquerias and noodle houses to rare cuisines like Portuguese and Austrian food.

La Foret

La Foret
La Foret

Housed in a charming Creekside boarding house built in 1848, La Forêt is surrounded by a lush forest on the outskirts of San Jose. In late 2017, the classic restaurant reopened under new ownership. Its retained much of the same staff and old-world elegance, with a la carte dishes, $95–$225 tasting menus and hearty dishes like poached lobster tail in lime beurre blanc or rack of lamb in garlic, rosemary and tarragon mustard.

Back a Yard

Back a Yard
Back a Yard

There are many famous restaurants in the city of San Jose. Back a Yard is one of them. It serves delicious and tasty food. We can enjoy its delicious food with our family and friends. Back a Yard serves Chef Robert Simpson’s authentic Jamaican comfort food. While downing Jamaican Ting (grapefruit soda), fill up on tender curried goat, jerk chicken and sides like plantains, coconut rice and beans and honey-sweet festivals (a Jamaican staple somewhere between a doughnut and cornbread). Daily specials feature Jamaican specialties like escoveitch (grilled whole fish) or salt fish and cake, Jamaica’s national dish.

Le Papillon

Le Papillon
Le Papillon

This is San Jose’s fine-dining destination. Here we can enjoy its good and delicious food with our family and friends. Chef Scott Cooper worked his way up from dishwasher, holding nearly every position in the industry before eventually becoming an executive chef. His international travels are reflected in modern Cal-French dishes. There are many delicious dishes in this restaurant like a ragout of Burgundy snails with fennel pannacotta, linguine, and prawns in Cognac truffle cream, and braised duck breast with sour cherry, sage, and black forbidden rice.

Zeni Ethiopian Restaurant

Zeni Ethiopian Restaurant
Zeni Ethiopian Restaurant

Zeni Ethiopian is one of the famous restaurants in the city of San Jose. Here we can enjoy delicious food with our family and friends. Wispongy injera “bread” as the base, scoop up yemisir wot (red lentils in barbered spice mix), kikil kitfo (finely chopped beef in herbed butter sauce and chili powder) or kik alitcha (yellow peas in turmeric, garlic, and ginger) at this tasty Ethiopian restaurant. Sip Ethiopian coffee or honey wine, and for the full experience, go for the traditional floor cushion seating.

Black Sheep Brasserie

Black Sheep Brasserie
Black Sheep Brasserie

Black Sheep Brasserie is a very famous place in San Jose It is a type of restaurant. The focus at this French-American brasserie is on quality cocktails (like A Postcard from Japan, made with black sesame-washed Japanese whiskey, oloroso sherry, Licor 43, black sesame bitters) and fares like the oxtail rillettes, Burgundy snails in Pernod parsley butter and pan-roasted duck breast, lentils and herb salad.

BEST NIGHTCLUBS

There’s something for everyone after the sun sets in San Jose, Costa. Rica. You can eat, shop and dance all under one roof at El Pueblo, an essential destination for some of the city’s best nightlife. Party ravers flock to Club Vertigo, among Central America’s most popular dance clubs with several dance floors, serious sound systems, and world-class DJs

Miraflores Disco Club

Miraflores Disco Club
Miraflores Disco Club

Miraflores Disco Club has been the best spot to dance and party in the otherwise subdued suburb of Heredia, near from the capital city of San Jose, for around more than forty years. This legendary dance club is only open on the weekends from Friday to Sunday, from 9 pm to 6 am. The ambiance of the club is so pleasing and high-level facilities are also available. Hi-tech lasers, plasma screens, and s state of the art sound system enhance the experience, and two DJs spinning danceable electronic and Latin mixes keep everyone at Miraflores Disco Club on his toes. Two bars serve around thirsty patrons, and a newly installed kitchen means you can satisfy cravings for a midnight snack and work up an appetite for breakfast on your way out.

El Pueblo

El Pueblo
El Pueblo

El Pueblo is an essential and necessary San Jose nightlife destination with a bevy of attractions under its adobe roof. Restaurants, cafes, shops, and dance clubs blend well in this Spanish Colonial style complex, and any time of day or night there’s bound to be some hustle and bustle. The crowd is mixed, young and old, Ticos and tourists, everyone goes to El Pueblo to dine, dance, and shop for souvenirs of Costa Rica. It’s not until after 10 pm that the dance clubs really get started, and then there are plenty of music venues and styles to choose from, and often live DJs.

Castro’s

Castro's
Castro’s

If you really want to dance with your besties in San Jose, Castro’s is the place. The music ranges from salsa to reggaeton to electronic trance selections, though it’s always upbeat and focuses on Latin music and moves. Although Castro’s is not a fancy place, dressing up is very common and flip flops won’t make it past the doorman. Since when Costa Rican dads and grandads used to come to the capital city to dance, Castro’s still offers little snacks, called bocas, with drinks. Daily drink discounts and special promotions make Castro’s a long-lasting favorite with locals and tourists.

Club Vertigo

Club Vertigo
Club Vertigo

Club Vertigo will have your head spinning and your feet moving on its expansive dance floor with high ceilings. It’s a popular club that features special events throughout the year with DJs spinning the latest house, techno, and hip hop music. Vertigo’s modern rave and electrified atmosphere make for an out of this world party experience. It is one of the leading clubs in Central America and the club Vertigo has also hosted some of the best parties with the world’s top DJs and has recently undergone a major makeover including a brand new state-of-the-art sound system.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, it can be said that San Jose has a memorable historical association with the war events that lead to the creation of many historical heritages in the city. We described a brief history of the city along with the details of how it came into being. We also discussed the Population, Climate, and Economy of the state.

We then put a light on several places to hang out with your friends and family in the night time. The Santana Row, Alum Rock Park, and Little Group Theatre topped the list.

If we talked about the nightlife of the city, we established how easy it is to find a good club to enjoy with your friends or family or a date. Such bars could really offer some great pre-made cocktails for you or you could just ask for a special drink to be served especially for you.

If you are feeling hungry you don’t need to worry, we also have suggested some of the finest restaurants in the city of San Jose that offer exotic and delicious food along with your favorite drinks. You can really enjoy the taste of good food along with some great booze. And lastly, we went through a comprehensive list of Nightclubs that offered great music with some delightfully exotic options for drinks and cocktail that will polish your overall experience.

Make sure to check out the above recommendations and visit these places whenever you go on a trip to San Jose so that you won’t miss the best options and will remember your trip forever.

Find someone to share your night out with:

Read: The Best Dating Apps & Sites to Use

Menu