San Jose – finding my way as a newbee

San Jose is Located in the San Francisco Bay Area and in the heart of Silicone Valley.

You can only imagine the rent tags in San Jose and property prices in this city. 3K + and it only goes up and if your reading this. By the time you finish it will be even more expensive 🙂

Before I start singing the praises of this city. People often ask me where to stay.  Stay in Japantown. Its without doubt the nicest part of the city in my opinion. Very eclectic with great restaurants parks and there is always something happening.

San Jose as a newbee


San Jose is actually bigger than San Francisco and has a bigger population.

its a really cool laid back city that is growing in leaps and bounds as the city gives more and more building permits to apartment complexes, while it attempts to get rid of the single family homes, so said the mayor in the debate I listed to last night. Shame really, I always find great cities that are changing too much and pushing out what was really cool. The average rent for a 1 bedroom in a new build is 2300 per month and in the last 2 weeks I’ve seen them all.

San Jose is almost next door to Santa Clara where the new San Francisco 49ers stadium is located at a cost of 1.3 billion USD.

San Jose is also home of the one of last 3 Japanese museums in the United States and has a very active Japanese community.

San Jose is approximately 50 mins from San Francisco city and 1 hour to the Golden Gate Bridge. You can take as most commuters do CALTRAIN which is an amazing service and very reasonable compared to what I’m used to anyway.

So if you arrive by air you can fly directly into San Jose or San Francisco is the way I came and took CALTRAIN HERE. Its very easy and simple to navigate your way around the public transport system here.  Buses and trains etc make it very easy to take bicycles on-board. Speaking of bicycles, I have never seen such large bicycle lanes in my life.  They make it so easy and they encourage people to use them.  In general San Jose is a very walkable city.


San Jose as a newbee

Roy’s station coffee shop

Day 1: find a great coffee shop.  Mission accomplished.  Roy’s Station in Japan Town. Friendly and with refills if you would like this has outdoor seating where you can watch the world go by, lots of electrical outlets and free wifi.  You can sit for hours and they are always happy to see you.  Their staff are the best.  Most importantly they coffee is great.  After the 1st visit they recognized me and are so friendly all the time.

From there I headed on foot to the center of downtown to explore all the city had to offer.  Its a lovely walk and the city is fully of parks nice building as great houses all unique.  San Jose also has a big homeless problem as does most of California and the parks being open are a major place they sleep.

San Jose as a newbee

chalk painting festival

Jose is home to the largest number of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam and Vietnam town is huge in San Jose and with the large population of Vietnamese it didn’t seem like a special destination.  It was just like a bunch of strip malls actually.  but has great restaurants if you love Vietnamese food and full of Vietnamese people so I guessed the food was authentic and I loved it.

San Jose its broken up in to many different areas. Although Japantown is located in the downtown area its not what you would expect downtown to be.  Walk further into the area and see places like San Pedro Square, full of shops, bars, restaurants.  Beautiful churches, San Jose Art Museum, more parks again full of homeless people but very friendly homeless people I might add.

San Jose as a newbee

Japan Town

From San Jose its easy to head to great areas reliability close by, Mountain View, Los Gatos, Palo Alto, Burlingame and the likes.  Many people live in these areas and commute to San Francisco as its just so expensive to live there.  I just viewed a house there 4 bedrooms 2 bathrooms, an old home and it was $9k a month to rent.  First and last months rent as a deposit so your 30k in the hole before you move into to your empty old house.  But you do get to live in a great city if you have anything left to spend in order to enjoy it after your rent is paid.

San Jose as a newbee

If you looking for a bar to hang out at I highly recommend Jacks Bar just google or Yelp it.  Very easy to find.  Great staff, great juke box and all in all I loved my time there.  They also show the English soccer games and Im not sure if the owner or manager is a Gunners (Arsenal) fan or he has team shirts for every team but the staff were wearing Arsenal shirts under his direction 🙂 not that I mined.  That’s the only team followed in my house.

There are many different areas in San Jose and in general I was told to say away from South San Jose yet I met lovely people living there.  East I was also told to stay away from same story. Every area has good and bed neighbourhoods, its the same in every city or small town.  Willow Glen and Campbell were really cool parts of the city and towns in their own right.   Very cool to go and experience.

If you happen to be here on the 1st Friday of the month the oldest Quaker Church in California is in San Jose!!! Incidentally the oldest Quaker Church in Ireland is in my home town. Little comparison there.

The one thing I find common here is people love it but they are all complaining about the rent.  Its a healthy nice city with a great vibe but in the last few years rent seems to have soared and if your not making the big bucks in Silicone valley IT then its a struggle.  Everyone has roommates, even people approaching 60 years of age which is something I cannot see myself wanting to do.

So I’m all settled in and its time to leave 🙂 Would definitely recommend this area as an alternative to space deprived crazy property prices San Francisco. Its still crazy here but at a 50% discount 🙂 I will say there is no where else Id rather be today.

So would I live here??? yes I could but would I want to spend most of my income on rent and not get to experience life? for me that would be the big decision factor.  I am sad I have to leave though.

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About Sandra

Just a girl from Ireland who wants to live everywhere. Not a planner, a winger when it comes to travel. I don't even like people who plan too much. Without spontaneity there is no depth. A jack of all trades. A great friend, loyal and passionate and I expect the same in return. Always ready for the next adventure at a moments notice.
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