San Jose's Main Events: a Year of Fun under the Sun

EVENTS AND FESTIVALS

San Jose plays host to a variety of annual festivals and marquee events that celebrate the cultural diversity that exists in the South Bay. With innovative events, marquee annual festivals, an array of cultural celebrations and 300 days of sunshine, travelers to San Jose find plenty of reasons to visit and to stay no matter what time of year.

Arts Festivals

South FIRST FRIDAYS Art Walk and Summer Series Festivals: The South FIRST FRIDAYS art walk is a self-guided evening tour through 21 venues in the SoFA District (and beyond) including galleries, museums, and independent creative businesses featuring exhibitions and special performances. Take place 7–11pm. Free and open to the public. www.southfirstfridays.com. A diverse showcase of musicians and artists, the three South First Friday special outdoor events take place in conjunction with the monthly First Friday art gallery crawls in the SoFA District. The June event – a.k.a. SubZERO – is a DIY subculture festival that spans more than three blocks, with 100+ artists, special performances and three music stages. First Friday August & September is the STREET MRKTs which include live music and more than 40 artisan booths.

Cinequest Film Festival: 'Empowering the Maverick' is the motto of downtown San Jose's premier film festival, and it does just that; you'll see plenty of indie films, or choose from a host of technology forums. Events range across venues including the historic California Theatre, Camera 12 (aka, C12) and San Jose Repertory Theatre (the REP). www.cinequest.org.

Zero One San Jose (01SJ): At sites across downtown, the Biennial Global Festival of Art on the Edge provides a platform for some of the world's most innovative contemporary artists. Their goal is to create artworks that use technology as a key tool. It's multi-dimensional (performances to exhibits and films), with sometimes startling and brilliant aspects—like the new outdoor Culture Screen and City Hall Rotunda projection. www.01sj.org.

Music Festivals

San Jose Jazz Summerfest: Drawing over 100,000 people, the festival features sounds of bold brass horns and swanky blues performed by over 80 performances across 10 stages during a three-day span throughout downtown. Sample a buffet of jazz tastes— Blues, Latin, Salsa, Big Band, and more. There's music all day and lots of activities after dark. www.sanjosejazz.org.

San Jose Viva Fest - Mexican Heritage and Mariachi Festival: This event is a fiesta for your eyes and ears, showcasing both mariachi's energetic music and its vivacious culture. Latin contemporary and traditional music takes over the Mexican Heritage Plaza and stages in downtown San Jose, with performances by Grammy winners and top bands. www.vivafest.org.

Signature Sporting

Events Amgen Tour of California: As host to the world’s elite cyclists, San Jose is a familiar setting for the race; it’s the only city to participate in all eight editions of the Amgen Tour of California. The race returns to the 2006 time trial course for the first three-fourths of the day, with the addition of a wicked stinger at this year’s finish. This 19.6-mile stage features a climb that begins soon after the riders push off the starting ramp. As the racers navigate around beautiful lakes and golf courses, they will begin to prepare for the most difficult finish posed by any Amgen Tour of California time trial course. Once they make the final right-hand turn on the route, they will face the strenuous, three kilometer climb up Metcalf Road to the finish. The riders will gain nearly 1,000 feet in elevation and attack several pitches with a grade of 10 percent or more. For more information, visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com

Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon: The Bay Area's largest half marathon, this one-day race really rocks, with live music from bands staged along the racecourse and a final headliner concert in HP Pavilion. But if you're not in the running, there are also over 60 health and fitness exhibits to enjoy. Ticket prices vary; watch for early entry discounted registration at www.rnrsj.com.

Historical and Cultural Festivals

Vietnamese Spring Festival and Parade: A celebration of all things Vietnamese—arts and crafts, food, music and dance. Past festivals have included live performances by Vietnamese entertainers or martial arts experts and a parade that showcases colorful Vietnamese dance and cultural groups, plus marching bands from throughout the Bay Area. This free, family event is held at Market Street and Park Avenue. http://www.vsfsanjose.com/.

San Jose’s Obon Festival: an annual festival/bazaar in San Jose’s Japantown – a huge festival with two days of game booths, food booths, cultural exhibits and demonstrations, the Chidori Band, San Jose Taiko and, in past years, over 1,000 dancers in full costume each evening.

San Jose Pride Festival: Rainbows of events—food booths, live music, and entertainment in Discovery Meadow. Saturday is free Family Day, tickets for Sunday events cost $15, $10 in advance. www.sanjosepride.com.

Downtown for the Holidays

Downtown Ice: Skate under the stars—and the palm trees—in the heart of downtown. The South Bay's largest seasonal outdoor skating rink, produced by the San Jose Downtown Association, is set in the amazing Circle of Palms between the Fairmont Hotel and San Jose Museum of Art. Contact: or www.sjdowntown.com/eve_eve_ice.html.

Winter Wonderland: November 26th -January 4, 2009. Here's a holiday event that you can enjoy in two locations: Park Avenue between Market Street and Almaden Blvd, or on Paseo de San Antonio between Market Street and Third Street. Revel in an arts and craft market place that includes a ride arcade and attractions like the international dessert row, part of an International Market that sits on the Paseo between Market and First streets. Buy gifts, sample exquisite chocolates, and check out the glass artisans working with molten glass (at night it looks pretty cool). Then take your loved one on the Ferris wheel to gaze at the nighttime view and steal a kiss. www.giantcreative.com.

Christmas in the Park: Anchored by festive tree lighting and displays like the Santa Claus Railroad and the reindeer bar, Christmas in the Park is a fond family tradition in Silicon Valley. www.christmasinthepark.com

Dine Downtown: San Jose’s best restaurants roll out the red carpet for new and regular customers during “restaurant week.” For 12 days in June, patrons try out multiple three-course prix-fixe specialty meals at great savings.

For a complete list of events, check out the www.sanjose.org website on a regular basis.

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Team San Jose (TSJ)

Team San Jose, Inc. is an innovative partnership unifying the San Jose Convention and Visitors Bureau, hotels, arts, labor and venues to deliver an exceptional visitor experience and serve as the gateway to San Jose as a destination. Our company manages the San Jose Convention Center and Arts and Entertainment venues including the California Theatre, the Center for the Performing Arts, Montgomery Theater, Parkside Hall, City National Civic and South Hall. For more information about San Jose and Team San Jose, please visit the new www.sanjose.org.