, San Jose, CA. What's a good neighborhood?
May 23, 2013 2:35 PM   Subscribe

My girlfriend and I will be visiting San Jose, CA this weekend to go to a convention at the main convention center downtown. I'm looking for places on I don't know San Jose at all. I'm wondering what would be good neighborhoods to stay in. (Sorry for the abbreviated question title -- the length limit forced me to be terse.)

These are the San Jose neighborhood options on AirBnb...

1 Atherton
2 Belmont
7 Berryessa
3 Cambrian/Pioneer
2 Campbell
7 Central San Jose
1 Cupertino
5 Downtown
1 East Palo Alto
1 Five Wounds/Brookwood Terrace
4 Los Altos
1 Los Altos Hills
7 Menlo Park
11 Mountain View
2 Naglee Park
2 North San Jose
22 Palo Alto
3 Redwood City
4 San Carlos
3 Santa Clara
1 Shasta/Hanchett Park
2 Stanford
1 Sunnyvale
3 Willow Glen
1 Woodside
posted by trevor_case to Travel & Transportation around San Jose, CA (9 answers total)
Response by poster: BTW, the two factors that matter most to me are how easy it is to get to the convention center & whether it's a nice neighborhood. (I know it's probably a tradeoff.)
posted by trevor_case at 2:37 PM on May 23, 2013

Will you have a car?
posted by kinetic at 2:45 PM on May 23, 2013

Many of these are separate towns which are quite far from the San Jose convention center. I'd stick to San Jose proper.
posted by GuyZero at 2:46 PM on May 23, 2013

Response by poster: Yes, I will have a car. So we could drive to the con if necessary.
posted by trevor_case at 2:47 PM on May 23, 2013

Most of those aren't San Jose, they're nearby cities. The greater San Jose area is kind of...sprawling.

You'll want to be downtown and near light rail, probably. Willow Glen is great if you can be near the center of everything (Lincoln Ave.) it'll put you reasonably close to public transportation. Campbell is also really nice (and the center of everything there is Campbell Ave.) and has both light rail and bus there. Downtown (depending on where your options are) will possibly be disappointing. The actual downtown San Jose isn't that interesting. (I say as a near-lifelong resident who currently lives downtown-adjacent.) North San Jose may be weird with transportation, you'll need to check maps. There's not a lot to do in N SJ except eat, so that may be a consideration.

If you don't have a car, you'll want to stick with something above, where you can use light rail. Mountain view is also light rail accessible (also Caltrain) but the trip is a bit longer. Maybe 30 minutes by Caltrain and an hour by light rail.
posted by komlord at 2:47 PM on May 23, 2013

Stay out of East Palo Alto. It's got more than its fair share of crime, and is too far from where you're going. If you're in Downtown San Jose anywhere near 2nd, 3rd, San Fernando and Santa Clara, don't take a room in an apartment that faces the street. There will be drunken screaming, fighting, blaring club music, peeling out, cops, etc. from midnight to 2:00 AM.

Close in, very nice neighborhoods include Naglee Park, Willow Glen and Shasta/Hanchett Park (locally known as the Rose Garden).

Of the three, Naglee Park and Shasta/Hanchett Park make it easy to get to the Convention Center. You could walk without too much trouble from those. Willow Glen is less than a 10 minute drive on surface streets.

For Shasta Hanchett, close to W San Carlos can be spotty. Not dangerous - just not as nice. North of there is generally very nice. Use your Google Street View. I would definitely stay in one of those neighborhoods. Hit the Naglee Park Garage for a good burger/steak and get the green curry at Tee Nee Thai for good Thai. Both close to where you'll be.
posted by cnc at 2:48 PM on May 23, 2013

Sprawl is an understatement. Here's a Google Map with SJ highlighted. Here's another, but with pin on the McEnry Convention Center.

Closest SJ neighborhoods to the center (IMO) would be:
Central San Jose
Shasta/Hanchett Park (west of downtown--look for Municipal Rose Garden)
Willow Glen (south)
Naglee Park (east)
Five Wounds/Brookwood Terrace (looks like it's just east of Naglee Park)
posted by MikeKD at 9:12 PM on May 23, 2013

Nthing Willow Glen, for proximity to SJ and other stuff to include Taqueria Tlaquepaque
posted by ambient2 at 9:58 PM on May 23, 2013

The light rail is very slow, doesn't run late, and confusingly it's got a convention center at each end of the line, so make sure you get on it going the right way.
Personally I'd rather drive or stay in a convention center hotel - there's a Hilton and a Crowne Plaza right there.
Any of the neighborhoods listed are sensible driving distance, but East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park (i.e. east of 101) are both a bit dodgy.
posted by w0mbat at 9:55 AM on May 24, 2013

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