The Californian city of San Jose was founded in 1777 (a year after the American Independence) under a much longer name: El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe. At the time, the place was still part of the Spanish possessions in North America. San Jose is also called the capital of Silicon Valley, California's technology center.
San Jose is the largest city in the San Francisco Bay with almost 1 million inhabitants.
The city is located in California, in the west of the United States, on the southeast side of the San Francisco Bay. The shores along the bay are a large urban area with on the north side San Francisco and Oakland. San Jose lies between two fault lines; every year there are at least one or two moderate earthquakes.
Being the capital of Silicon Valley it's not surprising that 'tech' plays the main role in local economy. Many computer, software and internet companies are headquartered here, including Cisco Systems, eBay and Adobe. Costs of living are high. This is mainly caused by the high prices of houses in and around the city.
Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport is situated only 5 kilometers northwest of the center. From the center the airport is reachable by rental car via the CA-87 N (Guadalupe Parkway). Two other freeways cross right near the airport: US-101 and I-880. Two other large, international airports lie about 55 kilometers north of San Jose: San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport.
San Jose has good public transport. You can quickly travel from the center to the suburbs and beyond by streetcar (or light rail). The lines Mountain View-Winchester and Alum Rock-Santa Teresa in particular are convenient for tourists. There's also an extensive bus network, but the frequency of buses differs per route and also depends on the time (on most lines there are significantly less buses at night).
You can easily explore San Jose's center by foot and there are several parking garages to park your car. If you want to travel outside the center, a rental car is an ideal means of transportation. At least it's the most comfortable form of transportation if you want to visit San Francisco and Oakland and surroundings. Avoid the freeways during rush hour, but that's the same everywhere in the world. For a scenic route to San Francisco you can take the Cabrillo Highway which runs directly along the coast.
There are many hotels in San Jose's center (Downtown), but it's also the city's shopping and entertainment area, with restaurants, bars and cafés. Nightclubs can be found mainly along Monterey Road south of Downtown. If you like peace and quiet, it's better to look for accommodation in another district. There are many accommodations near the airport which is not far from the center. There's also a cluster of hotels along El Camino Real in Santa Clara.
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