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Meet in the Heart of Silicon Valley

San Jose’s meeting and event offerings combine upscale venues with innovative group experiences

By Macy Harder

Located between San Francisco and Monterey, San Jose is in the heart of Silicon Valley and is the largest city in the Bay Area. Home to many startups and technology corporations, the city is built on collaboration, innovation, and the spirit of entrepreneurship—all of which contribute to its status as a premier meetings destination. With a vast network of event venues, a flourishing food scene, and downtown group activities, attendees gathering in San Jose will have no shortage of things to do before, after, and between meetings.

Aerial view of downtown San Jose from The GrandView restaurant
Aerial view of downtown San Jose from The GrandView restaurant || Courtesy of Visit San Jose

Vibe: “Diversity is key—with the world’s top talents living and working in San Jose, the collective region understands the importance of individual identity and purpose and its fuel for the collective creativity of the community,” says Marykay Lui, associate director of sales for Visit San Jose. “Although San Jose is always looking ahead toward the future, the destination also pays attention to its past and preservation of the city’s history.”

Transportation: San Jose Mineta International Airport is 4 miles from downtown and serves many nonstop destinations. The historic San Jose Diridon station is the central passenger rail depot for San Jose, served by Amtrak, Caltrain, ACE, and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail, along with several bus lines.

Meeting Venues: The San Jose McEnery Convention Center boasts 520,000 square feet of meeting space that includes three event halls, two ballrooms, 43 breakout rooms, and more. To elevate the experience, consider one of San Jose’s four historical theaters available for bookings: San Jose Civic, Center for the Performing Arts, California Theatre, and Montgomery Theater. For trendy, upscale venues in the downtown area, try Blanco Urban or Guildhouse.

Hotels: San Jose offers 2,500 committable hotel rooms citywide. Conveniently, the Hilton San Jose and San Jose Marriott are both connected to the convention center. Walk across the street to Signia by Hilton San Jose, where you will find more than 65,000 square feet of meeting space, or to The Westin San Jose, with room for up to 450 attendees. Other nearby event-friendly hotels include Four Points by Sheraton San Jose Downtown, Hyatt Place San Jose/Downtown, Hotel de Anza, and AC Hotel San Jose Downtown.

Restaurants: “Visitors can dine around the world in San Jose,” Lui says. Several neighborhoods offer global cuisines, including Little Saigon, Little Portugal, Little Italy, and Japantown. Attendees can get a true taste of Silicon Valley at iChina Restaurant, which offers a one-of-a-kind virtual reality dining experience that stimulates all five senses. For groups, Lui also suggests The GrandView restaurant, a historic venue on the side of Mount Hamilton with panoramic views and a garden.

Must-Sees and -Dos: The city is surrounded by three wine regions where groups can take in picturesque views of California’s coastline and sip on local flavors. For a “uniquely San Jose experience,” Lui recommends group tours of the Winchester Mystery House, a historic haunted mansion. At happy hour, attendees can explore San Jose’s cocktail
scene or stroll down Santana Row, a European street-inspired dining and shopping hub.