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Travel guide San Jose

Find your way in San Jose


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Time in San Jose

When’s the best time to visit San Jose?


Spring in San Jose

Springtime in San Jose is very comfortable, with average temperatures in May reaching up to 23°C (75°F) making it a very attractive time to visit. Like other big cities, students on Spring Break come to holiday here and the beaches can get busy when the weather warms up. This is the perfect time to get outside though and a visit to the Municipal Rose Garden is a must, as is a hike in Alum Rock Park.

What's on

Summer in San Jose

Summer in San Jose is means temperatures of up to 28°C (82°F) and though there is minimal rainfall, nearby beaches can see fog in the summer months. Food trucks have hit the streets of San Jose in recent years, and this is the weather to explore the city on foot. Grab lunch on the go, while taking in some local attractions such the Basilica Cathedral Saint Joseph and the world’s largest Monopoly board in Guadalupe River Park.

Autumn in San Jose

This is the rainiest season in the city, but if you prefer to see the sights when fewer people are around, this is a good time to visit. San Jose has great museums and galleries, the Tech Museum of Innovation is a must to educate yourself on everything Silicon Valley has become famous for, while the San Jose Museum of Art has pieces in its permanent collection by Salvador Dali and Alexander Calder.

What's on

Winter in San Jose

Winters in San Jose can see rain, and temperatures in January hovers around 10°C (50°F) but can reach up to 15°C (60°F). This is a great time to enjoy the city’s galleries and museums, as visitor numbers are lower than the summer months. Or venture further afield and catch some California snow at Lake Tahoe or in the Sierra Nevada mountains. In February and March the temperature climbs a little, and people in San Jose pride themselves on being able to rely on the weather, as it’s so predictably good.

San Jose visa and entry requirements

If you’re a citizen of a country covered by the Visa Waiver Programme (such as the UK), you will need to have a valid e-Passport along with an approved ESTA to enter the USA. You can identify an e-Passport by the ‘chip’ symbol on the front cover.

You can apply for an ESTA online, and should receive approval straight away, although we recommend applying at least 72 hours before departure, in case any travel authorisation is denied. An ESTA is valid for multiple journeys and lasts for two years, or until your passport expires.

You will no longer be able to enter the USA using an ESTA if you have dual nationality, with one passport being issued by a country eligible under the Visa Waiver Programme and the other issued by Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria.

UK citizens can also fast track US passport control by joining Global Entry, the US Customs and Border Protection programme. Membership lasts for five years and the application process includes background checks and a face-to-face interview at an official enrolment centre.

Remember, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you have the right documents to be allowed entry into the USA when flying into San Jose.

Getting around

San Jose International

When you land at San Jose International, there are several options for getting into San Jose and to your hotel. Minimum fare from the airport is $15, and there is a $1.50 airport tax. After the first three miles the fare is charged at $3 per mile. There are many shuttle services you can prebook to take you into the city. Why not book them with us with your flight or holiday? Or, if youโ€™re planning to explore the area and take road trips while you are there, hire a car.


There are plenty of cab companies to choose from in San Jose, including AJ Taxi Service and Yellow Checker Cab that you can prebook. There can download taxi apps, including Uber and Lyft.

Trains and buses

The bus and train services in San Jose are run by BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). All stations have automated ticket machines and the BART ticket is like a debit card that can be topped up. Most rail lines run from 04.30 until 00.00. Buses are operated by the Santa Clara Transportation Authority and fares cost from $2.25, or $4.50 for an eight-hour pass. You can pay with the correct cash on board, or purchase a Clipper card from a VTA ticket office or a participating store such as Walgreens. Buses run from 05.00 until 00.00.

Walking and cycling

Bicycles are readily available for hire in San Jose and there are many great cycle trails in the city and in the parks and surrounding country parks, as well as cycle tours. Be warned though, this is a pretty hilly city. Walking is easy around the centre of San Jose, and makes a great way to take in the sights.

Money matters

Tipping in San Jose is a part of the culture, and unless you’ve experienced extremely bad service, you should tip. For most restaurants, a tip between 15 and 20 per cent on top of the pre-tax total is standard. At a bar tips range from 50 cents for soft drinks, to $1-$2 for wines and beers, to $2-$3 for cocktails.

Taking a taxi? As with other cities in the USA, in San Jose it’s common to round up the fare, and for help with your bags round tip around 20 per cent. Once you arrive at your hotel, porters will appreciate $1 or $2 per bag. And hotel maids might expect $1 or $2 for a few days of cleaning.

Being a technology epicentre, it’s no surprise that cash is only really used for tipping, and it’s very rare to find places that don’t accept credit cards. Some places won’t even accept notes over $20, so store cash in your hotel safe until you need it.

Staying safe in San Jose

Just like any big city, you should still take care when travelling around San Jose. Don’t forget:

  1. Plan travel routes ahead of time to get a sense of your bearings.
  2. Use well-populated and well-lit streets when walking at night.
  3. Don’t flaunt valuables such as jewellery, cameras and phones in public.
  4. You must by over 21 years old to drink alcohol.
  5. Don’t jaywalk – you could end up with a ticket.

To better prepare for your holiday, read our additional travel advice and the government’s foreign travel advice.

Useful contacts



Call 911 in an emergency for Fire, Police or Ambulance services

Consulate services

+1 415 617 1300

For British Nationals in need of urgent assiantance

Discover more of San Jose

Hit the slides atCalifornia favourite,Raging Waters waterpark

Lucille Howe,  Travel writer and frequent San Jose visitor

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