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Unread 04-07-2009, 03:29 PM
 
Location: Newark, Ca
1,178 posts, read 1,630,629 times
Reputation: 1493
Default What San Jose is Really Like...

I've read just about every San Jose topic on here and thought I might like to give my view on what it really is like to live here, for anybody that may be considering a move here or is just curious. I was born and raised in the San Jose area and I think I can give a pretty good description of what it's like.
Up until about 50 years ago, SJ was still just a farming community with few people. It pretty much grew up overnight and has become the 3rd largest city in CA by population. Unfortunately, despite the population growth, the city itself never has quite grown up into its own. Yes, there are a lot of people, but it doesn't have that big-city, urbanesque type feel to it. It is mostly sprawling suburbia with a small downtown. I'm not saying that's good or bad, but it just is what it is. One of SJ's biggest drawbacks to outsiders and even many insiders is the fact that it's just not an exciting place. San Jose is definitely not a tourist destination. I, along with many others, actually prefer this though! I have a life to live and don't really care to have to navigate around people who are just visiting. Basically, San Jose is a big city that doesn't feel like a big city.
Another thing people tend to think is that San Jose is unattractive. This I have to disagree with. Yes, there are ugly parts. Tell me what city doesn't have ugly parts! Every big city has both the good and the bad. If the only glimpse of SJ that you get is from driving through on 101, then your perception would probably be that it's ugly. There really are many very nice places in San Jose with natural scenic beauty and neighborhoods with tree-lined streets and beautiful homes. The fact is though, that most people just pass through San Jose and never venture further in to see the nice parts. Most SJ freeways travel through somewhat unattractive areas...which is common sense- Why would the nicest neighborhoods be right next to a noisy freeway? While it's true that there are many bland neighborhoods with cookie-cutter tract homes, there are also many very nice neighborhoods with charm and character. In reality, pretty much all of California has its share of cookie-cutter neighborhoods. Some of the most attractive, liveable neighborhoods would be Willow Glen, Naglee Park, Rose Garden, Almaden Valley and the Southeastern parts of Evergreen, just to name a few. The biggest problem with living in these areas is that they tend to be incredibly expensive, although in comparison to some other wealthy cities in the valley, they could be considered a bargain.
San Jose has one of the lowest crime-rates of any large city in the U.S. Even the worst areas of SJ are nowhere near as bad as even some smaller local cities in the Bay Area.
The local industry, which is primarily high-tech, remains semi-healthy even in today's economic conditions. There are many well-educated, cultured people here who help contribute to stimulating our local economy through hard work and ingenuity...which also brings up another point. People in Silicon Valley tend to live to work rather than work to live. Being that it's so expensive to live here, most households are two-income and people tend to work their lives away just to afford to live. This is definitely a valley of workaholics. It's not uncommon to see somebody at the gym working out while talking to a co-worker/client on their bluetooth the whole time. Although, I guess I'd rather live among hard workers than a bunch of lazy slobs, but people need balance!
Traffic can be incredibly bad at times in some areas, although there are parts of the Bay Area where traffic is far worse. It's nothing compared to the L.A. area.
The people in San Jose are a mixed bag. Just about every culture is represented here. San Jose is incredibly racially diverse. This is both good and bad. 1/3 of the population is foreign-born and that means that many people do not speak English as a first language and many people don't even bother trying, which can be very frustrating at times. This is definitely not the place to come to find love. They call it "Man Jose" for a reason. There are more men than women here, which means that even girls who are a "6" think they're really a "10" because they get hit on all the time due to lack of selection. San Joseans tend to come across as somewhat aloof and mistrusting but are usually warm and friendly once you gain their trust. I think this tends to carry over to pretty much any other metro area in CA though. People in California in general are not the friendliest.
So, to sum it up...San Jose is kinda like a somewhat boring, safer, cleaner, smaller version of L.A. It's got great weather. It's close enough to the beach to enjoy on a semi-regular basis. It's got a reasonably strong local economy. It's got low-crime and is generally very clean. It has a highly educated workforce. It's in a great central location to lots of other great places. There are many outdoor recreational opportunities around. On the flip-side, yes SJ can be thoroughly unexciting...but it's also a pleasant place to live overall. I prefer that it's not exciting, because it makes it easier for locals to go about their business without stepping around tourists/visitors all the time. Would I recommend SJ as a tourist destination? No. As far as living here goes, I've been very content. It doesn't matter where you go in this world, there are always going to be things to like or not like. It really comes down to personal preference. I get pretty annoyed when people speak badly about SJ. If you don't like it here, fine. That doesn't mean it's a bad place, it just means YOU happen to not like it here. SJ isn't a bad place at all, it's just very misunderstood and underappreciated
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Unread 04-07-2009, 04:04 PM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
6,489 posts, read 14,972,180 times
Reputation: 2195
I think that the sprawl aspect is overstated. Yes, some areas were built out beyond the capacity of the roads, in spite of major arterials like Capitol and Montague being as wide across as the freeways.. but most of the jobs are close by so that you don't have to go very far for work.

In fact, there was a story about this in the Mercury News just today: 79% of our jobs are within 10 miles of San Jose downtown, and 24% are within 3 miles. San Francisco has 23% of its jobs within 3 miles of its downtown financial district, but only 43% within 10 miles (an area which includes Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, Daly City and the SFO airport). It's not NYC, of course, and we're hampered by a poor public transit system, but considering the way the city was planned, it's a remarkably compact town.
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Unread 04-07-2009, 04:29 PM
 
Location: yeah
5,552 posts, read 9,239,245 times
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It is rather annoying when people think of tall buildings and urban environment as being coterminous. The walkable San Jose expands from downtown in all directions.

About the jobs, though, it would be much better if they were consolidated into an urban cluster or corridor. They may be a short trip by car, but you still need the car for many of them. They valley just boomed in the wrong era.
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Unread 04-07-2009, 04:43 PM
 
Location: Midwest Coast
1,169 posts, read 2,156,945 times
Reputation: 515
OP, your post is fair.

In addition, I think SJ is a very beautiful city. Many tree lined streets and being surrounded by mountains with neighborhoods/parks on the hill sides make it spectacular. Shopping is great on the west side, Valley Fair and Santana Row. The nightlife is also getting better.
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Unread 04-07-2009, 04:47 PM
 
132 posts, read 363,812 times
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I didn't grow up in San Jose. I grew up in northern San Diego (Encinitas), and I now go to Santa Clara University. My problem with the south bay/San Jose is that it's like one big block of cement. It reminds me of the Los Angeles Valley. It's just one grid after another, with no real change between towns....it all blends together. There is very little open space. Also, the air is pretty smoggy.

San Jose does have some nice areas. The Rose Garden area is beautiful. Santa Clara has beautiful, older homes.

San Jose, though, cannot compare to S.F or other cities in terms of natural beauty. It's just one big urbanized area...it's pretty generic and just blank.

But I do like the east foothills and the mountains, which are close. I've had family members visit and my aunt, who is from L.A, said it reminds her of the L.A basin with worse weather. Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
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Unread 04-07-2009, 05:23 PM
 
Location: yeah
5,552 posts, read 9,239,245 times
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If you live on the eastside, you're most always in San Jose. It does become weird across town when you go from one place to the next. Valley Fair itself is in both San Jose and Santa Clara.

As for smog, that's hardly confined to the valley. I was in Oakland on Monday and the views were just as hazy. The "worse weather" actually helps to clear out that smog, too.
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Unread 04-07-2009, 06:03 PM
 
Location: Midwest Coast
1,169 posts, read 2,156,945 times
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I'm confused about the worse weather comment? It isn't as hot as the San Fernando Valley, nor does it have as much pollution, and it gets about the same amount of rain,
Sounds like better weather to me.
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Unread 04-07-2009, 06:07 PM
 
132 posts, read 363,812 times
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It's both colder and hotter. It's colder in the winter and hotter in the spring/summer/fall. During the winter, it's also much cloudier.

It's not that bad, but it isn't better than SoCal.
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Unread 04-07-2009, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Midwest Coast
1,169 posts, read 2,156,945 times
Reputation: 515
Quote:
Originally Posted by SanDiegoTeen View Post
It's both colder and hotter. It's colder in the winter and hotter in the spring/summer/fall. During the winter, it's also much cloudier.

It's not that bad, but it isn't better than SoCal.
Got you, you said LA Basin, thought you were talking about the San Fernando Valley, which definitely has worse weather.
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Unread 04-07-2009, 06:56 PM
 
2,201 posts, read 2,648,236 times
Reputation: 766
Quote:
Originally Posted by vdy1985 View Post
I'm confused about the worse weather comment? It isn't as hot as the San Fernando Valley, nor does it have as much pollution, and it gets about the same amount of rain,
Sounds like better weather to me.
I'll take San Jose weather before SoCal anytime. Esp SoCal more than 5 minutes from the coast. SoCal can get hotter if your, say, east of the 405.
It is like a little, more boring LA though. When you're in your teens or 20's there isn't much to do there. What I like the best is some of the food there Although, of course, LA and environs got that beat too, due to size.
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