Profile: San Jose, California
USDA Hardiness Zone: 10
Major Airport: Mineta San Jose International Airport
Major employers: Cisco Systems, IBM, San Jose State University, eBay, Hitachi, Adobe Systems.
There’s little doubt tech drives the nation’s 10th largest city. But while cutting-edge innovation spurs San Jose’s economy and makes international news, Northern California’s largest city has more to offer. Located a 45-minute drive south of San Francisco, San Jose was long considered something of a sleepy sister to its cosmopolitan neighbor city. Orchards once dotted the wide valley where San Jose sits, set against foothills that turn golden each summer. Suburban sprawl has replaced those orchards, but San Jose still retains something of a small-town feel. The city consistently ranks among the nation’s safest and most livable in surveys. It’s also noted for its harmonious ethnic diversity, with a rich Latino history and the largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam. It’s no wonder the population is nearing a million. Residents also love San Jose’s proximity to San Francisco and the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz mountains. Beaches are a day trip away, and there’s always weekend skiing in Lake Tahoe. In the past, staggeringly high housing costs have been the only downside to life in what most residents call Silicon Valley. The good news for would-be buyers is that home prices have dropped almost 40 percent in the past year. The $457,000 median price of a single-family resale house in Santa Clara County, San Jose’s home county, still reflects the desirability of California’s oldest civil settlement.
City limits are relatively meaningless in Silicon Valley. Folks moving to the area often look in both San Jose proper and surrounding towns and cities for the neighborhood that suits them best.