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Hailed as the capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose covers an expansive 180 miles of Santa Clara County. As the third most-populated city in California, it makes a name for itself by being the cultural, political, and economic center of the high-tech industry. San Jose is often recognized for its innovativeness, affluence, high cost-of-living, and sought-after Mediterranean climate.

On top of tech, San Jose is also home to a thriving arts community, professional sports teams, multiple museums and institutions of learning, and a diverse arrangement of neighborhoods.

San Jose’s large size doesn’t detract from its communal appeal. The city is differentiated into a number of communities that offer their own unique charm.

  • Almaden (Valley): Almaden Valley is nestled between the Santa Teresa Hills and the Santa Cruz Mountains in the southeastern portion of San Jose. It received its namesake from the New Almaden Quicksilver Mines, the oldest and most-productive mercury mines in the United States. The mines have since been converted into the recreational site of Almaden Quicksilver County Park.

    Almaden Valley is home to mostly upper-middle-class families, with a 2011 estimate placing the median income at $182,981. It is home to the IBM Almaden Research Center and includes top-ranking K-12 schools. The cost of a home in the neighborhood is generally above $1 million.

  • North San Jose/Berryessa: Known as the Innovation District, North San Jose is home to numerous high-tech company headquarters and campuses. It is also interconnected with multiple biking and walking/running paths including the Coyote Creek Trail and Guadalupe River Trail.

    Berryessa is within the northeast region of San Jose, between Coyote Creek and the Diablo Range Foothills. While initially a small farming community, it is now recognized as a rapidly growing bedroom community. The Berryessa Union School District provides public K-12 education programs. The community also boasts an annual Art & Wine festival featuring local artists, food, service groups and nonprofits, businesses, and entertainment.

  • Downtown San Jose: As the largest urban center in Silicon Valley, Downtown San Jose is the city’s central business district, cultural and political center, and one of the valley’s biggest tech-industry clusters.

    San Jose was founded on the banks of the Guadalupe River in 1777, becoming California’s first city and first state capital when it incorporated in 1850. Downtown remained a small, agricultural-based community until an aggressive expansion in the 1950s and 60s. It has grown in the last few decades to produce high-rise residential towers and businesses. To this day, the downtown district is a mix of contemporary buildings and historic ones dating back to their early 1900s construction.

    Downtown San Jose homes feature a variety of architectural styles with some dating back to the city’s founding. In addition to tech companies, Downtown includes a large concentration of hospitality services, bars and nightlife, dining options, museums, and community events. It is also the home of San Jose State University, the oldest public university on the West Coast.

  • Blossom Valley: Located in the southern region of San Jose, Blossom Valley sits northeast of the Los Capitancillos Ridge, separating it from Almaden Valley. It is slightly east of Cambrian and northeast of the Almaden neighborhoods and Santa Teresa Hills. It includes many parks for hiking, fishing and swimming, and the Westfield Oakridge Mall offers major department and specialty stores. It offers a mix of public and private educational opportunities for school-age children.

  • Santa Teresa: Santa Teresa is a neighborhood in South San Jose on the east side of Almaden Valley. It is home to the historic Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch, which once provided fruit, dairy products, and fresh spring water to nearby neighborhoods. The ranch is now a Santa Clara County park full of hiking trails, cultural education, and recreationalToday, the Santa Teresa neighborhood is primarily residential and includes schools from the Oak Grove School District, Morgan Hill School District, and Santa Teresa High School.

  • West San Jose: The development of West San Jose began in the 1950s with moderately-priced housing. Most recently, however, the neighborhood has become quite upscale with the average cost of homes rising above $1 million. It includes the major commercial thoroughfare Stevens Creek Boulevard, which includes Westfield Valley Fair Mall and Santana Row.

    West San Jose includes multiple California Distinguished Schools, and is bordered by Santa Clara, Saratoga, and Cupertino. It includes over 20 movie theaters and the historic California landmark, the Winchester Mystery House.

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