San Jose has always had a lot to offer, including mild weather year-round and close proximity to many of the country’s leading technology businesses. (It’s hard to miss the sprawling headquarters of Adobe right downtown.) Now, with a modernized and expanded airport and a planned major expansion and updating of its convention center, this city at the heart of Silicon Valley is raising its game.
Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport (SJC), once admittedly shabby considering its tech-savvy clientele, was brought up to speed this year with a $1.3 billion, two-year makeover. The project added 28 new gates, free Wi-Fi, and a central car rental facility. A totally new terminal is LEED-certified, and more than 90 percent of waste from the airport and aircraft using the facility is recycled. SJC, fortunately, remains a 5- to 10-minute drive from central San Jose.
Next on the agenda: The San Jose Convention Center, built in 1989, will be undergoing a $120 million facelift and expansion. The facility will remain open during construction, which is targeted for completion in fall 2013. The expansion will increase the amount of exhibition and function space from 425,000 square feet to 550,000 square feet. The existing spaces will be upgraded to the level of the new addition.
In addition to the convention center, San Jose has a several iconic venues well-suited for meetings and events, a number of them a short walk away.
• The Spanish mission-style San Jose Civic Auditorium, built in 1934, recently reopened following a restoration and modernization project. The 3,000-seat theater is now ADA-accessible and has state-of-the-art video capabilities and several meeting rooms.
• A few blocks away, the lavishly restored 1927-era California Theatre provides a stunning home for the city’s orchestra and opera company. The plush 1,119-seat former movie palace features state-of-the-art meetings technology.
• The 17th-floor Silicon Valley Capital Club, undergoing a major renovation, provides an exclusive dining option with hard-to-beat views. The facility also includes limited boardroom space.
The convention center is bookended by the Hilton San Jose, with 354 guest rooms and 7,800 square feet of meeting space; and the San Jose Marriott, with 506 guest rooms and 21,000 square feet of event space. In total, some 5,000 hotel rooms are within a short walk or ride on the city’s light-rail system.