Downtown San Jose shines during the holidays

The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year in downtown San Jose.

For parking info, including the best city garages, check www.sjdowntownparking.com and the interactive parking map.

Events, Performances & Attractions

Open daily — Mammoth Discovery!


An exhibition that sparks the scientist within each of us to learn about the creatures that roamed San Jose during the Ice Age.
Children’s Discovery Museum, 180 Woz Way; (408) 298-5437
Park at Woz/Hwy87 lot or Woz/Almaden lot

Now through Feb. 2 — Hidden Heroes: The Genius of Everyday Things

They are so common that we rarely even think about them: the “hidden heroes” of everyday life. Be it a dowel, a tea bag, or a zipper, these objects are classics. The exhibition presents 36 everyday classics that demonstrate the enormous significance of everyday design and engineering.
San Jose Museum of Art; 110 S. Market St.; (408) 271-6840
Park at Market-San Pedro Garage

Now through February 23 — Star Wars®:Where Science Meets Imagination

 Star Wars®:Where Science Meets Imagination, presented by Bose Corporation®, is now open at The Tech Museum of Innovation. Last chance to see the popular exhibition at the end of its 20-venue international journey.  Relive the magic of all 6 films with authentic costumes and props including Darth Vader, Yoda, R2-D2, and more. Design labs where you defy gravity and engineer Droids™. For an additional fee, ride The Millennium Falcon™ Experience. Tickets for the exhibition include general admission to The Tech. The Tech Museum of Innovation, 201 S. Market St., (408) 294-8324
Park at Convention Center Garage

Now through May 12 — Local Color

Drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection, Local Color explores the primacy of color in a range of works, from Alexander Calder’s whimsical mobiles to Elmer Bischoff’s luscious, light-filled canvases to David Levinthal’s slick, color-saturated photographs of Barbie dolls.  Also featured are works by artists who consider the quiet, meditative nuances of black and white.  San Jose Museum of Art; 110 S. Market St.; (408) 271-6840

Nov. 1- Feb. 15- Maize y Más: From Mother to Monster?

Art exhibition with work by Yvonne Escalante, Yolanda Guerra, Fernando Mastrangelo, Viva Paredes, and Jorge Rojas. Maize is a great American cultural heritage, linked to pre-Columbian diet and religion. This group exhibition explores the significance of this heritage while illustrating the role it plays in our current food system. This exhibition is part of a community-wide food festival where 31 local arts and community organizations present food-related programs that stimulate both dialogue and the appetite.  MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana, 510 S. First St., (408) 998-2783; www.maclaarte.org or  www.aroundthetable.org
Park at South First-I280 lot or Second and San Carlos Garage

Nov. 9 – Apr. 20 Around the Table: food, creativity, community

Imagine wallpaper made of curry, paper works made from locally grown beets, a living tree growing 40 different fruits. 29 contemporary artists explore issues surrounding food, from mutagenic foods to the agricultural history of the Santa Clara Valley. San Jose Museum of Art; 110 S. Market St.; (408) 271-6840

DTIce6_1Nov. 15 – Jan. 12 — Downtown Ice

Skaters never tire of circling, twirling and gliding beneath 32 palms that stand majestic by day and twinkle by night.  Basking in the glow of the iconic, only-in-San Jose ice rink are partners Hawaiian Airlines and Olympic figure skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi, who bring the aloha spirit and a lot of pizzazz to the scene.  Open daily; Market Street, across from Plaza de Cesar Chavez; (408) 291-0525
Park at Market-San Pedro or Second-San Carlos Garages

Dec 6 – Jan. 18 — HARK! 12th Annual Holiday Show and Sale 

Over 60 artists from KALEID and the greater South Bay area will be offering original works of art and creative gifts affordably priced for the holidays! Choose unique one of a kind gifts by local artists featuring paintings, photographs, drawings, jewelry and small sculpture all ready to be taken home at the time of purchase. KALEID Gallery, 88 S. Fourth St.; 408-947-1785

Jan. 11 and 12 — 16th Annual Celebration of “El Dia de los Tres Reyes Magos”

Join us for a Three Kings Day party, complete with Rosca de Reyes bread, papel picado crafts, community performers and appearances by the Three Kings. Children’s Discovery Museum, 180 Woz Way; (408) 298-5437

Jan. 22 – March 2 - Amaluna from Cirque du Soleil

holiday-amaluna-combo-sf-sj-300x250Escape to a mysterious island and plunge into a powerful acrobatic love story. Amaluna from Cirque du Soleil is a thrilling adventure filled with amazing acrobatic feats. This touring show from Cirque du Soleil is just the ticket for your holiday entertainment. The Amaluna world is defined by striking costumes and fresh takes on familiar acts, as well as breathtaking, never-before-seen artistry. Details at cirquedusoleil.com/amaluna Offer a brilliant Cirque du Soleil experience this holiday with a gift of tickets to Amaluna at a very special price! Click here

Opens , Taylor Street Bridge, San Jose

Jan. 25 and 26— Beethoven, Strauss, Liszt 

Maestro Figueroa takes us from the intimacy of chamber music to the grandeur of the orchestra on a heroic scale. We first meet the world-renowned Nobilis Trio ‘up close’ as a chamber group, before its master musicians join the orchestra in Beethoven’s concerto for three voices. Trio pianist Stephen Prutsman and orchestra follow with the sparkling and prodigiously difficult Burleske; and the concert is capped by one of Liszt’s most dramatic and widely-loved showpieces for orchestra. California Theatre, 345 S. First St.; (408) 286-2600

Jan. 30 – Feb. 23 — R Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe

Journey through the universe with the Leonardo da Vinci of the 20th Century, Bucky Fuller. Radical futurist, inventor, poet and lovable genius, Bucky will challenge you to rethink your life, the world and the role the individual can play in the fate of Spaceship Earth. Bucky challenged the status quo with cutting edge ideas that inspired many of the early founders of Silicon Valley. What will he inspire in you? San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo de San Antonio; (408) 367-7255

More Holiday Fun


Anno Domini // the second coming of Art & Design

366 S. First St., (408) 271-5155

Anno Domini has been both representing and promoting urban contemporary culture and its many faces since we opened our doors in 2000. What began as a space where new, emerging and often ignored artforms could flourish and be celebrated has come to be recognized nationally for consistent vision.

 Art Glass Center of San Jose

465 S. First St., (408) 971-1530

The Art Glass Center offers hands-on art glass classes in fusing, casting, torching and stained glass, plus a fine art gallery and unique gift shop. Stop by during South First Fridays.

Higher Fire

499 S. Market St.

Higher Fire is both a teaching studio and contemporary ceramics gallery featuring work made by instructors, members, local clay artists, and nationally recognized potters and sculptors. Stop by during South First Fridays.

KALEID gallery

88 S. 4th St., (408) 947-1785

Over 60 fine artists and designers from the San Jose area make use of a 6,000 square foot retail space with individual exhibits that include painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics, glass, jewelry and textile art. The artists range from young and emergifng, to seasoned and well-accomplished. All artwork is for sale and may be taken at the time of purchase.

MACLA / Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana

510 S. First St., (408) 998-2783 main; (408) 287-5819 gallery

MACLA is an inclusive contemporary arts space grounded in the Chicano/Latino experience that incubates new visual, literary, and performance art in order to engage people in civic dialogue and community transformation.

The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art

560 S. First St., (408) 283-8155

The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is an energetic art space dedicated to making contemporary art accessible and exciting to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. ICA presents exhibitions that include visually compelling and conceptually challenging contemporary art, as well as a variety of educational programs intended to help our audiences reflect upon these works.

Works/San Jose

451 S. First St., (408) 286-6800

A community art and performance center dedicated to providing an environment where artists, audience, and ideas interact to expand the scope of cultural and artistic experience.


Children’s Discovery Museum

180 Woz Way, (408) 298-5437

With over 150 interactive exhibits and programs the museum serves the needs of children, families and schools as a center for learning and discovery.

Peralta Adobe – Fallon House Historic Site
175 W. St. John St., (408) 918-1041
Uniquely situated across the street from one another, and now the centerpiece of San Pedro Square Market, discover two rich periods of San Jose’s past.

Nov. 24 – Happy Birthday San Jose!
History San José will be throwing a party to say, “Happy Birthday, San José!” Join us from noon to 4 p.m. for a traditional birthday party for the founding of El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe the Peralta Adobe Historic Site, San José’s oldest address at the San Pedro Square Market, will include cake, candles, music and historic home tours. 175 W. St. John St., 408 (408) 918-1041

San Jose Museum of Art

110 S. Market St., (408) 271-6840

The San Jose Museum of Art celebrates new ideas, stimulates creativity, and inspires connection with every visit. Welcoming and thought-provoking, the Museum rejects stuffiness and delights visitors with its surprising and playful perspective on the art and artists of our time.

San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

520 S. First St., (408) 971-0323

San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles promotes the art, craft, and history of quilts and textiles. The Museum advocates on behalf of quilts and textiles as a distinctly accessible and unifying visual, sculptural, and kinetic art form pioneered and practiced by people worldwide for thousands of years to create objects of beauty, use, and meaning.

The Tech Museum of Innovation

201 S. Market St., (408) 294-8324

The Tech Museum of Innovation is one of the nation’s premier science and technology museums. Experience hands-on experiences, floor programs, and the largest IMAX® dome screen in the West. Build and decorate a “social robot” or explore digital fabrication in The Tech Studio.


Camera 12 Cinemas

201 S. 2nd St., (408) 998-3300

Downtown’s 12-screen, state-of-the-art movie theater specializes in the latest Hollywood releases and independent film. Features Sony Digital Cinema 4K projection, RealD 3D, and stadium seating in all auditoriums. Open daily. Host of the annual Cinequest San Jose Film Festival.

Camera 3 Entertainment

288 S. 2nd St., (408) 998-3300

Downtown’s two-screen arthouse theater specializes in exclusive foreign, independent and documentary films, as well as a year-round Cult Movie Series, monthly screenings of “The Room” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (with the Barely Legal cast), and twice-monthly Opera and Ballet in Cinema events. Psycho Donuts runs concessions, and features unique, wacky donuts, espresso drinks, beer and wine. Open daily.

The Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater at The Tech Museum of Innovation

201 S. Market St., (408) 294-8324

Experience the adventure, drama and emotion with the largest IMAX dome theater in the West including 13,000 watts of digital surround sound. Now playing Hidden Universe and Flight of the Butterflies.  Also featuring The Hunger Games: Catching Fire showing for a limited engagement.

Comedy Clubs


Camera 3, 288 S. 2nd St., 408-985-LAFF

Two teams of improvisors compete every Friday and Saturday in a head-to-head battle for laughs and points. Suitable for all ages.

San Jose Improv Comedy Club & Dinner Theatre

The Jose Theatre, 62 S. 2nd St., (408) 280-7475

This holiday season, America’s premiere comedy showcase and restaurant hosts Kevin Pollak, John Heffron, Pablo Francisco, Aries Spears, Christopher Titus and more.

Sports, Events & Entertainment

Nov. – Jan.— San Jose Sharks

Catch a professional hockey game this season.  The Sharks are in town with more than 20 exciting home games. SAP Center at San Jose. (408) 287-9200

San Jose Civic

135 W. San Carlos St.; (408) 792-4111

Jan. 21 — David Garrett

SAP Center at San Jose

525 W. Santa Clara St.; (408) 287-9200

More to Do

San Pedro Square Market

Downtown’s public market features 20+ unique vendors selling everything from farm fresh vegetables to great sandwiches and beautiful imported kitchenware. The aromas of fresh ground coffee and wood-fired pizza fills three market halls. The Market presents weekly entertainment and showcases beautiful art created by first-rate artists and craftsmen. The Peralta Adobe Plaza offers outdoor seating where you can enjoy a morning coffee, a fabulous lunch, or an evening concert with dinner or a cocktail. Live music every Friday and Saturday. Also available to rent for holiday parties. 87 N. San Pedro St.

Guadalupe River Park & Gardens

Guadalupe River Park is a three-mile ribbon of trails, parks, and public art along the banks of the Guadalupe River in the heart of downtown. 438 Coleman Ave., (408) 298-7657

Take a Pedicab 

Door-to-door pedicab service. Fast. Friendly. Green. Eco City Cycles provides an affordable and convenient way to get around downtown. Knowledgeable drivers are happy to provide suggestions on downtown San Jose’s popular destinations. (408) 771-7723

Click here for more San Jose Holiday events.

For more live music, check Live & Local San Jose