Downtown San Jose shines during the holidays
The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year in downtown San Jose.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
A holiday show for people of all ages and faiths, Coney Island Christmas introduces us to Shirley Abramowitz, a young Jewish girl who (much to her immigrant parents’ exasperation) is cast as Jesus in the school’s Christmas pageant. This Bay Area Premiere by Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Margulies features not one, but two “endearingly inept” holiday showcases and truly captures what it means to be an American during the holidays.
City Lights Theater Co., 529 S. Second St.; (408) 295-4200
Park at South First-I280 lot
This beloved holiday classic comes to captivating life as a live 1940s radio broadcast. With the help of an ensemble that brings together a few dozen characters to the stage, the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve. San Jose Stage Company, 490 S. 1st Street; (408) 283-7142
Park at South First-I280 lot or Second and San Carlos Garage
Rick Lombardo, Kirsten Brandt and Haddon Kime’s musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic is a fantastical coming-of-age adventure. As Gerda journeys through a dangerous and whimsical world with singing flowers, a chattering crow and a talking river to save her friend, Kai, you’ll see this isn’t your average bedtime story. An original pop rock score, alluring ballads, urban steam punk flair and the enigmatic Snow Queen turn this fairy tale into an epic quest. Do you dare enter the palace of the Snow Queen? San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo de San Antonio; (408) 367-7255
Park at Second-San Carlos Garage
From the giant gondola towering 10 stories to the classic carousel, families are traditionally attracted to the festive arcade of rides and attractions. Park Avenue and Paseo de San Antonio; (408) 286-1313
Park in Second-San Carlos Garage
Kids! Parents! Bring the entire family downtown for some magical fun! This multigenerational cast will enchant you with this expanded musical twist on the classic Grimm’s fairy tale. The Tabard Theatre Company/ Theatre on San Pedro Square, 29 N. San Pedro St.; (800) 838-3006
Park in Market-San Pedro Garage
Feel it all over again on VTA’s Historic Trolley! Whether your plan is to visit Christmas in the Park, ice skate under the palms at Downtown Ice or dine at one of downtown San Jose’s many restaurants, the Trolley will get you there and…the ride is FREE! The Trolley runs Fridays from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., weekends from 2:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. and operates between the San Jose Diridon and Civic Center light rail stations. Trolley service runs approximately every hour, weather permitting. (408) 321-2300
Celebrating 34 years of a San Jose tradition with more than 40 musical and animated displays, over 500 community decorated Christmas trees, a 60-foot Christmas tree, nightly entertainment and visits with Santa! Admission is always free and our Tree Lighting Ceremony is Nov. 29 at 5:30 p.m. This year join us each Wednesday for our special movie nights featuring Elf, A Christmas Story and Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park
Park in Market-San Pedro and Second-San Carlos Garages
Julie Guthman, professor in social sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, will speak about “Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in California.” San Jose Museum of Art; 110 S. Market St.; (408) 271-6840
Dec. 5-15 – The Duke Ellington Nutcracker Suite
Experience Duke Ellington’s Big Band Twist on Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, a unique compilation of familiar favorites that is not to be missed. You’ll also hear classic Ellington hits like Take the A Train, Sophisticated Lady, Mood Indigo and more from this innovative composer! The Tabard Theatre Company/Theatre on San Pedro Square, 29 N. San Pedro St.; (800) 838-3006
The 31st annual production of the Dickens’ classic captures all the power, humor and warmth this ageless tale has to offer. A great Christmas present for the entire family! Ebenezer Scrooge, a lonely miser, who, through the help of spirits and visions from his past, present and future, finds a second chance to become a loving, generous, kind human being.
Northside Theatre Company, 848 E. William St.; (408) 288-7820
Dec. 6— South First Fridays Art Walk
Enjoy an eclectic evening of free arts and culture in Downtown’s SoFA Arts District. Held each first Friday of the month, the 20+ arts venues are free & open to the public from 7- 11p.m., many with special performances and entertainment. South First Street, San Carlos to Reed streets & beyond; 408-271-5155
The first Thursday of each month, adults 21 and older can enjoy science, technology, entertainment, and cocktails together with their friends. Explore the entire museum or just relax with friends. Each month provides an exclusive and fun setting of music, giant games, hands-on exhibits, and more. The Tech Museum of Innovation, 201 S. Market St., (408) 294-8324
Enjoy this Brazilian martial art that combines dance, acrobatics and music. MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana, 510 S. First St., (408) 998-2783
San Jose Dance Theatre presents its 48th annual production of the classic holiday production, in collaboration with the Los Gatos Ballet. Center for the Performing Arts, 255 Almaden Blvd.; (408) 286-9905
Rarely does CMT have the chance to pair a holiday show with San Jose’s Holiday in the Park. Amidst the ice-skating, twinkling lights, and stellar George Pettit set design, “White Christmas” is sure to be a holiday hit. Centered around World War II, two Army buddies become a singing duo, touring America, where they meet a pair of sisters. On their barn storming tour, they happen upon a Vermont Lodge, trying to fight off bankruptcy. The four-some try to save the lodge, but complications arise. “White Christmas” is a heartfelt musical about love and all its misunderstandings. Montgomery Theater, 271 S. Market St.; (408) 792-4111
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
Traditional tea with scones, sandwiches, champagne, carolers, and holiday tours of the Fallon House. Two seatings at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Fallon House, 175 W. St. John St.; Tickets: (408) 918-1045
Hands-on activities and bilingual gallery tours for the whole family. José-Luis Orozco, renowned bilingual educator, children’s author and recording artist, entertains kids with an interactive and musical Latin-American flair that helps them learn basic language and literacy skills. MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana, 510 S. First St., (408) 998-2783
Conducted by Gregory Vajda with violinist Mayuko Kamio, the program includes Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik; Stravinsky: Symphony in C; and Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto. California Theatre, 345 S. First St.; 286-2600
Give a handmade greeting card or gift tag this season. Stamp, scribble, cut, and craft a personalized creation to share for the holidays. San Jose Museum of Art; 110 S. Market St.; (408) 271-6840
Dec. 8 – The Christmas Comedy Extravaganza 2013
Back live at the San Jose Improv for it’s 3rd year in a row! This year we will be bringing back Kabir “Kabeezy” Singh who will be headlining this years all star line-up. The show also features Ellis Rodriguez, Bad Santa, Jeremy Curry and Bryan Moore. The Jose Theatre, 62 S. 2nd St., (408) 280-7475
The historic Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph celebrates its 18th year of offering free nightly soul-satisfying multicultural musical concerts during the holidays. 80 S. Market St.; (408) 283-8100 ext. 2200
Dec. 13 – 26 — Ballet San Jose’s The Nutcracker
Nearly 100 dancers fill the stage with classic holiday magic, seasonal surprises and live music—this is the traditional Nutcracker to see! Arrive early and enjoy carolers in the lobby and meet characters from the show. Special family-priced performances on Dec. 15, 20 and 24. Center for the Performing Arts, 255 Almaden Blvd.; (408) 288-2800
Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale presents Carols in the California. The program is conducted by Elena Sharkova and includes “Too Hot to Handel”, a gospel version of Handel’s “Messiah”, as well as sing-along of familiar Christmas songs. California Theatre, 345 S. First St.; (408) 286-2600
Dec. 14 — Children’s Heritage Holiday at History Park
Get in the holiday spirit while sipping hot chocolate and enjoying live music and caroling. Children can board the trolley and ride along with Santa; then make crafts inspired from the Valley’s many cultures. History Park, corner of Senter Road and Phelan Avenue, (408) 287-2290
The second year of this a 5-kilometer run promises to be twice as big and twice the fun. Try to imagine 7,500 people dressed as Santa, elves, reindeer and maybe even a Grinch or two. It’s all in good humor, spirit and health, benefitting downtown’s favorite holiday traditions; Christmas in the Park and Downtown Ice. After the race, stay downtown and enjoy Downtown for the Holidays. Plaza de Cesar Chavez, Park Avenue, San Fernando Street and downtown streets
Be one of the first to experience Children’s Discovery Museum’s newest holiday extravaganza: “Soundscapes: Orchestrate the Extraordinary.” Ordinary objects are turned into extraordinary instruments in this whimsical exhibit that includes Soundstair, which transforms a grand staircase into a musical journey with every step. Children’s Discovery Museum, 180 Woz Way; (408)298-5437
Postcard (or smaller) sized original works of art by dozens of artists are for sale for $2. The evening includes live demos, workshops, sketch sessions, music and special performances.KALEID gallery, 88 S. 4th St., (408) 947-1785
Enjoy hot cocoa and holiday music by the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Harp Society. Pick up those last-minute stocking stuffers at the Museum Store, or just take a break from the hustle and bustle of the season and explore the galleries. San Jose Museum of Art; 110 S. Market St.; (408) 271-6840
An average day in the life of Charlie Brown. It really is just that, a Day made up of little moments picked from all of the days of Charlie Brown, From Valentine’s Day to the baseball season, from wild optimism to utter despair all mixed in with the lives of his friends and strung together on the string of a single day, from bright uncertain morning to hopeful starlit evening. Theatre on San Pedro Square, 29 N. San Pedro St., Suite 200, ; (408) 979-0231
Celebrate the world’s most beloved Looney Tunes and their legendary stars projected on the big screen — Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Pepe Le Pew, Tweety, Sylvester, Wile E. Coyote, and Road Runner — while their extraordinary original scores are played Live by Symphony Silicon Valley. Conducted and created by George Daugherty. California Theatre, 345 S. First St.; (408) 286-2600
The night may belong to the adults, but the day belongs to the kids! Celebrate the arrival of 2014 with the whole family. Radio Disney will be on site with fun games, cool music, and awesome prizes. Participate in the “countdown to noon across time zones”. Children’s Discovery Museum, 180 Woz Way; (408) 298-5437
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
Escape 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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
135 W. San Carlos St.; (408) 792-4111
Nov. 23 – So You Think You Can Dance
Dec. 4 — Wynonna & The Big Noise
Dec. 14 — The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Second Quest
Dec. 15 — Montgomery Gentry / Charlie Daniels Band
Dec. 28 — Tower of Power / War
Jan. 3-4 — Disney Junior Live on Tour! Pirate and Princess Adventure
Jan. 21 — David Garrett
525 W. Santa Clara St.; (408) 287-9200
Nov. 10 – Selena Gomez
Nov. 16 – Zac Brown Band
Nov. 24 – Joan Sebastian
Dec. 2 – Beyonce
Dec. 3 – Triple Ho Show
Dec. 11 – Jay Z
Dec. 15 – Wild Jam
Jan. 16 – The Roadshow
Jan. 18 – Harlem Globetrotters
Jan. 19 – Justin Timberlake
More to Do
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 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
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
For more live music, check Live & Local San Jose