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San Jose Travel/Visitors' FAQ

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11-14-2008, 09:55 PM
LadyStanley's Avatar
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San Jose Travel/Visitors' FAQ

So many times I get asked about how to get to SJ, where to stay, how to get to a game. So thought I'd put it all in one page for easy reference.


The closest airport is Minéta San Jose International (SJC). More than a dozen domestic and international carriers serve the airport. (Normal landing pattern is directly over the HP Pavilion. It's 5-10 minutes by taxi/car to get to the Tank.) Recent upgrade includes "Shark Tank" eatery complete with "ice" floor and rink markings.

Other regional airports include San Francisco International (SFO; more than three dozen domestic and international carriers) and Oakland International (OAK; eight domestic and international carriers). You'll need to rent a car or take a shuttle or public transportation to get to San Jose from either airport.

Extra-regional Rail transportation

San Jose Diridon is serviced by Amtrak and ACE
ACE can get you to/from the Tank, but as a commute-centric Central Valley connector would require an overnight stay and long afternoon to attend a weekday game, and does not operate during the weekends.
Amtrak's Coast Starlight and Capitol Corridor service stops in San Jose. (The northbound Coast Starlight train is scheduled to leave at 10:39pm, so you could take the west bound Capitol Corridor from Sacramento and return the same night, arriving very early morning, via Coast Starlight.)

HP Pavilion (aka the Shark Tank, formerly San Jose Arena)

Located at 525 W Santa Clara St (corner of Autumn), San Jose 95113
7:30pm evening games nominally have doors open at 6:15 (75 minutes before game); warmups (great to watch) start at 7pm (or 30 minutes before game). (Ushers do allow access to the glass for warmups; but you'll have to move if the ticket holder shows up for that seat.)
Arena policies (on cameras, outside food, etc.)
Driving directions | Parking (or city parking info)
Please note that the main parking lot (adjacent to the Tank) is for prepaid and handicapped only. Autumn street, between Santa Clara and St John streets, is closed to through traffic before and during games (from perhaps three hours before game until 45-60 minutes after game); that block is where pregame street celebrations are held.
Caltrain (local rail transportation)
Check link for schedule, tickets, etc. Prices are zone based. Tickets should be purchased at ticket kiosk before boarding train.
HP Pavilion is across the parking lot from the "San Jose Diridon" station (zone 4). Last train north leaves at 10:30pm, or 15 minutes after a game, whichever is later. (If coming from Gilroy or south, overnight stay required.)
For evening games, there are a number of trains southbound, including some "express" trains.
(Note - as of 10/2010 service may be cut to eliminate evening/weekend CalTrain service; keep updated on news and check schedule)
Valley Transit Authority (buses, light rail)
There usually are light rail trains and some buses waiting 10-15 minutes after games at the "San Jose Diridon" station.


Tickets for single games are available at the HP Pavilion ticket window (no fees) or Ticketmaster. (Preseason tickets go on sale about three-four weeks before games start; regular season tickets go on sale mid-September for entire season. Playoff tickets for first two games go on sale early April and usually sell out within an hour; additional seats may be released prior to and on game day; additional confirmed games go on sale usually the morning after a game is possible.)
100's are the lower deck, 200's the upper deck. 101/201 (behind benches) and 115/215 (behind penalty box) are center ice. Sections x16-x28 is the end the opponent attacks twice. Seating map (color relates to price range).
Season ticket holders can resell their tickets through the Power Play Ticket Trader (STH are forced to increase ticket price from face value 5-10%, plus there are additional transaction fees).
Fan ticket exchanges include:
StubHub also resells tickets for Sharks events

Where to stay

There are essentially two primary areas to stay in San Jose to see the Sharks: downtown and near the airport. Many of the airport establishments can use VTA lightrail to travel to the HP Pavilion.
  • De Anza Hotel (visiting teams sometimes stay here)
  • Arena Hotel
  • Fairmont Hotel (visiting teams sometimes stay here)
  • Hotel St Claire
  • Hilton San Jose Hotel and Towers (Shark sponsor)
  • Crown Plaza Downtown
  • Hotel Montgomery
  • Travelodge
Airport info or more

  • Doubletree Hotel San Jose
  • Wyndham San Jose
  • Holiday Inn San Jose
  • Clarion Hotel - San Jose Airport
  • Howard Johnson-San Jose
  • Staybridge Suites San Jose
  • HI Express Hotel & Suites San Jose Airport
  • Candlewood Suites
  • Holiday Inn Express Santa Clara
  • Days Inn Airport
  • Executive Inn Airport
  • Radisson Plaza Airport
  • Courtyard San Jose Airport
  • Homestead San Jose
  • America Best Value Inn
  • Radisson Hotel San Jose Airport
Some visiting teams also stay at Santana Row.

Where to eat

Depends on how thick your wallet is, how far you want to walk, and what you want to eat. You probably won't be able to park near the Tank after dinner, so plan on parking once and walking to and from. (There are also numerous food options inside the Tank from Mexican to sushi.)
There area number of places around San Pedro Square (4-6 blocks from Tank) that have good/decent/excellent food, some with TVs.
I've been to Peggy Sue's (29 N San Pedro St, Ste 100; good burgers) which has TVs. (I dislike the food and layout for TV watching of the Brit, aka Britannia Arms on Santa Clara, so do not recommend it. If you're into British pub food, go for it.)
The Old Spaghetti Factory (51 N San Pedro St; may have some TVs; haven't been in years) and Sonoma Chicken Coop (31 N Market St, entrance also on San Pedro St) have good, inexpensive food, but no TVs that I recall.
And there are a few smaller in/around San Pedro square, along Santa Clara street and 1-2 streets parallel. Including Original Joe's (1st and San Carlos) -- a great Italian restaurant that many visiting players have been said to eat their pregame meal at (it's pretty popular, so you might need 2 or more hours for the wait and meal). And the hotels in the vicinity also have restaurants (2-3 at the Fairmont; but since I dropped my tickets to the SJCLO/AMTSJ more than a decade ago, I don't know the current status of eateries).
In other locations near Tank:
There's a restaurant on the ground floor of the De Anza hotel (233 W Santa Clara St,; never eaten there); don't think they have TVs. There's Henry's Hi Life (301 W Saint John St; think beer and greasy burgers) a couple of blocks from the Tank; I've never been. Amici's East Coast Pizzeria (Sharks sponsor; W Santa Clara St and Almaden) has pizza and Italian in a modern atmosphere. Zapata's (Montgomery and Julian) is behind the Tank; good Mexican food, but the wait is sometimes ridiculous.
There's a nice restaurant inside the Tank, simply called The Grill. They do have TVs (last I was there, many years before the lockout). They open circa 5:30 (event ticket required; reservations suggested) so you can have a leisurely meal before heading out to seat for game.
There's a place 1-2 blocks (toward 280) from the Tank, called Poor House Bistro (91 S Autumn St); appears to have cajun style food. I've also received recommendations for Patty's Inn (102 S Montgomery St), with decor of 1930s sports bar.
There's a strip mall on Coleman (between Taylor and 87) that has a number of fast food places; it's perhaps 1/2 mile as the crow flies, or 1 mile as the car drives, from the Tank (some with drive thru's).

Other things to do

So, if you're coming for more than just the game, and have hours to fill, here are some ideas. Mostly San Jose-centric. There are other venues/organizations in the South Bay, Peninsula that may also have things of interest. SJ Mercury newspaper entertainment section is a good start too.
Downtown San Jose events listing for other things that may be happening when you're in town.
And some other sites that might provide information for your trip:
Sports (participation), out door activities: Ice hockey (Sharks Ice San Jose would be closest), Roller hockey (Silver Creek, or Rollin' Ice). Bike riding: road (even more popular as the Tour of California is heading toward it's fourth year) and mountain bike riding. There's wind surfing (Santa Cruz or Shoreline lake in Mountain View), sailing (Bay, ocean), rowing (crew -- probably more collegiate crowd, etc.), kayaking, (motor) boating. Tennis. Golf. Deep sea fishing. Rock climbing, hiking, camping (perhaps head to the nearest REI for recommendations).
Sports (spectator): During hockey season there are numerous pickup and college/club ice hockey games at Sharks Ice. Schedule of games is posted at front desk. SJSU and other local colleges have many sport teams in action (basketball, baseball, football, lacrosse, and much more); check out the school websites for schedules and locations. Professional sports in region: NBA Golden State (Oakland) Warriors (season October-April); NFL (season August-January) Oakland Raiders, San Francisco Forty-Niners; MLS San Jose Earthquakes (season March-October); MLB (season March-October) Oakland Athletics (A's), San Francisco Giants.
Amusement parks (Gilroy Gardens, Great America, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, aka Marine World). I'd guess there are perhaps 20-50 state and national parks within 3 hours drive. And that's only a start.
Sharks often have practices (on non-game days when they are not on the road) at Sharks Ice, San Jose. Check out the website and/or call to confirm practice times/rink. (Regular season practices are generally open to public.) Just because practice is scheduled does not mean it will be held. Periodically practice is closed for private practice for "Reading is Cool" (and sometimes they practice at the Tank).
Culture: Opera, ballet, dramatic theatre, plus many options on the Peninsula, SF and east bay. Not to mention all the museums in/around the Bay Area; including the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium, The Tech and the Children's Discovery Museum -- all in downtown San Jose and walking distance from the Tank. As for instrumental music, there are numerous orchestras (pro, non), and a number of touring groups hit some of the established performance venues; and vocal performances from Schola Cantorum to the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. For more popular music, there's the Mountain Winery, Shoreline Ampitheatre (or should you care to brave the traffic, Sleep Train Pavilion, aka Concord Pavilion). And a once in a lifetime (or more) experience is Beach Blanket Babylon (Club Frugazi, Northbeach, SF) PG13/R (depending on which show is attended; may require 21+ to attend).
History: Yes, San Francisco may be capable of putting historic markers on every block, but there's so many other places around the Bay that have a lot of history to share as well. (Watching "Eye on the Bay" or "Wine Country" or "California's Gold" or "Bay Area Backroads" and other TV shows have a lot to share.) Winchester Mystery House is a popular tourist stop. There's also the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot. And Moffet Field/NASA Ames is history in the making. There's also the Computer History Museum for a more Silicon Valley touch.
Colleges/Universities: Perhaps you're looking for locations to pursue a college degree. Public (four year) university/colleges in the region include: San Jose State University, Cal State East Bay (aka CSU Hayward), San Francisco State University, UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley (aka "Cal"), UC San Francisco, UC Davis. Private (non public; four year) universities include: Santa Clara University, Stanford. And numerous others.
Eating: There are so many good restaurants around (many national chains are OK, but some of the "one of's" are very memorable in a good way). You might try SJ's Japan town if you're in the mood for Sashimi or Japanese cuisine. Lots of good Chinese restaurants (my fav, and Martin Yan's: Chef Chu's in Los Altos). For Italian, my fav is "Frankie, Johnnie, and Luigi Too" (MV).
Shopping: San Jose area malls include Great Mall of the Bay Area, Valley Fair, Vallco, Stanford. There's a large outlet shopping area in Gilroy. There are also a number of small boutique shops that cater to everything. Saratoga, Los Altos, Los Gatos are just some of the cities with fun shopping.

Last edited by The Nemesis: 01-19-2013 at 10:57 PM.
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