I have attended several Finovate events over the past few years in their exotic 🙂 locals of San Francisco, New York, London and Singapore. As a denizen of the south end of the San Francisco Bay Area, I was surprised and excited to see that the next FinovateSpring event will be hosted in San Jose at the City National Civic.
San Jose is roughly 50 miles south of San Francisco and has long time positioned itself as the capital of the famous (if not infamous) Silicon Valley. San Jose is home to many tech giants including eBay/PayPal and Cisco. Apple, Google, Yahoo and Facebook are located in cities just 20 minutes up the 101 or 85 freeways. San Jose is also home to the San Jose Sharks who are snapping at the heals of the LA Kings in divisional play offs.
Even though the San Jose area is home to many world famous brands, technologies and teams, it is NOT a booming cultural mecca of historical sites, tourist attractions and a bustling night life. In fact, the downtown San Jose area rolls up the sidewalks after work hours and most restaurants close down around 9pm. Unfortunately, any nightlife is limited to the standard “boom-chickaboom” type clubs that blare “Rhythm of the Night” on a speaker turned up to 11. Yes, I’m aware that I’m mashing together several pop culture references here.
So where to go and what to do when we all descend on San Jose for FinovateSpring on April 29 and 30? For starters, I’ve listed below a series of local restaurants that are great to host business dinners at and are within walking distance of the Civic.
Original Joe’s – Does not accept reservations and good for smaller parties.
Il Fornaio – Accepts reservations and hosts larger parties.
The Grill – Accepts reservations and hosts larger parties.
Firehouse – Accepts reservations and hosts larger parties.
There are a few options for after dinner entertainment…but they are limited. The San Jose Sharks will be in Los Angeles unfortunately. However, there may be something happening at the SAP Center worth attending. The nearby Hotel De Anza and the Fairmont Hotel hosts jazz musicians in their lobbies most nights for something more low key. However, avoid the bars and club scene in downtown San Jose. There was a fatal stabbing at a bar just last week…and it even happened on a night early in the week.
As a resident of the south bay area, I recommend visiting the nearby town of Los Gatos. Los Gatos is a small town tucked to the side (map) of the Sillicon Valley and is a 15 min drive or cab ride South/West of San Jose. There are several great restaurants in the downtown area and many interesting bars for after dinner drinks and strategy sessions. “Rhythm of the Night” is seldom heard.
I’ve listed my favorites based on personal experience. I recommend making reservations at all restaurants for each is well known in the area.
Cabs can be hard to find in the area so ask the restaurant/bar host to call one for your party. Keep in mind that Los Gatos is also a great town to just walk around in too. If you are into exotic cars, the Los Gatos Luxury Cars dealership has a store on Main St where one can drool over Aston Martins, Bentleys and Lamborghinis. There are also several gift shops and clothes boutiques to purchase a peace offering for the home front. There is an Apple store too in case you forgot your iPhone charger at home.
I hope you enjoy FinovateSpring and have a chance to explore the Silicon Valley.