If you're looking for a job in San Jose, this guide has everything you need to know about getting to work, wages, cost of living, coffee shops, lunch specials, happy hours, and coworking spaces.
Because the Bay Area job scene gets a lot of press, San Jose is usually overshadowed by San Francisco and the East Bay. But did you know that San Jose has the most competitive job market in the country?
Though not cheap, San Jose's happening neighborhoods, accessible transportation, thriving nightlife, and array of co-working spaces are just a few aspects that make the city the up-and-coming place to be.
Getting to Work in San Jose
Commuting can be a mixed bag of feelings. Sitting in a car in traffic can be miserable and like most urban areas, San Jose is known for its congested roads. Luckily that’s not your only option in San Jose.
San Jose’s transit score is low at 41. There about 52 bus, 3 rail and 3 light rail lines in the city. The good news is that the Cal Train runs from San Jose all the way through the Peninsula and into San Francisco. The means you can live outside of San Jose and easily commute to your job.
For those who prefer to get to work on two wheels, the Bay Area Bike Share program put 150 bikes throughout the city for use by members. The city has a bike score of 57 and a walking score of 50, which means that some places can be reached on foot and some by bike, but not everywhere.
Curious about the cost of your commute? Calculate commute time and costs here.
Wages in San Jose
Cost of Living in San Jose
Popular Neighborhoods in San Jose
The diversity of San Jose is what makes it a great city to live, work, and visit. With some of our favorite neighborhoods like Downtown, Willow Glen, and Japantown home to restaurants, theaters, galleries, and museums, you’ll never run out of things to do.
If you work downtown, you’ll be within walking (or biking) distance of all the fun. Grab some pre-work coffee or breakfast at Caffe Frascati or B2 Coffee, take a lunch break at the San Jose Museum of Art, and later on have your choice of happy hours at one of many rooftop bars in the city, like Loft Bar & Bistro or Scott's Seafood.
For a bit of a calmer vibe that still has a lot of fun, Willow Glen is a mix of residential and commercial areas. If you’re looking for a workplace surrounded by family-friendly Main Street, beautiful homes, bookstores like Hicklebee’s, and antique stores like Whatnots and Dodads, Willow Glen is a great place to work.
If sushi lunch specials and after-work ramen are tempting, working near Japantown is a good fit. The proximity to great food and a weekly farmer’s market is enough to convince any gourmand to work there. Japantown is culturally rich with festivals on the regular and the nearby Japanese American National Museum.
Best Lunch Specials in San Jose
What’s for lunch? Luckily there are hundreds of restaurants in San Jose to explore, from traditional American food to exotic ethnic cuisine. Check out these in the neighborhood that offer incredible lunch specials:
Lunch specials at Cha Cha Sushi include various lunch plates, bento boxes for $10.95, and sushi specials.
Chaat Cafe is an Indian restaurant in Blossom Valley is known for its $5 lunch specials. For one Abe Lincoln, you can get a Tandoori Chicken Wrap, a Veggie Wrap, Cholay Bhatura, or the Vegetable Special of the Day.
At lunch, find deals at Sweet Mango with combo platters like Crispy Chicken with Banana and Mongolian Beef, in addition to other Burmese and Chinese cuisine.
Awesome After-Work Happy Hours in San Jose
Both in celebration and desperation, sometimes all you need is one thing: a cocktail. With its fair share of happy hours, San Jose is the ideal destination to sit back, relax, and grab a pint.
If you love beer, you’ll love Yardhouse with their seemingly infinite selection of beers on tap. While any hour here is a happy hour, the daily specials on Santana Row include:
- $1 off domestic pints and well drinks
- $2 off craft and import pints, house cocktails, & wine
- $3 off martinis, and $4 off half yards
- Food specials range from $5-8 for appetizers
At Tomatina, Italian food reigns. After 4 pm, the happy hour specials start:
- Monday: any dessert is $3
- Tuesday: half off bottles of wine
- Wednesday: BYOB and wine specials
- Thursdays: kids eat free (for when you're just having one of those days)
Head to SP2 Communal Bar and Restaurant for happy hour from 3-7 pm every day while you sit with new friends and old. Indulge on:
- $3/4 Beer
- $5/6 Draft Beer
- $5 House Red, White Wine
- $5 Wells and Choice of Cocktails
- $6 Appetizers (check out their popular Truffled Basil Popcorn!)
Coworking Spaces in San Jose
You don’t have to be employed San Jose to work in San Jose. If you don’t have an office, a co-working space is a great alternative to the conventional workplace. Non-traditional workers from different projects, ventures, and companies — like freelancers or startup teams — can rent a space and take advantage of the mentorship that comes from working amongst people doing all different types of work and in a culture where the norm is to help each other out.
Sandbox Suites sounds like a playground, but you’ll get some serious work done here. Rent a private desk or office, or go more casual with drop-in memberships. A membership comes with access to conference rooms, lounges, a concierge service, networking events, and most important of all: an espresso bar so you can keep working hard.
Citizen Space is full of fellow entrepreneurs and hustlers looking for a place to work and collaborate. More fun than working in a coffee shop, you’ll meet some great people during working hours or after hours at launch parties, demo nights, mixers, and meetups.
Semantic Seed offers grants (not loans) to startups in need of funding and coaching. Semantic Seed hosts StartUp Camps to help young companies get off the ground, so in addition to coworking, they are also an accelerator.
NextSpace hosts a mix of organizations under its roof. From solo workers to nonprofits to new ventures, there’s a lot going on here.With private desks, conference rooms, unlimited coffee, online resources, and even physical mailing addresses, all you've ever needed is here.