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15 things you must know before moving to San Jose, CA

15 things you must know before moving to San Jose, CA Written by Allie Gardner

Northern California’s biggest city is San Jose. The city’s population of 1.028 million is expected to rise as more recent graduates, and young professionals relocate here in quest of well-paying jobs. San Jose, which translates to “Saint Joseph” in Spanish, is the third most populous city in California and is frequently ranked as one of the top locations to live in the state. 

Here are 15 things you must know before moving to San Jose, CA!

1. There are enough employment opportunities

San Jose, ranked as one of the ten best cities for job satisfaction, has ample employment opportunities. The city has an unemployment rate of 2.5%, a testament to the fact that most of its residents are employed. Most people who live here are there for the great employment opportunities the city offers.

The tech and manufacturing industries are the most thriving industries in the city. Some of San Jose’s biggest employers include Cisco, Sanmina, Librato, and Western Digital. 

2. You get to enjoy great weather

Although many people come to the area in search of employment, the pleasant climate is what keeps them there.

Since temperatures rarely drop below freezing, you can leave your snow shovel and bulky coats behind. San Jose residents can expect more than 300 sunny days a year, and because of this, the yearly rainfall total in the city is barely 17 inches. Lows are usually around 45°- 60°F, while highs are around 60°- 80°. This beautiful weather also enables its residents to enjoy outdoor activities regardless of the season. 

3. A high cost of living

With a cost of living index of 215, living in San Jose is quite expensive, and it’s not advisable to move to the city without a lucrative job waiting for you. Electricity bills, groceries, transportation, and health expenses are all on the high side. 

Housing costs aren’t exempted, as the average median home price is $1,376,915, which is way higher than the national average of $428,000 and is estimated to increase by 5.9% yearly. This city is ranked the 8th most expensive city in the United States, so you’d better be prepared to have a strain on your finances unless you’re a millionaire already, of course.

4. There are lots of exciting kids’ activities in San Jose

There are many kid-oriented programs and activities in the city of San Jose. You can take your kids to these activities and even participate with them as a family.

Cyber detectives, Tales for Toots, Teen Pain Night, Junior Keepers, and Reboot Reality are some exciting and educational activities your kids can participate in. You can also take them to fun places like the Children’s Discovery Museum, Happy Hollow Park & Zoo, and Hicklebee’s Children’s Bookstore. 

5. There is cultural diversity

Considered one of the most immigrant-friendly cities in the nation, there is a great deal of diversity in San Jose. Living in San Jose means seeing displays of different cultures, foods, and festivals, which is fun. This also helps you see the world differently as you relate to people from other nations and cultures. 

English, French, Korean, Spanish, Filipino, and lots more are some of the languages spoken by people who live in San Jose.

6.  No work-life balance

If you want to live where you can balance work and life outside of work, then San Jose isn’t where you’d enjoy living. The pace of daily life and pressure here are intense. 

Most people, especially in the tech and manufacturing industries, work at least 40 hours per week, and some even work on weekends. The work-life balance is practically non-existent in this city, so you’d either work hard or play hard.

7. A great food scene

San Jose has a thriving and yummy food scene, with some of the best restaurants and bars in the state and the nation. Due to the city’s cultural diversity, the food scene has something for everyone. Orchard City Kitchen, Butchers Korean BBQ, and Acopio are great restaurants with diverse and yummy dishes to offer. 

 Given the city’s diverse population, San Jose is well-known for serving excellent examples of both Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine. This district of the city is a must-see for any Pho food fanatic. Try some of the best pho in town at Pho Kim Long, Pho Viet, and Pho Dao restaurants, just to name a few.

Some of the tasty foods and snacks in San Jose’s restaurants include nachos, chiles Rellenos, carnitas tacos covered in their special orange sauce, strawberry fields, and locally made donuts.

8. A good public transport system

San Jose has a good public transportation system, which makes moving around the city easy. You might not need to get a car while moving to or living in San Jose. 

The VTA Light Rail is widely used since it is a quick and cheap way to go about the city and the rest of Silicon Valley. Another train service that links San Jose to the suburbs and also travels to San Francisco and Oakland is the Bay Area Rapid Transit System.

9. A high number of homeless people

San Jose has a homelessness problem. There are many homeless people on the streets of this city, and it has the 5th highest rate of homeless people in the country. 

Two major causes are the lack of affordable housing and limited mental health services.

10. You’ll enjoy living in a green city

San Jose is a green city that prioritizes the safety of its environment, and it is considered one of the most sustainable cities in the country.

Their environmental policies include the San Jose Green Vision (SJGV). Green Vision is a 15-year sustainability plan initially passed in 2007 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through green energy initiatives.

Despite being a bustling city with lots of industries, you can be sure to breathe fresh air in San Jose. 

11. There are year-round festivals

San Jose is also known for its variety of festivals all year round. San Jose Jazz Summer Fest is a noteworthy event that takes place in this city. 

The San Jose International Short Film Festival is another exciting event where you get to appreciate the art of filmmaking. There’s also the annual Obon Festival in Japantown, where you can enjoy food booths and taiko drummers. You can also celebrate the creative indie spirit at SubZERO Festival. The list is endless, as San Jose never runs out of festivals to celebrate all through the year. 

12. High tax rates

Living in San Jose comes with high tax burdens. San Jose has an income tax of up to 13.3%, which is the highest in the country. There’s also the city’s sales tax of 9.38%, which is also on the high side. 

This is something to consider before moving to San Jose, especially if you’re moving from a no- or low-tax state. 

13. There’s the presence of prestigious universities

The state of California’s first and oldest public university can be found in San Jose. San Jose State University is a prestigious university with excellent degree programs in many fields, including business, engineering, computer science, and advertising.

You can start your career off right with a prestigious degree in computer science or information technology from the California University of Management and Technology (CALMAT).

There are also community colleges like San Jose City College and Evergreen Valley College that provide low-cost alternatives to four-year universities in the San Jose area.

14. There are lots of things you’ll enjoy doing here

San Jose is home to a wide variety of activities, but here are some more unusual ones you’d enjoy. 

Play a round of Monopoly with your friends on the largest board ever, as verified by Guinness World Records. Tour the Victorian Gardens at the Winchester Mystery House, the haunted former home of the heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune.

At the San Jose Museum of Art, you can view a variety of temporary exhibits in addition to the permanent collection of over 2000 works of art. You can also visit the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and discover more about the ancient Egyptian gods. Without a doubt, living here will be a lot of fun for you.

15. An exciting nightlife scene

At night, San Jose really comes to life. There are tons of lounges, bars, restaurants, and live music events available at night. 

Helado Negro, Vista Kicks, and Deerhoof are just a few live acts that will have you on the dance floor at The Ritz. If a live DJ is more your speed, however, head over to Liquid Restaurant and Lounge on the weekends for bottle service and no cover. 

Pull up to the vintage West Wind Capitol Drive-In and catch a screening of the newest Hollywood hit. Visit the national and local comedy acts at the San Jose Improv, where you can have a good laugh while sipping your drink.


San Jose has great weather, ample enjoyment opportunities, an exciting nightlife scene, and a ton of fun things to do. On the other hand, the city has a high cost of living, high tax rates, and a homelessness problem. It’s important to consider both the benefits and drawbacks before moving to this city.

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