New & Coming Soon to San Jose
• In June, after years of construction, the first BART trains began rolling into and out of San Jose for the first time. This initial foray into the city, in the form of a 10-mile, $2.3 billion rail extension, leaves from Warm Springs/South Fremont Station for stops at Milpitas Station (near the Great Mall) and Berryessa Station in northeast San Jose, the new end of the line. There are plans to eventually extend the tracks into downtown and beyond, to Santa Clara.
• January 2020 saw the opening of the Hyatt House San Jose Airport, marking the 100th property in the Hyatt House brand. The hotel has 165 guest rooms, including 113 apartment-style suites with fully equipped kitchens and large living rooms, and 1,946 square feet of meeting space. Other highlights include a complimentary full hot breakfast buffet; the Outdoor Commons, a place to sip cocktails and enjoy savory bites from a BBQ grill; a 24-hour grab-and-go market, and the 24-hour workout room.
• Readying for a 2020 opening is a sparkling new high-tech esports lounge from the Gameworks chain, called GameWorks Silicon Valley. Set in the city's Westfield Oakridge shopping center, the bi-level venue will host regular "casuals" for novice players and major esports tournaments for expert digital warriors. On-site dining will provided by The Works Kitchen at Gameworks, offering modern American eclectic fare.
• Less than 5 miles east of the city proper, the 188-room AC Hotel San Jose Santa Clara opened in 2019 with 1,389 square feet of flexible indoor/outdoor event space for groups of up to 80. A member of the Marriott collection of brands, this Silver LEED-certified property offers a 24/7 fitness center, an outdoor pool, and food at the AC Kitchen, serving a European-inspired breakfast, as well as the AC Lounge with its tapas menu of small plates "with a Spanish flair."
Event Venue Additions & Renovations
• The Hayes Mansion, built in 1904 and a hotel since the 1990s, is undergoing a $20 million renovation that will result in a 2020 rebrand as a Curio by Hilton property. All 214 guest rooms are being outfitted with new furniture, carpet and light fixtures, and the on-site Silver Creek restaurant will receive a new outdoor dining patio. In addition, the venue's 33,000 square event space will get a refresh. The mansion is about 10 miles from the city's airport.
• A renovation project is in the works at the elegant 805-room Fairmont San Jose. On tap for a refresh will be the main lobby, all entries, the fitness area, the pool bar and 200 out of 600 guest rooms in the North Tower (with more rooms to come in future phases). A completion date has not yet been announced. The hotel has 65,000 square feet of event space divided among 22 rooms.
• A short walk from the convention center, the San Jose Armory has been transformed into an expansive new event space. Built in 1934 and designed in bold Spanish Revival style, the 30,000-square-foot venue once was home to the California National Guard. Today, corporate and other events take place in spaces such as the 9,360-square-foot main room, 1,334-square-foot mezzanine, 1,900-square-foot outdoor patio and six small breakout rooms. All told, the facility is able to accommodate up to 1,300 people standing, 800 seated.
Other Event Venues
• Near the recently developed San Pedro Square Market and the SAP Center, the SP2 Communal Bar + Restaurant has 5,000 square feet of indoor space divisible into three main areas, the largest of which can hold up to 300 people. Also available is a sunny, 3,500-square-foot patio lounge for gatherings of up to 150. The entire venue can be rented out for a combined total of more than 500 guests.
• Just 15 minutes from downtown, the Mt. Hamilton GrandView Restaurant is a classic steakhouse dating from 1876. This landmark property, with expansive views reflecting its perch on a rise overlooking Silicon Valley, includes three spaces for meetings and events: Indoors, the 3,500-square-foot main dining hall can host a banquet for up to 100 people; a 1,000-square-foot covered patio can sit up to 75, and the 2,000-square-foot lower patio can accommodate up to 150.
• For a gathering for up to 700 guests, the Glass House has 12,000 square feet encompassing three lounges, two dining areas and an outdoor patio overlooking the heart of San Jose's downtown. Services include a full prep kitchen, a selection of caterers and an event-design team.
• In Saratoga, about 13 miles southwest of San Jose, the Mountain Winery was begun in 1905 by winemaker Paul Masson — and promptly destroyed by the great earthquake that struck the area one year later. But Masson rebuilt, and the winery eventually became both a wine estate and a striking venue for indoor/outdoor events ranging from a sit-down dinner for 25 guests to a companywide conference for up to 2,500. Stunning outdoor terraces overlooking Silicon Valley, charming interior rooms like the swanky Club Masson, and stone-walled former wine-cellars full of subterranean atmosphere await.
• In Santana Row, a quaint residential and commercial district in the city's west end, the 215-room boutique Hotel Valencia Santana Row has more than 4,000 square feet of meeting space, including a newly renovated ballroom and an open-air courtyard with views of the Santa Cruz Mountains. An on-site restaurant, an outdoor pool, a full-service bar and a seasonal rooftop bar round out the offerings.
• A gala private dining experience for up to 600 people can be arranged at the Oasis Palace Restaurant in Newark, about 20 miles northwest of San Jose. This 34,000-square-foot restaurant/event space has five opulent halls, LED chandeliers, marble floors and world-class chefs ready to prepare special African, Indian, Italian, Mexican or Middle Eastern feasts. For the general public, the eatery features daily Indian lunch and dinner buffets.
• Head for the town of Coyote, a 15-minute drive southeast of San Jose, to throw a picnic event at the Coyote Ranch. Established in 1880, the 40-acre ranch can accommodate up to 5,000 guests for a BBQ repast and activities such as volleyball, gunny-sack races, horseshoe tournaments and more. Spaces include the Arbor, an intimate outdoor shaded eating area and bar for up to 350 people with a grapevine-covered dance floor complete with chandeliers.