Guide to Meeting & Event Planning in

San Jose, Calif.

Learn why you should host your next meeting, event or conference in San Jose, Calif.

Why San Jose for Your Next Meeting or Event?

Located in the heart of Northern California’s Silicon Valley, San Jose offers groups more than half a million square feet of meeting and event space and 4,000 hotel rooms. In addition to the GBAC STAR-certified convention center, the city’s walkable downtown has a wealth of museums, cultural centers and historic landmarks that accommodate events.

Only in San Jose

Surrounded by more than 2,500 high-tech companies (including Adobe, Google, Facebook and Apple), San Jose offers groups the latest in technological know-how and a local braintrust that planners can tap to boost their meetings and event agendas. The city also features easy access to the scenic redwoods and wineries nestled in the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains. 

Transportation In & Around the Area

The newly upgraded Mineta San Jose International Airport is located less than four miles from downtown San Jose. A free shuttle takes passengers to light rail and train stations. Transfer cost by taxi, about $22; Uber/Lyft, from $20

Travel Essentials 

Taxes: Room tax 14.195%; sales tax, 9.38%; total tax on hotel rooms, 14.195, plus up to $2.50 per night for San Jose hotel business improvement district tax, based on hotel's proximity to the convention center and airport
 
Convention Center: San Jose McEnery Convention Center; total space, 520,000 square feet; exhibit space, 165,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 43; (800) SAN-JOSE
 
CVB: Visit San Jose, (800) SAN-JOSE

Meeting & Event Venues

New & Coming Soon to San Jose

 

  • A new live-music venue, bar and restaurant has opened a block from the McEnery Convention Center in the city's downtown. Located in the SoFA district, Mama Kin provides seating on its sidewalk patio, booths and tables on the main floor near the stage and bar, and comfortable seating on the mezzanine level. Mama Kin’s menu features a blend of American classics and modern Mexican cuisine.
  • California’s first Signia by Hilton hotel has opened in the center of downtown. Formerly the Fairmont San Jose, the Signia by Hilton San Jose underwent an extensive renovation that included a makeover of its main entrance, lobby bar and guest registration areas, a revamp of the food-and-beverage offerings, and a complete refurbishment of the guest rooms in the hotel’s North Tower. The property is the largest in the city, with 805 guest rooms and 65,000 square feet of meeting space.
  • A new recreation venue called The Plex provides meeting, event and team-building space for up to 2,700 delegates. The open and flexible floor plan features an abundance of natural light and opportunities for corporate branding, plus activities that include bocce, arcade games, roller skating, wall-climbing and more.
  • Groups looking to work on their golf swing can head to the new Topgolf San Jose. The high-tech venue features dozens of climate-controlled hitting bays, along with private and semi-private meeting spaces. Participants can use Topgolf’s complimentary clubs or bring their own.
  • Available for private branded functions or casual happy hours, San Pedro Social offers food, drinks, bowling, arcade games and pool tables, in addition to live-streamed sports, DJs and karaoke. The new entertainment center is located near Historic San Pedro Square Market, which can also host private events.
  • Featuring more than 10,000 products from every region of Italy, the new Eataly Silicon Valley has opened at San Jose’s Westfield Valley Fair. Groups can book private dining experiences in the Terra or La Pizza & La Pasta restaurants and cooking classes at La Scuola or reserve the entire 45,000-square-foot space for a large gathering with up to 2,000 people. Eataly is located near two restaurants that also offer space for groups: iChina Restaurant and Baekjeong Korean BBQ, which is scheduled to open later this year. 

More Meeting & Event Venues

  • Just steps from the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, The Tech Interactive offers a fully customizable meeting hall, three levels of interactive science and technology exhibits, and a Rooftop Terrace with spectacular views of the downtown area. The entire facility can accommodate up to 2,500 people, with individual spaces available for smaller groups. Planners can also book the center’s IMAX Dome Theater, which features a four-story screen and can seat 280, and the Bowers Institute, which is located around the corner and features meeting rooms with built-in audiovisual systems for up to 100 people.
  • Originally built in 1905 as a private estate, the Hayes Mansion is now a 214-room hotel and conference center with more than 33,000 square feet of indoor meeting space and 20 acres of outdoor space. The property recently completed a multimillion-dollar renovation project and is now part of Hilton’s Curio Collection.
  • An iconic attraction on its own, the maze-like 160-room Winchester Mystery House can also host events for up to 500 people. Team-building activities include axe-throwing at the stables and Houdini’s Spirited Escape, where attendees solve puzzles and search for clues in an immersive themed room. The venue has launched a “Walk with Spirits,” tour that lets visitors attend the wake of a departed soul, participate in a Victorian-era seance to communicate with the other side and visit supernatural hot spots at the iconic estate

Things to Do in San Jose

  • Although there are a number of wineries found in close proximity to San Jose, the only one growing grapes in the city itself is Alamitos Vineyards Estate. Located in the New Almaden neighborhood, the estate offers a peaceful countryside retreat just minutes from the city’s bustling center. An outdoor lawn is available for private events of 25-250 people, with an indoor wine-tasting room scheduled to be added soon. Founded by former tech workers who bring a blend of science and creativity to their wines, Alamitos Vineyards grows varietals that include Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Touring Nacional, a unique Portuguese varietal traditionally used in port wines.
  • Silicon Valley’s largest comic-con and maker-con gathering, “SiliCon with Adam Savage,” is an annual event held at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center [Taking place this year August 27-28]. Originally founded in 2014 by Rick White and Steve Wozniak as a way to bring together the best of technology and pop culture, the event has grown every year since and now attracts approximately 60,000 people over its three-day run. The inclusion of Adam Savage came when he was named creative director in 2019. 
  • Groups can take in a show at one of the city's entertainment venues, including the four city-owned San Jose Theaters: Center for the Performing Arts, Montgomery Theater, City National Civic and California Theatre. Comedy and improv spots include San Jose Improv and Comedy Sportz San Jose, while smaller cafes, bars and clubs offering live music can be found via San Jose Jazz.
  • Groups gathering in San Jose in the month of August will find two annual events available for post-meeting activities. This year’s Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic — the longest-running women’s professional tennis tournament and the first stop of the US Open Series—will be held August 1-7 at San Jose State University. San Jose Jazz’s Summer Fest is scheduled for August 12-14. The event’s main stage is located near the convention center in Plaza de Cesar Chavez, with additional shows and performances scattered throughout the city.
  • For sports enthusiasts, San Jose offers a variety of options depending on the season. The San Jose Sharks (hockey) and Bay Area Panthers (indoor soccer) play at the SAP Center, which also hosts larger comedy and music shows. PayPal Park is home to the San Jose Earthquakes (outdoor soccer), while the San Jose Giants (minor league baseball) play at Excite Ballpark.
  • In the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains, Testarossa Winery blends state-of-the-art technology with centuries-old winemaking techniques. Located on the grounds of the historic Novitiate Winery, Testarossa sources its chardonnay and pinot noir grapes from throughout California to make its vintages, which groups can taste at events catered by an on-site team in the wine cave, cask room, cellar or patio.
  • Attendees can take in the great outdoors at Big Basin Redwoods, California’s oldest park. Hikes through the ancient coastal redwood trees are available for every level of fitness along terrain that is known to transform from one area of the park to the next depending on how much fog has rolled in from the coast.

Top Restaurants in San Jose

The following restaurants available for group events feature a mix of local and international, casual and fine cuisine:

  1. ADEGA Restaurant — Michelin-starred California Portuguese
  2. Mt. Hamilton GrandView Restaurant — Steakhouse
  3. iChina Restaurant — New American Chinese
  4. Olla Cocina — Mexican
  5. Petiscos — Small Plates
  6. SP2 Communal Bar + Restaurant — Locally sourced American
  7. The Farmers Union — American Tavern