100 Things to See and Do in San Jose

Last year in Montreal I won a Visit San Jose package. One of the items was a book: 100 Things to Do in San Jose Before You Die (Amazon). It’s separated into categories: Food & Drink, Arts & Entertainment, Sports, Culture & History, Shopping & Fashion, Parks & Recreation, and Mind the Geek. I could not possibly list all 100 (though I did consider that…) but I have read the entire book cover to cover and decided to feature some of the ones that made me go 😲

Food & Drinks

Two words my friends – Taco Tuesday! According to the book there are 100s of places to get tacos, especially on Tuesdays! In May an entire WEEK is dedicated to the Taco. If you Google Tacos in San Jose you will find list after list of places. The top two in the book were: Caguamas Tacos y Mariscos for traditional fare and Loteria Taco Bar for more exotic takes. While not in the book, the closest taco place to the convention center is “Tac-Oh! San Jose” located across Market Street. The name alone makes me want to visit it!

If you want to reminisce about Plant Bio 17 in beautiful Honolulu, San Jose has its very own Hawaiian grill. Located a short half-mile north on Market Street from the convention enter Da Kine Island Grill has an extensive menu of Hawaiian food and drinks! They even have luaus on Sunday!

Arts & Entertainment

The convention center is located in the cultural district of San Jose so there is no lack of arts and entertainment nearby. The one that stood out the most to me was a Quirky Corner found at 288 S 2nd Street, a quick quarter-mile walk from the Convention Center. This address is home to ComedySportz, Camera 3, and Psycho Donuts. ComedySportz is the X games of Improv! Competitive improv with lots of audience interaction is the place to be on weekend nights. Camera3 is an eclectic theatre showing cult classics, foreign films, animated shorts, and more. Of course, personally, I want to visit Psycho Donuts the most as I have a wicked sweet tooth! They lay claim to the world’s first asylum for wayward donuts. Might remind you of Voodoo donuts from Plant Bio 16 in Austin.


San Jose is the home to the Sharks, Giants, Earthquakes, and accessible by light rail the 49ers. Additionally, there is roller derby and the largest skate park in Silicon Valley.

Culture & History

About 2 miles away from the convention center is Japantown. Filled with authentic restaurants, specialty shops, art galleries and more there is always something unique to see here. For a sobering experience, visit the Japanese American Museum. Tours are led by Internment Camp survivors, something that is especially relevant today.

Shopping & Fashion

I don’t know about everyone else, but I don’t normally think of shopping as something to do when traveling for conferences (other than to get a few trinkets for kiddo back home). But if you are looking for an interesting and unique shopping experience, San Jose has that too! San Jose is home to Antique Row from 1881 – 1893 West San Carlos St, about 5 miles from the convention center. The main attraction is The Antiques Colony which is the largest antique collection in Silicon Valley.

Parks & Recreation

This is a plant biology meeting so I’m going to talk plants here 😉 Heritage Rose garden (2 miles from the convention center) and Municipal Rose garden (3 miles) are home to thousands of flowers! Visit and breathe in a world of volatiles! Two miles the other direction is the Japanese Friendship Garden, a tranquil spot to reflect.

Mind the Geek

World’s largest Monopoly board! Just a short half-mile walk from the convention center is Monopoly in the Park. Toss the dice and dash pass Go!


That barely scratches the surface of things to do and see in San Jose. What other places do you know of that we should consider while we plan our trip to #PlantBio19?

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