A newer “mixed use” neighborhood in San Jose, Santana Row is popular with people of all ages and interests. It is not just a “shopping center”, but is really a community, one which offers a wide variety of dining, shopping and entertainment, suitable for all kinds of budgets too. Best of all, it’s right in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Dining at Santana Row varies from very formal and expensive to casual and snack-like, and the type of food available ranges widely too. A fairly new addition is Pinkberry, which seems to be growing quickly in popularity. There are about thirty cafes, bistros and restaurants and to date I’ve probably visited about one-third of them – all experiences positive.

Entertainment at SR goes beyond window shopping and includes live music and, of course, films at the movie theater. Many chose to simply peoplewatch, take in a good book or catch a game of chess with a friend while enjoying a beverage. A Farmer’s Market features produce, flowers and other goods each week (and there’s a Safeway just a block or two away also) and is a good excuse to browse the offerings. Or maybe splurge a little and enjoy some pampering at a spa or salon: Santana Row’s got that, too.

Love to shop? This is your neighborhood. There are some places you hope to find in any mall, like Borders, but it’s much more than that. Santana Row features a number of absolutely exquisite stores and boutiques with extraordinary clothing, shoes, household goods, unique items from overseas and more. The sales clerks that I encounter while shopping there are exceedingly helpful and polite (even if the items I’m looking at are out of budget, as was the case recently when I cooed over a cork bag at Donald J. Piner or a cobalt blue leather one at Salvatore Ferragamo). Shopping is upscale but not snobby, which makes all the difference in the world.

It needs to be mentioned, too, that Santana Row doesn’t have to be just a destination for an afternoon or evening. The community includes the Hotel Valencia, beautifully appointed, and also apartment leasing and condo & townhouse living right in Santana Row. (Seniors will be pleased to know that there is an assisted living facility adjacent to Santana Row too, Belmont Village. My father lived there and made great use of the proximity to Santana Row, which added tremendously to his quality of life.)

Easy to find:  Santana Row is located near major highways (880/17 and 280) and is a short & easy drive to downtown San Jose and the airport. The area nearby includes the oversized Westfield Valley Fair Shopping Center (even more shops and restaurants) and the fascinating Winchester Mystery House, soon to be the subject of a movie and always an interesting spot for newcomers and visitors.

Santana Row Collage