Where to stay in San Jose for first time: 5 Safe areas

Finding where to stay in San Jose California as a first-timer can be a headache. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in San Jose CA for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safe areas to stay in San Jose and Silicon Valley for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map. I’ll also share where I stayed in San Jose and recommend some of the best hotels for various budgets.

San Jose is the largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area and the third-largest city in California. It is often considered the capital of Silicon Valley, hosting the headquarters of major tech companies such as Adobe, Cisco Systems, eBay, and PayPal.

San Jose offers a variety of cultural and recreational attractions, including the Tech Museum of Innovation, the San Jose Museum of Art, and Santana Row, a popular shopping and dining destination.

The city has a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. It typically experiences more than 300 sunny days a year.

San Jose has an extensive transportation network, including the Mineta San Jose International Airport, major highways, and public transportation services provided by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA).

Is San Jose safe to visit?

San Jose and Silicon Valley, CA are generally safe to visit. Like any urban area, it’s advisable to be aware of your surroundings, take standard precautions, and be aware of local weather conditions, especially during seasons with potential natural disasters like wildfires.

Where to stay in San Jose for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in San Jose for first-timers and tourists are Downtown San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, and Palo Alto. These areas offer a wide variety of accommodations and amenities for all budgets.

If you’re on a business trip, staying close to your workplace is a priority. If you’re looking for a more vibrant nightlife and cultural scene, downtown San Jose is your best bet.

Downtown San Jose has many attractions, restaurants, and entertainment options. It’s a hub for cultural events and nightlife. Santa Clara is the location of home to Levi’s Stadium, and close to tech companies like Intel.

Sunnyvale is close to major tech companies, including Yahoo and LinkedIn. Generally a quieter suburban area with good amenities. Mountain View is home to major tech companies like Google, close to Shoreline Amphitheatre. Has a vibrant downtown area with restaurants and shops.

Palo Alto, located next to Mountain View, is a more affluent and picturesque area, home to Stanford University, upscale shopping, and dining. 

During my trip to San Jose and Silicon Valley, I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara. It was a nice and comfortable stay. The hotel was within walking distance to Levi Stadium. My room was spacious and comfortable. I had a nice breakfast too.

Below is a map of the popular areas in San Jose for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in San Jose first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in San Jose first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in San Jose, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in San Jose have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

5 Safe areas to stay in San Jose for first-timers and tourists:

1. Downtown San Jose

Downtown San Jose is one of the best areas to stay in San Jose and Silicon Valley. It is a vibrant and bustling area with a mix of business, entertainment, and cultural attractions.

Downtown San Jose is home to various attractions, including the Tech Museum of Innovation, the San Jose Museum of Art, and the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts.

You’ll find lively entertainment options, including theaters, live music venues, and a range of restaurants and bars. It is also a hub for business, with many tech companies, startups, and corporate offices nearby.

The downtown area comes alive at night with a vibrant nightlife scene. There are plenty of bars, clubs, and lounges for those looking to enjoy the evening.

Downtown San Jose is centrally located, making it convenient to explore neighboring areas like Santana Row, Willow Glen, and Japantown.

Best places to stay in Downtown San Jose for first-timers:

Mid-range ($$): Signia by Hilton San Jose, 4-star hotel in Downtown San Jose, 5 mins walk from San Jose Convention Center, 10-15 mins walk from SAP Center, San Jose State University, and the Children’s Discovery Museum. You can find different restaurants and bars nearby. It has a rooftop pool, onsite restaurants/ bar, private parking.

Mid-range ($$): AC Hotel by Marriott San Jose Downtown, 3-star hotel in central Downtown San Jose, cose to the Convention Center, Diridon Amtrak Station and CalTrain. It has an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, 24-hour front desk, and luggage storage space.

Budget ($): Convention Center Inn & Suites, 2-star good value for money hotel in the center of San Jose, close to the university and the convention center. It has free private parking which is a bonus for those who drive. Easy access to various points of interests like the Institute of Contemporary Art, Children’s Discovery Museum and the Civic Auditorium. 


2. Santa Clara

Santa Clara is a city in the heart of Silicon Valley, and it offers a mix of residential, business, and recreational areas. It is home to many major tech companies, including Intel Corporation. 

One of the notable attractions in Santa Clara is Levi’s Stadium, home to the San Francisco 49ers. If you’re a sports fan or attending an event at the stadium, staying in Santa Clara provides easy access.

Santa Clara is home to California’s Great America amusement park, a popular destination for families and thrill-seekers. If you’re traveling with family, this could be an added attraction.

Santa Clara offers a range of dining options and shopping centers, including the Westfield Valley Fair mall. You’ll find a mix of restaurants, cafes, and stores to explore.

The city is near major highways and is connected to the Bay Area’s public transportation network, making it convenient to access nearby cities such as San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Mountain View.

Best places to stay in Santa Clara for tourists:

Mid-range ($$): Embassy Suites by Hilton Santa Clara Silicon Valley, 4-star hotel located on Lakeside Drive, Santa Clara, short drive from San Jose, Levi’s Stadium, J. Lohr Vineyards and Winery, and Great America amusement park. It has an indoor pool, a fitness center, family rooms, and good breakfast.

Mid-range ($$): Hotel Valencia Santana Row, 4-star hotel situated in central location on the fashionable Santana Row, close to the McEnery Convention Center and Mineta San Jose International Airport. Easy access to shops, restaurants, and transportation. 

Budget ($): Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Santa Clara, 2-star comfortable accommodation located just off the San Tomas Expressway, 10 mins drive from The Winchester Mystery House and Levi’s Stadium. It features an outdoor pool, fully-equipped business center, and free parking. 


3. Sunnyvale

Sunnyvale is one of the great bases in the heart of Silicon Valley, known for its suburban charm and proximity to major tech companies like Yahoo (now part of Verizon Media) and LinkedIn.

The city has several parks and green spaces, providing opportunities for outdoor activities and relaxation. Popular parks include Sunnyvale Baylands Park and Las Palmas Park.

Sunnyvale has shopping centers and dining options scattered throughout the city. Murphy Avenue, in downtown Sunnyvale, is known for its restaurants, cafes, and shops.

Sunnyvale is centrally located in Silicon Valley, making it easy to access neighboring cities such as Mountain View, Santa Clara, and Cupertino. The city is also well-connected by major highways.

Sunnyvale has some historical sites, including the Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum, which showcases the history of the region.

Best places to stay in Sunnyvale for travelers:

Mid-range ($$): Grand Hotel, popular 4-star hotel just next to Sunnyvale Civic Center, featuring an outdoor heated pool , free parking, family rooms, and good breakfast. Very good base for visiting Silicon Valley. Rooms are spacious and comfortable.

Mid-range ($$): AC Hotel by Marriott Sunnyvale Cupertino, great 4-star hotel in Sunnyvale, offering free use of bikes, fitness center, and a 24-hour front desk. Hotel rate includes breakfast.

Budget ($): Maple Tree Inn, 3-star good value for money accommodation in Sunnyvale, easily accessible to everything including restaurants, shops, and businesses. Good location for exploring San Jose and surrounding area.


4. Mountain View

Mountain View is great base in San Jose and Silicon Valley. It is an upscale town, situated between Palo Alto and Sunnyvale. It is famously known as the headquarters of Google. 

The city offers a diverse range of dining options, from upscale restaurants to casual eateries. Castro Street, the main downtown area, is known for its vibrant food scene with numerous cafes and restaurants.

Mountain View is home to the Shoreline Amphitheatre, a popular outdoor concert venue. If you’re attending a concert or event there, staying in Mountain View can be convenient.

The city has several parks and outdoor spaces, including Shoreline Park with its lake, trails, and recreational facilities. It’s a great place for outdoor activities and enjoying nature.

Mountain View is served by Caltrain, providing easy access to other Silicon Valley cities and San Francisco. The city is also connected to the VTA light rail and bus systems.

The Computer History Museum in Mountain View is a notable attraction for tech enthusiasts, showcasing the history of computing.

Best places to stay in Mountain View for visitors:

Luxury ($$$): The Ameswell Hotel, 5-star good value for money hotel in a prime location in Mountain View, 4 km from Shoreline Amphitheatre. It has an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and comfortable air-conditioning rooms.  Easy access to food trucks, restaurants, bars, kid-playground.

Luxury ($$$): Shashi Hotel Mountain View, an Urban Resort, 5-star hotel on North Shoreline Boulevard, offering free bikes, free parking, a spa and wellness center. Close proximity to the Google campus. Walking distance to Amphitheatre, local restaurants, Starbucks, convenience store.

Mid-range ($$): Hyatt Centric Mountain View, 3-star beautiful modern hotel, in a great location, close to restaurants and convenient stores. Easy access to Stanford campus. Rooms are clean, quiet and comfortable.


5. Palo Alto

Palo Alto is a prestigious city in the heart of Silicon Valley, known for its affluence, intellectual atmosphere, and proximity to Stanford University. 

Downtown Palo Alto is renowned for its upscale shopping districts, such as Stanford Shopping Center, and a variety of high-end restaurants and cafes.

Palo Alto is situated near major tech companies and research institutions, making it a strategic location for those in the tech industry. Companies like Tesla and VMware have a presence in the broader Palo Alto area.

Best places to stay in Palo Alto for tourists:

Mid-range ($$): Dinah’s Garden Hotel, 4-star good value for money, beautiful, and peaceful hotel, located on El Camino Real, a short ride from downtown Palo Alto. It has a beautiful ground, lovely pool and delicious restaurant.

Mid-range ($$): el PRADO, 4-star beautiful hotel in Central Palo Alto,  5 mins drive from campus of Stanford University and Stanford Shopping Center. 15 mins away from Silicon Valley and businesses such as Google. Good base for exploring Silicon Valley.

Budget ($): The Creekside Inn, 3-star accommodation near Stanford University and the main highway. It has complimentary electric car charging stations, Outdoor swimming pool, private parking, and a fitness center.  Close to eateries  and shops, and it has a mini store on the premises.


In conclusion, Downtown San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, and Palo Alto are the best places to stay in San Jose and Silicon Valley for tourists. These areas are generally safe to book your accommodations and offer easy access to all amenities.

You can continue reading about other cities in California in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to San Jose. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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