We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

5 day trip - need help planning itinerary

Which San Jose hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Vernal, Utah
8 posts
Save Topic
5 day trip - need help planning itinerary

We will be traveling to the San Jose area for 5 days in January. We are a group of four 40 year olds. Want to go to Carmel, Monterey, and Capitola. I think we will stay 2 nights in San Jose and 3 nights in Monterey. Nothing set in stone yet. We are going to a show in San Jose on our second night, that is why I thought we should stay in San Jose for the first two nights. None of us have ever been to the area. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Also looking for hotels. Thinking about The Monterey Plaza but don't know where to stay in San Jose. We will have a car but we would like to have places close by to walk to. Looking for suggestions for the whole trip! Thanks! :)

San Jose, California
Level Contributor
1,260 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: 5 day trip - need help planning itinerary

For Hotels in San Jose, I'd stay downtown, there are plenty of restaurants around. Hotels: Fairmont, De Anza, Sheraton, St Claire. Just use Google maps search downtown San Jose Hotels. The area around Plaza De Cesar Chavez, is where to hotels are centered.

What kind of suggestions are you looking for? What do you like to do? Need some more info to give you any advice.

San Jose isn't a great tourist destination, but if you are coming there are a few things to do, depending on your interests. See the top questions on the right of your screen.

Edited: 24 December 2013, 18:27
San Jose, California
Level Contributor
1,260 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: 5 day trip - need help planning itinerary

Go to the Monterey Peninsula forum for good info about that area. FYI it's about 1:15 min drive from San Jose. Capitola is about 40 mins

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
Level Contributor
31,750 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: 5 day trip - need help planning itinerary

Capitola is a cute village with a big parking problem.

Here is a traveler article about Santa Cruz, if you should want to stop there before you literally "drive through" Capitola.

http://tinyurl.com/y4hnbu9

They are just about 5 miles apart. It is 45 minutes from Santa Cruz to Monterey.

Santa Clara...
Level Contributor
18,053 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: 5 day trip - need help planning itinerary

I am assuming the show will be at the SAP Center? Agree with staying downtown. If you are not choosing one of the bigger 4 star business class hotels, make sure you come back with locations as some of the 3 star motels can be in sketchy areas.

Besides the restaurants in and near the hotels above, San Pedro Square has restaurants and counter service and pubs and bars. Great place to drink and hang out. There are heat lamps at the outside patios to keep you warm. Live music at the garage on the weekend. We usually take out of town friends there.

Santana Row is another place to stroll and eat though more commercial.

Edited: 24 December 2013, 20:41
Santa Clara...
Level Contributor
18,053 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: 5 day trip - need help planning itinerary

SP Square http://www.sanpedrosquaremarket.com/ I like the pizza and burger. We usually save room for dessert from Chocatoo. There are bars or a nicer lounge for cocktails and apps.

Santana Row http://www.santanarow.com/ Many options as well. Most of the sit down places take reservations on Open Table. If you want to stay in a hotel in the middle of this madness, Hotel Valencia is the place http://www.hotelvalencia-santanarow.com/ Looks like there are some < $200 rooms available right now, which is not always the case.

Anyone a Star Wars fan? The Star Wars exhibit runs until the end of Feb http://www.thetech.org/

Plenty more outdoors activities too. I would imagine you really only have a full day right? We have bike trails and hiking trails nearby if you were interested as well.

Edited: 24 December 2013, 20:50
Santa Clara...
Level Contributor
18,053 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: 5 day trip - need help planning itinerary

One last idea: if you are adventurous eaters, we have excellent Asian cuisines from Chinese to Vietnamese, Indian, Japaneses, and Korean. I can make a few recs if interested as well.

San Jose
Level Contributor
3,066 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: 5 day trip - need help planning itinerary

The Monterey Plaza is an amazingly beautiful hotel. I got to spend a night there years ago, and still walk through when we are in the area. GREAT choice if it fits the budget, and don't forget parking charges etc.. The room was nice but not overly luxurious back then. The view was world class, and the restaurant was great. If budget is not really an issue look at the Fairmont in SJ. If you'd like to save some money on that portion of the trip but still have a nice stay in a good location look at the Sheraton Four Points, and ask for a room away from the street. I rarely if ever stay in a hotel in my home town but went there for a reunion and it was a real bargain. Very central.

Vernal, Utah
8 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: 5 day trip - need help planning itinerary

Thank you for all your help!! We are married couples and pretty much game for anything. One of the guys is a really good golfer and the other one not so much :) Any suggestions on where they could play? The not very good golfer is worried about playing at the really nice courses. We like to do outdoor activities, see concerts, see historic sites. We want to see the aquarium. We are not really into shopping. Browsing around, but not hard core shopping. Do you think it would be a bad idea to stay in Monterey for the whole trip and just drive in to San Jose for our event and then drive back to Monterey? Or maybe we could stay the first two nights in Santa Cruz or Capitola?

San Jose, California
Destination Expert
for California
Level Contributor
14,958 posts
104 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: 5 day trip - need help planning itinerary

"Do you think it would be a bad idea to stay in Monterey for the whole trip and just drive in to San Jose for our event and then drive back to Monterey? Or maybe we could stay the first two nights in Santa Cruz or Capitola?"

Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Capitola are all much better places to stay for visitors than San Jose, so in general, I would say yes, stay in one of these towns rather than SJ. The one caveat is the drive from SJ to one of these towns after the show. The drive to Monterey is fairly straightforward - it takes an hour, most of the drive is on freeways and divided highways with a few miles on a 2 lane road (Hwy 156). As long as you are fine driving at night, this is no problem. The drive to Santa Cruz/Capitola, however, takes you over the Santa Cruz mountains - Hwy 17 is a 4 lane highway, mostly divided, but it is quite curvy and people tend to take it fast. I drive this road all the time at all times of the day and night, as do a lot of people, but there are also plenty of people who are extremely nervous about this road. So without knowing your comfort level with curvy roads and driving in unknown areas in general, I would hesitate to send you over this road in the middle of the night.

Santa Clara...
Level Contributor
18,053 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: 5 day trip - need help planning itinerary

I agree with november. Except the drive from San Jose to Monterey may take longer than an hour. My husband commuted there for work last year and it was more like 90 mins even if he was cruising. Not sure if november is doing better time in her Camaro! : p

So... if you stay in Monterey the entire time, you will have a slightly longer but less curvy commute back after your concert. It is still a little curvy especially on 101 after Gilroy. I don't like driving in after dark. I dislike driving on 17 after dark even more. Besides the curvy road, there is no shoulder which makes me nervous. Most of it looks like this http://goo.gl/maps/Q4j30 And locals who commute on this do drive fast, making the occasional driver like me sweaty. Having said that, it is up to your comfort level as you probably drive on roads like this in Utah too.

If you were to stay in San Jose, you can still have a good time before you head down south.

Edited: 26 December 2013, 21:13
Get answers to your questions about San Jose