To many San Joseans, San Pedro Square is a community staple. Not only is it home to eclectic bars, a plethora of restaurants for every cuisine, and a variety of shops from local makers — but it’s also full of history from the earliest days of El Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe.
In this guide, we’ll break down some must-try spots + activities you have to hit when visiting this historic and colorful part of our downtown scene.
🍴 Eat + drink
The first restaurant to open in the square was The Old Spaghetti Factory in 1972, which took over the former site of the Ravenna Pasta Company. Since then, it has grown into a foodie’s paradise.
- Find great happy hour deals at Sushi Confidential, or dine at The Farmers Union, a classic American joint serving out of an 1870s-era building that was established for Santa Clara Valley’s farming community.
- Within San Pedro Square Market, you’ll find a food hall offering Peruvian dishes, Nepali cuisine, game day grub, lobster rolls, and “Hella Good” burgers.
- Need something to wash it all down? Grab tasty teas or boba from Mochinut, Urban Ritual, or Dr.Ink (around the corner from SPS Market). Get fueled up at the market’s coffee shop, Voyager Craft Coffee.
Move aside big department stores, the square boasts a range of shops from local makers + small businesses offering artisan and eco-friendly goods.
- Head over to MOMENT DTSJ, a collection of four micro-retail storefronts that rotate throughout the year. At the moment, you can shop from jewelry store Boho Moon Art, dog-friendly charcuterie spot Woofboard, keycaps producer Tiny Keyboard Shop, or leafy retailer Plant Slut.
- For sustainable goods, try The Source Zero. This is San Jose’s first zero-waste shop + soap refill store, and offers everything from organic scrunchies and handkerchiefs to biodegradable dental floss and bamboo toothbrushes.
Take the time to explore San Pedro Square’s many murals, take a craft class, or venture into San Jose’s history through the area’s oldest establishments.
- Grab a friend for a candle-making experience at Ashy Aromas. Not only is it a shop with plenty of sweet-smelling products, but you can enjoy a glass of wine while creating your own candle or room spray.
- The Tabard Theatre Company, located between Dr. Funk and Olla Cocina, is a venue to catch fun plays, live music, and even poetry slams. Head there before its closes its doors on Sunday, April 2.
- Take a history tour through the Peralta Adobe House — one of the oldest Spanish California settlements. Right across the street, learn about the 1850s-era house of Thomas Fallon, one of San Jose’s earliest mayors.
When the sun goes down, the square turns up. Hop into pubs, bars, lounges, and nightclubs all within walking distance.
- For fun cocktails, a ton of beers on tap, bowling, and free games (yes, free) — go around the corner from The Farmers Union to San Pedro Social.
- Head inside SPS Market for cocktails from Alma Tequileria, Market Bar, and Three Sisters. Looking for a good brew? Try the Market Beer Company for 16 beers on tap, and 270+ bottled options.
- Find bumpin’ music and a lively atmosphere at Myth Lounge, Tiki Pete, Five Points, or SP2. Settle down for a nightcap at District SJ or Hedley Club inside Hotel De Anza.
Which area of San Jose should we explore next? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.