San Jose Travel FAQ

Airport

The closest airport is Minéta San Jose International (SJC). More than a dozen domestic and international carriers serve the airport. (Normal landing pattern is directly over the SAP Center. It's 5-10 minutes by taxi/car to get to the Tank.) Recent upgrade includes "Shark Tank" eatery complete with "ice" floor and rink markings (Terminal A/International area).

Other regional airports include San Francisco International (SFO; more than three dozen domestic and international carriers) and Oakland International (OAK; eight domestic and international carriers). You'll need to rent a car, take a shuttle or public transportation to get to San Jose from either airport.

Extra-regional Rail transportation

San Jose Diridon is serviced by Amtrak and ACE

ACE can get you to/from the Tank, but as a commute-centric Central Valley connector would require an overnight stay and long afternoon to attend a weekday game, and does not operate during the weekends.

Amtrak's Coast Starlight and Capitol Corridor service stops in San Jose. (The northbound Coast Starlight train is scheduled to leave at 10:39pm, so you could take the west bound Capitol Corridor from Sacramento and return the same night, arriving very early morning, via Coast Starlight.)

SAP Center (aka the Shark Tank, formerly San Jose Arena, Compaq Center, HP Pavilion)

Located at 525 W Santa Clara St (corner of Autumn), San Jose 95113

7:30pm evening games nominally have doors open at 6:15 (75 minutes before game); warmups (great to watch) start at 7pm (or 30 minutes before game). (Ushers do allow access to the glass for warmups; but you'll have to move if the ticket holder shows up for that seat.)

Arena policies (on cameras, outside food, etc.)

Driving directions | Parking (or city parking info)

Please note that the main parking lot (adjacent to the Tank) is for prepaid and handicapped primarily (so arrive earlly if you want to partk there). Autumn street, between Santa Clara and St John streets, is closed to through traffic before and during games (from perhaps three hours before game until 45-60 minutes after game); that block is where pregame street celebrations are held (e.g., season opener, playoff round opener).

Caltrain (local rail transportation)

Check link for schedule, tickets, etc. Prices are zone based. Tickets should be purchased at ticket kiosk before boarding train.

SAP Center is across the parking lot from the "San Jose Diridon" station (zone 4). Last train north leaves at 10:30pm, or 15 minutes after a game, whichever is later. (If coming from Gilroy or south, overnight stay required.)

For evening games, there are a number of trains southbound, including some "express" trains.

Valley Transit Authority (buses, light rail)

There usually are light rail trains and some buses waiting 10-15 minutes after games at the "San Jose Diridon" station.

Tickets

Tickets for single games are available at the SAP Center ticket window (no fees) or Ticketmaster. (Preseason tickets go on sale about three-four weeks before games start; regular season tickets go on sale mid-September for entire season. Playoff tickets for first two games go on sale early April and usually sell out within an hour; additional seats may be released prior to and on game day; additional confirmed games go on sale usually the morning after a game is possible.)

100's are the lower deck, 200's the upper deck. 101/201 (behind benches) and 115/215 (behind penalty box) are center ice. Sections x16-x28 is the end the opponent attacks twice. Seating map (color relates to price range).

Season ticket holders can resell their tickets through the Power Play Ticket Trader (STH are forced to increase ticket price from face value 5-10%, plus there are additional transaction fees).

Fan ticket (resale) exchanges include:

StubHub also has resale tickets for Sharks events

Where to stay

There are essentially two primary areas to stay in San Jose to see the Sharks: downtown and near the airport. Many of the airport establishments can use VTA lightrail to travel to the SAP Center.

Downtown

Airport info or more

Some visiting teams also stay at Santana Row.

Where to eat

Depends on how thick your wallet is, how far you want to walk, and what you want to eat. You probably won't be able to park near the Tank after dinner, so plan on parking once and walking to and from. (There are also numerous food options inside the Tank from Mexican to sushi.) You can bring outside food in, so, to-go might be the way to go if you're running late and want a good meal while watching hockey.

There area number of places around San Pedro Square (4-6 blocks from Tank) that have good/decent/excellent food, some with TVs.

I've been to Peggy Sue's (29 N San Pedro St, Ste 100; good burgers) which has TVs. (I dislike the food and layout for TV watching of the Brit, aka Britannia Arms on Santa Clara, so do not recommend it. If you're into British pub food, go for it. Co-owned by former Shark Owen Nolan.)

The Old Spaghetti Factory (51 N San Pedro St; may have some TVs; haven't been in years) and Sonoma Chicken Coop (31 N Market St, entrance also on San Pedro St) have good, inexpensive food, but no TVs that I recall.

And there are a few smaller in/around San Pedro square, along Santa Clara street and 1-2 streets parallel. Including Original Joe's (1st and San Carlos) -- a great Italian restaurant that many visiting players have been said to eat their pregame meal at (it's pretty popular, so you might need 2 or more hours for the wait and meal). And the hotels in the vicinity also have restaurants (2-3 at the Fairmont; but since I dropped my tickets to the SJCLO/AMTSJ more than a decade ago, I don't know the current status of eateries).

In other locations near Tank:

There's a restaurant on the ground floor of the De Anza hotel (233 W Santa Clara St,; never eaten there); don't think they have TVs. There's Henry's Hi Life (301 W Saint John St; think beer and greasy burgers; featured on Food Network for ribs) a couple of blocks from the Tank; I've never been. Amici's East Coast Pizzeria (former Sharks sponsor; W Santa Clara St and Almaden) has pizza and Italian in a modern atmosphere. Zapata's (Montgomery and Julian) is behind the Tank; good Mexican food, but the wait is sometimes ridiculous.

There's a nice restaurant inside the Tank, simply called The Grill. They do have TVs (last I was there, many years before the lockout). They open circa 5:30 (event ticket required; reservations suggested) so you can have a leisurely meal before heading out to seat for game.

There's a place 1-2 blocks (toward 280) from the Tank, called Poor House Bistro (91 S Autumn St); appears to have cajun style food. I've also received recommendations for Patty's Inn (102 S Montgomery St), with decor of 1930s sports bar.

There's a strip mall on Coleman (between Taylor and 87) that has a number of fast food places; it's perhaps 1/2 mile as the crow flies, or 1 mile as the car drives, from the Tank (some with drive thru's).

Other things to do

So, if you're coming for more than just the game, and have hours/days to fill, here are some ideas. Mostly San Jose-centric. There are other venues/organizations in the South Bay, Peninsula that may also have things of interest. SJ Mercury newspaper entertainment section is a good start too.

SAP Center has hundreds of events each year (including the Sharks). The AHL Barracuda sometimes play double headers with the NHL Sharks. AFL (season March-July) San Jose Sabercats (also at SAP Center) have lots of games. Plus many/most traveling concerts that come to the South Bay.

Downtown San Jose events listing for other things that may be happening when you're in town.

And some other sites that might provide information for your trip:

Sports (participation), out door activities: Ice hockey (Sharks Ice San Jose would be closest), Roller hockey (Silver Creek, or Rollin' Ice). Bike riding: road (even more popular as the Tour of California keeps rolling through the state each May) and mountain bike riding. There's wind surfing (Santa Cruz or Shoreline lake in Mountain View), sailing (Bay, ocean), rowing (crew -- probably more collegiate crowd, etc.), kayaking, (motor) boating. Tennis. Golf. Deep sea fishing. Rock climbing, hiking, camping (perhaps head to the nearest REI for recommendations).

Sports (spectator): During hockey season there are numerous pickup and college/club ice hockey games at Sharks Ice (SJ). Schedule of games is posted at front desk. SJSU and other local colleges have many sport teams in action (basketball, baseball, football, lacrosse, and much more); check out the school websites for schedules and locations. Professional sports in region: NBA Golden State (Oakland) Warriors (season October-April); NFL (season August-January) Oakland Raiders, San Francisco Forty-Niners (in Santa Clara, ~5 miles from Tank); MLS San Jose Earthquakes (season March-October); MLB (season March-October) Oakland Athletics (A's), San Francisco Giants.

Amusement parks (Gilroy Gardens, Great America, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, aka Marine World). I'd guess there are perhaps 20-50 state and national parks within 3 hours drive. And that's only a start.

Sharks often have practices (on non-game days when they are not on the road) at Sharks Ice, San Jose. Check out the website and/or call to confirm practice times/rink. (Regular season practices are generally open to public.) Just because practice is scheduled does not mean it will be held. Periodically practice is closed for private practice for "Reading is Cool" (and sometimes they practice at the Tank). The AHL Barracuda also practice there, so sometimes you can see both teams.

Culture: Opera, ballet, dramatic theatre, plus many options on the Peninsula, SF and east bay. Not to mention all the museums in/around the Bay Area; including the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium, The Tech and the Children's Discovery Museum -- all in downtown San Jose and walking distance from the Tank. As for instrumental music, there are numerous orchestras (pro, non), and a number of touring groups hit some of the established performance venues; and vocal performances from Schola Cantorum to the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. For more popular music, there's the Mountain Winery, Shoreline Ampitheatre (or should you care to brave the traffic, Sleep Train Pavilion, aka Concord Pavilion). And a once in a lifetime (or more) experience is Beach Blanket Babylon (Club Frugazi, Northbeach, SF) PG13/R (depending on which show is attended; may require 21+ to attend). Numerous speakers on variety of subjects participate at events around the Bay (sometimes at college/university venues). Cirque du Soleil often tours the area (San Jose and San Francisco venues); and Cavalia has traveled to the area.

History: Yes, San Francisco may be capable of putting historic markers on every block, but there's so many other places around the Bay that have a lot of history to share as well. (Watching "Eye on the Bay" or "Wine Country" or "California's Gold" or "Bay Area Backroads" and other TV shows have a lot to share.) Winchester Mystery House is a popular tourist stop. There's also the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot. And Moffet Field/NASA Ames is history in the making. There's also the Computer History Museum for a more Silicon Valley touch. Filoli is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and features acres of gorgeous gardens and orchards, along with a fine manor house that was featured in the 1970s show Dynasty.

Colleges/Universities: Perhaps you're looking for locations to pursue a college degree. Public (four year) university/colleges in the region include: San Jose State University, Cal State East Bay (aka CSU Hayward), San Francisco State University, UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley (aka "Cal"), UC San Francisco, UC Davis. Private (non public; four year) universities include: Santa Clara University, Stanford. And numerous others (junior colleges, tech schools, extensions and more).

Eating: There are so many good restaurants around (many national chains are OK, but some of the "one of's" are very memorable in a good way). You might try SJ's Japan town if you're in the mood for Sashimi or Japanese cuisine. Lots of good Chinese restaurants (my fav, and Martin Yan's: Chef Chu's in Los Altos). For Italian, my fav is "Frankie, Johnnie, and Luigi Too" (MV).

Shopping: San Jose area malls include Great Mall of the Bay Area, Valley Fair, Vallco, Stanford. There's a large outlet shopping area in Gilroy (and Tracy, Vacaville). There are also a number of small boutique shops that cater to everything, Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park. Saratoga, Los Altos, Los Gatos are just some of the cities with fun/unique shopping.