Have I mentioned how much I love San Jose? I LOVE San Jose! I was impressed with the town from the moment I landed at the airport. I was only in town for 24 hours and I wish I had had triple that amount of time to be able to enjoy it all! I would highly recommend everyone plan a weekend trip to San Jose ASAP!
Transportation to and around San Jose is all incredibly simple! If you’re able to, fly into the SJC airport. It’s super close to the downtown area and is very easy to travel in and out of. Since San Jose is considered a part of the Silicon Valley area, there are Ubers and Lyfts within two minutes of you at all times. Both Ubers that I used during my trip were wonderful – the drivers were SO nice!
Since I was traveling specifically for a Sharks game, I decided to grab a hotel within safe walking distance of the arena. I stayed at Hotel De Anza, a GORGEOUS hotel in the area. Perks to staying at Hotel De Anza: good deals on Hotels.com, very nice hotel, beautiful bathroom, and great location. The only two negatives were that the room was pretty small (I was comfortable, but I could see where two people in the room might be a little squished) and the customer service wasn’t as great as it could be for such a nice place. Even with those two very minor negatives, I would HIGHLY recommend you stay here for your next visit to San Jose, especially if you’re going to see the Sharks play.
I spent most of my time before the game hanging out in the San Pedro Square area. It’s a very cute square that has restaurants, bars, a few shops, and a farmer’s market on select days. I spent a lot of time looking at the booths and ducking in and out of the small shops.
I ate a late lunch at The Old Wagon Saloon & Grill. Sounded more Texas than California, so I had to see it for myself! It ate a pretty decent tasting pulled pork plate – I’m from Georgia; I’m going to be very particular about the pulled pork – and it came with delicious cole slaw and fries! There was lots of room inside the restaurant and a small patio out front, so I would definitely suggest this place for a drink or snack before the game.
The biggest draw to the San Pedro Square area was the San Pedro Square Market. The Market had a food court type feel – but way classier and cooler – that houses several different drink and food vendors. The patio outside was huge and had lots of seating. For the home opener, there was a big gathering of Sharks fans hanging out on the patio. About an hour before puck drop, the crowd marched from the square to the arena. It was amazing to see such a passionate group of fans coming together like that!
Fun story: I sat with a few fans before the march got started, and they were asking me about trip and my favorite hockey and were also very confused that I enjoyed going to different arenas and cheering for different teams. (I’m totally okay with never being understood.) The funny part came when they were asking me about my favorite team. I was a little hesitant to say the Pittsburgh Penguins, since the Penguins beat the Sharks (in San Jose) for the Stanley Cup in 2016. (WHOO!) When I finally admitted I loved the Penguins, they were cool with it and said the better team won that year. (Damn straight). It was when I told them that I lived in Austin and traveled to Dallas often for games that they got defensive. “Dallas, really?! Don’t tell people here that you go to Dallas. Ugh, Dallas!” Seriously – you have opinions about the Dallas Stars? They have internal drama; they don’t have time for external beefs with other teams. I found their comments funny, yet confusing.
Let’s talk about the SAP Center – WHOA! This arena had major California vibes, which I loved. (Probably from all the palm trees.)I was surprised at the long lines to get in the door, but it went quick. (Tip: there is a separate, much shorter line if you don’t have a bag, so plan accordingly.) I loved the layout of the Shark Tank. You walk up a set of very tall stairs to get to the main atrium area. From there, everything is on one level – PRAISE! No more having to find an escalator or stairs to get to the upper level to find your seat. Every corridor on that main level gets you to the lower and upper level seating for each section. It’s very easy to find your way around. The main level also features really cool interactive video boards, where you can click through each player’s jersey and view stats and fun facts. It was something I hadn’t seen at an arena before and I was very impressed!
The Shark Tank had new food vendors this year, so there is a lot of different food and drinks to try – something for everyone! I stuck to a classic hotdog, since I spent a lot of time just walking in circles instead of standing in line for food. I will recommend one thing – Great White! It’s probably the best beer I’ve ever had. (I’m a baby in the beer world, just FYI. Still lots for me to try!) But seriously – it’s delicious! It’s on tap at the arena and it’s themed after a shark, so it’s perfect for a Sharks game!
Their home opener pre-game presentation was incredible! They played audio clips from Spittin Chicklets while they showed highlights on the screen from the Sharks playoff run in 2018-19. I loved that touch! The light and laser show – which I believe they do at most games – was incredible, and the Big Shark did not disappoint!
The game was… not what I was expecting. Now that we’re a couple of months into the season, we know that the Sharks haven’t had the greatest start. But they got Patrick Marleau back and they fired their coach, so things could improve! At my game, the Sharks lost to the Vegas Golden Knights 5-1. I was thankful that I got to see that one goal – the entire place was so pumped! But then a 10 player fight broke out – which was so epic – and Marc Andre-Fleury just casually watched from the sidelines of the fight. Not the best game of hockey I’ve ever seen, but still thankful I got to see this (new) rivalry in person!
The BEST part of my trip was getting to meet up with my Instagram, now In-Real-Life friend, Sheena! Sheena and I connected because of our mutual love of hockey, and it’s been amazing getting to know her both online, and now in real life! She and Mitchell were the best hosts and showed me all around the Shark Tank. They also introduced me to (and bought me) the Great White, so they’re the best friends ever! After the game, we ate ice cream sandwiches, hung out in a bar, and talked hockey and life. Seriously guys, hockey friends are the best friends and I’m so thankful for these two! Special, special thanks to Sheena and Mitchell for showing me why San Jose is an incredible hockey town and community!
After reading about my trip to San Jose and the Shark Tank, I want to hear about your experience! Let me know if you’ve been to the area and what all you liked about it! I’m already trying to plan a weekend trip there with my husband because I enjoyed myself so much.
Go Sharks! (but only when I’m in San Jose and the Penguins aren’t playing)