Things You Should Know Before Moving to San Jose, CA -
Home > Moving Guides > Moving to City Guides and Tips > California > Things You Should Know Before Moving to San Jose, CA

Things You Should Know Before Moving to San Jose, CA

  4.7/5 based on 7 visitor(s)
views  4,878 Views

It's no doubt that San Jose carries a high end reputation with Silicon Valley's top execs seeking refuge in this picturesque city under the California sun.

If you too are considering nestling down in the city that dubs itself the Capital of Silicon Valley, take a look at the following guide for tips and information that will help you to reach your final decision.

San Jose Climate

Characteristic of the Bay Area in California, San Jose has what's called a Subtropical Mediterranean climate – mild winters and warm dry summers with very little rainfall. The San Jose area has an average temperature of 73 degrees each year, and over 300 days of sunshine.

Rain occurs typically in November and can last through May (precipitation averages about two months annually), making the area green with vegetation that eventually dies and dries out during the summer months, making the hills and fields prone to fires.

San Jose Neighborhoods

San Jose has a blend of various different cultures, and similarly has a mix of both suburban historical neighborhoods and exciting city life.

If a bountiful nightlife excites you, try relocating to somewhere in the downtown area, that is not only bursting with culture through its plethora of museums and music festivals, but is safe and appropriate for all age demographics. Visit the San Jose Downtown Association for more information on what to do and where to go in the city.

For historic and quant living, Willow Glen is for the family-friendly side of Silicon Valley, with Boutique stores, spas and antique shops intermingled within residential streets. Take a trip to smell the roses just northwest of downtown in the Rose Garden area, with over 4,000 rose shrubs that span 5.5 acres.

Interested in a 19th century vintage? Los Gatos still maintains its historic architecture characteristic of old style wine country. Museums and music festivals entertain the locals, along with the weekend farmer's market.

Registering Your Car

In order to avoid any penalties, you must register your vehicle within 20 days or entry or residency, according to the state of California's DMV website. You will need an application for Title or Registration signed by the owner as they appear on the out-of-state title, the last issued out-of-state title, smog and weight certification (if applicable), any fees or taxes, and the vehicle must be inspected by the DMV.

Upon moving to California, you have 10 days to acquire a California driver's license. You will need to complete application form DL 44, give a thumbprint, have your picture taken, and provide your full name and social security number. You must also pay the application fee, pass a vision exam and pass a traffic laws and signs test.

San Jose Schools

San Jose's primary and secondary education, provided primarily by San Jose Unified School District, contains over 125 elementary schools, over 45 middle schools and over 40 high schools in the area. The Catholic Diocese of San Jose runs most of the private education in the area, with the second largest student body in Santa Clara County. Some of the schools within the diocese include: Archbishop Mitty High School, Bellarmine College Preparatory, Notre Dame High School, Saint Francis High School, Liberty Baptist School and White Road Baptist Academy.

There are a large number of colleges and universities in the San Jose area as well, with notable institutions like San Jose State University (a top-ranking public university in the US), National Hispanic University, California University of Management and Technology, Lincoln Law School of San Jose and University of Silicon Valley Law School. Stanford University is about 20 miles from San Jose.

San Jose Employment

Known as Silicon Valley, technology engineering, computer and microprocessor companies have carried the area's economy. Many companies like Adobe, Cisco Systems, eBay, IBM, Kaiser Permanente, CEVA, TiVo and Netgear have headquarters in the valley. Some of the top employers for the city are: the County of Santa Clara, Cisco Systems, IBM, San Jose State University, Brocade Communications Systems, eBay and Hitachi.

The unemployment rate in San Jose was at 8.2 percent as of January 2013, and the median salary for college graduates is approximately $92,000.

Living Costs in the City

San Jose is among the highest in California and in the US, about 75 percent higher than the national average, but households within the city and the surrounding areas have statistically the highest disposable income of any city in the country. An average house costs between $300-$400 per square foot in San Jose, with homes starting in the $250,000 range and jumping to multi-million dollar mansions.

A single person renting an apartment in San Jose would need to average approximately $60,000 a year with limited luxuries to live in this city. A studio apartment will cost you upwards of $1,100, while a single bedroom starts at around $1,500, not including your utility costs.

San Jose Moving Resources

Moving and storage companies are ready and willing to help you with your move to San Jose, whether you're moving from out of state or from another county in California. Make sure you get estimates from multiple moving services before you commit to hiring any (at least three estimates). Check back to our guides for tips on how to choose your moving service wisely with important questions to ask, differentiating between types of estimates, and mistakes to avoid. Visit the following pages at to get quotes for the following services:

San Jose Transportation

There's a large freeway system in San Jose, like many other California cities, including three interstate highways (280, 680, 880) and one US route (101), but none of the interstates primarily serve San Jose. State highways in the area include: SR 17, SR 82, SR 85, SR 87 and SR 237, and a few expressways in the county.

Amtrak provides rail service within San Jose and beyond with the Sacramento-San Jose Capitol Corridor and the Seattle-Los-Angeles Starlight. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority operates a local system that connects downtown to Mountain View, Milpitas, Campbell and Almaden Valley. Streetcars are also available throughout the city.

Culture & Contemporary Life

Experience a myriad of cultures in the San Jose area that all offer alternative activities, dining, unique architecture and businesses.

Visit the ever-unique Japantown just north of downtown, which features martial art studios Asian performing arts, Japanese traditional music, and the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin. Little Saigon gives an authentic Vietnamese vibe with traditional eateries and gift shops, as well as a museum.

For those who wish to take advantage of San Jose's year round agreeable weather, there's outdoor parks and gardens to stroll through, like the Almaden Quicksilver County Park which was former mercury mines, Circle of Palms Plaza with a ring of palm trees surrounding the California state seal, and the Chinese Cultural Garden. There's also over 50 miles of trail networks for recreation and commuting purposes throughout the city, like the Coyote Creek Trail, Los Gatos Creek Trail and Los Alamitos Creek Trail.

Pass through the town of Campbell on the way to Santa Cruz and you'll find a historic town with shops, dining and pubs and the Ainsley House, an English Tutor-style home built in the 1920s. The town used to be the home of eBay, and features an annual civic festival for locals and visitors.

San Jose Relocation Tips

  • Have a purpose for moving to San Jose. The cost of living is high and unless you are relocating for a job in digital technology, the move may be risky. Unemployment is still particularly high, so establish employment and create a budget before your move.


  • Since house prices are high within the city, you may end up moving outside of the city limits and commuting to work in San Jose, so make sure you have reliable transportation before you get there.


  • You won't have to worry about scheduling a move date based on cold winters of unusually hot summers, just keep in mind it rains more often from November to April. Otherwise, pick a date that best suits your needs.

Jenna Farmer  Posted by Jenna Farmer on March 3, 2013

Rate this guide Things You Should Know Before Moving to San Jose, CA