10 Festivals to Go in San Jose

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Source: Ryan C

The wonderful city of San Jose in California is the heart of the region well known for its cultural heritage. It is one of the most multicultural cities in the world and its people really know how to unwind and enjoy. That’s why you are never bored there. Whenever you come you can visit one of the numerous events and festivals all over the year. You can choose from some of the music festivals to the variety of cultural events organized by different ethnicities.

1. The San Jose Jazz Summer Fest

San Jose Jazz Festival has been presenting great live music for years. It is an amazing experience no matter what kind of music you like. The basic aim of the event is to bring the people of the city together, build a strong community and educate the youth. In three days you can enjoy over 100 performances on different stages listening to various players of jazz, blues, salsa, Latin, R&B and other music genres.


  • Name: San Jose Jazz Summer Fest
  • Address: 38 W Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA 95113
  • Dates: June 3-12, 2016
  • Price: 3-Day Pass Adult VIP: $315
    3-Day Adult Pass PRIORITY ACCESS: $150
    3-Day Pass Adult ALL STAGES: $80
    3-Day Pass Child: $15
  • Opening hours: Depends on Events

2. The Cinequest Film Festival

All those movie lovers must see and enjoy the annual film festival in San Jose. It is the festival that not only sets the trends, but is actually ahead of them, since it is set in the same place as the world’s most significant media companies.  It is one of the greatest film festivals which shows premier films, well known as well as new filmmakers, and highlights the breakthrough technology in making films. Constant implementation of innovations has modernized and changed film making as well as exhibition and distribution.


  • Name: The Cinequest Film Festival
  • Dates: March 1-13, 2016
  • Price Range: Average
  • Parking Facility: Yes
  • Website: http://www.cinequest.org/

3. Comics Fest

One of the best events in the Bay Area that celebrates comic, anime, fantasy, sci-fi and gaming. There is a selection of panels and sections, and the festival includes Artist Demonstrations, drawing workshops, costume contests, film screenings, live music, even more. If you are a comic art lover, put on your best costume and go for this fabulous, well organized and friendly event. Visit some of the favorite vendors selling both new and vintage issues. It’s a good opportunity to get autographs from your favorite creators of comic books or purchase some exclusive items at a special art auction.


  • Name: Comics Fest
  • Address:  San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, CA
  • Dates: March 18-20, 2016
  • Price: 3-Day Pass Adult (ages 13 and up): $99
    3-Day Pass Child (ages 12 and under): $39
  • Good for Kids: Yes

4. San Jose Harvest Festival

San Jose Convention Center hosts the Harvest Festival® Original Art & Craft Show. The event promotes products from Gifts and Handicrafts industry supporting small galleries to participate. Here visitors can enjoy a great variety of handmade and original items of ceramics, jewelry and pottery and admire the skills of thousands of independent artists and artisans. This variety of arts and crafts makes the show extremely popular. There are also entertainment events such as the KIDZONE where the children can take part in hands-on crafts using the eco-friendly and non-toxic art supplies.


  • Name: San Jose Harvest Festival
  • Place: San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, CA
  • Dates: November 27-29
  • Price: Adult: $9.00
    Senior 62+: $7.00
    Youth 13-17: $4.00
    12 & under free when accompanied by an adult

5. Tet Festival

Being proud of its multiculturalism, San Jose hosts a variety of festivals organized by different ethnicities. The Tet or Vietnamese New Year Festival starts from homes which are decorated with different fruits and fruit tree flowers and stretches into the city where the community gets together. The festival celebrates the union of humans, nature, modern and traditional Vietnamese culture and family. The event is very popular and attracts lots of people who enjoy the numerous concerts, sports events, parades, beauty competitions and fashion shows, the traditional lion dance.


  • Name: Tet Festival
  • Address: 635 Phelan Ave, San Jose, CA 95112
  • Dates: February 21
  • Price: Early Bird: $7.00
    General Admission: $10.00
  • Website: http://tetsanjose.org/

6. Dia de Portugal Festival

On the second Saturday in June, the Portuguese Heritage Society organize the festival celebrating their culture together with all the other communities – Dia de Portugal. It is an event full of entertainment, with a traditional parade and different flavors of Portuguese food. This is the festival for the whole family to enjoy the day together at History Park San Jose. The children love the children’s carnival, Portuguese music, crafts, souvenirs and amazing people too. There is something for everyone.


  • Name: Dia de Portugal Festival
  • Address: 1650 Senter Rd, San Jose, CA
  • Dates: June 11, 2016
  • Price: $5.00 each or $20.00 six tickets
  • Opening hour: 10:50 a.m. – 4.45 p.m.
  • Parking: $6.00 and $10.00 in the vicinity of Senter Road
  • Website: http://www.diadeportugalca.org/

7. The Italian Family Festa

Italian Americans are one of the biggest ethnic groups in the USA. Their Heritage Foundation in San Jose hosts a festival celebrating Italian tradition and culture. Guests can enjoy various performances such as marionette shows, and live music played on the traditional antique instruments, or admire the numerous arts and crafts vendors. Of course, you can also taste the well-known authentic food from some of the street traders.  The festival promotes Italian history: one of the most interesting and distinctive events is the grape stomp. Here you can take part in the traditional method of winemaking by stepping into big barrels with grapes and crushing them by feet to release their juices.


  • Name: The Italian Family Festa
  • Place: History Park San Jose
  • Dates: August 27, 2016
  • Opening hours: Saturday: 11.00 a.m. – 8.00 p.m.
    Sunday: 11.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.
  • Website: http://www.italianfamilyfestasj.org/

8. The Tahiti Fete

A Polynesian Dance Competition – Tahiti Fete – has been held in the great San Jose State University Event Center for years. Everybody who attended it loved every single minute of it. Guests are amazed by the hospitality and Hula performances and Polynesian dance and music exhibitions at this biggest Tahitian competition. They immerse in different colors of craft booths and tastes of Island foods. Different groups from Japan, Mexico, Canada, the United States and Polynesia compete in a lively, energetic and sparkling atmosphere. Throughout the event guests can visit dance and music workshops and enjoy the performances of artists from Hawaii and Tahiti.


  • Name: The Tahiti Fete
  • Dates: July 1-3, 2016
  • Price Range: Average
  • Opening hours: Saturday: 8.30 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
    Sunday: 9.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.
  • Website: http://www.tahitifete.com/

9. Viva Fest

San Jose International Mariachi Festival celebrates the Mexican culture displaying the greatest in Latino music, dance, art and film. The festival offers different events – concerts, cultural events, visual arts exhibitions, speakers’ events, even videos and programs about Latino community.  There are dance and education workshops, too. The festival provides various activities for the young and the old, musicians and artists and for filmmakers. The guests enjoy the music of local and renowned artists. One of the goals of the festival is to attract audience and earn enough money to support the mariachi music workshops for young generations to keep the tradition going.


  • Name: Viva fest
  • Address: 115 N 4th St, San Jose, CA
  • Dates: July 26-30
  • Website: https://vivafest.org/

10. Obon Festival

Every year in July Japanese community celebrates Obon festival and bazaar in San Jose’s Japantown. This is the perfect time for families and friends to get together and enjoy the great cultural experience at this big festival. Guests visit various cultural exhibits and performances, take part in traditional Japanese dancing and taste the gastronomic favorites such as sushi, gyoza, tempura udon or beef and chicken teriyaki. Young and old dancers in traditional kimonos charm the crowds with sophisticated dances immersed in Buddhist theology. It is all about tradition and religion and dance is the core of the festival, but everything else is a street fair.


  • Name: Obon Festival
  • Address: 640 N 5th St., San Jose, CA
  • Dates: July 11-12
  • Opening hours: Saturday: 11:00 a.m. – 11.00 p.m.
    Sunday: 11.00 a.m. – 10.00 p.m.

Next time you want to learn about other people’s culture and tradition, you don’t have to travel the world. Go to San Jose, California and enjoy the tour through different heritage societies.

Have a good trip and travel.