San Jose, CA

Santana Row is Decked Out for the Holidays

Thomas Smith

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Thomas Smith/Gado Images

The popular Santana Row shopping center in San Jose is totally decked out for the holidays. Festive trees, lights, wreaths and other holiday decorations are everywhere. There are even several large, illuminated animal sculptures, including a festive giraffe at one end of the row, and an elephant at the other.

Earlier in the month, the mall even hosted Snow Showers events, where artificial snow rained down on shoppers on selected weekend evenings. Especially for Bay Area kids, many of whom have never seen snow, experiencing real snow showers must be quite the magical time.

On a recent weekend, a troupe of four musicians, each playing the saxophone and wearing a Santa Claus hat, had gathered in front of Blue Bottle Coffee in the middle of the square. They played Christmas carols and other holiday music for hours, while shoppers milled about and enjoyed their festive lattes and other holiday treats. The music was sponsored by the Tiger Teerlink real estate team at Compass Real Estate.

Many stores on Santana Row were offering specials for the holidays, and many of the restaurants had special holiday menus. Left Bank, a popular French bistro restaurant on Santana Row, was offering both a New Year's Eve special dinner and a Christmas Eve special.

One thing that's not so festive about the holidays at Santana Row? The traffic! On a recent visit, I spent at least 15 minutes stuck in traffic exiting the mall. The proximity of the larger Westfield Mall nearby likely accounted for a lot of that. Still, parking at Santana Row was easy--head for the large, underground Olin garage and then take the elevators to ground level near Left Bank for the fastest route.

The holiday shopping season is winding to a close. But even if you're just looking for a nice place to walk around, see some lights, enjoy music, sip a latte and celebrate the holidays, check Santana Row out. I love going there during normal times, and it feels especially festive and pleasant to visit around this time of the year, see the holiday decorations out in full force, and really celebrate the season.

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Award-winning entrepreneur, and the co-founder and CEO of Gado Images. Thomas writes, speaks and consults about artificial intelligence, privacy, food, photography, tech, and the San Francisco Bay Area. As a professional photographer, Thomas' photographic work regularly appears in publications worldwide. Pitches/news tips: tom@gadoimages.com

Lafayette, CA
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