Monday, July 18, 2011

US Summer 2011: Discovering VTA and Exploring Downtown San Jose, California

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Date: July 5-6, 2011
Location: Downtown San Jose,California

San Jose, California is the hotbed of technological innovation and the hub of the Silicon Valley. I have been here once, but that was more than a decade ago so my visit in July 2011 seems like a first time. Besides it is first time to be hosted by my good friend, freelance fashion and lifestyle writer/blogger/photographer, May Merdegia- Rogers.

May and her geek techie husband Eric Rogers has been in San Jose barely two weeks during my visit. They are staying at Avalon Rosewalk, their first place in the US mainland after being in the island of Hawaii for two years!

Topping our "to do" list during my two -day visit is to experience public transportation and explore Downtown San Jose.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) operates buses and light rail trains throughout Santa Clara county. Lucky us, coz there is a VTA light rail station fairly close (about 10-15 minutes on foot) from where May lives so the discovery commute was easy.

VTA's Light Rail system (primarily the Mountain View-Winchester route and the Alum Rock-Santa Teresa route) provides quick service to, from and around Downtown San Jose for a single fare of $2. Downtown San Jose is also the hub of the VTA's light rail system so the train stops in the heart of downtown.

Downtown San Jose is where the arts and entertainment, business and living blend together in an innovative way. It is compact and once you're here, it's equally easy to get around by foot, bike, taxi, car, bus, light-rail train (DASH or Downtown Area Shuttle) or even pedicab. For two perfect summer afternoons (warm but not overly hot), we explored Downtown San Jose and my fave places include a museum, a major public university, a library, and public arts display all around the place.

1.) San Jose Museum of Art
Address: 110 South Market St (at W. San Fernando Street)

San José Museum of Art started as a small civic art gallery in 1969 and has grown to a museum recognized for its contemporary collection of modern art, which highlights movements on the West Coast as well as national and international pieces. We were too late when we arrived but the general admission fee is $8 (only $5 for seniors/students).

2.) San Jose State University

San Jose State University is the oldest campus on the West Coast founded in 1857. The university is home to 30,000 students who are involved in 134 majors in seven colleges. I enjoyed the stroll around the campus with its green grass and trees and ended at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.

3.) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
Address: 150 E. San Fernando St. (at S. 4th Street)

The new Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library opened in 2003 is the the largest all-new library west of the Mississippi with 475,000 sq. ft. and 1.5 million items including its cherished special rooms devoted to Beethoven and John Steinbeck. The Library is free and open to all - no identification or proof of residency is needed to use or enjoy materials within the Library and truly a feast for the mind with its public art, interesting architecture and unique gadgets on every floor.

4.) Public Art Display

(on the wall near a shopping mall

Downtown San Jose is the best place to embark on a public art excursion. Since 1984, developers have set aside up to 1 percent of construction costs for public art, so that explains the many unique encounters we had with arts by the frame and the diverse and quality arts that abound in or outside art galleries. Actually,only in Downtown San Jose I had many opportunities to see artwork even in storefront windows!

"Figure Holding the Sun" by Italo Scanga, 1988 San Jose Museum of Art

There is a figure entitled "Five Skaters" by Mike Mandel and Larry Sultan, 1998 HP Pavilion.Too bad, didn't have a good picture of it.

(This is part of the 5-week US Summer Vacation series, which took place from June 30, 2011 to August 3,2011 in California, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pemnsylvania, and Indiana)

1.Four Countries In One Day

2. Enjoying Cable Cars in San Francisco

3. Enjoying Union Square and Downtown San Francisco

4. Commuting Easy With Panoramic Views

5. Mad About Museum in Sacramento California

6.Museums Trekking in Sacramento,California

7. Catching Gold Fever In Coloma,California

8. Psyched With Mormon Battalion In Coloma,California

9. Eureka! Sacramento, California

10. Highway 49 Summer Adventures

11. At Home In Daly City, California

12. Fourth of July Double Beachy Celebration

13.Attending Court Hearing In Hayward,California

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  1. Hey! love the post of SJ. Sounds like a neat place to live in huh? And it is! Thanks for visiting, Mhe. Come back anytime.

    By the way, MM.Rogers Photography is now the home of my photos. If there's a web home for my shoes, there's one for my photos. :)

  2. hey May dear.thanks for checking this post and for your comments. I will surely visit you dear whenever I am in the US so thanks for the invite.This is the first post on SJ and I have 3 more to go.Wow,it's good to know that your beautiful photos have home too.Grabe techie ka na talaga like Mr. Rogers hehe. Please say hello to Eric for me. I'll check your photos.


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