San Jose in Summer: Escape from San Francisco

Road Journals Blog—Don't get me wrong. I love San Francisco, where I've lived for more years than I care to divulge. But there comes the time, usually around August, when I've had enough of summer's cool temps, overcast skies, and sometimes howling winds and outright fog. I crave warmth and sunshine.

What do I do? Head to San Jose, Calif.

San Jose Fairmont pool, image

Cool off, lounge, and relax at the pool at the Fairmont. | Fairmont Hotel San Jose

Here's the deal. I look online for summer specials or drastically lower weekend rates at a nice hotel with a good pool and book myself a night or two. I can swim and bake a bit in the sun during the day, or check out the underrated San Jose Museum of Art or the fun Tech Museum. At night, I've caught terrific performances at the San Jose Repertory Theatre and had some great eats—from linguine with clams and other Italian fare at old-timey Original Joe's to Vietnamese spring rolls and caramelized sea bass with garlic at Vung Tau.  Oh, and did I mention that I get to loll on a lounge in the sun, splash in a pool, and read trashy novels?

I've had very satisfying summer escapes at the Fairmont San Jose. Other solid options are the clubby boutique Moorpark Hotel and the Hayes Mansion, the latter occupying a formerly private estate with meticulously landscaped grounds. And if there aren't special summer rates, check into weekend rates, which tend to be a fraction of what's charged during the workweek when hotels are full of business travelers on expense accounts.

Avoid summer fog burn in San Francisco. Learn the way to San Jose.

Where do you go in summer to escape the weather in your town?

(Editor’s note: To find places to stay, go to

This blog post was first published in July 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.


Thanks very much for the feedback about the Hayes Mansion.

The garlic ice cream???that sounds different! How did you like it>?

I've stayed in beginning of July because they have the summer escape package!!! this is a great deal and the mansion is stunning! There was a wedding at the same time and I regretted that I didn't got married there! on top of that the staff was very friendly and knowledgable and the food was exquisite! TRY IT!

Hope you brought your breath fresheners for the ride home, Marie!

Head on down to the Gilroy Garlic Festival this coming weekend. It's lots of fun. You gotta try the garlic ice cream! You get a little cone for free!. I'm heading from Morgan Hill to Gilroy--10 miles south!