Weekly night markets, block parties return to downtown San Jose

Lauren Martinez Image
Friday, May 17, 2024
Weekly night markets, block parties return to downtown SJ
Looking for something fun to do as the nights get warmer? Downtown San Jose is offering everything from live jazz music to gourmet food and beer trucks.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A new kind of scene is brewing in San Jose. This is the first year Off the Grid, a popular food truck market that started in San Francisco 14 years ago, is now in San Jose.

They're partnering with Gordon Biersch's weekly Night Market.

San Jose resident Sergio Medina heard about the event through Instagram. He walked over with his dog.

"I love it, I feel comfortable I can bring her out. Different types of food we can try, beer, the music, it's like pretty nice," Medina said.

Every Thursday, they will have live music from San Jose Jazz and rotating food trucks.

San Jose resident Quentin Perry and his girlfriend first heard about the night market through a friend.

"Oh I'm a foodie - I just love food and I like that the trucks are locally-owned businesses so I can come and support them," Perry said.

In downtown, the summer block party series returned to Fountain Alley.

Each month through October, a block party will be held to highlight local music, vendors, arts and small businesses.

At Concept Barbershop off 1st Street, they brought the chairs outside for exposure.

MORE: 'A week's worth of beer in 2 hours': Block party in downtown SJ boosts business

Owner Khanh Chung invited other small business owners to set up in front.

"We just want people to feel welcome," Chung said.

He said downtown officials have made an effort to try to help and provide information on grants.

Chung said events like the Downtown Block Party bring people together.

"It feels amazing, it feels great because I believe in downtown and this is what we need," Chung said.

Mayor Matt Mahan said it's nights and weekends that are driving the economic recovery since the pandemic.

MORE: SF launches Downtown First Thursdays to attract visitors, boost businesses

The block party series makes it accessible to everyone.

"You don't have to buy a ticket to go the block party you can just be walking through," Mahan said.

We talked about the progress and success of visitor activity in downtown, last year the free holiday event Christmas in the Park brought in 800,000 people.

"We want to continue to bring more programing and market that but we also just have to get people out at the street-level interacting with each other and having a good time," Mahan said.

Fremont resident Melanie Francisco Milnes came out to support her brother playing in the GTC Band.

"We get so busy with work it's nice to be able to find some time to bring my daughter somewhere we both can be outdoors enjoying a good vibe and a good scene," Francisco Milnes said.

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