Sign In
San Jose's 10 Unmissable Events and Festivals in Summer 2014
Save to wishlist

San Jose's 10 Unmissable Events and Festivals in Summer 2014

Picture of Imogen Beecroft
Updated: 9 February 2017
In recent years, San Jose has cemented its position as one of California’s leading cities for arts and culture, playing host to first-class musical, artistic, sporting and entertainment events. This summer looks set to be one of the city’s finest, with a plethora of exhibitions, concerts, and festivals to suit every preference. Here are ten unmissable events in San Jose this summer.


Food | Gilroy Garlic Festival

25 – 27 July

When Rudy Melone floated the idea of starting a garlic festival in 1978, his friends and family scoffed at his plan. However, over 30 years later the Gilroy Garlic Festival is still going strong. While it does have an overriding garlic theme, it also incorporates less unusual attractions, such as cooking displays by expert chefs, arts and crafts stalls, and a wine pavillion. However, there are, of course, a number of garlic-related attractions, and free garlic ice cream is available for all to try! With three stages of live music performances across the three day event, even garlic-loathers will be able to find something to enjoy.

Gilroy Garlic Festival, 7473 Monterey Street, Gilroy CA, USA, +1 408 842 1625

Music | Target Summer Pops

26 July – 3 August

The range of music and instrumental performances seen at the Target Summer Pops festival is impressive and sure to provide something for everyone. Whether you’re a classical music lover who’ll feel at home at Saturday’s Symphonic Strings performance, led by Peter Jaffe, or are keen to see a traditional Mexican performance by the Mariachi Sol de Mexico on Friday evening, you’re sure to find something to suit your family and friends. With world class performances, and beautiful surroundings, it’s hard to think of a better way to spend a weekend in San Jose.

San Jose State University, 1 Washington Square, San Jose, CA, USA, +1 408 286 2600

Music | San Jose Jazz Summer Fest

8 – 10 August

Jazz festivals are notoriously merry, and San Jose’s twenty fifth San Jose Jazz Summer Fest day is no exception. In fact, this famous three day event can rival the best of them. The first festival was held in 1990, and it’s expanded significantly since then: it now includes both traditional jazz music as well as R&B, funk, fusion, salsa and more. Performing this year are the Grammy award-winning Snarky Puppy, Pacific Mambo Orchestra, as well as Monty Alexander and the Harlem-Kingston Express. The organisation behind the festival, San Jose Jazz, runs a number of educational youth development causes, so you’ll have a great time safe in the knowledge that your money’s being put to good use.

San Jose Jazz Summer Fest, 4 North 2nd Street, Suite 576, San Jose, CA, USA, +1 408 288 7557


Science | Exhibition of Digital Music Exploration

Until 17 August

While this might be primarily an exhibition for children, we challenge anyone not to enjoy a day at The Museum of Tech. For little ones there are a number of exciting activities and entertainments designed to teach them about music, as well as practical interactions. Even adults will be blown away by the musical demonstrations at the Exhibition of Digital Music Exploration, and it provides some fascinating insights into what it means to make music in today’s increasingly digital world.

The Tech Museum of Innovation, 201 South Market Street, San Jose, CA, USA, +1 408 294 8324


Culture | San Jose Taiko Public Workshop

24 August

Broadly speaking, taiko is the practice of Japanese drumming, but attendance at a San Jose Taiko Public Workshop will demonstrate that the practice is also a fierce physical discipline. It takes courage and endurance to perform these powerful percussive ensemble pieces. During this event, participants will both learn about the history being the art of taiko, as well as take part in a practical demonstration.

San Jose Taiko Studio, 150 S Montgomery Street, San Jose, CA, USA, +1 408 293 9344


Design Indian Fashion Exhibition

5 – 7 September

A delightful combination of culture and retail therapy is to be found at this unique Indian Fashion Exhibition. You’ll be able to try authentic Indian clothes and jewellery while admiring the beauty of the outfits worn by others. This festival really does transform the area into a smorgasbord of colour and pattern. Indian clothes are known for their bold hues, impressive colour combinations and wonderfully arresting designs, so it’s bound to be an mesmerising sight. We’re sure you won’t leave empty-handed.

Indian Fashion Exhibition, San Jose, CA, USA, +1-800-824-9156


Art | Poetic Codings

Until 6 September

San Jose has long been known as a centre for the forefront of cultural innovation, and once again it’s proving to have earned its reputation with this exhibition. Poetic Codings is a fascinating medley of installations, and incorporates audio, video and even iPad apps to explore the differences between certain viewing experiences. The contrast between using an app in private on a small digital device and being immersed in an artist’s installation is quite shocking, and well worthy of the attention this exhibition provides. Featured artists include Casey Reas and Scott Snibbe.

San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, 560 South First Street San Jose, CA, USA, +1 408 283 8155


Art | Legacy: The Emily Fisher Landau Collection

Until 14 September

It’s not often that an exhibition spans decades and features works from artists so successful they could all warrant solo exhibitions in the way that Legacy: The Emily Fisher Landau Collection does. Including works from an impressive 38 artists, the exhibition showcases a variety of mediums such as collage and screen printing. Some highlights include the work of Willem de Kooning, Barbara Kruger, Cy Twombly, and Andy Warhol. However, lesser known Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Rodney Graham, and Sherrie Levine are all outstanding in their own right and truly earn their place in this excellent exhibition.

San Jose Museum of Art, 110 South Market Street, San Jose, CA, USA, +1 408 271 6840


Art | David Levinthal: MAKE BELIEVE

Until 30 November

A visit to the States is bound to involve a certain degree of American history and culture, and David Levinthal: MAKE BELIEVE is a brilliant way of engaging with the American way of life through art. David Levinthal’s work uses toy figures to demonstrate a variety of different themes, and this series of 39 photographs showcases some of his best work. It encompasses issues ranging from racism to war to childhood heroes, and uses modern icons in unique ways. Taken from his permanent collection at the San Jose Museum of Art, this is a powerful and impressive collection.

San Jose Museum of Art, 110 South Market Street, San Jose, CA, USA, +1 408 271 6840


Art | Tahiti Pehrson: Variations and Betwixt

Until 27 December

This is one of the most exciting and understated exhibitions taking place in California this summer, and it’s easy to understand why it’s running from March until December. Tahiti Pehrson: Variations and Betwixt is a collection demonstrating the very best of artistic dedication and commitment. Pehrson is known to work incredibly long hours to create delicate and intricate works from white cotton rag paper. The layers of pattern may look pleasing to the eye, but they become even more impressive when you learn of the ancient techniques studied and used in the making of these works.

San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, 560 South First Street San Jose, CA, USA, +1 408 283 8155


By Imogen Beecroft