A city break in San Jose, while undoubtedly enjoyable, can often see your budget rocketing skyward. This kind of trip does not have to stay the stuff of dreams, however. Whether choosing a low-cost hotel, making use of local transportation, or scaling back the cost of entertainment and dining, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a big city break on a tiny budget.


Find a Great Deal on a San Jose Hotel

San Jose has plenty of hotels where rates come in at the higher end of the scale; but if you want to keep a tight rein on your budget, you can still find a great deal on a room. Hotels near the airport, such as the San Jose Airport Garden Hotel, typically offer lower rates than those downtown. Although, if you have your heart set on staying in the heart of the city, you can usually get a decent rate at downtown options such as the Arena Hotel or Sainte Claire Hotel.

Take Advantage of Cheap Local Transport

Although you can usually pick up a cheap rental car from SJC Airport, it’s possible to get around for much less. Start saving from the moment you arrive by choosing a hotel like Courtyard by Marriott San Jose Airport that offers a free airport shuttle. Next, make your budget stretch further by taking advantage of local transportation. The Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH) makes frequent stops near attractions such as the SOFA District, San Pedro Square, and Guadalupe River Park.

Eat Where the Locals Do

You will probably want to experience one of the city’s upscale restaurants at least once during your stay — but for the most part, avoiding the likes of Silver Creek Restaurant and the Mosaic Restaurant and Lounge in favor of local hangouts will save you money. Try the signature biscuits and gravy at A Taste of Wyoming on Alum Rock Avenue, or if you’re hankering for a slice or two of San Jose’s finest pizza, head to Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria on Santa Clara Street.


Visit Free and Cheap Attractions

There are plenty of San Jose attractions that want you to part with a pile of cash, but just as many that will set you back just a few dollars, if anything at all. It’s free to visit attractions such as the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, the Municipal Rose Garden, and the Almaden Quicksilver Country Park, while entry to the San Jose Museum of Art and the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium — both of which are great for kids — costs under $10 for an adult ticket.

Ready to experience all that San Jose has to offer? Search for last-minute deals on hotels in San Jose by using the Hipmunk app. It’s what smart travelers like you use to get the cheapest rates. Do you have your own tips on how to discover San Jose on the cheap? Share your best ideas in the comments section below.



Linda Forshaw likes to write about local haunts and far-flung places. She lives in Liverpool, England, and spends her free time exploring new places, going to live gigs, and planning her next adventure. She is currently writing for the #HipmunkCityLove project.