Almaden Valley, often simply referred to as “Almaden,” is a gorgeous neighborhood of San Jose known for its close proximity to the stunning Santa Cruz Mountains. With plentiful green spaces, fabulous public schools, and lots of amazing things to see and do, Almaden is one of the best places to live in Silicon Valley!
Once a quicksilver mining town that rose to prominence during the California Gold Rush, Almaden experienced a population boom during the early 1960s due to the proximity of the new University of California at Santa Cruz. Today, the town is known as a technology research hub, as the IBM Almaden Research Center is located in town, which brought plenty of jobs to the area; it’s also a popular place to live for affluent Silicon Valley commuters.
Ranked by Niche as the #1 Best Neighborhood to Raise a Family in San Jose, Almaden is renowned for its excellent school system and fantastic opportunities for outdoor recreation. Home prices in the area are typically around the $1 million range and climbing higher, with many Silicon Valley executives, scientists, and professional athletes calling the neighborhood home.
Almaden Valley is a suburban neighborhood of San Jose, filled with beautiful greenery, breathtaking mountain views in the distance, and lots of fun community events to enjoy. The community is known for being active, environmentally aware, and bike-friendly; there are plenty of places to enjoy a brisk walk or jog, and it’s easy to get some exercise, whether you’re biking, swimming, or playing sports.
The area is fantastic for families, thanks to the great schools and emphasis on healthy living. Many Silicon Valley professionals choose to call Almaden home due to its high quality of life; as a result, Almaden is an affluent area that’s full of amazing things to do, both indoors and outdoors.
Almaden is home to some excellent restaurants and plenty of shopping centers for residents to enjoy. From farmers’ markets to high-end retailers, there’s something in this neighborhood for everyone!
The fantastic shopping centers in Almaden Valley include the Almaden Oaks Shopping Center, home to the popular BLVD Coffee and tasty restaurant Thai Love You, and the Almaden Center Shopping Center located near the Almaden Expressway, where you can stop by all your favorite retailers like Safeway and Starbucks. There’s also Old Almaden Plaza, an outdoor shopping center that’s home to over 50 shops and eateries, and the Princeton Plaza Mall, which hosts the year-round farmers’ market each Wednesday and Sunday morning.
There are also some amazing restaurants to try in Almaden, including the American restaurant Sabores of the Valley, which is perfect for a happy hour with friends. European-inspired Vietnamese cuisine is on the menu at Elements Restaurant, and if you’re looking for something elegant and upscale, you can’t go wrong with French eatery La Foret; patrons love enjoying gourmet delicacies like beef tartar, caviar, escargot, and a variety of meat entrees ranging from American Wagyu to Rack of Lamb to Bison. With its close proximity to the water, the area is also naturally home to some stellar seafood restaurants, including Bamboo Fish and Almaden Sushi, which is known for its delicious a la carte nigiri and variety of sushi rolls.
Looking for a great, casual spot to grab a quick bite to eat? You can’t go wrong with Legends Pizza, a popular pizzeria that’s great for watching the big game while enjoying a pizza and beer with friends. Tacos Al Pastor is a delicious spot for burritos, crispy tacos, and enchiladas. Locals also love the Thai fare at Erawan, a low-key and cozy eatery with plenty of outdoor dining options.
There are plenty of exciting things to see and do in Almaden Valley, especially if you’re a fan of outdoor recreation. With lots of stunning views, green parks, and hiking trails in the area, you’ll have no trouble finding opportunities to get outside and soak up the California sunshine.
One of Almaden’s most popular outdoor locations is the Almaden Quicksilver County Park, located at the site of the town’s former mercury mine. Managed by the Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department, this county park is home to the beautiful Guadalupe Reservoir and offers visitors some breathtaking views of San Jose. For those interested in the history of the California Gold Rush era, this park is a must-see; it still features some remnants of the mining era from the early 19th century. The park also contains over 37 miles of hiking trails, including 30 miles that are suitable for equestrian use and 16.6 miles for biking. All of the Almaden Quicksilver County Park trails are dog-friendly, so feel free to bring your four-legged friend along for a morning walk! Pack a picnic for the whole family to enjoy on one of the park’s many picnic tables.
Have a blast exploring some of the many outdoor destinations that Almaden has to offer. The Almaden Reservoir is adjacent to the county park, a popular spot for catch and release fishing, picnicking with the whole family, hiking along scenic trails, and even horseback riding. There’s also the Calero Reservoir, an artificial lake that’s popular for boating, water-skiing, and jet-skiing, as well as picnicking and hiking.
The Almaden Valley Community Association (AVCA) serves the community as a volunteer nonprofit organization, providing a City Hall format for residents to discuss any issues or concerns they may have. Residents can get involved with the Almaden Valley Community Center, which offers after-school programs, elementary sports leagues, specialty camps for teens, and the San Jose Recreation Preschool for kids aged 3 to 5. The community center is also home to the Almaden Senior Association, where Almaden’s older residents can make new friends, take classes, and participate in various activities. Community activities like holiday celebrations, cultural festivals, and Neighbor Nights are all hosted at the Community Center.
Locals also love the stunning and recently renovated Almaden Golf and Country Club, a gorgeous and prestigious private member-owned club tucked away in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Golfers love living so close to a state-of-the-art 18-hole championship golf course, plus members enjoy incredible amenities like the pro shop and clubhouse.
You don’t have to be a golf aficionado to benefit from a country club membership; the club is also outfitted with tennis courts and a swimming pavilion for plenty of recreational opportunities. Club members enjoy not just exercise and sporting activities but thriving friendships and social events! There are several spaces that can be used for your next social event, including the Fireplace and Terrace, which boast stunning views of the fairways with the towering Santa Cruz Mountains in the distance.
Almaden Valley is home to a number of excellent schools. Public schools in the area are zoned to the San Jose Unified School district, offering some fantastic educational opportunities to the children of Almaden.
Kids in the area begin their education at one of four elementary schools: Williams, Graystone, Los Alamitos, or Simonds. From there, they move on to either Bret Harte Middle School or Castillero Middle School. Finally, students attend Leland High School, a recipient of the Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence, the highest award possible for an American school to receive. Leland High School is known for its high standardized test scores, frequently ranking as one of the top public high schools in the country.
Almaden is also home to Pioneer High School, a top-rated public school that is also a designated science magnet, featuring a focus on community service. Noted as a California Distinguished School, Pioneer High School offers a variety of accelerated and Advanced Placement courses and is known for the “Sophomore Project,” a major community service-based project that must be completed during each student’s sophomore year.
There are also several private school options available in Almaden. Almaden Country Day School is an independent, private day school serving grades preschool through 8, located on a sprawling nine-acre campus. The school offers a wide variety of academic subjects, after-school activities including sports and Lego Robotics, and a focus on leadership development and service-learning.
If you’re ready to buy or sell real estate in Almaden Valley, the Bonafede Team will be happy to work with you and help you navigate the world of Almaden Valley luxury homes. The fantastic real estate agents on the Bonafede Team, all Bay Area locals, bring plenty of Almaden real estate experience to the table.
*Header Credit: Visit San Jose