upper waypoint

Summer Events in San Jose You Might Not Know About (But Should)

Save ArticleSave Article
Failed to save article

Please try again

Alchemy Museum and Lab at Rosicrucian Park. (Photo by Cherri Lakey)

San Jose has been all a buzz over the news from last week that the city’s population hit the one million mark. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this means that the South Bay city is one of ten in this nation to have a population that size or more.


Like any city with a large population, San Jose has a wide variety of goings-on to keep the majority of our residents busy this summer. We have familiar events that you can count on that most metropolitan clusters have such as: Music in the Park, Fourth of July Fireworks, free outdoor Symphony concerts and a fantastic Summer Jazz Fest. And in addition to these well produced, well-marketed blockbusters, we also have things to do that are smaller, niche-ier, and a little harder to find but uniquely our own. Whether you’re a legacy resident that has lived in the area since it was dense with orchards or you’re (fairly) new to the area and want to experience a diverse range of events, a memorable summer awaits you in San Jose.

Kyle Yandow and Amy Anderson at #SJSkateNight no. 2.
Kyle Yandow and Amy Anderson at #SJSkateNight no. 2. (PHoto by Cherri Lakey)

San Jose Skate Night

Monthly event – ongoing
More Information

San Jose’s hot summer days almost always slip into cool comfortable nights which makes for perfect roller skating weather. The South Bay is now devoid of indoor skating rinks so in the typical Silicon Valley problem-solving style, three residents — Justin Triano, Amy Hewett and Liz Ruiz (both former SV Roller Derby Girls) — got together to make one big roving roller rink that travels through our downtown. Accompanied by a mobile disco sound unit and laser light show, the event moves throughout the evening to open plazas that are begging for people to use them. The organizers plan for the event to continue monthly. Skate rentals are available prior to the event and the start point location varies (announced 24 hours beforehand).

Peter Mollica, "Fence," stained glass, 2013.
Peter Mollica, “Fence,” stained glass, 2013. (Courtesy of the "Sparks" Exhibition at San Jose City College.)

44th Annual Glass Arts Conference

June 5–7
Schedule and Details

Seattle-based Glass Art Society is hosting this year’s glass arts conference in downtown San Jose with the theme: Interface: Glass, Art, and Technology. The host city was chosen because Silicon Valley is “where technology is king and new technological ideas are generated daily,”  Roger MacPherson, GAS President said. The three day conference will engage glass artists and collectors in panel discussions, hands-on workshops, demos, a mobile hot shop, plus many free & open to the public events like the glass marketplace. In addition to the official GAS programming, 14 local galleries are hosting concurrent glass exhibitions throughout the city center featuring themed shows as well as broad group displays of this fascinating material. A “Gallery Hop” is scheduled for Friday night June 5 with shuttle service departing every 30 minutes at key locations.

Cellist Freya Seeburger at SubZERO Festival 2014.
Cellist Freya Seeburger at SubZERO Festival 2014. (Cherri Lakey)

SubZERO Festival

June 5 & 6
Schedule and Details

The SubZERO Festival, held annually on the First Friday & Saturday of June, is the art scene’s kick-off party to the summer season in the South Bay.  Now in its 8th year, this subculture gathering of those that dwell in the underground will once again take over the arts & culture district of San Jose known as the SoFA District. This seemingly small area (just 3 blocks) will be packed with over a hundred visual artists, performers and independent creative businesses. The 3 stages of live music feature 24 bands in the indie, alternative and experimental genres. “All Hail the Progenitors of Culture” is their battle cry with the intention to show San Jose artists do live and thrive here all year round.

Alchemy Garden at Rosicrucian Park.
Alchemy Garden at Rosicrucian Park. (Photo by Cherri Lakey)

Alchemy Museum and Lab Exhibit at Rosicrucian Park

June 21
More Information

San Jose will soon be home to the world’s largest, and the nation’s only, Alchemy Museum and Lab. Curated and designed by practicing alchemist and author Dennis William Hauck, the museum will be located at Rosicrucian Park, the same grounds that houses the world famous Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum.

(Courtesy of Rosicrucian Park)
(Courtesy of Rosicrucian Park)

In anticipation of the Alchemy Museum’s opening — slated for June 2016 — the Egyptian Museum will be presenting an exhibition that features highlights from the Alchemy Museum’s collection. While you’re there, be sure to check out the grounds, which feature numerous sculptures of ancient Egyptian gods, a Pythagoras statue, a Senet game, and the new Alchemy Garden, which is beautifully arranged to symbolize the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

Artist Avery Palmer at The Triton Museum of Art .
Artist Avery Palmer at The Triton Museum of Art . (Photo by Cherri Lakey)

50 and Looking Forward… at The Triton Museum of Art

Through July 12
More Information

For 50 years The Triton has dedicated its beautiful exhibition spaces to contemporary artists from the greater Bay Area. This summer they celebrate their 50th anniversary with 50 and Looking Forward…, which opened May 16th. The exhibition focuses on the future rather than the past, with 19 local artists that the curators have deemed “the ones to watch.” The group exhibit is as diverse as the area The Triton aims to serve. A great day to visit the museum and check out the show would be on June 20th during their Summer Solstice Art Festival that’s held on their back lawn, among their outdoor sculpture collection.

Think and Die Thinking Festival
Think and Die Thinking Festival

Think and Die Thinking

July 9–12
Schedule and Details

Since 2011 the Think and Die Thinking collective has held an annual DIY punk & indie music festival that’s by and for LGBT, women, and people of color. Each year the list of bands gets longer and the event spills over into another day. This year the event is 4 days and will be hosted by 3 venues to accommodate all the participants. The main venue, and beneficiary of the proceeds, is the Billy De Frank LGBT Community Center; a well respected and important resource for the LGBT community since 1981.

Luna Park Chalk Art Festival
Luna Park Chalk Art Festival (Photo by Cherri Lakey)

8th Annual Luna Park Chalk Art Festival

September 19
More Information

The Luna Park Chalk Art Festival is a favorite community event that features local artists putting their talents towards raising awareness and grant funds for art programs in local schools. The artists’ canvas is a 4 foot by 4 foot section of concrete sidewalk that winds through the center area of the 10-acre Backesto Park. The mini murals begin on the Friday morning before. The artists then work through the day, finishing their ephemeral drawings by the start of the main event on Saturday, which is must-go as it features live music, vendor booths and food trucks.



lower waypoint
next waypoint
Zendaya Donates $100,000 to Bay Area Theater Company‘Dolly Parton’s Pet Gala’ Is Like Taking Drugs That Never Leave Your SystemYBCA Gallery Remains Closed; Pro-Palestinian Artists Claim Censorship‘Raymond Cooper’s Oakland’ Tells Everyday Stories of a Bygone EraHilary Swank Gives Inspirational ‘Ordinary Angels’ Both the Heart and Heft it Needs‘Burn Book’ Torches Tech Titans in Tale of Love and Loathing in Silicon ValleySan Jose's Japantown Highlights Underground Scene With 'Photo Night'At 102 Years Old, Betty Reid Soskin Revisits Her Music From the Civil Rights EraOakland’s couchdate Makes Room for Creatives to Hang and PlayBerkeley Rapper LOE Gino's Got Birkenstocks — and Bars