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Peso Pluma's San José Concert: From Parking to Bag Policy, What to Know Before Heading to SAP Center

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A younger man with blunt brown bangs and mullet wears large dark sunglasses and a broad-shouldered black shirt, singing into a mic onstage
Peso Pluma performs onstage during the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards at Prudential Center on Sept. 12, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Mike Coppola/Getty Images for MTV)

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Peso Pluma — who topped global Billboard charts twice this summer — is coming to the Bay Area. The corrido tumbado superstar will perform at San José’s SAP Center on Friday, October 13.

October is shaping up to be a very exciting time in the Bay Area across the different genres of Latino music. Just this past weekend, Mexican pop band RBD played in both San Francisco and San José (KQED was at the San José show), while bachata legend Romeo Santos performed at the Oakland Arena — and that’s without even mentioning the big-hitters that have already passed through this year, including Kali Uchis, Karol G and Maluma.

But regional Mexican music, in particular, is in the spotlight. Grupo Frontera joined Bad Bunny on Coachella’s main stage this year. At just 19, DannyLux performed for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts last month. And Peso Pluma returns to the Bay Area (featuring rapper Alemán) with high expectations from fans following his performance at the MTV Video Music Awards and the release of his latest album, Génesis, that reached No. 1 in Billboard’s Latin Albums chart in one week.

Whether it’s your very first concert or your 50th, we have some tips that can help you prepare, get there and back safely and ensure you have fun at the Peso Pluma concert.

Keep reading, or jump straight to:

Wasn’t Peso Pluma’s performance in Tijuana recently canceled? Could that happen for the San José concert?

You may have heard that Peso Pluma’s Tijuana show — originally scheduled for Oct. 14 — was canceled due to security concerns. Banners with threats against Peso showed up at several points in the Mexican city last month.

KQED asked Live Nation, which is in charge of putting on the San José concert, if there is the possibility that this Bay Area show would also be canceled. Live Nation staff have replied it is “very doubtful” that would happen, and that the show in San José is still scheduled to take place.

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How can I get to SAP Center by car?

If you’re driving from out of town, you have several options to get to downtown San José. If you’re coming from the San Francisco/Peninsula direction, both Highway 101 and the I-280 freeways (and El Camino Real, if you have a lot of time to spare) take you straight to the city’s center. If you’re coming in from the East Bay, you can take either the I-680 or the I-880.

According to Google Trends, places in the North Bay, including Santa Rosa and Larkspur, have shown some of the strongest interest for Peso’s concert. If that’s where you’re coming from, the fastest option will likely be getting on the I-580, crossing the Richmond Bridge and then transferring on to I-880 that will take you straight to downtown San José.

Where can I find parking at SAP Center?

One word: timing.

SAP Center has on-site parking at their ABC Lot but anyone who has been to a concert here knows that parking can fill up fast. “I’d just encourage everybody to arrive early,” says Jim Sparaco, director of public relations for SAP Center. “Most people like to arrive before the concert starts, but of course, that’s when everyone wants to arrive — and that can create longer lines.”

The show is scheduled to start at 8 p.m., and Sparaco recommends you get to SAP Center at least an hour before the concert begins. Concert tickets are usually not cheap, and if you want to make the most of the show, make sure you’re in your seat when it begins — not sitting in your car waiting for a parking spot.

You can also reserve parking ahead of time, either at the main ABC Lot or at another, nearby parking lot, using the SAP Center’s parking reservation tool. Reservations range from $25 to $35.

You can also try looking for street parking — but keep in mind that others will have the same idea, and you may have to walk 15–20 minutes from your car to the venue depending on how busy it gets. And check signs for any parking restrictions, as you don’t want to return to your car after the concert to find a hefty parking ticket.

How can I get to SAP Center using public transit?

You’re in luck: downtown San José is very well connected by several public transit agencies.

If you’re coming from the city’s Eastside, you can take the light rail VTA from Alum Rock station straight to San José-Diridon, which is only one block away from SAP Center.

Caltrain, which goes from San Francisco, all through San Mateo County, to the South Bay, also stops at San José-Diridon. Coming in from the East Bay? You can take BART and get off at Berryessa/North San José station and then get on a VTA bus, specifically the Rapid 500 bus line, which will quickly take you straight to SAP Center.

Keep in mind that public transportation in San José does not run the whole night and the last Rapid 500 bus is scheduled to leave from the SAP Center area (from the Caltrain station) at 11:19 p.m. (PDF) The last Caltrain leaves San José at 11:12 p.m. (PDF) and the last BART out of Berryessa is scheduled for 11:48 p.m., headed towards Richmond.

In an email, VTA officials confirmed to KQED that the transit agency is not offering extra service for this concert. So if you’re getting home from the Peso Pluma concert by public transit, be very sure of when you need to get up from your seat and start heading out — you don’t want to be stranded.

A group of people perform on a blue and red toned stage, with red lighting cast on their faces and bodies, holding their arms in the air. Two men at the front hold microphones.
Peso Pluma and Yng Lvcas perform onstage during the 2023 Billboard Latin Music Awards at Watsco Center on Oct. 5, 2023 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Jason Koerner/Getty Images)

Bag policy: What’s not allowed into SAP Center?

No food.

Long-time San José residents know this well: Their city is a treasure trove of delicious cuisine from all over the world. And the SR 408 is a particularly fantastic place to eat Sinaloa-style Mexican food (fitting, as Peso Pluma has family in Sinaloa).

But if you’re thinking of grabbing some mariscos or aguachile before the concert, you will have to finish it before heading to the show as you are not allowed to bring outside food into SAP Center.

No alcohol.

Nope, you won’t be allowed in with outside alcoholic beverages — so finish or throw away the michelada before you get to security. Cans, glass bottles and coolers are also not allowed in — doesn’t matter if they are open or closed. (Plastic bottles are fine, however, and you can refill your water bottle inside SAP Center.)

There are, however, several spots inside SAP Center where you can pick up a drink that you can enjoy at your seat. But lines get long, especially as the concert is starting, so that’s another reason to make it to the concert with extra time.

What kind of bag can I bring?

Let’s talk bags and purses. You do not need to bring a transparent bag to carry your things. If your bag or clutch is smaller than 5 x 9 x 2 inches, you can pass through security without a problem.

But if your bag is bigger than that — including larger fanny packs or diaper bags — your bag may go through X-ray inspection.

There are size limits, however. You can’t enter SAP Center with bags bigger than 20 x 14 x 11 inches (which is roughly similar to a medium-sized tote bag). So don’t try coming in with your backpack and ask to check it in as SAP Center no longer offers a bag check option or storage lockers onsite.

Can I tailgate the Peso Pluma concert?

If you didn’t get tickets but still want to organize something with your friends on your truck at a nearby parking lot, we got bad news: Informal tailgating is prohibited due to a San José city ordinance.

You may have heard that for the Taylor Swift concerts at Levi’s Stadium back in July fans were able to hear her singing from blocks away. But let’s keep it real: SAP Center is not an open-air stadium like Levi’s, and it can be pretty hard to hear what’s going on inside even from the main parking lot.

If you’re bummed that you won’t see Peso Pluma this time around, keep reading for other things to do during the concert weekend.

What will the police presence be like during and after the event?

The San Jose Police Department did not accept KQED’s request for an interview for this story — and added in an email that they “do not comment on [their] planning or tactics when it comes to special event management.”

For its part, VTA did share with KQED that it is not planning for extra security on its buses and trains, other than the Sheriff’s Office Transit Patrol and the private security firm it regularly has on its system.

If you are invited to a sideshow after the concert, keep in mind that both the City of San José and SJPD are taking stronger measures to clamp down on sideshows. Mayor Matt Mahan has already asked Snapchat and Meta (which owns Instagram and Facebook) to temporarily suspend accounts that post content promoting sideshows.

It’s already illegal in San José to post content on social media encouraging people to go to sideshows. Doing so could cost you $1,000 and potentially up to six months in jail. Being a spectator is also illegal and you could still get in trouble even if you’re within 200 feet of the sideshow.

Can I still find tickets for Peso Pluma in San José?

There are still tickets for Peso Pluma’s Oct. 13 show, as long as you’re down to buy them on resale. But on Ticketmaster, even a seat in some of the last rows of the last section could cost you more than $300. As for a floor seat? Expect to cough up more than $1,000.

You may also want to check out Facebook Marketplace or Stubhub. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) issued a warning about resale scams, with many people discovering after sending money through apps like Venmo or Zelle that these “tickets” never existed. Check out the person’s profile and their past posting history to see if it seems real. And if you do choose to buy a resale ticket, use your credit card, says the BBB. This at least provides some protection for you if the deal was fake.

More guides from KQED

And if you’re in a large group chat and get a ticket offer from someone you know, call this person directly — to make sure someone isn’t impersonating them online.

The website a view from my seat shares what fans who have gone to SAP Center already could see from where they sat. You can check out different sections in the arena to see what works best for you.

And can’t make it at all to the concert? No worries. You can definitely hear Peso’s music play throughout San José all weekend. The Ritz, a club in downtown, is already organizing a Peso Pluma night for Oct. 14, the day after the concert. And Peso Pluma isn’t your only chance to hear corridos that put you in your feels in the Bay Area: Iván Cornejo has one show in San José on Oct. 25 and another one in Oakland on Oct. 26. Eslabon Armado will play at San Jose Civic on Nov. 3

This story includes reporting from KQED’s Nisa Khan and Paloma Abarca. An earlier version of this story originally published on October 10.

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