The Best of Silicon Valley 2018

Introduction | Food & Drink | Goods & Services | Art & Culture | Nightlife | Short List

Photo by Greg Ramar

In 2008, Palo Alto engineer Jim Gardner realized his new calling while dropping off charitable donations at a shelter, where he saw a homeless man riding around on a dangerously dilapidated bicycle. Knowing that a simple fix would go a long way, he earned his mechanic's certificate and began tooling bikes for homeless people—free of charge. A year later, he channeled his efforts into a nonprofit: Good Karma Bikes. Today, the service shop still offers free bike repairs and teaches people how to fix their own in free repair clinics each Saturday. But it has since expanded to include programs for young adults aging out of the foster care system.


Best Bicycle Shop

Good Karma Bikes
460 Lincoln Ave, San Jose
  Hyland Family Bicycles
1515 Meridian Ave, San Jose
Bicycle Express
131 E William St, San Jose

Best Antique Shop

Not Too Shabby
481 S Bascom Ave, San Jose
Antiques Colony
1881 W San Carlos St, San Jose
Willow Glen Collective
3022, 1349 Lincoln Ave, San Jose

Best Motorcycle Shop

Lane Splitter Harley-Davidson
                  1551 Parkmoor Ave, San Jose
San Jose BMW Motorcycles
1990 W San Carlos St, San Jose
San Jose Powersports
5891 Winfield Blvd, San Jose

Best Car Wash/Detailing

Pacific Hand Car Wash
1667 S Bascom Ave, Campbell
Classic Car Wash
16500 Lark Ave, Los Gatos
AJ Professional Detailing
702 Coleman Ave, San Jose

Best Clothing Boutique

Black & Brown
751 W San Carlos St, San Jose
Bombshell Boutique
295 E Campbell Ave, Campbell
1322 Lincoln Ave, San Jose

Best Thrift Shop

Crossroads Trading Co
1959 W San Carlos St, San Jose
1008 Blossom Hill Rd, San Jose
Multiple Locations
Happy Dragon
   Multiple locations

Best Vintage Clothing Shop

Moon Zooom
1630 W San Carlos St, San Jose
Black and Brown
751 W San Carlos St, San Jose
Park Place Vintage
1318 Lincoln Ave, San Jose
Crossroads Trading Co
Multiple locations

Best Outdoor Gear - Independent

Mountain View Surplus
1299 W El Camino Real, Mountain View
Redwood Trading Post
1455 Veterans Blvd, Redwood City
 Stevens Creek Surplus
3449 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose

Best Lingerie Store

Cupid's Corner
408 Blossom Hill Rd, San Jose
Pleasures From the Heart
1565 Winchester Blvd, Campbell
51 University Ave, Los Gatos

Best Jewelry Store

Joe Escobar Diamonds
450 E Hamilton Ave, Campbell
   Shane Co.
21255 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino
Davidson & Licht Jewelers
2855 Stevens Creek Blvd, Santa Clara

The late Jane Jacobs, whose book The Death and Life of Great American Cities made her one of the most influential urban thinkers of all time, once argued that to truly understand the appeal of cities, "You've got to get out and walk." Thus, upon her death in 2007, her friends memorialized her in a living, breathing homage called Jane's Walk, a festival of free walking tours that has since spread to cities around the world, including the self-described Capital of Silicon Valley: San Jose. Last year, participants led eight walks and one bicycle ride with 88 participants, who strolled through downtown as their guides showed them new murals, emerging development and historic alleys in the city center. The next Jane's Walk takes place May 4 through 6 at several locations in San Jose.

Best Bridal Shop

Trudys Brides
1875 S Bascom Ave, Campbell
  Haute Bride
40 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
Elegant Lace Bridal
1061 Blossom Hill Rd, San Jose

Best Place to Hold a Wedding Reception

Cinnabar Hills Golf Club
23600 McKean Rd, San Jose
Corinthian Grand Ballroom
196 N Third St, San Jose
Clos La Chance Winery
1 Hummingbird Lane, San Martin

Best Pet Store

Sam's Downtown Feed & Pet Supply
              759 W San Carlos St, San Jose
An-Jan Feed & Pet Supply
Multiple locations
Gussied Up Dog Boutique
1310 Lincoln Ave, San Jose

Best Pet Trainer

California K9 Solutions
         2123 S 10th St, San Jose
Bay Area K9 Association
1089 Memorex Dr, Santa Clara
A Dog's Life
  885 Commercial St, Palo Alto

Best Art Supply Store

University Art
456 Meridian Ave, San Jose
2550 El Camino Real, Redwood City
The Arsenal
208 Jackson St, San Jose
Accent Arts
  421 Jacaranda Ln, Palo Alto

Best Record Store

The Record Man
1322 El Camino Real, Redwood City
On The Corner
530 E Campbell Ave, Campbell
The Analog Room
3185 S Bascom Ave, Campbell

A trash-covered, weed-choked plot that sat empty for decades has transformed into a verdant garden thanks to a partnership struck between a powerful landowner and an aspiring urban farmer. Developer Barry Swenson donated a lease for the one-acre parcel by Citibank and a freeway off-ramp to Zach Lewis in 2013, which laid the foundation for a nonprofit called Garden to Table and gave the Taylor Street Farm the space to harvest locally grown, sustainable food for the community. The nonprofit's advocacy also contributed to Santa Clara County's decision last year to offer a tax break to landowners who take a cue from Swenson by letting people plant urban gardens on vacant land.

Best Toy Store

The Wooden Horse
796 Blossom Hill Rd, Los Gatos
Children's Discovery Museum Store
180 Woz Way, San Jose
Lakeshore Learning Store
1099 S Bascom Ave, San Jose

Best Skate Shop

NC Boardshop
16203 Los Gatos Blvd, Los Gatos
379 State St, Los Altos
Circle A
    108 Paseo De San Antonio, San Jose

Best Independent Bookstore

Recycle Bookstore
1066 The Alameda, San Jose
1378 Lincoln Ave, San Jose
Kepler's Books
   1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park

Best Comics Store

Heroes Comic Books
  24 E Campbell Ave, Campbell
Illusive Comics & Games
1270 Franklin Mall, Santa Clara
Hijinx Comics
2050 Lincoln Ave, San Jose

When an assailant yanked San Jose State student Esra Altun's hijab in the wake of the divisive 2016 presidential election, it was a reminder of the discrimination faced by women who wear visible signs of their Muslim faith. It's the kind of hate crime that has been on the rise since 9/11 and saw another surge in the past two years. It's also the reason why Palo Alto resident Rana Adbelhamid wants to teach self-defense through her nonprofit Muslim Women's Initiative for Self-Empowerment. The organization, which has trained more than 2,500 people since 2010, has expanded throughout the globe and offers classes in social activism and leadership.

Best Independent Hardware Store

Hassett Hardware
2253 Lincoln Ave, San Jose
Rural Supply Hardware
110 S Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
Dale Hardware
  3700 Thornton Ave, Fremont

Best Garden Store

Yamagami's Nursery
1361 S De Anza Blvd, Cupertino
Almaden Valley Nursery
15800 Almaden Expy, San Jose
Summer Winds Nursery
Multiple Locations

Best Flower Shop

   14 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
   5945 Almaden Expy, San Jose
Rosies & Posies
98 Paseo De San Antonio, San Jose

Best Hydroponic Store

San Jose Hydroponics
1999 Monterey Hwy, San Jose
Rasa Hydroponics & Organics
5725 Winfield Blvd, San Jose
The GrowBiz
1185 S Bascom Ave, San Jose

Best Pilates Studio

Los Gatos Ballet and Pilates
630 University Ave, Los Gatos
Misha Patel Studio
750 Miller St, San Jose
16185 Los Gatos Blvd, Los Gatos

Best Yoga Studio

Breathe Together Yoga
14107-H Winchester Blvd, Los Gatos
Bikram Yoga San Jose
Westgate West, 5289 Prospect Rd, San Jose
Be The Change Yoga & Wellness
52 S First St, San Jose

Best Martial Arts Studio

Academy of Self Defense
3475 Woodward Ave, Santa Clara
American Kickboxing Academy
              7012 Realm Dr, San Jose
America's Best Karate
564 S Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale

Best Health Club

FNS Training Center
2342 Walsh Ave, Santa Clara
Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center
14855 Oka Rd, Los Gatos
Bay Club
Multiple locations

Anthony Ross spent 15 years counseling queer youth before coming to Santa Clara County this spring to help open the region's first-ever transgender health clinic. The county's hiring Ross, a queer trans man, reportedly makes it only the second government entity in the nation—the other being San Francisco—with an employee focused exclusively on transgender services. Ross will work under the county's Office of LGBTQ Affairs, which itself was created as part of a push by the county to connect underserved communities with vital social services.

Best Massage

Burke Williams Day Spa
355 Santana Row, San Jose
The Spa - Los Gatos
100 S Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
Happy Feet Foot Spa
1045 S De Anza Blvd, San Jose

Best Day Spa

Burke Williams Day Spa, Santana Row
                  355 Santana Row, San Jose
Los Gatos Spa
100 S Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
Watercourse Way
165 Channing Ave, Palo Alto

Best Dentist

Willow Glen Dentistry
1245 Lincoln Ave, San Jose
Donald Pepper, DDS
6501 Crown Blvd, San Jose
Kimberly Loos, DDS
4110 Moorpark Ave, Ste F, San Jose

Best Organization Making a Difference

Humane Society Silicon Valley
Multiple Locations
Second Harvest Food Bank
Multiple Locations
Bill Wilson Center
  3490 The Alameda, Santa Clara

Best Luxury or Boutique Hotel

Hotel De Anza
233 W Santa Clara St, San Jose
Hotel Los Gatos
210 E Main St, Los Gatos
Hotel Valencia
     355 Santana Row, San Jose

Best Plastic Surgeon/Beautification

Jenesis Lipoplasty & Laser
1471 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
  Daryl K. Hoffman, MD
3425 S Bascom Ave, Campbell
Laurence Berkowitz, MD
3803 S Bascom Ave, Campbell

Best Barber/Men's Salon

Frank De Barber
11 S Third St, San Jose
Studio Glam
311 Stockton Ave, San Jose
Bedlam Beauty & Barber
200 S First St, San Jose

MAPS proves that Silicon Valley is on the cutting edge of more than just technology. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies explores the potential for psychedelic drugs to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, among other mental maladies. The nonprofit runs research centers in Palo Alto and Santa Cruz and teamed up with Stanford University researchers in a bid to permit MDMA as an FDA-approved prescription for adults with autism or social anxiety.

Best Gentlemen's Club

Sporty's Bikini Bar
1053 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
Brass Rail
160 Persian Dr, Sunnyvale

Best Tattoo Parlor

 Black Lagoon Tattoo
118 E Santa Clara St, San Jose
Da Wei Tattoo
1053 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
Marks of Art Tattoo
3014 Union Ave, San Jose

Best Piercing Place

Body Exotic
  957 W San Carlos St, San Jose
Pierced Out
3014 Union Ave, San Jose
Paisley Haus Pro Body Piercing
950 S Winchester Blvd, San Jose

Santa Clara County kicked off its All the Way Home campaign in 2015 to house unsheltered military veterans, who made up 10 percent of Santa Clara County's homeless population. Since then, the public-private coalition has taken almost 900 men and women off the streets and placed them in permanent supportive housing. While the region's homeless population has increased overall, the joint effort by the county, cities and nonprofits can become a model for how to help other vulnerable people.

Best Hookah Bar

The Swinging Hookah
386 S First St, San Jose
Smoke This Hookah Lounge
2271 The Alameda, Santa Clara
Shisha SJ Hookah
84 N Market St, San Jose

Best Smoke Shop

Up In Smoke
1711 Branham Ln, San Jose
The Twilight Zone
414 W Capitol Expy, San Jose
420 Lifestyles
2345 Winchester Blvd, Campbell

Best Place to Get a Medical Cannabis Recommendation

MMJ Doctor
36 S First St, San Jose
San Jose 420 Evaluations
115 N Fourth St, San Jose
Marijuana Medicine Evaluation Center
100 N Winchester Blvd, Santa Clara

Best Cannabis Delivery

Elemental Wellness
985 Timothy Dr, San Jose
1695 S Seventh St, San Jose

Best Discount for MMJ Cardholders

Elemental Wellness
985 Timothy Dr, San Jose
Airfield Supply
1190 Coleman Ave, San Jose
1695 S Seventh St, San Jose

Even in the darkest days of the recession, Silicon Valley's innovation engine was churning. And yet, that wasn't entirely apparent down in the Capital of Silicon Valley. Although Apple, Google and Facebook keep their headquarters here in the South Bay, they held their largest events—Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, Google's I/O and Facebook's F8—in San Francisco. That's changed in recent years as all three of the valley's tech giants have opted to hold their respective parties at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in the heart of downtown.

Best Cannabis Dispensary

Elemental Wellness
985 Timothy Dr, San Jose
Airfield Supply Co.
1190 Coleman Ave, San Jose
1695 S Seventh St, San Jose


Best Golf Course

Cinnabar Hills Golf Club
                 23600 McKean Rd, San Jose
La Rinconada Country Club
14595 Clearview Dr, Los Gatos
Deep Cliff Golf Course
  10700 Club House Lane, Cupertino


Best Wine Shop

Artisan Wine Depot
2482 W El Camino Real, Mountain View
Country Corner
3207 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park
K&L Wine Merchants
3005 El Camino Real, Redwood City

Best Hair Salon

Edward's Salon
1040 Grant Rd, Mountain View
Julie Q Hair & Nails
951 W Dana St, Mountain View
Juut Salon Spa
240 University Ave, Palo Alto


Best Wine Shop

Enoteca La Storia
416 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
217 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
Tessora's Barra di Vino
234 E Campbell Ave, Campbell

Best Hair Salon

565 E Campbell Ave, Campbell
378 E Campbell Ave, Campbell
14 E Main St, Los Gatos

The Bay Area has no shortage of cannabis collectives that sell legal recreational pot. But when it comes to Silicon Valley, San Jose is the only city doling out that sticky icky on the up-and-up—and we're getting very good at it. Caliva, a vertically integrated dispensary that grows, tests and sells pot, was identified as the "best marijuana shop in America" by Business Insider. But that's not all San Jose has to offer when it comes to quality herbs. There's also Airfield Supply, Haze, Theraleaf, Herbs Collective, Elemental Wellness, Lux, Connected, Buddy's and many more.


Best Wine Shop

The Wine Club
1200 Coleman Ave, Santa Clara
Coach House Liquors & Deli
1655 S De Anza Blvd, Cupertino
Bobby's Liquor
2327 El Camino Real, Santa Clara

Best Hair Salon

Sunny Salon
149 E Washington Ave, Sunnyvale
Sanctuary Salon
790 Lincoln St, Santa Clara
Expert Hair Do
1111 W El Camino Real, Sunnyvale


Best Wine Shop

The Wine Club
1200 Coleman Ave, San Jose
Wine Affairs
1435 The Alameda, Santa Clara
Maplewood Market & Liquors
2620 Union Ave, San Jose

Nine out of 10 fixed-gear-riding, jorts-wearing, 30-something hipsters agree: rock climbing is a rad way to stay in shape. Regrettably, a gym stripped the insides out of a former deco movie house in downtown's SoFA District, but it redeemed itself for that offense against history by contributing a worthwhile recreational amenity. The Studio—a Touchstone affiliate—really has it all. Weights, stationary bikes, treadmills, ellipticals, a bouldering wall, top-roping, lead climbing and all kinds of yoga. Plus it is a great workout, whether you're on your own or with a group of friends.

Best Hair Salon

Limon Salon
3410 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose
Bedlam Beauty & Barber
200 S First St, San Jose
Bigsby House
1070 Park Ave, San Jose


Best Wine Shop

 The Bottle Shop
40919 Fremont Blvd, Fremont
Cork n Bottle Liquors
5200 Mowry Ave, Fremont
Milpitas Liquors
190 S Main St, Milpitas

Best Hair Salon

 Salon de Paris
1742 N Milpitas Blvd, Milpitas
Hair Plus
495 E Calaveras Blvd, Milpitas
His 'n Hers Hair
1215 S Park Victoria Dr, Milpitas

Introduction | Food & Drink | Goods & Services | Art & Culture | Nightlife | Short List