If you are planning a trip to San Jose, the downtown area will undoubtedly feature in your travel plans. It is where you will find attractions such as the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, the San Jose Museum of Art, and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. Despite the appeal of exploring downtown, you will want to make time to visit some of San Jose’s neighborhoods. A stay near the airport at the Holiday Inn Express offers an easy commute to these five neighborhoods that you will find have a charm all of their own.

Rose Garden

Image via Flickr by pstuteville

Located west of downtown, the Rose Garden neighborhood is a sight (and smell) to behold. The area boasts an impressive five-and-a-half acre municipal rose garden complete with more than 4,000 rose shrubs. While you are in the area, pop over to the nearby Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum where you will find that its Peace Garden inspired by ancient Egypt’s 18th dynasty, is equally awe-inspiring.

Japantown

Japanese culture is alive and kicking in San Jose’s J-town. Visit Santo Market, unique gift shops, and the Sunday morning farmers market. Discover the stunning Buddhist Church Betsuin, or simply relax in one of the neighborhood’s fine Japanese restaurants. Visit in mid-July to experience the annual two-day Obon Festival. Located a short distance north of downtown, a visit to Japantown is a must if you are a fan of ethnic culture.

Little Saigon

Head southeast of downtown and you will find a neighborhood that the largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam call home. Wander along Story and Tully Roads as you soak up the atmosphere of this unique community. The Grand Century Mall is the perfect destination to pick up a few souvenirs, savor an authentic Vietnamese banh mi sandwich from Lee’s, or dine at Pho Hoa Restaurant.

Los Gatos

Located ten miles southwest of downtown San Jose, Los Gatos brings 19th century charm to the table. If you are a history fan, a visit to the Forbes Mill History Museum is a must. If you collect antiques, it will be difficult to drag you away from this former agricultural town. You will find quaint boutiques down almost every side street, but make sure that you check out Town Plaza, especially during the Fiesta de Artes event in August.

Campbell

There is a lot to like about the historical Campbell neighborhood. Located a short distance southwest of downtown, the pedestrian-friendly streets, dotted with an array of shops and pubs, are perfect for a stroll. If your dancing shoes are in need of an outing, you will want to head to the Cardiff Lounge or the King’s Head. While you are in the area, you can also get a culture fix by checking out the Wyland R. Morgan Gallery and the Campbell Historical Museum.

Tempted? Find affordable deals on San Jose hotels. You will also find the best deals on San Jose flights on Hipmunk.com, as well as tips from travelers just like you. When you return from your trip, why not share your own San Jose travel tips below?

Author Bio: 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.