Downtown San Jose is at the junction of Hwy 87 and I-280. Hwy 101 and I-880 complete the box. Running roughly north–south along the length of the city, from the old port town of Alviso on San Francisco Bay to all the way downtown is 1st St; south of I-280, its name changes to Monterey Rd.

San Jose State University is east of downtown. The SoFA district, with nightclubs, restaurants and galleries, is on a stretch of S 1st St south of downtown's San Carlos St.