Best place to retire: SoFA
Pros: Arts scene, education and about 300 sunny days a year.
Cons: Construction noise and urban homesteading will be the norm.
Real estate: A one-bedroom goes for $350,000 in SoFA. Prices go up as you move west: up to $450,000 for Willow Glen.San Jose's downtown is in the early stages of a renaissance, and the city is consciously recruiting empty-nesters and retirees. It's slow going, but South of First Street, or SoFA, is looking impressive.
There are tons of galleries, an arthouse cinema, and the art deco California Theater, which hosts the opera and symphony orchestra. San Jose State University, adjacent to the neighborhood, is another attraction.
San Jose is still comparatively affordable, considering northern California's stratospheric prices. For a quieter, Norman Rockwell-via-Williams Sonoma experience, try Willow Glen. This neighborhood has mostly houses, a few condos, and a couple retirement communities. If you want to spend your days golfing with other retirees in view of the Evergreen foothills, consider The Villages on the southeastern edge of town.
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