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Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, some destinations may be unavailable for certain dates. Find out more.

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Why rent a car in San Jose?

San Jose is a city in the Santa Clara Valley, in Northern California. Overlooking San Francisco Bay, the city is the thriving hub of the Silicon Valley tech region, yet it’s also rich in art, culture and history. It’s a great location for visiting nearby Californian destinations by hire car, such as San Francisco, Palo Alto, Berkeley and Salinas.

How to get to and around San Jose?

If you’re arriving via San Francisco Airport then it’s a 37-mile drive by rental car to San Jose. En route, you could take a detour to visit Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, a huge green area with amazing views of the Santa Clara Valley.

Hiring a car in San Jose city centre

Finding a hire car in San Jose is simple. You can rent a car from a range of providers at both San Francisco Airport and within San Jose city centre itself. San Jose has a number of paid parking facilities, including San Pedro Square Lot, EZ Park Fly and Victory Parking. San Jose also has a wide variety of hotels to suite a range of budgets, including Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, The Fairmont San Jose and Motel 6 San Jose Convention Center. Various hotels offer free parking for guests so do check before booking.

What brands are available?

There are various hire car providers to suit your budget and preferences, including Alamo, Thrifty and Dollar. Many offer extras like free cancellation, unlimited mileage and zero excess collision cover.

Must-sees within an easy drive of San Jose

There’s much to see and do by hire car in San Jose. Highlights of the city include the San Jose Museum of Art, which celebrates the work of west coast American artists, the massive San Jose City Hall, which includes an 18-storey tower, the 19th century Cathedral Basilica of St Joseph, the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and the Children’s Discovery Museum. Other sights to see by rental car in San Jose include the quirky Winchester Mystery House, a 19th century mansion built by an eccentric heiress. The house has 161 rooms and many odd features, including a ‘stairway to nowhere’. You might also enjoy playing a game of Monopoly on the massive board in Discovery Meadow, or visiting Drawbridge, an atmospheric abandoned ‘ghost town’ with a disused railroad track, a 17-mile drive from the city. San Jose is also a great location for exploring nearby beaches, mountains and vineyards.

San Francisco is a 49-mile drive from San Jose by hire car. This iconic city in Northern California known for its world-class arts scene, stunning bay area, mix of architectural styles and fabulous dining. There are plenty of wonderful sights to see by hire car in San Francisco. Highlights include the art deco Golden Gate Bridge, the shopping and dining hub of Union Square and the historic Alcatraz prison, which is open for tours. San Francisco is also famed for being a counterculture hotspot, so don’t forget to visit the iconic City Lights bookstore, home of the 1950s beat scene, and the legendary Golden Gate Park in Haight-Ashbury, famous for being one of the central sites of the 1960s ‘flower power’ movement. Other highlights to visit by rental car in San Francisco include Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Exploratorium science museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Glittering, glamorous, mythical Los Angeles is a 342-mile drive from San Jose. There you can enjoy classic attractions such as Hollywood Boulevard, Universal Studios Hollywood, and nearby Disneyland. Or you could simply enjoy people-watching on vibrant Venice Beach, or sample quirkier attractions like the Velvetaria, a gallery of velvet paintings, or Angels Flight, the shortest railroad in the world.

Tips and tricks for driving in San Jose

Bear in mind that the San Francisco Bay Area has a number of tolled bridges. In California, pedestrians always have right of way. The US is right-hand drive and remember to keep an eye on your mirror, as drivers don’t always indicate a direction change. Every state has different driving laws, so make sure you familiarise yourself with the California ones before your visit.

Ready to plan your San Jose city break?

Feeling inspired to explore San Jose and the rest of California? Check out this City Guide and use the Expedia search tool to help you find the best car hire, flight and hotel deals and to research the best attractions and activities.

FAQs for car hire in Silicon Valley

What’s the best price car rental in Silicon Valley?

In the past 7 days the lowest priced car rental is in Silicon Valley.

What’s the average car rental price in Silicon Valley?

On average, car rentals in Silicon Valley are .

Why should I book a car rental with Expedia?

When booking a rental car via Expedia you can easily compare a wide range of the most popular car hire companies and select the best option for you. There are no extra costs and no cancellation fees involved in booking a rental car with Expedia.

How do I book a car rental with Expedia?

You can book a car rental on Expedia either online or over the phone. You may have the option to reserve now and pay now, or to reserve now and pay later. The payment option will be indicated at time of booking. To collect Expedia Rewards points for your car rental, sign in to your account before you book or create an account on the Payment page.

Are there any additional costs when cancelling a rental car?

Most rental car bookings are eligible for a full refund regardless of when you cancel with Expedia. Not all prepaid bookings qualify for a refund. Review your itinerary for details. If your prepaid booking qualifies for a refund, your booking must be cancelled at least 6 hours prior to pick-up for the refund. If you return your prepaid car rental early, you will not be refunded for any unused time.

How can I cancel my car booking through Expedia?

To cancel your car booking, sign in or enter your email address and itinerary number. Then select Find itinerary. Under Manage Booking, select Cancel Reservation, then CANCEL THIS RESERVATION. Most prepaid car rental bookings are non-refundable. Pre-paid bookings must be cancelled at least 6 hours prior to pick-up to be eligible for a full refund. To change or cancel a car hire that you booked as part of a holiday, please contact us.

Should I book a rental car online before arriving or directly in Silicon Valley?

Booking your car from home with Expedia ensures thay you can choose the type of car. You can also compare the different offers and additional services in advance to get the best offer for you. Upon arrival you only need to collect the keys before beginning your trip. In addition, you do not have to start searching for a suitable provider after arriving or reading the terms and conditions at the counter. This will save you a lot of stress.

What insurance should I choose for my rental car?

A comprehensive insurance is a good choice to avoid unpleasant surprises. That way you can enjoy your stay carefree and explore the area with your rental car.

Do I have to pay my rental car in advance?

We have a couple different options when it comes to paying for your car rental. Read on and see which is best for you. Reserve now, pay now: This option allows you to reserve your car rental and prepay at the time of booking. You’ll need a credit card to prepay, and can apply Expedia Rewards points to cover all or some of the booking cost. While some car rental companies may let you pay with a debit card, the driver still needs to present a valid credit card to cover the deposit upon pick-up. Reserve now, pay later: This option lets you reserve your rental car without paying in advance. When you get to the pick-up spot, just have whoever's driving present a valid credit card to pay the cost in full. The car rental company will also place a hold on your credit card in the amount of the car rental deposit.

What do I have to pay attention to when hiring a car?

When picking up your rental car, check for scratches or dents on the vehicle. Inspect the car carefully, make sure to take notes of potential damage and let the vendor know before driving off.

Where can I find car rentals in Silicon Valley?

Rental car companies can usually be found at airports and various locations in the city centre.