San Jose Convention Center

The San Jose McEnery Convention Center (commonly known simply as the San Jose Convention Center) is a convention center in Downtown San Jose, California. The 550,000-square-foot (51,000 m2) facility is the largest convention center in Silicon Valley. It is known for hosting high-profile technology conferences and events like the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference and Facebook F8, as well as non-tech events like FanimeCon and Silicon Valley Comic Con.

San Jose McEnery
Convention Center
North entrance on San Carlos Street.
LocationSan Jose, California
Coordinates37°19′43″N 121°53′20″W / 37.32861°N 121.88889°W / 37.32861; -121.88889
OperatorTeam San Jose
ExpandedOctober 10, 2013
Former names
San Jose Convention Center (1989–1991)
Enclosed space
 • Total spaceMain hall: 550,000 sq ft (51,000 m2)
South Hall: 80,000 sq ft (7,400 m2)
 • Exhibit hall floorMain hall: 165,000 sq ft (15,300 m2)
South Hall: 80,000 sq ft (7,400 m2)
Public transit accessSanta Clara Valley Transportation Authority Blue Line (VTA) Green Line (VTA) Convention Center

The San Jose Convention Center opened in 1989, replacing a convention hall of the same name at San Jose Civic. It is named after Tom McEnery, a former mayor of San Jose. The South Hall opened in 2005, and the main hall was renovated and expanded in 2013. Team San Jose manages the convention center along with several nearby event centers.


Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in 2017.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaking at Facebook F8 in 2018.
Game Developers Conference.

The convention center covers 550,000 square feet (51,000 m2), including 165,000 square feet (15,300 m2) of exhibit space, 31 meeting rooms, and banquet facilities for some 5,000. There are entrances on West San Carlos Street, Almaden Boulevard, and South Market Street. The San Jose Hilton and Marriott hotels both adjoin the convention center. A two-story hallway connecting the three entrances is called the "Parkway" on the ground floor and the "Concourse" on the second floor.

A recessed main entrance along West San Carlos Street features two prominent art installations. A tile mural by Lin Utzon (1988) adorns a façade surrounding the entrance. The two-story-tall mural, resembling a flock of birds in flight, consists of over 8,000 red, white, and black porcelain tiles manufactured by Royal Copenhagen.[3] An interactive sculpture, Idea Tree by South Korean architect Soo-in Yang, stands in the plaza fronting the entrance.[4] In the lobby hangs a 1993 life-size bronze and steel sculpture, Winged Guardian by Stephen De Staebler.[5]

The South Hall, a metal-framed fabric structure, adds another 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2) of exhibit space, for a joint total of 245,000 square feet (22,800 m2). It can accommodate 11,428 people, or 5,333 people with exhibits.[6] It is surrounded by a public parking lot on a 191,668-square-foot (17,806.5 m2) site.[7] City leaders have called for the South Hall's demolition at various times since it was erected in 2005 as a temporary structure;[6] nevertheless, the city considers it important for attracting large events to the convention center. The South Hall and surrounding parking lot are owned by the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of San Jose (SARA).[8] The South Hall's maintenance costs $38,000 each year, while demolition is estimated to cost at least $1 million.[6]

The convention center is located one block from the San Carlos Street exit of California State Route 87 and two blocks from the Almaden Boulevard exit of southbound Interstate 280. California State Route 82 also passed by the convention center on South Market Street until this portion of the route was relinquished to San Jose in 2013. The public Convention Center Parking Garage is connected to the convention center. Public surface parking lots are located across Almaden Boulevard to the west and across Viola Street surrounding the South Hall.[9]

The convention center is accessible by public transportation. The Convention Center VTA light rail station is located directly in front of the convention center's main entrance on West San Carlos Street. The station is served by the Blue Line and Green Line. The station is two stops away from the intermodal San Jose Diridon station. The convention center is also served by VTA local and express bus routes, San Jose State University's free Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH), and a Bay Wheels bicycle sharing station across West San Carlos Street.


Idea Tree, an interactive sculpture by South Korean artist Soo-in Yang.
The façade on the north entrance on San Carlos Street features a tile mural by Danish artists Lin Utzon, consisting of over 8,000 porcelain tiles manufactured by Royal Copenhagen.

The first general-purpose event center in San Jose was the Santa Clara County Horticultural Society's Horticultural Hall, which operated for about 30 years from 1886 until the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds opened. Civic Auditorium served as the city's main events venue from its opening in 1933 as Municipal Auditorium.[10]

In 1957, voters approved a bond measure for the construction of a modern convention center. Construction on the Jay McCabe Convention Hall began in December 1952, and the facility opened in 1964 with the Loyal Order of Moose national convention.[10]

With the opening of the Anaheim Convention Center in 1967, city officials became dissatisfied with Civic Auditorium and McCabe Hall and sought a replacement. Based on a study by Stanford Research Institute in 1970, the city commissioned architect William Hedley and Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum to draw up plans for a "Community Plaza" superblock centered around a new convention hall. In October 1973, Mayor Norman Mineta approved $2.4 million for the new convention hall, which would be a wing of Civic Auditorium (now called San Jose Civic), along with an underground parking structure. However, by November 1974, the plans had been downsized to a mere 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2) of exhibit space and an above-ground parking garage. The new San Jose Convention Center broke ground on November 18, 1975, and was dedicated by Mayor Janet Gray Hayes on September 22, 1977.[10]

Convention Center station of the VTA light rail.
An aerial view towards the West Valley.

The second and current San Jose Convention Center was approved by Mayor Tom McEnery in 1983 as part of an urban renewal project that displaced a low-income, Hispanic neighborhood.[11] The 425,000-square-foot (39,500 m2) convention center was designed by Mitchell/Giurgola Architects, Daniel Mann Johnson Mendenhall, and the Steinberg Group.[12][13][14][15] Blount Construction was the general contractor.[16] The new convention center cost $147 million (equivalent to $314 million in 2023) to build, of which the San Jose Redevelopment Agency contributed $143 million ($306 million). It opened in 1989.[15] Meanwhile, the 1977 convention center was renamed Parkside Hall. "The Garage", now The Tech Interactive, moved into McCabe Hall in 1990.[10] In 1991, the San Jose Convention Center was renamed the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in honor of the former mayor.[11][17]

In its early years, the new convention center failed to meet attendance and revenue expectations.[12] By 2002, many Silicon Valley businesses were choosing the much larger Moscone Center in San Francisco over the San Jose Convention Center due to the latter's limited space. A ballot measure to finance an expansion via a hotel tax failed to reach the required two-thirds majority to pass. In June 2005, Team San Jose built the South Hall, a $6.77 million, blue and white tent, adding 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2) of exhibit space.[6][18]

In 2009, local hotels agreed to a hotel tax increase to fund the convention center's renovation and expansion.[19] On October 10, 2013, the convention center completed the $130 million project, which added 125,000 square feet (11,600 m2) on the site of the former Martin Luther King Jr. Library. The San José Public Library relocated its main branch to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library on the San Jose State University campus.[14][20][13]

In 2018, SARA put the South Hall site up for sale.[8][7]


Facebook F8 2017.
Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in 2018.

The convention center hosts hundreds of events each year,[2] including the following annual events:

Other notable events at the convention center have included:

See also



  1. ^ Herhold, Scott (August 7, 2013). "Herhold: The expansion of San Jose's convention center nears completion". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "San Jose McEnery Convention Center Expansion". Populous. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  3. ^ Lew, Julie (April 7, 1991). "What's Doing In: San Jose". The New York Times. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  4. ^ "Idea Tree, Soo-in Yang / Lifethings". Demiurge. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  5. ^ Werner, Jessica (September 29, 1995). "Giving away all their secrets". Palo Alto Weekly. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d Seipel, Tracy (August 13, 2016). "San Jose convention center's South Hall a demolition – and criticism – target". The Mercury News. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "San Jose Convention Center South Hall Site For Sale" (PDF). Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Jose. March 29, 2018. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Bitters, Janice (May 3, 2018). "San Jose Convention Center 'South Hall' site up for sale in downtown, spurring interest from county and other potential buyers". Silicon Valley Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  9. ^ "San Jose Convention Center & South Hall Parking Map" (PDF). Team San Jose. January 31, 2018. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d Historical Evaluation: Museum Place Mixed-Use Project (PDF). Archives & Architecture. April 14, 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Hukill, Traci (September 25, 1997). "Your Name in Lights". Metro Silicon Valley. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Christensen, Terry (October 5, 2015). "San Jose Becomes the Capital of Silicon Valley" (PDF). San Jose State University. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  13. ^ a b Herhold, Scott (October 6, 2008). "Herhold: Colorful SJ convention center mural at risk". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Woolfolk, John (October 9, 2013). "San Jose unveils convention center's $130 million face-lift". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  15. ^ a b "San Jose McEnery Convention Center Fact Sheet" (PDF). San Jose Redevelopment Agency. June 19, 2007. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  16. ^ Dolan, Maura (July 20, 1999). "Winning Litigants Can Still Be Losers, State Justices Rule". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  17. ^ "The Right Name, The Right Time". San Jose Inside. Metro Newspapers. June 7, 2005. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  18. ^ Wadsworth, Jennifer (August 21, 2013). "Bill Sherry Readies the New San Jose Convention Center". Metro Silicon Valley. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  19. ^ "San Jose McEnery Convention Center to Debut $130 Million Makeover at Free Community Day" (Press release). Team San Jose. October 9, 2013. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  20. ^ "Newly Renovated and Expanded Convention Center's Creative Design and Modern Look Will Help Team San Jose Book More Meetings To Boost The Local Economy" (Press release). Team San Jose. October 9, 2013. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  21. ^ "Security Check Required". Facebook.
  22. ^ "Stan Lee And Steve Wozniak To Launch Silicon Valley Comic Con, Have Acquired Big Wow". 17 April 2015.
  23. ^ Pizarro, Sal (May 19, 2018). "Pop-up shopping in San Jose: downtown's new experience". The Mercury News. San Jose, California. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  24. ^ "Getting to F8". F8. Facebook. 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  25. ^ Mayo, Benjamin (February 16, 2017). "Apple announces WWDC 2017: June 5th – 9th, held at San Jose McEnery Convention Center". 9to5Mac. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  26. ^ Clover, Juli (March 13, 2018). "Apple Announces WWDC Will Take Place on June 4 in San Jose, Registration Now Open for Developers". MacRumors. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  27. ^ Cameron, Katrina (June 2, 2016). "Donald Trump in San Jose: Violent protest outside rally, hundreds clash with police". The Mercury News. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  28. ^ Sullivan, Sean; Miller, Michael E. (June 3, 2016). "Ugly, bloody scenes in San Jose as protesters attack Trump supporters outside rally". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  29. ^ Lumb, David (February 28, 2018). "TwitchCon returns to the Bay Area on October 26th". Engadget. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  30. ^ "NHL Fan Fair to be part of All-Star Weekend". National Hockey League. December 10, 2018. Retrieved January 10, 2020.