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San Jose, CA (Population: 912,332)

Located in the Silicon Valley at the south end of the San Francisco Bay is the city of San Jose, California. With a population of 912,332 it is the county seat of Santa Clara County and the biggest city in Northern California. Originally a Spanish colony, San Jose has become a large, diverse city with much ethnic and religious diversity and tolerance. It has also been ranked among the safest big cities in the United States on several occasions.

Self-titled the “Capital of the Silicon Valley,” San Jose is home to several schools that contribute thousands of graduates each year in the engineering and computer science fields to fill the high-tech jobs on which the city supports itself; San Jose State University, Santa Clara University and Stanford University are among these. Several large companies have their headquarters here, including Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi and IMB. Although the cost of living and housing is very high in San Jose, disposable income levels are very high for households in the city.

The skyline of San Jose is necessarily low; it is in the flight path of the Mineta San Jose Airport. As a result, the city has seen many municipal building projects embracing unusual and boldly colored exteriors. The San Jose Repertory theater and the Children's Discovery Museums are good examples. Historic Downtown San Jose is known for its architecture as well; it contains many of the styles that became popular during the city's growth. Another result of this low skyline is that funds are often funneled into public art rather than into large buildings.

San Jose also hosts several sporting events, while housing several professional sports teams as well. The SAP Open, a men's tennis tournament is held here each year, as is the San Jose Grand Prix, creating a temporary course on its Downtown Streets. The city also boasts the largest Beethoven collection outside Europe at the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies and the largest of Egyptian relics in the western United States at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. Of the many attractions, the San Jose Jazz Festival, the Cinco De Mayo Parade and Festival, and the Evergreen Fine Arts Festival are always popular events.