Have you discovered the local charm of WIllow Glen? Wonderful, beautiful, historic and quaint Willow Glen, known to most as San Jose’s “local treasure” with its eclectic downtown shops and restaurants. Driving down most of the streets in the residential neighborhoods, you find a tree-lined community with historic homes all contributing to the charm.
Willow Glen was established in the mid 1800’s as unincorporated land close to San Jose. It remained unincorporated until the 1920’s, when San Jose ordered Southern Pacific Railroad to reroute their line that at the time, ran through 4th Street. The railroad proposed a new route through Willow Glen, right down Lincoln Avenue. To forestall that attempt, Willow Glen was incorporated as a city in 1927. However, due to its need for a sewage treatment plant, in 1937, they were annexed by San Jose
A stroll through downtown, located mostly on Lincoln Avenue, offers fantastic shopping, specialty stores, and restaurants. One of the most fun aspects of Willow Glen are the abundance of events held “on the avenue” just about every month, including the most well known, Dancin’ on the Avenue, each summer. There are plenty of opportunities to meet friends for fun and really feel a sense of community.
You can eat, exercise, and search for a new outfit and even make a candle. Your options could keep you busy for an entire day. The restaurants are as good as it gets. The Table is known for their seasonal menu with an open kitchen style. Bertucelli’s La Villa Deli has lines out the door at lunchtime. They are known for their homemade delicious ravioli. Pizza My Heart is a treat for young and old alike and you can get your Starbuck’s fix next door. Visit a wonderful sweet shop with candy varieties that will take you back to your childhood. Looking to meet friends for a glass of wine and cheese or a beer? 20Twenty is a must.
Looking for a place to have a birthday party? Try Petroglyph and Glow Candle Lounge. You can also find many different clothing shops, a wonderful children’s bookstore, yoga, a dog boutique and the Thrift Box, which raises funds for Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.
Seasonal Events in Willow Glen
Weekends are filled with farmers markets and the events are plenty. October is an amazing month in WIllow Glen. The Wine Walk, Blessing of Pets and Friday Musical Storytime are a few of what is happening this month alone. However, the biggest event in October is Halloween. Children dress in costumes and trick or treat on the avenue. Toddlers, preschoolers and children in strollers trick or treat from 11am-12: 30pm and school age children in costume come at 3-4:30pm. Thousands of children participate every year. The shop owners and employees love it as much as the children.
December is also a festive month in Willow Glen. I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw Santa walking down the Avenue on a weekend. I have even seen his sleigh. People come from all around San Jose to walk or drive the neighborhood streets to admire the beautiful Christmas lights and displays. Willow Glen School has a huge tree that has a lighting ceremony, which kicks off the season.
Christmas Trees In Front of Everyone’s Homes
It is believed that the tradition of the Christmas trees in the front yards, placed equidistant to the sidewalk and the home, originated in Willow Glen by a couple, Arlene and Richard Cimino in 1950. Frank Badagliacca Jr. further fostered it on his street after the Cimino’s moved away. Badagliacca, the street captain, would go to the Christmas tree lot and handpick 27 Charlie Brown trees for each of the homes on his block. Each family then decorated the trees. This tradition, including grandiose holiday displays, have spread to over 200 streets in Willow Glen! It is truly a beautiful sight to see!
Once again, I cannot end an article gushing about a wonderful area of San Jose without mentioning the homes and real estate market. The homes in the area are beautiful and diverse. It is not your typical cookie cutter neighborhood. The homes are unique and many are custom or semi custom built. You will find a variety of styles, Victorian. Neoclassical, Craftsman, Mission and Tudor. No matter what the style, you will definitely find a home on a tree-lined street. Willow Glen is one of the more expensive areas of the city, but many feel the price is perfect for the community and charm. Prices range anywhere from 6 million to $900,000, but most range in the $2 million price point. The lots are ample to huge, the homes are beautiful and charming and the community is amazing!
Kerry Smith – Realtor Associate