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All About the SoFA District

a vintage 1940s automobile driving in front of the SoFA market in San Jose

Known as San Jose’s most creative and eclectic downtown neighborhood, SoFA is coveted for its arts scene and inclusive mix of bustling cafes, bohemian boutiques, inventive restaurants, and spirited cantinas — all right outside your door at The Ryden. Here’s the need-to-know on this dynamic neighborhood…

What Does SoFA Stand For?

The district's name, a nod to its location south of First Street, is reflective of its geographical boundaries. However, it's also known as the South of First Area Arts district, emphasizing its identity as a hub for a thriving creative scene.

What Is SoFA Known For?

Known as Silicon Valley’s creative district, SoFA took shape in the early 1990s. A group of independent businesses started using the name as they reclaimed and breathed new life into the neighborhood.

From galleries showcasing local talent to theaters hosting cutting-edge performances, there's truly never a shortage of cultural experiences to enjoy here. The neighborhood is also a hotspot for live music, with intimate venues and larger concert halls catering to a diverse range of tastes. SoFA is home to the San José Opera,, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Silicon Valley Symphony, and more.

What are Some Popular Things to Do?

From the annual SubZERO festival to pop-up events at SoFA market to live music at Mama Kins, there's always something happening in this lively neighborhood.

One of the most anticipated events is the South First Fridays art walk, held on the first Friday of each month. During this event, galleries, studios, and performance spaces open their doors to the public, offering a glimpse into the local art scene.

SoFA also offers a great options for shopping and dining, from Portugese delicates at Petiscos, award-winning craft beer and kombucha at Fox Tale Fermenation, contemporary Italian fare at Paesano's, and more.

What Is the History of SoFA?

Once an industrial area, the district underwent a revitalization effort in the late 20th century, transforming into the cultural haven it is today. Local artists and entrepreneurs began to reclaim abandoned warehouses and storefronts, turning them into studios, galleries, and performance spaces. This grassroots movement laid the foundation for the neighborhood's artistic renaissance, attracting creative minds from all walks of life.

Over the years, the SoFA district has evolved into a melting pot. Today, it remains a testament to the power of grassroots activism and community-driven development.

A Great Place to Live

With its blend of artistic energy, cultural diversity, and historical significance, SoFA neighborhood that truly embodies the spirit of San Jose.

Modern new luxury apartments at The Ryden accept walk-ins or you can schedule a visit with our leasing professionals. Contact our office for more information. We can’t wait to show you around!