Santana Row is an island. A posh, chic, elegant island in San Jose, California. There would be many similar places in the United States but Santana Row oozes a unique charm. It is just a single street actually, located in the middle of a busy area in San Jose. The high-end Valley Fair mall is right across and the creepy historic Winchester House stands close by.
Santana Row is inside a cocoon (an exquisite silk one!), surrounded on both sides by tall buildings. It feels cozy, as though it has its own personal, intimate space. Strings of dainty fairy lights hang from above and gorgeous seasonal flower beds brighten up the pavements. Walking along the length of the street, underneath the arches of the buildings beside it, expensive shops shout out their brand names at you: “Prada!”, “Gucci!”, “Tesla!”, “Burberry!” and fashionable boutiques displaying their beautiful goods lighten up the shopaholics soul.
What is also pleasing is the crowd passing you, dressed in its best, enjoying the whole experience to its heart’s content. Trendy nightclubs promise an entertaining time and a variety of cuisines – Thai, Italian, Mediterranean, Indian, Mexican, Japanese are available to cater to the cravings of taste buds. Restaurants and pubs offer pavement seating so that people can dine while breathing in the spirit of Santana Row in the open. Such a happy mix of sounds of people talking, glasses tinkling delicately and music playing in the background!
On such a narrow road, they have even managed to carve out a central area with cascading fountains, flower beds and benches. A large chessboard has been tiled on the ground with giant chess pieces and quaint chess tables stand invitingly under a vine-covered shade where people can play the game. Attached to the main street but still part of Santana Row is a patch of lawn where a stage is set up. People lounge around on the grass when the weather is good, listening to the live band playing in front of them. At the far end of Santana Row stands a small movie theater which shows documentary, foreign and art films.
Definitely worth keeping out a watch for, are the vehicles that pop up on Santana Row. People park or drive their luxury cars and bikes as if the street is a giant ramp and the vehicles are models proudly catwalking across it and strutting their fancy stuff. No wonder then, one chilly evening as we friends lapped up the atmosphere at Santana Row, warming ourselves near pole heaters that are placed beside outdoor restaurant dining tables, one friend remarked: “Fashion ki garmi – Santana Row!” (The heat of fashion – Santana Row!)