Plaza de César Chávez

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Plaza de César Chávez
Downtown san jose south market st (cropped).jpg
The Plaza de César Chávez with St. Joseph's Cathedral-Basilica in the background.
Location map San Jose.png
Former name(s)Plaza del Pueblo
Plaza Mayor
Market Plaza
Area2.3-acre (9,000 m²)
LocationSan Jose, California
Coordinates37°19′55″N 121°53′24″W / 37.332°N 121.89°W / 37.332; -121.89Coordinates: 37°19′55″N 121°53′24″W / 37.332°N 121.89°W / 37.332; -121.89

The Plaza de César Chávez is an urban plaza and park in Downtown San Jose, California.[1] The plaza's origins date to 1797 as the plaza mayor of the Spanish Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe, making it the oldest public space in Northern California. The plaza was reconsecrated after Californian civil rights activist César Chávez in 1993.

The Plaza de César Chávez is one of San Jose's primary civic spaces and the historic center of Downtown San Jose. It is bounded by numerous San Jose institutions and landmarks, including The Tech Museum of Innovation, the San Jose Museum of Art, City National Civic, and Circle of Palms Plaza. The plaza hosts numerous notable events, including the San Jose Jazz Festival, Music in the Park and Christmas in the Park.


The southern end of the plaza.

The Plaza was established when San José moved from its original location on the bank of the Guadalupe River to the current downtown location in 1797 and has been in use ever since, making it the oldest public open space in California.

The present-day park was the site of California's capitol from 1849 to 1851, a period during which the California Republic gained American statehood; hence, the site contained California's first state capitol. From 1889 to 1958, San Jose's city hall occupied the center of the park before the local government moved it northward to North First and Mission Streets.[2] Today, San José City Hall is located nearby on Santa Clara Street.

The Fairmont San Jose's main tower was built in 1997, while its annex tower was completed in 2002.


At different times of the year it hosts live music, cultural festivals, arts and crafts fairs, food shows, the official city Christmas tree, water fountains, and open-air theater.

There are free concerts in the park every Thursday during summer.

The San Jose Jazz Festival has its main stage in the park.

Since 2015, Silicon Valley Pride has been held in the vicinity of the plaza, which had hosted the event in the 1980's as well.

Every winter from Thanksgiving until New Year's it hosts the Christmas in the Park.

At the south end of the plaza is the statue of Quetzalcóatl by Robert Graham.


  1. ^ Carlson, Eric (1999). "Plaza de Cesar E. Chavez". Soft Underbelly of San Jose. Boulevards. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  2. ^ Mercury News

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