12 San Jose Nicknames and the Stories Behind Them

6 min read

Destguides may receive commissions from purchases made through affiliate links in this article.

Cars driving along a highway with a cityscape full of buildings and blue sky behind
The San Jose skyline as seen from a nearby freeway

While places like Los Angeles and San Francisco are major tourist destinations, there are many other great cities across California, like San Jose. Located in Northern California, the city is most well-known for being part of Silicon Valley. It's also home to landmarks like the architecturally interesting San Jose City Hall and the pretty Municipal Rose Garden.

What you might not know is that this part of the US goes by many alternate names. San Jose nicknames include those connected to the area's tech industry and ice hockey team. There are also historical names and abbreviations of the city's full name. To find out more, keep reading for 12 of the most popular monikers for San Jose.

12 Nicknames for San Jose

Fin City

Fin City is a colloquial name for San Jose based on the area's National Hockey League team. The team is named the San Jose Sharks, leading to the "fin" part of the moniker. This name is often used in association with the team and may be seen on merchandise and souvenirs.

Sundry Photography/Shutterstock.com
People walking near buildings, lampposts, and trees on a nice day
San Jose's silly nickname Man Jose refers to its high male-to-female population ratio

Man Jose

While you're unlikely to hear the name Man Jose when in the city, most locals know of it. Along with "man" rhyming with "San," it relates to there being a larger number of men than women in the city. People think that this is somewhat due to the significant tech industry here, which generally employs more men than women.

However, the moniker isn't actually accurate. The most recent census shows a pretty much fifty-fifty split of men and women. In addition, the number of women working in the tech industry is growing yearly, so San Jose may soon be home to more women than men.

A gray modern building near a half-sphere-shaped building on a blue day
One of the debatable San Jose nicknames is the "Richest City in the USA"

Richest City in the USA

Another nickname for San Jose that may be up for debate based on actual data is the Richest City in the USA. While San Jose is one of the wealthiest cities in the country (and the world), it varies by source as to whether it is listed as the wealthiest city in the United States.

Much of this wealth is connected to Silicon Valley and the vast number of successful tech companies in the area. In addition, GDP per capita is very high, and the unemployment rate is extremely low.

However, all of this wealth does come with downsides. For example, San Jose (and the San Francisco Bay Area in general) is one of the places with the highest cost of living in the United States. Everyday necessities, entertainment, and housing all come at a premium. Yet, if you move here to work in tech, this shouldn't be too much of a concern!

Tan Jose

Tan Jose is similar to the Man Jose nickname in that it rhymes with San Jose and relates to a characteristic of the city. This name is connected to the area's warm and sunny weather, which results in many locals having an almost permanent suntan.

As the city has an average of 298 days of sunshine per year, visitors will likely leave the city with a tan as well. The nickname is also sometimes used less positively to refer to the many plain, tan-colored buildings that cover the city.

Cars on a highway near buildings, with snowcapped mountains in the background
Many San Jose locals endearingly refer to the city as "San Jo"

San Jo

If you want to learn the most well-known nickname in the area, this is probably it. San Jo (pronounced "San Ho") is simply a shortened version of the city's full name.

You'll likely hear this name in conversation and see it online and on social media. You may even find it on some souvenirs and other merchandise related to the city. The name is also sometimes turned into a phrase. When discussing something connected to the city, locals may respond, "San Jo, you know!"


SJ is another San Jose nickname that's an abbreviation for the official city name. This moniker will be seen less than San Jo. However, you may see the city's initials used in text to avoid writing the name in full. It's unlikely that you'll hear this moniker spoken, though.

Teal Town

Like Fin City, Teal City is a moniker connected to the San Jose Sharks. It relates to the team's colors and logo. The logo features a teal-colored shark, and all three jerseys have teal included in the design, including a completely teal home jersey.

Two jerseys are also paired with teal shorts. Due to the prevalence of this color in the team's branding and the fact that they wear teal to play at home, San Jose became known as the Teal Town.

City buildings near a highway with a few cars on a clear blue day
San Jose is home to Silicon Valley, one of the largest technology industry hubs

The Capital of Silicon Valley

The Capital of Silicon Valley is one of the most popular alternate names for the city. A well-known California fact is that San Jose is home to Silicon Valley, one of the largest technology industry hubs in the world.

Technically, Silicon Valley extends outside San Jose, covering other parts of Santa Clara County. However, as San Jose is the largest city in the area, it gained the title of the Capital of Silicon Valley. This name is so renowned locally that the city government uses it in its official logo.

A landscaped garden with blooming flower shrubs and trees on a clear blue day
San Jose is known for having many green spaces, like the Municipal Rose Garden

The Garden City

The San Jose name of the Garden City was created because the area features many green spaces, like parks and public gardens. In addition, the local government actively promotes these places and emphasizes expanding the amount of trees, gardens, and general green spaces across the city.

Some of these places have even become San Jose landmarks, like the Municipal Rose Garden. Vast outdoor spaces, including Big Basin Redwoods State Park, the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve, and Joseph D. Grant County Park, also surround San Jose.

The Heart of Silicon Valley

The Heart of Silicon Valley is a variation of the Capital of Silicon Valley nickname. While used a bit less in conversation and text, it is known by locals.

As with the Capital of Silicon Valley, the moniker relates to San Jose being the largest city in the Silicon Valley area, with many technology companies having offices here. Silicon Valley's influence across the state is so significant that the California nickname, the Tech State, was created.

Katherine Welles/Shutterstock.com
One of the San Jose nicknames, The Shark Tank, refers to the SAP Center
San Jose is dubbed The Shark Tank as it's home to the NHL team, the San Jose Sharks

The Shark Tank

You might be surprised to learn that there is another nickname related to the city's NHL team! The Shark Tank, or the Tank, is a colloquial name for the team's arena, the SAP Center.

While mainly used in relation to this California landmark, the Shark Tank is sometimes used to refer to the whole of San Jose, especially in terms of hockey. For example, by saying a visiting team is "coming to the Shark Tank" instead of "coming to San Jose."

Valley of the Heart's Delight

An interesting historical name for the city is the Valley of the Heart's Delight. The moniker dates to when San Jose, located in the Santa Clara Valley, was less urban and had more farms and fruit orchards. The valley was known for its bountiful harvests, especially of fruits like apricots and prunes.

Over time, the area urbanized. The growth of large companies, mainly in the tech industry, resulted in an economic shift away from agriculture, making this nickname a thing of the past.

In Conclusion

San Jose is a thriving California city with an array of alternate names. From the technology industry-inspired Capital of Silicon Valley to the historic Valley of the Heart's Delight, this list should have shown you the variation in the city's nicknames.

Of course, no article on San Jose monikers would be complete without a few connected to the area's beloved San Jose Sharks! Best of all, you'll now be able to impress locals with your knowledge of the city's nicknames next time you visit.

Give us feedback about this article

Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell FORMER WRITER Currently based in Canada, Alli has also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and traveled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. She loves finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever she goes.

Want to keep exploring?

Subscribe for discounts on tickets and hotels and our latest guides.

Thank you for subscribing

We will be in touch soon with discounts on tickets and hotels and our latest guides.

Want to keep exploring?

Subscribe for discounts on tickets and hotels and our latest guides.

Thank you for subscribing

We will be in touch soon with discounts on tickets and hotels and our latest guides.

Want to keep exploring?

Subscribe for discounts on tickets and hotels and our latest guides.

By entering your email address you agree to our terms and conditions, Privacy policy, and consent to receive emails.