Relocating to Silicon Valley

Northeastern University — Silicon Valley is located in the heart of San Jose at 4 N 2nd Street. San Jose is the 10th largest city in the United States, the largest in Northern California, and home to many game-changing companies, from industry leaders to new startups.

To help you as you relocate for your graduate program in Silicon Valley, here is an overview of useful information.

Transportation

Within the Silicon Valley, our campus is located in the city of San Jose. San Jose is easily accessible from several major freeways, including Highway 101 (US 101), Interstate 280 (I-280), Interstate 680 (I-680), and Interstate 880 (I-880). A number of public transportation options make it convenient to travel from San Jose to other cities in the region.


Air
Mineta San Jose International Airport (airport code: SJC) is the primary airport in the Silicon Valley and the closest to our campus, with both domestic and international flights. Located less than 4 miles from Northeastern — Silicon Valley, various public transportation systems, taxis, and ride-shares serve the airport. Visit the SJC Ground Transportation website for more information.

The largest airport in the Bay Area region is the San Francisco International Airport (airport code: SFO), serving more international flights than SJC. Located approximately 50 miles from our campus, we recommend the following steps to travel from SFO to San Jose.

  1. 1. Take the BART from the SFO BART Station to the Millbrae BART Station, which is located within the Millbrae Transit Center.
  2. 2. From the Millbrae Transit Center, take the Caltrain to the San Jose Diridon station, which is located in the heart of San Jose.
  3. 3. The campus is about 1 mile from the Diridon station, and can be reached by several public transit connections.

Oakland International Airport (airport code: OAK) can also be a cost effective option to travel in and out of the Bay Area. Located just south of downtown Oakland in the East Bay, it is easily accessible by BART and Alameda-Contra Costa Transit Bus (AC Transit) as well as by taxis, Uber and Lyft.

 

Public Transit
To get around the Bay Area using transit, purchase a Clipper Card at a kiosk, participating store, or online (view purchase options here). You’ll add money to this card and to be used for fares on most of the various transit options throughout San Jose, San Francisco, and the rest of the Bay.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority provides bus and light rail services locally, while the Altamont Corridor Express, Amtrak, Bay Area Rapid Transit, and Caltrain offer transportation throughout the greater Bay Area region and Northern California.

Some of the regional public transit options have mobile apps to help you schedule your next trip. These will often give you better route options and more accurate schedules than Google Maps, so they’re worth downloading for the transit lines you use frequently. Apps are available for BART, Muni, Caltrain, VTA, and SamTrans.

There are also useful third-party apps for scheduling trips across all public transit options, including TransitApp and CityMapper.


Driving

In order to obtain a U.S. driver license, please visit the State of California’s Department of Motor Vehicles.  This page details how to apply for a license.

Note that if you are an international student holding an F-1 student or F-2 dependent visa, you are not required to have a Social Security Number to be eligible. Instead, please make sure to present immigration documents such as Form I-20, a printed version of I-94 electronic record, and passport with visa.

If you are not eligible to apply for a license, consider carpooling as a transportation option. Coordinate with your fellow students or check out the following ride-share websites: CarpoolWorld, eRideShare, and 511 SF Bay.

Lyft and Uber are also available throughout the region, as well as several carsharing programs available to the public like Zipcar, Gig Car Share, and Getaround. Each one allows you to rent cars by the hour throughout the Bay Area for simple trips to the grocery store or adventurous day trips to explore.


Bicycling
San Jose is a bicycle- and scooter-friendly city and has made impressive efforts in creating roads with designated bicycle lanes. Learn more about California bicycle laws and sharing the road with motorists before you start biking.

Public bicycle and scooter options are available throughout the city with Lyft’s Bay Wheels, Uber Scooters, and Lime Scooters.

Housing

There are various rental options for both single and shared living in the Silicon Valley area. Many students live in buildings with studio or one-bedroom apartments. Often, single-family houses are rented out with individuals inhabiting different bedrooms while sharing the kitchen and living area.

First, check out the Off Campus Housing and Support Services website for useful information and resources on what to look out for during your housing search. Off Campus Housing and Support Services is available to review lease contracts and assist students with any landlord concerns, questions about renter’s rights, sublet issues, or roommate conflicts that may arise while living off campus.

Next, check out Northeastern’s Beyond Boston resource page for specific Silicon Valley listings segmented by cities in Santa Clara County.

Then check some of the below online common resources which provide information about available rentals segmented by cities in the Silicon Valley region.

Since a number of cities make up the Silicon Valley area, review the breakdown of the nearest neighborhoods and cities to our campus below. Keep this Google map open as a visual reference while you explore the area.


Silicon Valley
Remember, Silicon Valley is not an official name for a city or region. It is a nickname that represents the South Bay Area region of California, which consists of the Santa Clara County. How did Silicon Valley get its name then? Check out this Wikipedia page.

  • Northeastern — Silicon Valley is located in downtown San Jose, within Santa Clara County
  • The closest main highway to our campus is Highway 87, which goes north and south through San Jose. Here are the best directions from the 87:
    • Southbound from North San Jose:
      • Head south on CA-87
      • Take exit 6B and turn left on Julian Street
      • Drive to North 2nd Street and turn right
      • Our campus will be on the left-hand side between East St. John Street and East Santa Clara Street
    • Northbound from South San Jose:
      • Head north on CA-87
      • Take exit 6 to Santa Clara Street/Julian Street
      • Use the middle lane to follow signs for CA-87 N/Airport
      • Keep right to continue to exit 6B, follow signs for Julian Street
      • Use the right 2 lanes to turn right onto W St. James Street
      • Turn right onto N 2nd Street
      • Our campus will be on the left-hand side between East St. John Street and East Santa Clara Street

DISCLAIMER:

Northeastern University provides information on housing in the San Francisco area for your convenience only. The University makes no representation as to the condition or suitability of any of the listed resources, or with respect to any particular neighborhood or housing. The University assumes no liability or responsibility for any housing you may find using the information provided nor for any agreement you enter into with the owner or operator of any housing.

California State Identification Card

Students living and studying in the state of California may consider getting a California State Identification Card (ID). The ID card serves as official identification, but does not authorize driving. It is useful to have legal identification for activities like banking or proving your age. To learn how to apply for an ID, please visit this page.

Banking

National banks with banking centers throughout the SF Bay Area include:

Before signing up with a bank, please check requirements for non-U.S. citizens and associated fees to accounts.

Phones

National mobile phone companies include:

Culture

There are endless ways to experience Silicon Valley through local museums, outdoor activities, and cultural events. As an introduction on insights to the life in the U.S., please visit this USA.gov page.

For a comprehensive list of fun and educational activities to enjoy in San Jose and Silicon Valley, please visit:

Learn more about South San Jose at SanJose.org.

Sports & Entertainment

Santa Clara County hosts many events, concerts, and shows, with tickets widely available through Ticketmaster and Vividseats.

San Jose is also proud to be home to sports teams in soccer, hockey, football, and baseball. Join in on the spirit of being a fan and connecting with local residents by cheering on the teams or checking out one of the games.

Important Emergency Information

For information on how to stay safe in San Jose as you explore attractions and attend events, visit SanJoseCA.gov.

  • For emergencies, call 9-1-1.*
    *This number is intended for life-threatening emergencies. Calling this number for any other purpose may be considered a crime.
  • For general public safety information and non-emergencies, call the San Jose Police Department at 3-1-1 or 408.277.8900.
  • For suspicious activity, call the SJPD hotline number at 408.277.4041.