Bus & Rail Options to Silicon Valley Shopping Centers[toc]
Introduction & Disclaimer
Many malls and shopping centers in Santa Clara County always encourage you to drive there for shopping. They seldom encourage you to use buses or light rail to get there – making those who bother using mass transit as an alternative to traffic gridlock feel unwelcome as a customer. Especially during the Christmas holiday season, the huge parking lots surrounding these shopping centers fill to capacity, leaving drivers scrambling for a parking space – sometimes for hours.
We say there is a better way. Our credo is that mass transit is for everyone – not just those who cannot drive an automobile for whatever reason. Specifically, VTA buses and light rail, when utilized, serve as the perfect alternative to jammed highways to and from the malls, and jammed parking lots. Use of mass transit can help relieve you from stress, high insurance and maintenance costs associated with an automobile, and gives its users an escape from traffic gridlock and “road rage.”
Hence, the creation of this guide for using mass transit to every major mall in Santa Clara County. It gives the user a chance eave the driving to someone else, so the only thing the user needs to worry about is the latest sale going on. This guide was inspired by another online guide, How to Thrive on Public Transportation In and Around Santa Clara County by Antony Nispel. After reading this guide, you will find that there is “always a parking spot” when you take transit to any of these great malls.
For your convenience, we have provided links to the websites of each shopping center or mall. We have also provided links to specific stores at each of the shopping malls in Silicon Valley.
The purpose of this guide is to specify where shopping malls and stores are located, and which bus and/or rail services go to or near the shopping malls. Please note that the links to specific stores are NOT endorsements of the stores in any mall in any way whatsoever. Also note that mentions of specific shopping malls here are NOT endorsements of any mall in any way whatsoever.
We strongly encourage you to talk to mall management and get them to advertise all public transit options available to each mall.
All known local, limited stop, and express bus and light rail lines are listed..
Be advised that this guide is not officially endorsed by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) in any way whatsoever. Our Group is publishing this guide only as a public service.
How To Use This Guide
- Click on the mall you want to visit, listed above. A description (with website link if available) of the shopping center, along with its major tenants, is included.
- Click on the bus or light rail line that serves the mall you want to go to. Another browser window will open that will give each transit service’s operating schedule. WARNING: We do not control the content of this outside information.
- For information on VTA bus and light rail service and respective fares, please call them at (408)321-2300 or by visiting their web site at www.vta.org. Information on Samtrans buses, schedules, and fares can be obtained by calling 1(800)660-4287 or by visiting their web site at www.samtrans.com.
- If you are having problems planning your trip to any of these shopping centers on transit, please consult the TakeTransit Trip Planner or dial 511 from any telephone in the Bay Area.
- Please send any and all questions – or corrections – to this guide to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shopping in Campbell
Shopping in Cupertino
Cupertino Square is located on Wolfe Road between Interstate 280 and Stevens Creek Blvd. in Cupertino. The mall has a 16-screen multiplex movie theatre. It also has J. C. Penney, Macy’s and Sears. It used to be known as Vallco Fashion Park. Cupertino Square now has Bowlmor Lanes as well.
VTA’s 26 bus line has two (2) bus stops on Wolfe Road, under the pedestrian bridge linking both portions of the mall. Bus service to Eastridge Mall in San Jose is at the west side of Wolfe Road, near Macy’s. Bus service to Sunnyvale and Lockheed is on the east side of Wolfe, next to the entrance of Bowlmor Lanes.
From downtown San Jose, VTA’s 81 bus line ends – and starts – on N. Wolfe Road between Stevens Creek and Vallco Parkway.
Shopping in Gilroy
Gilroy Premium Outlets
VTA’s 14 Community Bus line serves the Gilroy Outlets at both ends – the southern end (Arroyo Circle) and northern end (San Ysidro Street). Going shopping to the Outlets from north of Gilroy? Take VTA’s 68 bus line to the Gilroy Transit Center and transfer to the 14 bus line from there.
For the southern end of Gilroy Outlets (Nike Factory Outlets), from the Gilroy Transit Center, take any St. Louise Hospital-bound 14 bus to Arroyo Circle and Camino Arroyo, in front of Applebee’s. Returning to the Gilroy Transit Center, board the 14 bus across the street, and on the other side of the entrance to the southwestern end of Gilroy Outlets.
For the northern end of Gilroy Outlets (Saks Fifth Avenue), take any St. Lousie Hospital-bound 14 bus to San Ysidro and Leavesley Road stop. For the return to Gilroy Transit Center, board any Gilroy Transit Center-bound 14 bus directly across the street from where you got off the bus.
Shopping in Milpitas
The Great Mall Of the Bay Area in Milpitas is the San Francisco Bay Area’s largest outlet-based mall. It is located on Great Mall Parkway a short distance from Interstate 880 in Milpitas.
Many discount outlet chains have shops here, including Burlington Coat Factory, Old Navy, Sportmart, and Marshall’s. The Mall also features Outback Steakhouse, Dave & Buster’s, and a Century Theaters 21-screen movie multiplex.
A Transit Center and Park & Ride lot is available near entrances 2 and 3 on the southern side of the Great Mall. The transit center also features a light rail station that is above street level; thus requiring stairs or an elevator to access it. VTA’s Alum Rock – Santa Teresa light rail line serves the Great Mall at the station stop above Main Street.
In addition, the Great Mall is planned to be a destination on the proposed BART extension to San Jose and Santa Clara.
VTA has ten bus lines serving the Great Mall at its Transit Center and Park/Ride Lot: 46, 47, 66, 70, 71, 77, 104 express, 180/181 express, and 321 limited stop. Also, AC Transit’s 217 bus to Fremont BART station serves the Great Mall.
McCarthy Ranch Shopping Center
McCarthy Ranch Shopping Center on Ranch Drive in Milpitas is located near the State Highway 237 Interchange and Interstate 880 in Milpitas. The “big box” retail chain stores include Best Buy, Office Max, and Wal-Mart.
VTA’s 47 bus line from the Great Mall ends at McCarthy Ranch. The 47 bus line has two bus stops at McCarthy Ranch – one near Walmart and another near Best Buy.
Seasons MarketPlace and Parktown Plaza
Seasons MarketPlace and Parktown Plaza are served by VTA’s 46, 47, 70, 71, and 104 express bus lines at Landess and Morrill in Milpitas. (Note that the 104 express bus runs only during weekday rush hour periods.)
Shopping in Mountain View
Downtown Mountain View is home to many small shops and the Mountain View Performing Arts Center on Castro Street. VTA light rail from San Jose and Campbell has its northern terminus in Mountain View, at a transit center it shares with the Caltrain station and several bus lines like the 35 and 52 (weekdays only). On weekdays only, VTA’s 51 bus line serves downtown Mountain View along Castro Street between De Anza College and Moffett Field.
San Antonio Shopping Center
San Antonio Shopping Center in Mountain View is an outdoor shopping center that is bordered by El Camino Real, Showers Drive, San Antonio Road, and California Street in Mountain View. Major retail stores include Wal-Mart, Trader Joe’s, and Sears. VTA’s 22 and 522 Rapid bus lines serve the San Antonio Shopping Center on El Camino and Showers.
The San Antonio Shopping Center is also a transfer point for VTA bus lines centered around Mountain View like the 32, 34, 35 and 40 via the San Antonio Transit Center. This bus stop is only 50 feet from the WalMart entrance on Showers Drive near El Camino Real.
Target is a short walk east on Showers Drive across the street from the San Antonio Transit Center.
Shopping in Palo Alto
Stanford Shopping Center
Stanford Shopping Center is located on El Camino Real between Quarry Rd. and Sand Hill Road in Palo Alto. It is one (1) block north of Stanford University Hospital, and about two blocks from the Stanford University campus.
Two (2) blocks north, across El Camino Real, is the Palo Alto Caltrain Station and transit center. There you can transfer to Caltrain to San Francisco or San Jose, or connect to the Dumbarton Express bus (which runs on weekdays only) over the Dumbarton Bridge to Union City. You can also connect with the Palo Alto Crosstown Shuttle for destinations within Palo Alto or to the free Marguerite Shuttle to sites throughout the Stanford University campus. You can also connect with SamTrans buses like the KX and VTA buses like the 22, 35 and 522 Rapid.
Shopping in San Jose
Almaden Fashion Plaza
Half a mile west of the Oakridge Mall mall lies Almaden Plaza. Located at 5353 Almaden Expressway between Highway 85 and Blossom Hill Road in San Jose, this outdoor-based mall features many shops. Chief tenants are Ross and T.J. Maxx. A Costco is nearby.
VTA’s 64 bus serves Almaden Fashion Plaza with two bus stops at Almaden and Foxchase Drive.
Berryessa Flea Market
The San Jose Flea Market is amongst the most well-known and largest flea markets in the United States. You can buy just about anything here. The Flea Market is at 1590 Berryessa Road (west of King Rd.) in San Jose.
VTA’s 62 bus line from Winchester and Civic Center light rail stations to Sierra/Piedmont has a direct bus stop near the Flea Market’s entrance. To return on the same 62 bus walk 1/4 mile east to Lundy.
The Flea Market is also within walking distance of VTA’s 77 bus line from the Great Mall and eastern San Jose, at Berryessa and Lundy.
El Paseo de Saratoga
VTA’s 26 bus line stops between El Paseo de Saratoga and Westgate Mall along Hamilton Avenue. Also, VTA’s 57 and 58 bus lines stop north and west of El Paseo de Saratoga at Saratoga Avenue. VTA’s 82 bus line to downtown San Jose starts right across the street at Westgate Mall on Saratoga Avenue north of Hamilton Ave.
Capitol Square Mall
VTA’s McKee light rail station is directly in front of Capitol Square Mall, on the Alum Rock-Santa Teresa line. The mall is also served by VTA’s 64 bus line from the eastern hills, downtown San Jose and Almaden Valley at the McKee and Capitol bus stop, just east of Capitol Avenue.
Eastridge Mall is located at the southwest corner of Capitol Expressway and Tully Road in San Jose. Reid-Hillview Airport and Raging Waters are within a short walking distance from the mall and Transit Center.
Grand Century Mall
At 1001 Story Road at McLaughlin is the Grand Century Mall. It features Vietnamese shops and eateries in a mall-style setting.
Located at 925 Blossom Hill Road off Highway 85 in San Jose, Oakridge Mall now has a 20-screen Century multiplex theater. The mall originally opened in 1973. Sears and Macy’s are the main tenants here.
VTA light rail serves Oakridge Mall at the Oakridge stop, on the Ohlone/Chynoweth-Almaden branch. Also, the 13 bus to and from Almaden/McKean serves the mall. Both light rail and the 13 bus are on the west (Macy’s) side of the mall on Winfield Boulevard.
The Plant shopping center is located at Monterey Highway and Curtner in San Jose. It features Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, Toys ‘R Us, Kids ‘R Us, and other shops and restaurants.
Plaza de San Jose
Plaza de San Jose is a shopping center located in San Jose’s East Valley neighborhood at Story and King, The 191,500 square feet project includes major tenants such as: Target, Walgreen’s and FAMSA, a home furnishing and appliance store based in Mexico.
Designed in the style of a European village, Santana Row features high-end retail stores, a Best Buy (at the southeast corner of Stevens Creek and Winchester), some housing, and even a hotel. It opened in November 2002 despite a devastating fire that delayed its original opening date.
VTA’s 60 bus line from Winchester (Campbell), Santa Clara and Great America stops at Santana Row along Winchester Boulevard.
Santana Row is about a 10 minute walk south across Stevens Creek Boulevard from Valley Fair Mall where the 23 bus from Cupertino and San Jose stops at. Details on taking the 23 bus to Valley Fair Mall are below.
Located on Stevens Creek Boulevard between Winchester Boulevard, Forest Avenue and Interstate 880, Macy’s and Nordstrom are the main retailers at this shopping center. Its outdoor transit center on the northwestern end of the mall at Forest Ave. off Winchester Boulevard (near Nordstrom) is amongst the first transit centers constructed by the Santa Clara County Transportation District (SCCTD) in the 1970’s.
For a faster trip from downtown San Jose or Cupertino, VTA’s 323 Limited Stop bus line stops at Stevens Creek and Santana Row/Valley Fair bus stop. The westbound (from San Jose to Cupertino) stop is across the parking lot from Macy’s and Safeway, while the eastbound (from Cupertino to San Jose) stop is right near the Manpower office.
The Retro Dome movie theatre is southwest of Target, at the northeast corner of Saratoga Avenue and Hamilton Avenue.
VTA’s 26 bus line stops on the south side of Westgate Mall along Hamilton Avenue. Also, VTA’s 57 and 58 bus lines stop west of Westgate Mall at Saratoga Avenue. VTA’s 82 bus line to downtown San Jose starts right across the street at Westgate Mall on Saratoga Avenue north of Hamilton Ave.
Shopping in Santa Clara
Santa Clara Town Center
The Santa Clara Town Center is located in Santa Clara, on El Camino Real and Scott Boulevard. The Town Center features Target, Walgreens, Sprouts Market, Peninsula Beauty, and other retail stores.
Shopping in Sunnyvale
The Sunnyvale Town Center is bordered by Washington Ave, Iowa Ave, Mathilda Ave., and Sunnyvale Avenues in Sunnyvale. It is two blocks south of the Sunnyvale Caltrain station on Mathilda Avenue or S. Sunnyvale Ave.