SAP Center

VTA bus passing SAP Center on W. Santa Clara St..
VTA 522 Rapid bus passing SAP Center on W. Santa Clara St. in San Jose.

Table of Contents

Introduction and Disclaimers

The SAP Center at San Jose – formerly known as the H.P. Pavilion, Compaq Center At San Jose, and originally known as the San Jose Arena – opened in 1993 to serve as San Jose’s sports and entertainment venue. Its primary tenant is the National Hockey League’s San Jose Sharks, who play from the fall until spring of the following year. Because of this, fans of the Sharks often refer to the arena as the “Shark Tank.”

Over the years, the “Tank” has hosted the Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey Circus, figure skating and gymnastics tours, music concerts, mixed martial arts, and numerous “professional” wrestling events seen on cable and pay-per-view television.

In addition to serving as the Sharks’ home, the SAP Center at San Jose is also the home of the SAP Open men’s tennis tournament held every February.

Famous events held at the arena throughout its history:

  • The 1996 and 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships
  • The 1997 NHL All-Star Game, and 2019 NHL All-Star Weekend
  • The 1997, 2002, 2007 and 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball West Regional Finals, and the first two rounds of the 2010 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball tournament
  • The 1999 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Final Four
  • Arena Bowl XVI in 2002 (won by the San Jose SaberCats over Arizona 52-14)
  • Games 3, 4, and 6 of the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals between the Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins

This guide was created as a public service from the Silicon Valley Transit Users, a grassroots group of citizens concerned about mass transit in Silicon Valley. We are not affiliated with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) in any form whatsoever. VTA has not endorsed this guide in any way whatsoever.

Special thanks goes to Gary Richards of the San Jose Mercury News for providing additional VTA bus information for the guide. This guide will be updated to provide transit service information as of October 2021.

This guide mentions the use of “park and ride” lots as an alternative to parking near the Center. As with any parking lot, you park at your own risk. Make sure to lock your car and take all valuables with you before boarding boarding any bus or train.

We are not responsible for anything that occurs on VTA property or any public property as a result of use of this guide.

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Purpose Of This Guide

The purpose of this guide is to give you additional Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and other regional public transit alternatives to and from the SAP Center. These alternatives let you beat the high costs of gas and parking hassles near SAP Center. One result: you save money to dine in downtown San Jose while you enjoy events at SAP Center.

Will this be your first time riding a VTA bus or light rail train? Read our first-timers’ guide to riding VTA buses and light rail. Then, read some basic rules of etiquette aboard VTA buses, light rail, and other trains.

Before boarding any VTA bus to and from the SAP Center, make sure to have the exact total fare ready for you (or your traveling party) when you board. VTA buses and their drivers cannot make change. If you don’t have one already, get a Clipper card before you go. It will make it easier for you to pay your transit fares – especially if you must take more than one bus or train to and from SAP Center.

Some portions of our guide mention use of “park-and-ride” lots near bus stops and rail stations. DISCLAIMER: We are not responsible for anything lost or stolen in these parking lots nor lost change in the ticket vending machines. We are also not responsible for citations from law enforcement given to those who do not pay any parking fees mentioned, or other parking violations.

Please contact Caltrain at 1(800)660-4287 for further information on parking and ticket vending machines at Caltrain stations and station lots mentioned in this guide.

For the latest information on VTA transit schedules, maps, fares, and other information, contact VTA at (408)321-2300.

As with all information in this guide, it is being presented as a public service.

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Area Map of the SAP Center and Venue Bag Policy

The SAP Center is northeast of and across Santa Clara Street from San Jose Diridon Station. At San Jose Diridon station, you can take Caltrain or VTA light rail to and from events at the HP Pavilion. Our separate guide of transit services available at San Jose Diridon Station has more information on bikesharing, local, regional, and intercity bus and rail service available.

To help keep the venue secure at events, please keep in mind the bag policy at SAP Center:

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From San Jose

East San Jose

VTA’s 22 bus line passes by the SAP Center on W. Santa Clara Street. Starting at Eastridge Mall in East San Jose, the 22 bus line serves the heart of East San Jose along King Road and then East Santa Clara Street. The 22 bus line makes all local stops along its route along West Santa Clara Street, The Alameda, and El Camino Real to Palo Alto. Most important, the 22 bus line runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Also, VTA’s 522 Rapid bus line is a very good, and faster, bus service to use. The benefit with using the 522 Rapid: it only stops at major intersections and bus/train transfer points. It also does not wait at bus stops to adjust for scheduling like the 22 bus normally does. The 522 Rapid, like the 22 bus line, runs between Palo Alto Transit Center and Eastridge Mall in East San Jose. Both the 22 and the 522 buses stop in front of and across the street from the SAP Center.

Live in the Alum Rock area of San Jose? VTA’s 64A and 64B bus line serve the McKee light rail station via McKee Avenue in East San Jose. Both of these bus lines also serve Willow Glen to the SAP Center for events.

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South San Jose

Live in South San Jose? One alternative for attending arena events using public transit is to drive to any VTA light rail station “park-and-ride” lot at the Tamien, Curtner, or Oholne-Chynoweth light rail stations. One example is the area map below for Ohlone-Chynoweth light rail station.

At either station, take any northbound (Baypointe) Blue Line train to Santa Clara Street station and walk about 4-5 blocks down West Santa Clara Street to the SAP Center.

Sharks fans taking VTA light rail to a game.
Sharks fans taking VTA light rail to a game.

Also, VTA’s 64A and 64B bus lines link the Almaden Expwy. and Meridian Ave. corridors with SAP Center. The buses stop at San Jose Diridon Station, with SAP Center a 3-minute walk away.

Information on another park and ride lot in South San Jose you can use for events at SAP Center is listed below.

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West San Jose

From W. San Carlos St. corridor, ride VTA’s 23 local or 523 Rapid bus lines to Barack Obama Blvd. (formerly Bird) and W. San Carlos (the first bus stop after the railroad bridge). Then, walk 3 blocks up Autumn Street to the SAP Center.

A park and ride option for those of you coming to SAP Center from West San Jose by private automobile is the Bascom station park and ride lot.

Bascom Park and Ride

Bascom light rail station map

At Bascom station, take any northbound (Old Ironsides) Green Line train and get off at San Fernando station – only a 3-minute walk to SAP Center.

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North San Jose

From along North 1st Street, take any southbound (Winchester) Green Line train to San Fernando station – only a short walk to SAP Center.

One park-and-ride option that’s currently FREE to use is the VTA park-and-ride lot at River Oaks station. It’s featured in the map below.

River Oaks Park and Ride

River Oaks light rail station area map

The River Oaks station, near VTA headquarters, has 22 FREE parking spaces available.

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From San Francisco and the Peninsula

For all Sharks games and other SAP Center events, Caltrain provides commuter rail service to San Jose Diridon Station – across the street from the SAP Center on Cahill Street. The last train leaves San Jose Diridon station at 10:30pm or 15 minutes after the Sharks game ends, whichever is later.

Caltrain is a proof-of-payment system. That means no tickets sold aboard trains. Make sure to buy the proper ticket in advance at the train station you are traveling from, before boarding your train.

All Caltrain stations have vending machines which you can buy tickets from. The ticket vending machines can make change. They also accept all major credit and debit cards. WARNING: If you are caught without a valid ticket aboard Caltrain, you will be cited!

As a late-game or late-night alternative to Caltrain, take a westbound VTA 22 bus in front of the SAP Center to the Palo Alto Transit Center. There, you can catch the SamTrans ECR or 397 bus up the Peninsula along El Camino Real to the Daly City BART station.

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Santa Clara Caltrain Station/Transit Center

If you must drive for whatever reason, the Santa Clara Transit Center is a decent – and cheap – place to park your automobile and transfer to a VTA bus to SAP Center.

A map of the area around Santa Clara’s Caltrain Station and Transit Center is below.

Santa Clara Caltrain Station map

For your added safety and security, Santa Clara’s Caltrain station and transit center is right next to the Santa Clara Police Station.

From the Santa Clara Transit Center, take either VTA’s 22 local or 522 Rapid bus lines to the SAP Center (Arena) stop. Both buses drop you off right across the street from the SAP Center on W. Santa Clara Street between Cahill and Montgomery Streets.

Since the 22 and 522 Rapid buses stop near from SAP Center’s main entrance on W. Santa Clara Street, you have already saved time and stress in finding a parking spot. When the arena event ends, the 22 bus stops right in front of the SAP Center’s West Santa Clara Street exit (near section 209-210/109-110). In the 10 to 15 minutes riding the 22 back to Santa Clara’s Caltrain station and transit center, you are not fighting automobile traffic leaving the parking lots – saving you stress, fuel, and money.

Get the latest information on Caltrain or SamTrans by calling 1(800)660-4287 or by visiting their respective web sites.

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From Milpitas and the East Bay

Coming to the SAP Center from Milpitas or the East Bay? Now, you can ride BART down to Berryessa/North San Jose station. There, transfer to the VTA’s 500 Rapid bus and ride it to the end of the line (San Jose Diridon Station). The SAP Center is a 3-minute walk away on Santa Clara Street.

Alternately, from Milpitas, ride any westbound (Mountain View) train to Champion station. Cross Tasman Blvd. to the other side of the tracks, and transfer to a southbound (Winchester) train to San Fernando station – a 3-minute walk to SAP Center.

As a second alternative, take VTA’s 66 bus line to N. 1st/Santa Clara bus stop. Walk 4-5 blocks west to SAP Center, or take any westbound 22 or 522 Rapid bus to SAP Center.

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Berryessa/North San Jose BART Station

Need to drive from Milpitas or the East Bay to SAP Center? Consider parking your car at the lot at Berryessa/North San Jose BART station. A map of the area is below.

As of October 2021, there is a $3 fee to park in this lot. VTA has all the information you need to help you pay for parking at this lot.

At Berryessa/North San Jose BART station, transfer to VTA’s 500 Rapid bus and take it to San Jose Diridon Station). The SAP Center is a 3-minute walk away on Santa Clara Street.

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From the South County (South San Jose, Morgan Hill, San Martin, and Gilroy)

VTA’s 68 bus line links the South County areas to the SAP Center. Here’s the current schedule for the 68 bus line. Depending on where you board, the trip from the South County to the SAP Center lasts between 60-90 minutes. Plan on bringing along something to read or listen during the ride to and from the SAP Center.

If you are coming from the South and must drive? Please consider using either the Winchester or Ohlone-Chynoweth station lots mentioned above, or use the Santa Teresa park and ride lot. Details on that lot are below.

Santa Teresa Light Rail Station

A map of the Santa Teresa light rail station and park-and-ride lot:

Here, you can transfer to VTA’s 68 bus line to the end of that line (San Jose Diridon Station). SAP Center is only a 5 minute walk away.

Alternately, take any northbound (Baypointe) Blue Line train to 1st/Santa Clara station. There, walk 4-5 blocks west, or transfer to any westbound VTA 22 local or 522 Rapid (Palo Alto) bus to SAP Center.

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From Campbell, Cupertino, and the West Valley

Sharks fans and other SAP Center event attendees in Campbell can ride VTA’s Green Line light rail from several stops in Campbell and western San Jose. Get off the Green Line light rail train at San Fernando station – a 5-minute walk to the SAP Center on Santa Clara St.

Coming from Cupertino? From Stevens Creek Blvd., ride VTA’s 23 local bus or 523 Rapid bus to Barack Obama Blvd. (formerly Bird) and W. San Carlos (the first bus stop after the railroad bridge). Then, walk 3 blocks up Autumn Street to the SAP Center.

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Winchester Transit Center

Must drive your car? You have the option of parking your car at a VTA light rail station like Winchester in Campbell. A map of VTA’s Winchester Park and Ride Lot is below.

Winchester light rail station map

You can park for FREE at this Park and Ride lot. There, transfer to any northbound (Old Ironsides) Green Line train and get off at San Fernando station – only a 3-minute walk to SAP Center. This is a good option for those of you coming to SAP Center from south of Campbell.

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Conclusion and Credits

We hope this guide helps you beat traffic gridlock, parking hassles, and road rage to and from events at SAP Center in San Jose. Please contact us if you find any corrections or additions to this guide are needed.

Eugene Bradley
Founder & CEO, Silicon Valley Transit Users

In addtion, @tarzxf on Twitter contributed to this guide.

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