When Santana Row first opened a few years ago I wasn't very interested in going there. I was cynical about a new, "fake" downtown being created to look like a nice, European style pedestrian area filled with higher end shops and restaurants. Over the past few years, however, I'll admit to having come to like it. Despite the "Disneyfied" feel of the place - oh, so tidy and chic - it really is a nice place to take a short walk, do some people watching and have a good dinner or a drink.
The boulevard down the middle of Santana Row has a few wine bars that get really busy on warm evenings. The restaurants - and there are a lot of them - all are good. They have to be to pay the rent here. I've been to perhaps six or seven of them, and wouldn't give a bad mark to any. You pay more than you would in other parts of San Jose, but the selection and quality is good here.
There's also a movie theater (CineArts) that shows good movies here, a very popular high end hotel (The Valencia), and a lot of shopping. Santana Row really is a destination for not just people who want to see and be seen, but to do normal things like eat at a restaurant just because it is a good one, or go to a movie because there is a good one showing there.
The new planned shopping street features a variety of live performances for strollers and shoppers most Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in the afternoons and evenings. Check www.santanarow.com for complete schedule of free music.