Blog

We Opens Everyone’s Backyard


Guest Blogpost by Bree Von Faith, Director of Marketing, Communications and Events, San Jose Downtown Association

Backyard, a pop-up community garden, has put a jolt of energy into the heart of downtown San Jose’s Historic District.  It is a place where innovative technology, collaboration and public space activation come together.

Located at 35 S. Second St. in the parking lot next to Fountain Alley, Backyard is the brainchild of The We Company (formerly WeWork), more specifically, The We Company’s future cities team in San Jose led by Josette Melchor. Melchor took a bow Thursday (Aug. 15) at the grand opening party of Backyard.  Her team has assembled more than 40 community partners to activate the space with community activities and special events between now and Oct. 31, 2019.

For example, San Jose Downtown Association will host Starlight Cinemas Backyard free outdoor movie series.  Starlight starts off with the entire Star Wars series, Episodes I-VI, shown each Wednesday.  More favorite features will be shown on Wednesdays after Star Wars ends.

SJDA will also partner with Yelp in September on a Wellness Wednesday event in Backyard. MACLA, Exhibition District, Children’s Discovery Museum, Be the Change Yoga, The Improv, SPUR, Content Magazine and more organizations, businesses and restaurants are also involved in programming Backyard. For updates, download the Backyard San Jose app from the Apple Store or Google Play.  The app is user-friendly and very well-designed.  Use the app to find out about and gain access to special events in the garden.

More than an event space, Backyard is a “community space where you can eat, drink, rest, learn, play, share and be,” says the app flier.  That was readily apparent at the opening event that engaged local businesses and brought the community together – truly a reflection of who we are.  Good Karma was in one of the temporary structures on the site, pouring craft beer for $4 a cup!

Opening night was packed, but Backyard still felt warm and welcoming.  The site includes several “rooms:”  patio, event yard, lounge, kiosk and space for a food truck.  You can imagine the peace and serenity the place can bring out in people during quieter times.  It will be a unique space to work and work out, to be quiet, have a bite, listen to a talk or musician, and to create. Just be sure to visit before Oct.31, when it reverts  to being a parking lot!