San Jose happens to be our next stop in discovering popular vape shops in the United States, and also happens to be the third largest city in California! With a beautiful climate and extensive population of nearly 1.1 million inhabitants, I figured that San Jose would be an excellent spot for vape shops. San Jose also claims to house over 37k vapers, so the vape shops definitely need to be on point to satisfy all those cloud chasers! Let’s have a look, shall we?
1. Silicon Valley Vapors
First up, we have Silicon Valley Vapors. Google rates them a 4.7 out of just over 80 reviews, so I made my way over to the shop named after one of the most iconic cities in America to see how this vape shop compared to others in my travels. When I walked through the doors, I was surprised with just how much vape juice this place had in stock. Two walls were fully stocked with shelves full of e-liquids and CBD oils, with brands like Milkman and ANML. They also had several off-brands as well, and when I sampled a few of them, I was sorry they weren’t more popular! The hardware was neatly displayed in a glass case, featuring powerhouse hardware like Smok and Sigelei. In addition to the two huge flatscreen TVs mounted near the ceiling, the walls were colorfully displayed with vintage artwork and vape brands. There were several comfy leather couches in the corner and several well-worn stools that invited customers to hang out and enjoy their purchases. The staff were super friendly and gave me good information on the different CBD oils they carried. One thing I was surprised with was the long hours this shop kept. This would come in really handy for late night vapers who find they’ve run out of juice or coils. All in all, this was a really cool shop and while I think the shop could do with a few upgrades (the aforementioned well-worn bar stools could stand to be replaced and a paint job wouldn’t hurt), the vibe was friendly and the prices were reasonable. I would recommend and visit again in a heartbeat!
2. Stay Vaped
Second on our list of vape shops in the San Jose area, we have Stay Vaped. Google rates this shop as a 4.7 out of nearly 70 reviews, so since the name is a blend of my favorite tagline (stay thirsty and vape happy), I was curious to see the place for myself. Immediately when I walked through I loved the vibe of the place. The navy blue walls and the calming silver of the counters made me feel right at home. The first thing I noticed when I walked through the doors was the huge display of vape juice on the wall, as it was lit up with red and blue LED lights. A total of four TVs were mounted on their walls, displaying their prices and wares right in big bold letters. There was a great customer waiting area with new-looking leather couches and even a bar counter with high-backed bar stools. Their hardware was displayed as a see-through countertop directly in front of the e-juice display, making it easy for customers to walk right up and choose their vaping weapon. I was surprised to see that they had a lot of low-grade hardware for beginner vapers like the Aspire Breeze and the Suorin Air, which is mostly things you find online. I was happy to discover they had several popular brands like the Smok, Wiscmec, and Sigelei. They also had a lot of e-juice that can be hard to find, like NKTR and Bam’s Cannoli, as well some off brands that I’d never heard of before like The Fountain and Bakers Dozen, which is always a joy to try when you got to new vape shops. I did see a few bottles of CBD e-liquid, but since that’s really not my thing, it was just cool to note that this shop is extremely well-stocked on vape e-liquid for all preferences. The staff were extremely friendly and funny, showing off their vape tricks with jellyfish and tornado clouds. The whole shop had such a great and friendly vibe, I was sincerely sorry I couldn’t stay longer.
3. Vape Lounge
Thirdly, we have Vape Lounge on our list of local vape shops in San Jose. Google rates them a 4.7 out of just over 50 reviews, so while the number of reviews wasn’t as high as I would have liked, the rating was within my required rating range, so I headed over to see what Vape Lounge was all about. One thing I can say about this place that it had much more of a converted-bar feel than a lounge atmosphere. The outside sign was plain and if I hadn’t been looking for it, I would have thought it was a pool hall entrance. I would have liked to see more bright colors and catchy font but to each their own! Inside the place, they had their e-juice stacked on top of the rear counter. Not as impressive as I’ve seen in other vape shops, where their juice is stacked to the ceiling and a full house of e-liquid options are available, but it seemed as though they went the opposite route, building shelving units on the floor and stacking them up to about mid-height (see the second picture below). They had a nice display of Juul pod in the front, for those looking for a quick refill of their nic-salt pods. The light bulbs were hung low from the ceiling for an ambient glow rather than a blinding brightness, and the bar counter was clean and polished. Their chairs were a bit uncomfortable, being solid wood and iron, but not to the point where I’d want to leave. They had a single leather couch for “lounging purposes,” and there were two TVs, one mounted with wires strewn everywhere and another on a table (almost like a computer monitor). A large dry erase board was hung on one wall, evidently meant to advertise specials; yet when I went, it was just a conglomeration of decals and bumper stickers. The staff were friendly and attentive and let me sample some flavors I’d never heard of before, like a caramel-pear nic-salt flavor and a dessert brand called Dunk’d. They had several of my favorite brands like Red’s and Candy King, as well as some lesser seen brands like Rounds and Alternativ. Their hardware wasn’t out in the open and I didn’t see a lot of accessories either, so I assumed they kept that in the back. Since I wasn’t interested in buying any hardware or accessories, I just enjoyed my e-liquid and left it at that. While it seems like I’m not a big fan of this place, there’s really nothing I have against it. I believe it could do with an upgrade and some more visibility to their products, maybe a little neater wire tuck with the TVs and some better chairs, but those are all opinions. If you’re looking for a good selection of e-liquid, this is a great place to check out. Lounge around and enjoy your purchases if you’d like, but for me, this was just a place to stop in and get some new e-liquid. As I said, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the shop; I just felt like a few minor changes would transform this good vape shop to a memorable and extraordinary vape shop.
4. Platinum Vapes
Fourth on our list of popular vape shops, we have Platinum Vapes. Google rates them a 4.4 out of nearly 40 reviews, so with a name that has a precious metal in the title, I figured this place would be a great place to check out on my trek through San Jose’s vape shops. When I walked through the front door, I saw immediately that this shop believed in modernization as well as cleanliness. The shop floor was spotless and gleaming, with bright white fluorescent lights casting a clean light over everything. There were several red LED light strips underneath the counters and shelves that offset the white light, while several of the walls were covered in clouds and vape-related graffiti (not the tacky kind, but artsy and relatable). As I ventured further into the shop, I saw how everything was mounted on the wall to showcase their high-end hardware at eye-level, an excellent marketing technique. I marveled at how clean and well-placed everything was, and was completely blown away by their e-liquid selection. Two enormous shelving units housed six levels of bottles, and the shelves were completely full of brands like Lemon Twist, BLVK Unicorn, and Naked 100. Several brands like Mr. Freeze and Eye Candy made me smile, and the staff were super accommodating to my request to try some e-liquids I’d never seen before. There was a big leather couch at the entrance for people to hang out after they’d completed their purchase and few stools near the bar section where people could sample e-liquids before deciding on a final purchase. I loved the interior of this shop from every level, including the glass cases for the hardware, the artwork on the wall, the lighting, the cleanliness of the place, the staff, and of course, the massive selection of e-juice! If you’re in the San Jose area and are looking for a VIP treatment vape shop then Platinum Vapes should definitely be on your list!
5. San Jose Vape
We’re almost at the end! Fifth on our list of vape shops in San Jose is San Jose Vape. Google rates them a 4.1 out of nearly 40 reviews. With such a straightforward name and located right across the street from San Jose University, I figured that this shop got a lot of foot traffic and would be a popular spot for college vapers. The first thing I noticed about this shop was the wall of e-juice...it lined nearly the entire length of the wall and was stacked almost as high as the ceiling! Several large TV screens showed all of the e-juice categories they carried, which is a great way to take the guesswork away from vapers who like to stick to a specific flavor category (hello fruits and sweets!) as well as let customers decide if they want to try something new. The whole place was filled with vapor and the bar stools were filled with cloud-chasers purchasing new e-liquid or upgrading their hardware. While their hardware was a little sparse and just a tad too expensive for my taste, it was good to see that they did carry the popular Smok coils and several pen-style mods for those wanting a more discreet vaping experience. And lastly, they also had a few vintage T-shirts for those customers wanting to proudly use their chests as free billboards for the shop, a noble effort for diehard vape fans. My favorite aspect of the shop was the dessert, menthol, fruit, candy, and milky e-liquid breakdown, and it really helped me venture out of my comfort zone by trying Bad Blood eJuice by Bad Drip Labs (vanilla, pomegranate, and blueberry!). This was a cool shop and while it was a little small, it met the needs of every customer inside and was a fun shop to browse. Check it out if you’re ever in the San Jose area!
6. Vape Affair
And last but never least, we have Vape Affair as number six in our list of San Jose vape shops. Now this is a little outside the San Jose city limits, but I passed it on my way out of San Jose and decided to pop in just for the fun of it. Google rates them a 4.7 out of nearly 120 reviews, which is nearly triple some of the San Jose shops I stopped in. Plus the name was too funny, and I wanted to see if the atmosphere was as humorous as the name. The shop vibe was friendly and welcoming, with the staff greeting me as I walked in and asking if I needed help with anything. The e-liquid selection was plentiful, though it seemed like they needed to restock some of their e-liquids (some of the shelves were empty while others were filled to the top). They had two tall glass cases that displayed their more expensive hardware items (the usual Smok and Sigelei tanks and mods), and there was a large chalkboard hung on the wall in the back that said Vape Build Bar, where could buy in-house made coils. There were several comfy looking leather couches that took up a good portion of the back wall, and the walls were decorated with tall picture frames against an ox-blood red wall. The place was clean, and although a little outdated, it was great to walk in and have great customer service in addition to a huge selection of e-liquids. If you’re able to take a little bit of a farther drive, Vape Affair is a nice place to walk in and interact with both the staff and fellow vapers.
San Jose was a beautiful place to visit, and traveling through the heart of the Silicon Valley in search new vape shops was a delightful experience. I was very surprised that the number of ratings for each of the vape shop was so low compared to other places I’ve visited, each shop only having around 30-40 reviews. Yelp often had more reviews than Google, which was odd, but the experiences for each shop was well worth my visit. While I wish I could have stopped at every vape shop, these six were all we had time for and I hope you enjoy reading about them! If you ever get the chance to visit one and had a different or similar experience, let me know! If there is a vape shop you know of that deserves a place on this list, drop a comment below! As always, vape happy my friends, and may your clouds always be puffy and full of flavor!