Santana Row Chess Plaza – San Jose, California - Atlas Obscura

Santana Row Chess Plaza

A giant chess set, minus the psychedelic drug trip. 


This over-sized board game is a piece of interactive public art that begs passersby for friendly attention.

“Playing” with the portable pieces usually results in a highly unorthodox version of the actual game: queens swapped for rooks, pawns annihilating bishops, and so on. There are quite commonly several toddlers in on the madness, probably attending to their play more seriously than the adults monkeying around and taking cell phone pictures of themselves on the checkered turf. Located along Santana Row – San Jose’s best knockoff of the Champs-Élysées – this curiosity is a more emotionally fulfilling diversion than the shopping complex’s retail offerings.

Know Before You Go

Located within the 300 block of Santana Row.

Atlas Obscura Trips

City of Secrets: Underground in Los Angeles

On this an insider’s journey into the City of Angeles, we'll discover the murals and art of the famous Arts district with a resident artist, clink glasses at an underground speakeasy, and hike through hidden ruins with a suspicious past, all in pursuit of the less angelic side of the City of Angels.
Community Contributors
Added By

Make an Edit Add Photos