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Monopoly San Jose - Monopoly in the Park
monopoly in the park
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Monopoly in the Park - San Jose Games

Location: West San Carlos Street near Woz Way, San Jose, CA Call: 408-995-6487.


Monopoly in the Park in San Jose is a monster size version of the best-selling board game in the world, sold in 80 countries. Many know that San Jose takes its games seriously so it should come as no surprise that you'll find the largest Monopoly game version in existence in San Jose. From localized city-named Monopoly games to Disneyland variations based on the theme park and movie, the 1934 creation of Charles B. Darrow (Germantown, Pennsylvania) shares Downtown San Jose property with the likes of Adobe Systems Incorporated and San Jose McEnery Convention Center. Now you can own a piece of prime Real Estate in San Jose, if only for an hour or two. And it costs hardly anything.    


The brain child of a San Jose think tank (also known as the San Jose Mayor and City Council) decided in 1986 to "empower citizens to actively take part in making San Jose a more beautiful place in which to live, work or visit." One solution was to turn a piece of somewhat desolate property into an attraction.  Monopoly in the Park, licensed by Hasbro's Parker Brothers, was built in Guadalupe River Park in downtown San Jose. Hoping to attract visitors, enrich the local economy, and serve as a great venue for Friends of San Jose Beautiful to raise money to augment community grants, Monopoly in the Park was conceived.


Though the giant game board was initially produced as an exhibition for a  San Francisco Landscape and Design Show, a nonprofit organization, San Jose Beautiful, oversaw the permanent installation in Discovery Meadow near the Children's Discovery Museum in Downtown San Jose's Guadalupe River Park and Gardens.


A 930-square foot permanent Monopoly board was constructed on cement with the game pieces available for rent to the public, allowing everyone a fair chance at strike it rich in Real Estate. 


Surprised to see people hurling huge vinyl dice into the air while on a luncheon stroll during a visit to San Jose, we stopped and watched a group of San Jose city employees engage in a heated game. Unlike over 500 million people before them who've played Monopoly, however, they were the game! They wore bigger-than-life hats with a shoe, car, dog or bag of money game piece on their head. When someone landed on the "Jail" game board square, that person put on the black&white pinstripe suit and hat, signifying prisoner status.


"Chance" has long been a part of the Monopoly game strategy, yet history shows that the game's creator left nothing to chance in succeeding to get his invention to market. When Darrow first pitched his idea to Parker Brothers executives, they turned him down, stating the game had 52 design errors. So convinced that he had a hit, he personally financed 500 game sets that sold so fast, he could not meet demand. Like the Monopoly game he created, Darrow's chances may have ended when his money ran out if not for executives who wisely recognized the value of his intellectual property.


Monopoly became the top selling game in its first year. Today, over 200 million games have been sold worldwide and more than five billion little green houses have been "built" since 1935.  The longest game in history lasted 70 straight days and the longest game in a bathtub lasted 99 hours!


Note: San Jose is child's play. There are so many museums and activities designed with children in mind that the destination is ideally suited for families with kids.