Although São José is an industrial center, the city still preserves green areas and quiet town districts, which guarantees quality of life and leisure to the population. Around 62% of the area from the municipality is characterized as an environmental preservation area. On the oustskirts of the urban area, Augusto Ruschi Ecology Reserve has many local plant species. The natural reserve has 2,500,000 m2 (27,000,000 sq ft), being a government protect area for the local flora. São Francisco Xavier is a community the offers many of those attributes as well.
Furthermore, there is easy access to the mountain cities (Campos do Jordão, Santo Antônio do Pinhal) and to the beaches of the Northern Coast of São Paulo.
The city has three parks and several sport and country clubs. Important clubs are Clube Luso Brasileiro, Tenis Clube São José (important center for amateur sports such as volleyball and basketball), Associação Esportiva São José (including its country club Clube Santa Rita, which has a golf course) and Thermas do Vale.
Tenis Clube and Associação Esportiva São José have hosted the 35th Banana Bowl International Tennis Federation Juniors Circuit in 2005 and 2006.
A soccer stadium, called Estádio Martins Pereira, is the home ground of São José Esporte Clube, a professional soccer team.
Important teams from the city:Club Sport Arena Foundation of the Club Logo Associação Esportiva São José Basketball Ginásio Linneu de Moura 1913 Associação Esportiva São José Swimming Ginásio Linneu de Moura 1913 São José Esporte Clube Football Estádio Martins Pereira 1933 Tenis Clube São José Basketball Ginásio Municipal José Edvar Simões 1948 Tenis Clube São José Volleyball Ginásio Esportivo Manoel Bosco Ribeiro 1948 São José Rugby Clube Rugby union Estádio Martins Pereira 1987 Clube Atlético Joseense Football Estádio Martins Pereira / Estádio ADC Parahyba 1998 Scott-Marcondes Cesar-São José dos Campos Cycling n/a 1993 N/a São José/Vale Sul Futsal Indoor Soccer/Futsal Tenis Clube São José na n/a FC Primeira Camisa Football Estádio ADC Parahyba 2007
There are 19 movie theaters and 2 theaters including one inside the Univap - University of Vale do Paraíba.