In 1985, the municipality established the Cassiano Ricardo Cultural Foundation, named after the Brazilian poet. It aims to promote and sponsor cultural activities and events, spreading and extending knowledge among the population. Furthermore, the public foundation stimulates creation and emerging of new artists in different sectors. The foundation was also charged with the preservation and expansion of the Municipal Public Archives and to provide support to the Municipal Historic Preservation Council (COMPHAC). Several cultural centers are maintained by the foundation including Cine Santana, Centro Cultural Clemente Gomes, Espaço Cultural Chico Triste, Helena Calil Arts Center and Espaço Cultural Mário Covas
The São José dos Campos Symphony Orchestra, fomented by Cassiano Ricardo Cultural Foundation, is an already respected orchestra in the country. The city also houses important choirs (such as Libercanto, Vocalis, Vozes and ITA), with popular and eclectic performances.
São José is an important center for dance. It is the headquarters for several dance schools (Cristina Cará, Ana Araújo, Rosilene Sánchez, Damares Antelmo), that already have taken part in several international contests. Jazz, step dance, ballet, techno, aerobic, among other dance forms, are presented to the public in December every year at municipal competitions. The Cassiano Ricardo Foundation is also starting a dance company.
Popular parties are also important events. Perhaps the most distinguished is the so-called Festa Junina (Saint John's Festival). It is mainly celebrated on key days following the Catholic feast days of Saint Anthony, John the Baptist and Saint Peter. It happens at different churches, schools and parks in June.
The Sports Museum was opened on July 30, 1999. In exhibition are trophies, medals, photos and newspapers about the history of sports of São José dos Campos since 1910.
City Anniversary Run - a 12 kilometer run taking place on the streets of the city center in the morning, with hundreds of athletes from the city and from the Vale do Paraíba region on July 27.Relevant people Aline Nakashima Antoninho da Rocha Marmo Cassiano Ricardo Euclides Bueno Miragaia Geovanna Tominaga Fabíola Molina Nelson D'Ávila Ozires Silva Rudolf Komorek Roque Júnior Rui Dória Sister city Kadoma, Osaka
A Japanese garden is open for visits within the Santos-Dumont Park, celebrating the sister cities.
There is also cooperation with:Toulouse, France.