20 Things to do in San Jose

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San Jose
Source: the_tahoe_guy

San Jose is a fast paced, dynamic city, renowned for its innovative minds and valuable contribution to the tech industry. No matter the reason that brings you to this city, whether it is business, pleasure, or family affairs, you are bound to find yourself entertained with these attractions in San Jose.

1. Tech Museum of Innovation

Tech Museum
Source: HarshLight

Renowned for its hundreds of global tech companies and prominent computer firms, it is impossible to visit San Jose and not experience the very industry that gave the Silicon Valley its prestigious name. The Tech Museum of Innovation is a valuable source of education and innovation, and is an inspiring place to tour and explore your interests in the field of technology. Though The Tech Museum of Innovation contains the word, “museum,” the venue is hardly that. It exists to ignite the innovator in each visitor by providing educational movies, hands-on experiments, and enthralling exhibitions.


  • Name: Tech Museum of Innovation
  • Address: 201 S Market St, San Jose
  • Price: $24/adult excluding IMAX
  • Opening Hours: Daily 10AM-5PM
  • Website: http://www.thetech.org/

2. Winchester Mystery House

Winchester Mystery House
Source: HarshLight

A mansion renowned for its substantial size and architectural oddities, this estate was commissioned by Sarah Winchester, widow of gun tycoon William Wirt Winchester. Though this was once Winchester’s personal residence, the historical landmark of the Winchester Mystery House has now been converted to a famed tourist attraction in the city. Throughout the course of construction in the 1880s, Sarah Winchester believed the estate was haunted by ghosts- particularly those who fell victim to Winchester rifles. Her indulgent manor of hidden passageways, upside down columns and uneven stairways were constructed to appease the evil spirits that chased her throughout her home. If you are feeling daring, embark on the Winchester Mystery House’s flashlight tour as you explore the eerie estate in the dark.


  • Name: Winchester Mystery House
  • Address: 525 S Winchester Blvd, San Jose
  • Price: $30/adult for Behind the Scenes Tour
  • Opening Hours: Daily 9AM-5PM
  • Website: http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com/

3. Apple Campus

When visiting the city, it is almost impossible that the household names of tech companies like Twitter and Facebook do not cross the traveler’s mind. The main Apple campus resides in Cupertino, a short ride away from San Jose. And though its prestigious headquarters is not a tourist attraction, Apple aficionados are invited to visit the Apple merchandise store, which carries exclusive products featuring the Apple logo like t-shirts and mugs. Make sure to snap a photo in front of the Apple sign!


  • Name: Apple Campus
  • Address: 1 Infinite Loop
  • Website: http://appleinsider.com/

4. Google Campus

Though the highly coveted Google campus is closed to the public and officials are unable to offer tours in order to protect the company’s privacy, visitors are still welcome to roam the campus grounds and common areas. The Google grounds are littered with life size statues pertaining to the various Android releases. Among those are the cupcake, donuts, and ice cream sandwich, which make for entertaining photo opportunities.


  • Name: Googleplex
  • Address: 1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy, Mountain View

5. San Jose Flea Market

San Jose Flea Market
Source: Anuj Biyani

First brought to life in 1960 by George Bumb Senior, the San Jose Flea Market expanded as decades passed, and is now one of America’s largest open air markets. Situated in the city’s north-east division, the market promotes over 2000 vendors over an 8 mile property. This weekend event draws over 4 million visitors annually, offering a myriad of fashionable clothing, vintage collectibles, colourful jewelry, children’s toys, and everything in between. Perhaps the most popular feature of the San Jose Flea Market is its farmers’ market, with a ¼ mile’s worth of local vendors providing fresh fruits and vegetables from California’s growers. The San Jose Flea Market is a weekend of family entertainment, featuring three playgrounds, a vintage carousel, and a handful of carnival rides for the little ones. This is the number one flea market in San Jose.


  • Name: San Jose Flea Market
  • Address: 1590 Berryessa Rd, San Jose
  • Price: Free admission with paid parking, free parking before 9AM
  • Opening Hours: Closed Monday,Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday & Friday-Sunday 8AM-6PM
  • Website: http://www.sjfm.com/

6. Sierra Road

Sierra Road
Source: Kohei Kanno

A hike up the narrow and winding Sierra Road rewards travelers with a beautiful panoramic view of the city. The destination is evermore popular at dusk and nightfall, when the colours of the sky blend harmoniously as the sun sets, and the lights of San Jose flicker on to illuminate the city. The recommended route is to travel up Piedmont and Calaveras Boulevard, which becomes Sierra Road, in order to avoid a steep climb to its summit.


  • Name: Sierra Road
  • Access: From Piedmont and Calaveras Boulevard

7. Children’s Discovery Museum

Children's Discovery Museum
Source: HarshLight

The Children’s Discovery Museum is a fascinating play-based education center for young learners. Embodying the spirit that “the leaders of our future are the children of today,” this interactive setting aspires to instill in children the passion of lifelong learning, and introduces them to the many elements of community through hands-on exhibits. Children have the opportunity to excavate dinosaur bones, and in the Kids’ Garden, help grow fruits and vegetables. They are also invited to explore on board a firetruck and an ambulance to observe the inner workings of these machines. By providing various exhibitions, the Children’s Discovery Museum aims to respond to the various different educational needs of young learners, building strong foundations in science, math and art. More than 6 million individuals have visited since its grand opening in 1990.


  • Name: Children’s Discovery Museum
  • Address: 180 Woz Way, San Jose
  • Price: $13/ general admission
  • Opening Hours: Closed Monday, Tuesday- Saturday 10AM-5PM, Sunday 12PM-5PM
  • Website: https://www.cdm.org/

8. Go Sharks!

SAP Center
Source: Travis Wise

Cheer on the San Jose Sharks like a local, the city’s proud hockey team in the National Hockey League. October in North America signals the beginning of hockey season, a sport adored by much of the continent. Because the ultimate prize of the annual hockey tournament is the prestigious Stanley Cup, fans take hockey seriously. Home games are hosted at the SAP Center, a state-of-the-art indoor arena, which has notoriously been nicknamed the Shark Tank by locals over the years. Join the crowds as they celebrate the wins and suffer losses of another exciting hockey season.


  • Name: SAP Center
  • Address: 525 W Santa Clara St, San Jose
  • Website: www.sapcenter.com/

9. Mission Peak Regional Park

Mission Peak
Source: May Wong

Designated as the most popular attraction in the city of Fremont, Mission Peak Regional Park draws many outdoor enthusiasts to its peaks and trails year round. The dazzling view of the Silicon Valley from the summit of Mission Peak is what motivates hikers, cyclists, and runners to complete the strenuous six mile hike. Its two most popular paths, the Hidden Valley Trail and the Peak Meadow Trail both ascend to the iconic pole at the peak, dubbed the “Mission Peeker.” Erected by sculptor Leonard Page in 1990, its original purpose was to raise awareness of environmental concerns. Little known to visitors of Mission Peak Regional Park, the pole now serves as a cultural monument, and is a quintessential photo of any individual who accomplishes the laborious trek.


  • Name: Mission Peak Regional Park
  • Address: 1880 Stanford Ave, Fremont
  • Opening Hours: 630AM- dusk
  • Website: http://www.ebparks.org/parks/mission

10. San Pedro Square Market

San Pedro Square Market
Source: Adam Schultz

One of San Jose’s most visited open air public markets is situated along the charming San Pedro Street, which draws countless foodies, coffee enthusiasts, artists and innovative music makers to the area. The sidewalk cafes and open patio restaurants establish a warm and inviting atmosphere for patrons to appreciate their morning coffee, a scrumptious lunch, or delightful dinner. Over 20 exclusive vendors occupy the stalls, providing a broad selection of artisan foods and home goods. Weekly entertainment such as live bands, pub quizzes, and karaoke make the San Pedro Square Market a lively place to be.


  • Name: San Pedro Square Market
  • Address: 87 N San Pedro St, San Jose
  • Opening Hours: Sunday-Wednesday 11AM-10PM, Thursday-Saturday 11AM-12AM
  • Website: http://www.sanpedrosquare.com/

11. Poor House Bistro

Poor House Bistro
Source: Don DeBold

Set in an old residential home, the Poor House Bistro aims to provide a traditional New Orleans experience through its affordable food, beer, and music selections. Offering outdoor seating and live music on those hot summer days, the Poor House Bistro presents the ideal setting to enjoy an ice cold craft beer while listening to some live blues on those Friday and Saturday nights. Located in close proximity to the SAP Center, this is a great space to hang out before wandering over to cheer on the San Jose Sharks.


  • Name: Poor House Bistro
  • Address: 91 S Autumn St, San Jose
  • Opening Hours: Sunday 10AM-8PM, Monday-Thursday 11AM-9PM, Friday& Saturday 11AM-10PM
  • Website: http://www.poorhousebistro.com/

12. Japantown

San Jose Japantown
Source: Derek Wolfgram

Established just north of downtown San Jose, this city’s Japantown is one of three remaining authentic Japantowns across America. The community’s locale is where the first immigrant Japanese settled as farm work became readily available in the Santa Clara Valley. Its 126 years of rich heritage have been carefully preserved in its architecture and traditional events that occur throughout the year. Visiting Japantown in July coincides with the community’s biggest celebration- Obon Festival. Japantown’s art gallery and Japanese American Museum of San Jose are exceptional sources of education for those who wish to better understand the Japanese settlement.


  • Name: Japantown
  • Website: http://www.japantownsanjose.org/

13. Cathedral Basilica of San Jose

Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph
Source: Travis Wise

83% of Americans identify themselves as Christians, and about 25% of Americans belong to the Catholic faith, amounting to a colossal 78.2 million Roman Catholics. Explore America’s chosen faith by visiting a place of devotion or even attending a service. First built in 1803, the Roman Catholic church of Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph was damaged by a series of earthquakes, as well as a fire which left the establishment in ashes. Having been restored four separate times, the basilica now stands firmly in place, serving as a site of worship for both believers and non-believers of the Catholic faith in the heart of San Jose. Sermons conducted beneath the beautifully constructed basilica dome welcome open to anyone and everyone who are interested in Catholicism, or the basilica itself.


  • Name: Cathedral Basilica of San Jose
  • Address: 80 S Market St, San Jose
  • Website: http://www.stjosephcathedral.org/

14. Byington Winery and Vineyard

Established by Bill Byington and wife Mary, the Byington Winery and Vineyard encompasses an extensive 95 acres of land, devoted to cultivating the Pinot Noir. By sourcing other varieties of grapes in the Santa Cruz Mountain region, dedicated winemakers of Byington Winery are able to create bold and flavourful wines. Their tasting room is staffed with knowledgeable workers who are keen to answer any questions about the establishment and its wine. Visit Byington Winery and Vineyard for a tour of the plantations, and spend an afternoon experimenting with creative wine and food pairings.


  • Name: Byington Winery and Vineyard
  • Address: 21850 Bear Creek Rd, Los Gatos
  • Price: $12/ tasting room
  • Opening Hours: Closed Monday- Wednesday, Thursday- Sunday 11AM-5PM
  • Website: http://byington.com/

15. Picnic at San Jose Municipal Rose Garden

San Jose Municipal Rose Garden
Source: John Menard

Plan a picnic in one of the city’s most romantic flower gardens. A prune orchard at one time in history, the city of San Jose took ownership of the land in 1927, and converted its 5.5 acres to cultivating roses. The San Jose Municipal Rose Garden is a rose garden in San Jose’s Rose Garden neighbourhood, and it most certainly does not disappoint by showcasing upwards of 35000 plantings and 189 varieties of roses. The vast fields of colourful flowers are in full bloom April through November, but the peak time to visit is early May. Roses are most aromatic, and at their most exquisite.


  • Name: San Jose Municipal Rose Garden
  • Address: Dana Ave, San Jose
  • Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10AM-9PM, Sunday 11AM-7PM
  • Website: http://www.sanjoseca.gov/facilities/facility/details/74

16. Los Gatos Creek

Los Gatos Creek
Source: Don DeBold

Though many visit San Jose for the sprawling urban landscape, a peaceful retreat into nature will provide a solid change of pace for your trip to the city. Spanning from Meridian Avenue in San Jose to the Lexington Reservoir in the quaint town of Los Gatos is a 9.7 mile trail, surrounded by a sizable park that snakes through the western Santa Clara County, providing ample recreational space for joggers, cyclists, and rollerbladers alike. Families walk their dogs on the trails, engage in picnics on the grassy areas, and go fishing in the lake. Most will find that spending an entire day at the Los Gatos park is an easy task.


  • Name: Los Gatos Creek
  • Access: Vasona County Park and Oak Meadow Park off Blossom Hill Road/ From downtown Los Gatos: at Miles Avenue, Main Street, and Forbes Mill/ From the Lexington Reservoir Dam
  • Opening Hours: Daily, year -round 8AM-sunset
  • Website: https://www.sccgov.org/sites/parks/parkfinder/Pages/LosGatosCreek.aspx

17. Santa Cruz Mountains

Santa Cruz Mountains
Source: David Baron

Part of the Pacific Coast Mountain Range in central California, the Santa Cruz Mountains have been renowned for producing top quality wines since the 1840s, and is home to over 30 different vineyards. In addition to its optimal growing climate, the Santa Cruz Mountains is a favourite retreat for hikers and nature lovers. Many ecosystems can be found in the region, and its biodiversity often provides visitors with sightings of bobcats, deer, and sometimes even black bears.

18. San Jose Museum of Art

San Jose Museum of Art
Source: Blok 70

The city’s appreciation of modern and contemporary art led to the establishment of the San Jose Museum of Art in the heart of the city. The featured artists’ expression of creativity through a various mediums such as photography, painting, and mosaics excite and inspire visitors’ imagination through revolving exhibitions that feature diverse movements, styles and techniques. With a large collection of artwork ranging from traditional paintings to multimedia pieces, their art enthralls visitors of all ages and cultural backgrounds. Explore the qualities that make modern and contemporary San Jose art so admirable.


  • Name: San Jose Museum of Art
  • Address: 110 S Market St, San Jose
  • Price: $10/adult, $5/youth
  • Opening Hours: Closed Monday, Tuesday-Sunday 11AM-5PM
  • Website: http://sjmusart.org/

19. Original Gravity

First introduced to the public in the heart of downtown in 2012, Original Gravity is dedicated to providing patrons with an exclusive selection of craft beer. Since its establishment, it has been a favourite mellow bar for beer enthusiasts, providing 35 varieties of stout, mead and cider at all times. Original Gravity features outdoor seating in their beer garden, and serves up some creative pub grub, including duck fat fries and exotic sausages.


  • Name: Original Gravity
  • Address: 66 S 1st St, San Jose
  • Opening Hours: Thursday- Saturday 1130AM-12AM, Sunday-Wednesday 1130AM-1030PM
  • Website: http://www.originalgravitypub.com/

20. Westwind Capitol Flea Market

Since the beginning of business in 1971, West Wind Capitol Flea Market has been a proud family owned and operated establishment. The garage sale style market is a one-of-a-kind San Jose experience. By day it is an open air market, and is converted into a cozy drive- in theatre by night. The Westwind Capitol Drive In Theatre combines modern day technology with a retro spin to craft an unforgettable cinema experience for the city’s avid community of movie goers. Snack bars, play structures for children, and grassy areas keep viewers engaged while waiting for the movie to begin. The day market offers an extensive selection of home goods, knickknacks, and everything in between. The market also presents shoppers with an enticing menu of Mexican crowd pleasers, including hot tamales, scrumptious breakfast burritos, and cheesy quesadillas. Come for the market, stay for the entire night.


  • Name: Westwind Capitol Flea Market
  • Address: 3630 Hillcap Ave, San Jose
  • Price: $7.95/ general admission, $5/person on Tuesday for the drive-in
  • Website: http://www.westwinddi.com/locations/capitol

The various attractions of San Jose make the city a great destination for solo travelers, couples, and families alike.

Have a good trip and travel!

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North America, San Jose, Santa Clara County, State of California, U.S.A.