Top tourist attractions in San Jose, CA
San Jose, California, is an exciting and vibrant city with a lot to offer travelers. From historical sights to trendy restaurants, it’s a city worth exploring. It’s also an excellent place for families with children.
One of the most popular San Jose attractions is the San Jose Museum of Art. The museum has over 2,500 pieces of art in its permanent collection. Plus, it offers additional temporary exhibitions. In addition to its museum, the city has a variety of other cultural activities.
There are other top attractions in San Jose, like the Tech Interactive Museum. This museum is designed for both kids and adults. In addition, visitors can see the IMAX theater and participate in hands-on exhibits.
Located in the heart of downtown San Jose, the McEnery Convention Center hosts numerous events throughout the year. In addition, you can enjoy brunch or craft beer at one of the many bars and eateries.
Alum Rock Park is one of the oldest parks in California, and it’s a favorite afternoon trip from the city. The park has hiking trails and horseback riding paths. It also has a natural mineral spring, a great place to swim.
Another attraction in San Jose is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph. Built in 1886, the cathedral has religious significance, stunning architectural features, and gold-plated ceilings.
San Jose Japantown is another favorite attraction in San Jose. Originally a red-light district, it has become a popular neighborhood with bars and shops. Also, it’s a great spot to eat authentic Japanese cuisine.
Top 15 things to do in San Jose, California
- Winchester Mystery House
- California’s Great America
- Shoreline Amphitheatre
- The Tech Interactive
- Municipal Rose Garden
- Computer History Museum
- Mission Peak Regional Preserve
- Vasona Lake County Park
- Happy Hollow Park & Zoo
- Rancho San Antonio County Park
- Intel Museum
- Alum Rock Park
- Plaza De Cesar Chavez Park
- Children’s Discovery Museum
Winchester Mystery House San Jose
One of San Jose’s more exciting landmarks, the Winchester Mystery House, is a historic mansion in the quaint city of San Jose. Initially constructed in the Victorian era, it boasts some oddities and features.
Aside from being a historic landmark, the house is also a tourist attraction. There are several tours to choose from.
The “Explore More” tour takes curious visitors through unopened parts of the house. This tour also encourages guests to leave mementos in the front gardens.
According to many reports, the most impressive thing about the Winchester Mystery House is that it has been standing for nearly ninety-five years. It is now a California Historic State Landmark.
In addition to its longstanding history, the Winchester Mystery House has an intriguing and colorful story. For starters, it was once an eight-room farmhouse. Then, after her husband died in 1881, Sarah Pardee Winchester purchased the property.
California’s Great America
California’s Great America is a family-friendly theme park with more than 40 rides. The park also features a water park, live entertainment, and other fun attractions.
The park is located in the Santa Clara neighborhood of San Jose, California, and has a variety of thrill rides for all ages. In addition, the park has several onsite eateries.
The theme of the park is based on the culture of Northern California. You can find many rides, including the Gold Striker wooden roller coaster. There are also water slides and carnivalesque booths. Some rides are more family-friendly, such as the Rip Roaring Rapids and Orbit.
California’s Great America is open from March through December. The park offers daily programs of live entertainment. During Halloween Haunt, the park is filled with scary actors. Also, the park offers seasonal events and fireworks. Guests can purchase season passes for the park.
Googleplex is home to the latest and greatest in tech and innovation. In addition, a new Google campus is under construction in downtown San Jose, and this massive project will change how development is done in the Bay Area.
It will include millions of square feet of office space and 4,000 homes, including some affordable housing. But, it also comes with its share of controversy.
For starters, the Googleplex has a unique and fun feature. Google has a “Google Bike” program to get employees and residents moving around faster. Unlike other similar programs, the bike is free to use for both Google employees and the public.
Another great feature is that it entails open-air, grassy landscaping. This means walking or cycling from one end of the campus to the other is possible, as long as you don’t mind the traffic.
The Shoreline Amphitheatre in San Jose, California, is a great place to see some of the biggest bands in the business.
This outdoor venue boasts one of the largest lawn areas in the Bay Area, as well as a sound system that enhances high-def sounds. In addition, this venue features wide screens on the lawn, which allows fans to watch the action in precise, crisp detail.
The venue has a large seating capacity of 22,500. It also offers 6,500 reserved seats. While the forum is not as large as some competitors, it provides a spectacular lawn area.
Another cool thing about the venue is the live nation rock box. It’s a VIP experience with luxurious lounge-style seating, catering on demand, and of course, the best views of the stage.
The Tech Interactive
Tech Interactive is an interactive science and technology center in San Jose’s heart. It is a place that provides hands-on learning experiences and offers over 100 high-tech exhibits.
Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta created this museum. He envisioned the building to serve as a backdrop for the exhibitions.
The building features a 45-foot cylindrical tower, which serves as an anchor for the art installation that celebrates the technology and innovation of Silicon Valley. On the top floor, there is an IMAX dome theater. There is also a rooftop terrace with breathtaking urban views.
The Tech Interactive Museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Municipal Rose Garden
San Jose’s Municipal Rose Garden is an oasis of calm in the city’s heart. A five-acre garden with more than 3,000 rose bushes is an ideal destination for a picnic, a wedding, or another special occasion.
The park’s main attraction is its 189 varieties of roses. It also has a two-tiered fountain, garden vases, and a reflection pool.
The garden is located in San Jose’s central district, which dates back to 1777. Today, the community is a bustling urban neighborhood with over 1,000 residences. Many of the neighborhood’s Victorian and 1940s bungalows have been meticulously maintained.
Initially, the area was filled with prunes and pear orchards. It is a thriving community with a strong sense of community pride today. Residents care for the Rose Garden with dignity, and the neighborhood has many events throughout the year.
Computer History Museum
The Computer History Museum is an exhibit-based center that explores the history of computing. Its collection is the largest of its kind in the world.
There are over 90,000 pieces in the museum’s inventory, which includes computer hardware, software, and documents. Hundreds of videos, photographs, and other moving images are also part of the museum’s collection.
The museum’s main exhibit is located in a landmark building once the home of Silicon Graphics, Inc., one of the first companies to develop computers for the mass market.
In the past decade, the museum has undergone many renovations. One major project was renovating its lobby into the Babbage Engine.
Since then, the museum has worked with San Jose-based MAI Construction to create a welcoming space for visitors of all ages. In addition, the museum is developing a new children’s learning center as part of its plan. This facility will include a room dedicated to teaching kids about technology and Silicon Valley.
Mission Peak Regional Preserve
Mission Peak is one of the Bay Area’s most famous mountains to hike. It is located in Mission Peak Regional Preserve and offers panoramic views of San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Mission Peak is 2,517 feet above San Francisco Bay. The peak is connected to a series of trails that reach its summit. A few trail options include the Ohlone Wilderness Trail, which is 29 miles long, and the Bay Area Ridge Trail, which is a 300-plus mile development.
The Peak Trail is the most popular route to climb to the peak. From the parking lot, the trail will rise more than a mile before turning into a rocky, steep road. There are many cautionary signs along the course, and several dogs have died on the path.
Vasona Lake County Park
Vasona Lake County Park is one of the best parks in Santa Clara County. It is located at 152 acres in the Los Gatos area.
There are plenty of picnic areas, trails, and a playground. In addition, visitors can rent boats for non-power recreational boating. The park also offers a carousel, a native plant trail, and a train engine.
This park is ideal for families. You can take your dog for a walk on a leash. Also, there are several picnic spots on a first-come, first-served basis. During the holidays, there are Christmas displays.
Vasona Park is also home to the Youth Science Institute. The institute is located on the north end of the park. They provide science and nature programs for children, after-school activities, and summer camps.
Happy Hollow Park & Zoo
If you want a family fun day out, you should check out Happy Hollow Park & Zoo. This 16-acre zoo in San Jose has several things to offer your family. It has a petting zoo, a roller coaster, and a miniature horse. It also has a puppet theatre.
While at the zoo, don’t forget to feed the animals. You’ll also find a lemur-themed play area for children. There’s even a radiology room.
The park also has a few other fun things to do. For example, the Mini Putt-Putt uses recycled bits of old police cars to create miniature versions of the popular game.
You can even take your kids on a gyro-copter dragon flyer. And don’t forget to pack a picnic.
Rancho San Antonio County Park
If you want a place to get out and walk, you may consider visiting Rancho San Antonio County Park. This park is popular with locals and visitors because of its various trails.
The park is open from dawn to dusk. Visitors can enjoy hiking, bicycling, and equestrian trails. However, it’s important to remember that pets aren’t permitted.
Alum Rock Canyon Park is great for watching red-tailed hawks and bobcats. It also has six miles of horse trails. You can also see a 200-year-old tree. In addition, there are paved trails for cyclists and hikers and shaded trails for nature lovers.
If you’re looking for a trail with less traffic, you can try the Wildcat Loop Trail. The loop runs along a creek and then climbs up to a meadow. In the spring, it offers views of Mount Tamalpais.
The Intel Museum is an interactive museum dedicated to the history and technology of the company. Located inside the corporate headquarters of Intel in Santa Clara, California, the museum is free to visit.
The museum’s exhibits cover the company’s history, silicon chip technology development, and computer technology contributions. The museum features over 30 interactive exhibits and offers a unique perspective of Silicon Valley.
In addition to the exhibits, the museum offers educational programs. Visitors can enjoy docent-led tours. In addition, several grade-school programs are held at the museum.
If you’re interested in semiconductor technology, the Intel Museum has an exhibit that allows you to replicate the etching of circuitry onto silicon wafers. This is done on a giant touchscreen display.
You can also spell your name in binary, watch live video from the Intel factory, and view photos of the early IBM computers that ran on Intel chips.
Intel is the world’s largest silicon chip manufacturer. Founded in 1968 by Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, the company produces semiconductors that are used by countless personal computers. It is also a vital part of Microsoft and Apple computers.
A 12-inch-diameter silver silicon ingot may be the purest thing you can touch. It is mounted in glass and labeled with the elements of the periodic table.
Alum Rock Park
Alum Rock Park is the oldest municipal park in California. It’s located in the foothills of the Diablo Range. Before it became a public park, it was a popular resort and watering hole for locals.
It once had an aviary, zoo, and restaurant. It’s a favorite for family picnics, group celebrations, and outdoor recreation today.
The park has several trails. Most of them are well-maintained and include linked maps and trail information. Some are easy to hike, while others are more strenuous.
You can visit the visitor center if you want to learn more about the park’s history. It offers educational displays and a natural history exhibit. You can also take a dusk walk with a docent to see wildlife.
Plaza De Cesar Chavez Park
The Plaza de Cesar Chavez is an urban Downtown San Jose, California plaza. Originally known as the plaza, this two-acre park has a paved walkway and a small lawn.
Various landmarks surround it, including the Tech Museum of Innovation and the Fairmont Hotel. While it is not the most spacious of all downtown parks, its small size allows for a fun day out with the family.
This park is named for the Mexican-American civil rights activist Cesar Chavez. The plaza was renamed in his honor in 1993.
You can find some interesting sights and notable events here and nearby in the area. There are also several museums and cultural institutions located within walking distance.
Children’s Discovery Museum
The Children’s Discovery Museum is the largest in the United States. It has served more than 9 million visitors since opening in 1990. Located in San Jose, the museum teaches kids to think critically and explore the world in real-world ways.
Designed with young children in mind, the museum features 150 interactive exhibits that encourage curiosity and creativity. They also host programs for families.
An Association of Children’s Museums member, the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose serves children in Silicon Valley. Visitors can play in their outdoor space, Bill’s Backyard: Bridge to Nature, which includes tree climbing, pumping water, and planting seeds.
Another area is the Wonder Cabinet, a sensory environment for toddlers and young children. This 3,000-square-foot room is designed to inspire exploration and hands-on learning. In addition, the area includes a Sand Science Laboratory, Crawl-Through Tunnel, and Child-Sized Kaleidoscope.