Learn about traveling to the Silicon Valley (Santa Clara Valley) of California and San Jose while the Amateur Traveler talks about his 38-year-old hometown.
The Amateur Traveler podcast has been in the making for 17 years, and I’ve never done a show in San Jose and Silicon Valley, even though I knew it was a great place to live for a while. Many people, especially high-tech fans or high-tech workers, are already traveling to Silicon Valley. Here are some of my favorite things to do in and near Santa Clara Valley / The Valley of Hearts Delight / Silicon Valley.
We start in downtown San Jose, which has some live theater options and two of the best museums in the area: the Tech Interactive Museum and the Children’s Discovery Museum. Other notable museums in the area are the Rosicrucian Egyptology Museum and the Computer History Museum.
We can’t talk about visiting San Jose without at least mentioning the quirky and spooky Winchester Mystery House. This house is what you get when you have a lot of superstition and a lot of money. It has stairs leading nowhere and a sprawling floor plan as the owner is said to not die as long as there are hammering sounds in his home. They lied. He died.
For nightlife, I recommend Santana Row, which has a great indoor/outdoor bar and restaurant scene. There are also good restaurant scenes in smaller urban centers like Sunnyvale, Saratoga, Los Gatos, and Mountain View.
This region is known for its diversity when it comes to food. It has large Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Vietnamese populations. You can stay for a week and eat a different cuisine for each meal. There’s also a growing brewery scene and numerous wineries nearby.
The valley is surrounded by mountains and San Francisco Bay, and there are great hikes in all directions. I recommend taking a walk by the bay at Shoreline Park and Alviso Marina County Park. I also recommend some hikes with sights like Fremont Older, Sierra Vista, and Windy Hill Open Space Preserve.
You can attend a soccer game with the 49ers in Santa Clara or a hockey game with the Sharks in San Jose, but for affordable family fun, I’d also recommend a minor league baseball game at the San Jose Giants. While next to Giant’s stadium, you can take the kids to the Happy Hollow theme park and zoo or the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Take a tech tour to visit some of the sites or companies that have made this area one of the world-renowned high-tech hubs.
Then I take a day trip to Santa Cruz to see the big sequoia trees, the beaches or the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, or to Livermore for some more wine tasting.
With 300 sunny days a year, there is rarely a bad time to visit Silicon Valley.
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Children’s Discovery Museum
Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
Winchester Mystery House
San Jose Sharks
San Francisco 49ers
San Jose Giants
Nightlife in San Jose: Santana Row and Hotel Valencia
San Pedero Square Market
Japanese Friendship Garden
Santa Clara Quest
California Missions (with Map) – All 21 California Missions from South to North
Little Kabul Fremont
Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton
Things to do in Milpitas and North San Jose
Large Dog Ties
Castro Street Mountain View
Saravanaa Bhavan Indian restaurant (Sunnyvale)
Mountain View Shoreline
Alviso Marina County Park
Computer History Museum
Fremont Old Conservation Area
Mountain Winery Concerts
8 San Jose Wineries – Best Wineries in South Bay
Things to do in Santa Cruz, CA – “Coney Island of the West”
Henry Cowell State Park
Windy Hill Open Space Conservation Area
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Randy on Travel to Death Valley National Park – Episode 803
Another great episode. I spent a week in Death Valley in December a few years ago and it was a great time to be there. Pleasant temperatures and very few people. I especially enjoyed the hike to Darwin Falls (which is actually outside the park).
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