If you are in the San Jose area, there are a couple of places you really should make it a point to visit.
Winchester Mystery House – This was the house that Sarah Winchester built. Sarah was heir to vast fortunes made in the bullet business in the 1800s. She never remarried after her husband died and she lived in seclusion with a mere handful of servants. The tour takes you through 160 rooms, across four floors and seven different staircases. You’ll see secret passages, doors to nowhere, stairs leading into new walls…and if you’re observant, there are some jokes about ghosts hidden throughout the tour as well.
The Tech Museum – A really great museum for adults and kids alike! It’s got all sorts of hands on exhibits for kids from toddler age up through high school (and possibly beyond). There are lots of science games, and things like learning how to program a robot to do tricks, or how to solve a Rubik’s Cube. And adults will find plenty of entertainment too…there are some pretty fun exhibits and it’s easy to spend hours here.
The San Jose Museum of Art – The museum itself is nicely laid out, especially for kids. There are hands on learning experiences (again), and in addition there are all sorts of artsy things like paintings and sculptures from a range of different artists. The museum also hosts the occasional lecture series, as well as live performances throughout the year.
The Winchester Mystery House and Tech Museum are located near each other, and it’s an easy drive to make in between them. The SJ museum of art is a bit closer to downtown San Jose (about 10-15 mins). If you’re in San Jose, I would recommend putting this on your list of “places to see”.
Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo- As with most museums, this is great for both adults and kids alike! There are lots of animals that would make “zoo” like names if their actual scientific names weren’t so complicated. It’s also a science museum, with fossils, lots of hands on exhibits and more.
San Jose State University – The football team might stink, but there are lots of great activities around the university itself. There are some really cool museums- like the Museum of Natural History , or the Tech Museum . And nearby you’ll find one of the country’s oldest planetariums as well as an observatory for stargazing.
California’s Great America – This is a theme park built around roller coasters, but there’s more to it than just that. There are plenty of other really fun rides, and lots for your little kids too (ahem). It’s also very clean- not like some of the REALLY old theme parks that might be dirty or unappetizing. There’s a water park, and lots of shows you can watch as well.
San Jose Flea Market – You’ll find all sorts of stuff here- from clothes to collectibles to fruits & veggies. And when I say “all sorts” I mean it…there will be things at this flea market that are probably not legal in some states, and there WILL be off-brand copies of popular items (even if they aren’t knockoffs). The experience can definitely be a hoot though!
These Landmarks is the one’s you shouldn’t miss when you’re in the San Jose area.