San Jose is the third largest populated city in California and is popularly known as the “Capital of Silicon Valley”. This city is budding or commencing to emerge in its own right and I’m learning that there is a lot to like about this vibrant city. This is the city where you will find fellow Indians in every nook and corner. Moreover, Indian shops are sprinkled all over San Jose and of course, Bollywood has grown into a household word. Can you believe it?
Now, India’s influence is so ubiquitous in San Jose that it’s effortless to steep yourself in the culture without leaving city limits. What more reason an Indian need to visit this amazing city? Now here are some of the must-visit places in San Jose for a tourist who is looking for a total escape from the busy world and want to enjoy a perfect getaway with their families.
If you are dreaming of a wonderland, Solvang is a must visit destination. This is a quaint city that resembles a European village with a significance of a Danish-theme. Since it was founded by Danish immigrants you will find quite a few Danish descendants here. This is a perfect getaway if you are looking for some family time or picnic.
Duration: It is about 3 hours 59 minutes (250 miles) from San Jose.
How to reach: The Clean Air Express service on Saturdays will connect the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Barbara. Beginning Saturday, July 11. There will be one round trip in the morning and one round trip in the evening enabling visitors to travel between these two regions. The visitors can also book their tickets through Amtrak Motor coach.
2. Santa Barbara Zoo
This is a perfect place to find some cool animals. Though it is a small zoo, but this is an ideal place which your kids will enjoy. There are 500 animals, petting zoo where the kids can feed giraffes, groom the sheep etc.
Duration: It about 4 hours 32 minutes (280 miles) to reach Santa Barbara.
Working hours: Zoo is open every day from 10am – 5pm except on certain special days.
Ticket Rates: Children (2- 12) – $10, adults (13-64)-$17, seniors (65+) – $13
For buying the tickets, here is the official website link.
3. Pier 39
The drive to pier 39 from San Jose is about 1 hour 32 minutes. This is a place that has something to offer for everyone. To make it short, there is plenty of sightseeing, aquatic parks, street shows etc. The pier also gives the tourist a glance of the Alcatraz Island.
Duration: A drive of about 1 hour 15 minutes (57.5 miles)
For attractions on the bay: http://www.pier39.com/home/attractions/#onthebay
For attraction on the pier: http://www.pier39.com/home/attractions/#onthepier
For attraction on the street: http://www.pier39.com/home/attractions/#onthepier
4. Beautiful Big Sur
Big Sur is something which every tourist would like to check in. The terrain offers stunning views, making Big Sur a popular tourist destination. The road along the sea is considered as one of the top 25 must – to – be – driven highways in the world. This makes the drive more memorable and enjoyable. There are multiple campgrounds where you can plan for a night stay.
Some of the scenic spots where you can pit stop for clicking some photographs are:
- Pfeiffer Beach
- McWay falls
- Bixby Bridge
You may visit the official website for more details: http://www.bigsur-coastline.com/
This is considered as one of the top wine-growing regions in the world. The most pristine and this attracts many of younger or older tourist and has very little to offer for kids.
This is a perfect place for a romantic getaway.
Duration: Napa Valley is about 2 hours’ drive from San Jose (97 miles)
Tips for travelers with kids: You can enjoy your day with your kids at the Sonoma Safari West. This is about 2 hours’ drive (95 miles) from San Jose & nearer to Napa Valley. This is an African Wildlife Safari. For the safety and enjoyment of the guests, children need to be of age 4 and above to participate the classic safari.
Pricing: The rates starts from $45.
For more details please visit: http://www.safariwest.com/
6. Mission Peak
Are you ready for a good hike? Then you better get back in shape because Mission Peak Park is ideal for a jolly hike to the top of the mountain that offers views of Mount Hamilton to the south, the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west, Mt. Tamalpais to the north, and Mt. Diablo and the Sierra Nevada to the northeast. In short, Mission Peak has to offer you a spectacular view of the South Bay. The best season to visit is spring, fall, and summer.
Mission Peak Park has two entrances:
- Park opens at Stanford Ave at 6.30am and closes at 9.oopm
- Park opens at Ohlone College at 6.00am and closes at 10.00pm
The park is the bicycle, dog and kid friendly.
Duration: The drive from San Jose to Mission Peak is about an hour which is close to 24 miles.
What are the park activities: Hiking, biking, horseback riding are some of the sought after activities.
7. Google Campus
Google headquarters located in Mountain View, California is also called the Googleplex. There are two options to enter inside the Google office:
Option 1: Work for google (impossible for a tourist)
Option 2: Have a super awesome friend who works for Google
If you do not have any of these two above-mentioned options, you may as well take an outside tour which is free. There is plenty to see around including the giant android statues, colorful google bicycles, organic garden, google sculpture garden etc.
The attraction for kids: The live search in the lobby and the T-Rex stand out the most on the campus.
Food: Food will not be free unless you have a friend working on the campus. Hence, you may take a stroll inside the campus and grab some food from the cafeteria.
You feel lucky to have visited the headquarters of the world’s most visited website on the planet and definitely if you have a geek inside you.
8. Tech Museum of Innovation
This museum is located in the heart of Silicon Valley in the downtown of San Jose. This place makes an awesome day trip with kids. This is the ideal place to fascinate your kid with learning.
Hours of operation: 10 am to 5pm daily
For more details you may visit: http://www.thetech.org/plan-your-visit
9. Palo Alto
Are you looking for a place to take your stroller for a hike? This historic park which is about 40 minutes (18 miles) from San Jose has a beautiful duck pond, nature center, and boardwalk, and is adjacent to the city airport. Watch planes, look for birds, frogs, fish, and rabbits. Ideal for a baby’s day out.
Hours of operation: 8 am to sunset
Best time to visit: Summer, fall, spring
Tips for travelers with kids: Beware of the numerous poisonous oaks and number of birds can be around.
Other Facilities: Barbeque spot, picnic table
10. Golden Gate Bridge
Facilities: Both ends of the bridge has enough parking areas & rest stop amenities.
Tips for travelers with kids: The weather can change frequently, hence it would be ideal if you bring something to shield kids from the wind.
Hours of operation: 5 am to 3.30pm
For details: http://goldengatebridge.org
Here are few travel tips for travelers from India who is planning for a San Jose trip:
- Book your travel tickets in advance. Ideally about 45 to 90 days in advance.
- As far as weather is concerned, the best time to visit San Jose would be during spring and summer. Even though it do not get colder but it may get too foggy during the winter. Also, it would be ideal to avoid during the rush times like long weekends or holidays. You may refer to the below link to check the long weekends in the USA: http://www.nextlongweekend.com/
- Choose major cities like Mumbai, New Delhi or Bangalore as departure city for good deals.
- You may also refer to websites like http://www.makemytrip.com, http://www.priceline.com for good deals.
Select the comfortable dates and explore this new city. Have a great holidays fellas!
[box type=”bio”] This post was written with inputs from Sruthi Menon of My Travel Diaries. Sruthi is a travel blogger and she writes about her travel experiences – primarily about the places, food and travel tips. [/box]