32 Best Things to Do in San Jose, CA
Sitting right in the midst of Silicon Valley, San Jose is a political, economic, and cultural center.
It is situated in the Bay Area of Northern California and is the biggest city in the area, home to many tech companies.
It is surrounded by rolling hills that encompass all kinds of beauty.
Major global tech giants like PayPal, Cisco, Adobe, Samsung, Acer, eBay, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise can be found within the city.
Interested to know more about this place?
Here are the 30 best things to do in San Jose, California:
Unveil the Mystery at the Winchester Mystery House
Constructed by Sarah Winchester shortly after her husband’s death, the Winchester Mystery House is spread over 24,000 square feet, has 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors and 160 rooms.
The current valuation of the house stands at $71 million today.
The mansion has also been reported for paranormal activities and almost 12 million guests have come to visit this place since 1923 to understand the mystery that resides within this sprawling mansion.
Walk through the Halls of the San Jose Museum of Art
Situated in downtown San Jose, the San Jose Museum of Art is a great place to hang out for art lovers.
The museum is small but has wonderful pieces and displays.
Most of the focus in the museum is on modern art and the intricacies behind it.
Additionally, the museum is home to some pictures and video displays about Vietnam.
Explore Santana Row
Deriving its name from Frank M. Santana, a man who served on San Jose’s planning commission in the mid-1900s, Santana Row is a luxurious commercial and residential district west of San Jose.
It is a line of restaurants, boutiques, brand shops, spas, and hotels.
Some bars serve good music, great alcohol, and a cinema at the end of the row.
Try a Different Culture at Japantown
Japantown is situated in downtown San Jose and is home to Japanese American and Chinese American communities.
Boarding houses for Japanese men were initially constructed here, but with time local businesses bloomed, and the cultures and festivals have taken over and created a beautiful environment for anyone who passes this neighborhood in San Jose.
Tourists can also experience traditional Japanese restaurants along with traditional Japanese food.
Visit the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose
On Woz Way, located downtown in San Jose, Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose is the product of childish curiosity.
Woz Way, on which this museum is constructed, is named after the co-founder of Apple computers, Steve Wozniack, who is also one of the donors who funded the construction of this museum.
It is a great place to bring your kids on a weekend as they learn more about water, fossils, diverse cultures, different food habits, arts and crafts, and much more.
Revisit History at Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
Located in a Rosicrucian park in the Rose garden neighborhood of San Jose, the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum is dedicated entirely to Ancient Egypt and claims to behold the largest exhibition of Egyptian artifacts.
The museum is a treat for curious kids and adults.
One can find notable exhibits at the museum, including child and animal mummies.
The museum is also home to a 1.5 million-year-old stone axe, but visitors cannot look at it.
One can quickly access the museum as a visitor, volunteer, and more.
Experience the Fun at the Pup Plaza
One of the city's newest and most innovative ideas, the Pup Plaza is the perfect place for dog lovers.
It provides one with the mission of helping the dogs in need and rehabilitating them for further adoption.
One can come for free workshops on dog behavior and engage in adoption parties or dog birthday celebrations.
One can quickly run up to this beautiful center on a stressful day and have some excellent ol’ dog love.
Stroll around at Kelley Park
Here at Kelley Park, you can have a picnic here on the weekend with your family or have good peace of mind, reading your favorite book under the shade of the aesthetically lined-up trees.
The park is also a famous place for weddings.
Pay a Visit to Tech Interactive
Previously known as the Tech Museum of Innovation, this museum essentially exhibits all the gadgets and gizmos that Silicon Valley companies develop.
The Tech Interactive offers an interactive learning experience, houses a tech studio and social robots, and has a virtual test zone gallery.
Venture the Los Gatos Creek Trail in San Jose
Stretching over 11.2 miles, Los Gatos Creek Trail is where one can jog, run, cycle, or hike.
The trail passes through many little cities between San Jose and Lexington Reservoir.
The trail throughout stays strewn with little riparian undergrowth.
On Sundays, you can find young people cycling past you or families just bringing their dogs for a good walk on the weekend.
See the Roses at the Municipal Rose Garden
Established in the year 1937, Municipal Rose Garden houses 189 different types of roses.
One can easily find a group of photo enthusiasts hanging around, clicking aesthetically pleasing shots of the roses.
One can easily find families resting in a low-lying shade and children having fun running around.
See Pieces of Art at San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
Here at The San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, one can look at almost impossible art pieces from different and variant cultures.
The San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles also showcases the use of modern technology in the basic traditions of fiber art.
Getting a tour of this innovative museum is just $8 per person.
Learn about Portuguese History at the Portuguese Historical Museum
Opened to the public in the middle of 1997, the Portuguese Historical Museum is one of the most enriching historical museums in San Jose.
The museum talks volumes about how life was before Santa Clara Valley (now known as Silicon Valley) was hit with modernization at the touchdown of the 20th century.
The museum exhibits the Portuguese's different discoveries and their position at that time.
The museum exhibits the stories of Portuguese migration and settlements in the United States.
See the Stunning Architecture at the Hayes Mansion San Jose, Curio Collection by Hilton
One of the best examples of Mediterranian Revival architecture, Hayes Mansion San Jose, Curio Collection by Hilton is situated in the Edenvale neighborhood in San Jose.
The estate is now taken over and operates as a hotel that changed its name to “Hayes Mansion Hotel.”
When it was first constructed for the Hayes family, the property was self-sufficient as it had its railroad station, chapel, post office, and power plant.
Everyone who stayed at this mansion-turned-hotel has always enjoyed their stay.
Explore the Shoreline Lake Park
Right amid Silicon Valley but around 15 miles from San Jose, Shoreline Park in Mountain View features an 18-hole links-style golf course.
It also has one 50-acre artificial lake.
This challenging golf course also provides golfers with equal parts of beauty.
One can easily golf at this link for $40.
One can also catch a great view of fireworks each year from here on the 4th of July.
Learn about the Universe at NASA Ames Exploration Center
At the entrance of the Nasa Ames Research Centre stands a museum with exhibits that are some groundbreaking findings in space and astronomy.
The museum exhibits a moon rock found by Apollo 15, a model of the SOFIA aircraft, a model exhibit of the Kepler Mission, and the Mercury-Redstone 1A capsule.
Shop at the San Jose Flea Market
Located on the northeast end of San Jose, San Jose Flea Market is home to buying everything cheap, from clothes, cologne, vegetables, and meat, and you need some good cheap beer.
In the middle of the flea market, one can catch a Mexican band playing some songs to cheer you up.
The flea market also has many rides for the kids and great food trucks.
Visit the Alum Rock Park
Standing on the east front of San Jose city, this municipality park is situated on the foothills of the Diablo Range.
The park has switchbacks from ridges to trails and back to ridges.
Along with picnic and play areas, this lush green park also has mineral springs, camping areas, and volleyball pits.
Bikers have limited access to the park as it is mostly for hikers.
One can also find themselves gaping at a deer or gray foxes on one of the trails in the park.
Revisit Vietnamese History at the Viet Museum
Situated in San Jose city, Viet Museum is a remembrance of the boat people of Vietnam and all those Vietnamese who shifted out from their country to come and settle in the United States.
This is the first of all Vietnamese museums constructed out of Vietnam.
The museum also honors all the Vietnamese soldiers who lost their lives serving their people at the war front.
See the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph's Architecture
One cannot find out a Roman Catholic church on an American street.
But Downtown San Jose begs to differ as the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph stands tall with its intricate and eye-catching architecture.
The interior of this church is staggeringly beautiful as it is architectured with plaques and stained glass windows.
The church is not crowded at any time of the day, so one can easily catch a quiet corner and adore its beauty.
Attend a Convention at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center
One can attend different conventions at San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose.
It is the largest convention center in Silicon Valley, with an area of 51,000 square meters.
Adjoining the convention center are the hotels of Marriott and Hilton.
Some events at this convention center are Facebook F8, Silicon Valley International Auto Show, Comic Fests, Furcon, the NHL Fan fair and Fanimecon.
Connect with Nature at Happy Hollow Park and Zoo
Originally opening its gates in 1961, Happy Hollow Park and Zoo amid San Jose city is home to various animals and birds.
The zoo is famous for its petting zoo space, carousel, and roller coasters.
One can find meerkats, goats, jaguars, lemurs, red pandas, and anteaters roaming around in the zoo.
The emphasis of this zoo is on educating people about wildlife preservation.
The zoo gives the young and adults a vibrant atmosphere to bask in.
Stroll Down the Japanese Friendship Garden
Sitting on one walled corner of Kelley Park, this garden was constructed after Japan’s Korakuen Garden in Okayama.
The ponds are filled with koi that were sent from Japan in the year 1966.
The garden gives a good breathing space in the middle of the bustle of the city.
One can easily pick one corner overlooking one of the ponds and read their favorite Murakami book.
Go Biking at Guadalupe River Trail
Running along the river for over 9 miles, this trail consists of two segments.
The surrounding grounds contain daffodils, irises, and California golden poppies.
The trail provides the bikers with scenic views, with the river flowing beside them and the distant hills that show between the twists and turns in the trail.
Try Hiking at Almaden Quicksilver County Park
Considered a landmark in California history, this park is situated in south San Jose.
There are a lot of trails for the hiker to choose from, and that is what makes this park unique.
One can look at San Jose city up from the top too.
The park contains native wildlife and an old mining historical place called Buena Vista.
Some of the trails in the park are pretty hard to hike, and others are good for a family hike on a Sunday morning.
Shop and Snack at San Pedro Square Market
San Pedro Square Market is your neighborhood food hall with a variety of locally owned artisan restaurants and food-related businesses serving a wide range of international cuisines.
They serve as a gathering place for those interested in cuisine, music, tourism, social media, and other things in Downtown San Jose.
The variety of food options at this bustling public market ranges from Japanese food to snacks and beyond.
The Market is the perfect spot to hang out, with its open-air Plaza, sidewalk cafe, and indoor areas.
Visit San Pedro Square Market to experience the vibrant history, culture, and people firsthand.
Admire Artistic Works at the Institute of Contemporary Art
The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), established in 1980, is an essential component of the diverse arts organizations that make up San José's cultural landscape.
It engages audiences using cutting-edge visual art exhibits and public events.
Their shows are created to offer artists the tools they need to express their creative energy and the general public a chance to see a wide variety of artistic expression.
By acquiring a 7,500-square-foot structure in April 2006, the ICA pledged its utmost commitment to downtown San José.
They significantly increased their programming once the new building opened in June 2007.
ICA draws close to 20,000 visitors annually to its location in San José's SoFA arts and entertainment area.
Explore Willow Glen
Find out why Willow Glen's downtown is referred to as "San Jose's Local Treasure."
Due to its historic homes and attractive tree-lined lanes, Willow Glen is the ideal place to spend a day browsing stores or dining at a coffee shop.
There are more than 250 shops, restaurants, services, and professional establishments downtown Willow Glen.
Willow Glen is the place to be if you want to go on wine walks, attend family events, or go to the farmer's market.
Every year, hundreds of people attend street festivals that promote their neighborhood to the broader San Jose and Bay Area.
Splash around the Raging Waters San Jose
The biggest waterpark in Northern California, Raging Waters San Jose, is situated with picturesque views of the lake and the San Jose Highlands.
It boasts more than a million gallons of water-drenched family entertainment.
Enjoy the 23 acres of coasters, slides, and attractions, like the Endless River, a 350,000-gallon wave pool, play spaces for families, and various thrilling rides.
There are numerous restaurants and snack spots inside Raging Waters San Jose.
You may find everything you're searching for at Raging Waters San Jose, whether you're in the mood for a little snack, casual lunch, or sugary delight.
Visit the Tourist Attractions at SoFA District
The SoFA District is a center for arts, culture, and enjoyment in Downtown San Jose.
Multiple cultural organizations call it home, along with the San José Opera and the Institute of Contemporary Art.
Entertain yourself with some poetry readings at a charming coffee shop, or stop at one of the many craft brewers along the road for an excellent brew.
Explore any of the numerous art galleries in the District that are close by and accessible on foot.
Some city events and festivities are in SoFA, notably South First Fridays and the SoFA Street Fair.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Hike to the Santa Cruz Mountains
About 15 miles south of San Jose, the Santa Cruz mountains are home to its tallest peak: Loma Prieta.
You can hike up this mountain range that stands 3,806 feet high and looks upon the view stretching up to a distance.
See Montalvo Arts Center's Beauty
The Montalvo Arts Center is located in Saratoga, California.
The estate around the villa boasts of nature that stays new and large structures enhance its beauty.
There amidst the vast estate, there is also a 137-acre botanical garden.
Spend a long weekend in San Jose, a bustling city in Silicon Valley, where you can discover fascinating museums, free activities, free-spirited neighborhoods, lovely parks, and excellent dining.
San Jose's skyrocketing rates, luxurious malls, world-class sports facilities, and other characteristics make its economic growth evident.
There are many entertaining things to do, sights to see, and locations to explore in San Jose, whether you're here all week, on vacation, or beyond.
Best Things to do in San Francisco
Best Things to do in Los Angeles
Best Things to do in San Diego
Best Things to Do in San Clemente
Best Things to Do in Pismo Beach
Best Things to Do in Sausalito
Best Things to Do in Crescent City
Best Things to Do in Pacific Grove
Best Things to Do in Healdsburg
Best Things to Do in Lancaster
Best Things to Do in Walnut Creek
Best Things to Do in Manhattan Beach
Best Things to Do in Dana Point
Best Things to Do in Santa Ana