Bucket List: 15 Best Places to Visit in San Jose, California, USA
San Jose, California is known for being the home of the Winchester Mystery House, Shark Tank, Silicon Valley, and the San Jose Sharks. The vibrant city has distinctive museums, romantic gardens, and exhilarating outdoor activities. San Jose’s most crowded months are May, July, and August when most festivals are held.
Monopoly in the Park
Monopoly in the Park is a rather small park with a larger-than-life-sized board game. It was installed by Discovery Meadow at 930 square feet. It is the only Guinness Book of World Records attraction in San Jose, California. Visitors can only play the giant board game by setting it up in advance with the city government, otherwise, it will be a fun photo-op with the children.
Location: 330 W San Carlos Street, San Jose, CA 95110
Winchester Mystery House
The Winchester Mystery House is an architectural wonder that used to be the personal residence of Sara Winchester, widow of William Winchester of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.
The house has more than 2,000 doors that either lead to nowhere, to a 15-foot drop into an outdoor garden, or eight feet below in a kitchen sink. Some staircases lead to another floor, right into the ceiling, or to a cabinet door that opens to dozens more rooms. Winchester was obsessed with the number 13: 13 bathrooms, 13 overflow drain holes in the sink, 13 hooks in the seance room, and 13 parts to her will which she signed 13 times. This labyrinth was continuously built for 38 years until the 1906 earthquake, which trapped Winchester in one of the house’s rooms for hours.
Tourists and visitors can now go on guided tours around the house to learn about the history of its architecture and former owners.
Location: 525 S Winchester Boulevard, San Jose, CA 95128
Happy Hollow Park and Zoo
Happy Hollow Park and Zoo is a family-friendly amusement park and accredited zoo located in Kelley Park. The 16-acre park and zoo have a carousel, roller coaster, and a petting zoo with farm animals that children and adults will love. Visitors can cruise along with animals like jaguars, lemurs, meerkats, and red pandas.
Location: 1300 Senter Road, San Jose, CA 95112
Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose
Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose is one of the largest children’s museums at 28,000 square feet. The museum has 150 interactive exhibits for guests to explore and learn from. An art gallery and art studio can be found inside where young children can create and express themselves through an open-ended art form. The CDM is the perfect place for parents to bond with their children and learn from the different exhibits displayed.
Location: 180 Woz Way, San Jose, CA 95110
Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum house the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in Western North America, with over 4,000 artifacts. Every year, the museum sees 100,000 guests and 26,000 schoolchildren.
Location: 1660 Park Avenue, San Jose, CA 95191
San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
The San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles is an art museum devoted solely to quilts and textiles as an art form. First-time visitors often think of a grandmother’s quilts before the museum but the exhibits are more than that. Donated by volunteers and benefactors, the textiles are often historic quilts, contemporary art quilts, textile-based art forms, and garments and textiles from world cultures.
Location: 520 S First Street, San Jose, CA 95113
The Tech Interactive
This family-friendly science and technology museum centers on hands-on activities, experimental labs, and design challenge experiences with immersive STEAM education resources. Tech Interactive’s mission is to inspire the innovator in everyone through exhibits and experiences designed for guests to explore, experiment, and create with technology.
Location: 201 S Market Street, San Jose, CA 95113
Japantown was first founded by Japanese immigrants more than a hundred years ago. The neighborhood is frequented by visitors for its unpretentious and dynamic dining scene that serves Japanese, Japanese-American, and Hawaiian cuisine. The bustling streets of Japantown have galleries that exhibit the works of Japanese and Japanese-American artists, and The Japanese American Museum features stories from World War II and Japanese immigration.
Los Gatos Creek Trail
Los Gatos Creek Trail is a heavily used pedestrian and bicycle trail that runs through multiple jurisdictions and is operated by San Jose City, Campbell City, the County of Santa Clara Park Department, and the Town of Los Gatos. The trail can be accessed from Miles Avenue, East Main Street at College Avenue, Oak Meadow Park, and Vasona County Park. The end of the trail leads to Lexington Reservoir, a scenic artificial lake in Los Gatos. The trail is relatively easy to navigate, even for beginners.
Almaden Quicksilver County Park
The Almaden Quicksilver County Park is a former mining site and historical landmark. The new park was an active mining site for 135 years and houses a community of almost 2,000 miners and their families. The mining sites are not open for exploration due to remnants of mining holes and mining structures, but they can be viewed from the pedestrian and bicycle trails.
Hacienda Trail, Wood Road Trail, as well as the Senador Mine, Mine Hill, and New Almaden Loop are easy trails and loops that can be completed in less than an hour.
Location: 21785 Almaden Road, San Jose, CA 95120
Municipal Rose Garden
This historic rose garden was founded in 1927, with 189 different varieties of roses in 3,500 shrubs on a 5-acre land. Nestled in San Jose, it is an idyllic and relaxing spot that locals frequently visit.
The best time to check the garden is around May when the rose blossoms to its bold colors, although it can be visited year-round.
Location: 1649 Naglee Avenue, San Jose, CA 95126
Almaden Lake Park
Almaden Lake Park is located in the heart of San Jose, surrounded by wildlife and nature trails. Activities to enjoy include hiking, jogging, cycling, picnic, volleyball, bocce, and tossing horseshoes. The lake park is divided into the Eastside and the Westside. Visitors are advised not to bring dogs as the lake park is considered a wildlife sanctuary and the beach area must remain clean. Fishing on the lake is not allowed due to poor water quality.
Location: 6099 Winfield Boulevard, San Jose, CA 95120
Montgomery Hill Park
Montgomery Hill Park is a local favorite, thanks to its tranquility and scenic beauty in the spring when the wildflowers are blooming. The park is also loved for its .4 miles of unpaved trails that extend to Evergreen Falls and Yerba Buena Road, through natural grassland and oak tree environment. Montgomery Hill Park is a great place to have fun with children and fur children or to connect with nature.
Location: Montgomery Hill Trail, San Jose, CA 95135
Kelley Park is regularly visited by locals and visitors with its lovely grounds and the attractions nearby. There is plenty of space for children to play, for families to hold outdoor gatherings and for individuals to go for a walk or a jog with its 172 acres of land.
The Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, an amusement park and accredited zoo, and the Japanese Friendship Garden are near the park.
The Japanese Friendship Garden is an idyllic expanse that symbolizes the relationship between Okayama, Japan, and San Jose. The garden is a popular setting for weddings and celebrations, but locals and visitors also stay to view the beauty of the garden.
Location: 1300 Senter Road, San Jose, CA 95112
Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve
This nature preserve offers sweeping views of the Valley and is home to several protected wildlife species. The grasslands and rock outcroppings used to be a part of the ocean floor. While hiking, visitors should keep an eye for wildflowers, red-tailed hawks, bobcats, and acorn woodpeckers. The Aquila Loop Trail within the preserve is recommended for beginners and families with young children. Other trails permit mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding, but dogs and pets are not allowed in the preserve at any time.
Sierra Vista Trail Map (via openspaceauthority.org/system/documents/SierraVistaTrailMap.pdf)
Location: 5341 Sierra Road, San Jose, CA 95132
San Jose is accessible via land or air. Cars enter through US-101 and Interstate 280. Most rail services stop at San Jose’s central train station. These railroad services include Bay Area Rapid Transit, Amtrak, Caltrain, and Altamont Commuter Express. Bus services that service routes to San Jose are Flixbus, Greyhound Lines, Highway 17 Express, and Hoang Express. The nearest international airports to San Jose are the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and Oakland International Airport (OAK). Several bus routes around San Jose via the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority.
Our Top Hotel Picks for San Jose, CA
San Jose CA Travel and Tour Packages
Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of cheap San Jose CA hotels and resorts via Agoda, Booking, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.
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