Things to do in San Jose

Things to do in San Jose If you’re keen on computer stuff and big tech companies, San Jose is the perfect place for you. It is also known as the Mecca of technological trends. In this city, you can discover the headquarters of world-class tech companies like Samsung, eBay, Adobe Systems, Acer and PayPal. In this thorough guide, we’ve listed the top destinations that will definitely leave you with a jaw-dropping expression on your face. Because the last thing you want is strolling around the vast streets of San Jose without having a simple idea of what place to visit. So sit back, and keep reading to find out why San Jose is a breathtaking city.

What kind of travel do you do

  1. Family
  2. Solo
  3. Couples

What are you looking for

  1. Food
  2. Local experience
  3. History
  4. Culture
  5. Nature
  6. Adventure


  1. Cheap
  2. Free
  3. Medium
  4. Expensive

Show only Phillip's favorite things:

  1. Yes
  2. No

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum


Enjoy a 360 degree virtual tour of the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum.

A walk back in time to the ancient Egyptians is just where we kick off our destination hot-spots in San Jose. The museum is the largest of its kind in the western United States.  People from all over the world come to see the extensive collection of Egyptian artifacts.

There are different exhibits every week to peak your interest. The Museum gets 120 000 visitors every year, of whom 36 000 are grade 6 learners. This is due to a program run by surrounding schools. It is ideal if you are traveling with your children.

Check out the events calendar to schedule your visit accordingly.

  • Experience rotating exhibits like the Rosicrucian Alchemy Exhibits.
  • Look at the architectural structures.
  • Learn about the ways of the ancient Egyptians.

Check out the events calendar to schedule your visit accordingly.

Family Couples Local experience History Culture Medium

Alum Rock Park

A memorable outdoor activity does not have to cost an arm and a leg. At Alum Rock Park you can have beautiful picnics while enjoying the best of what nature has to offer. At the park, they offer various educational programs for school children and other groups.

The park was founded in 1872 and is the oldest park in the Californian area.

There is a multitude of activities to do in the 720 acres of lush greenery and rocky hills.

Watch a mountain lion sighting at the Alum Rock Park.

  • Bicycle riding on the routes are an adventurous dream.
  • Horseback riding can be done at the park.
  • The food and gift shop is located within the camp.
  • Bird-watch enthusiasts can have a fun day exploring the park's array of bird species.


Family Solo Couples Food Local experience Nature Adventure Cheap

Happy Hollow Zoo

One of the most fun adventures to take on in San Jose is the Happy Hollow Zoo outing. At the Zoo, you will meet different conservation animal ambassadors who will make you feel more connected to the animals and make you feel the need to make a change to protect the natural world.

The zoo also has many classes and camps to enrich your knowledge of animals. The classes are interactive and can be enjoyed by the whole family.

  • Enjoy a panda and Aligator exhibition with the family.
  • Take a ride on Kelley’s park express train.
  • Fine dining at the Picnic Basket located in the zoo.

Family Solo Couples Food Local experience Medium

The Japanese Friendship Garden in San Jose’s Kelley Park

In a busy city, it is pleasing to find a tranquil and beautiful place. The Japanese Friendship Garden is a symbol of the long-lasting bond between San Jose and its sister city Okayama, Japan. The garden was built in 1965 and it emulates the world-renowned Korakuen Garden in Okayama.

There is a brook that flows all year round and exits on the different ponds. The best time to visit the garden is in spring when the flowers are in full bloom.

  • Get to the different Khoi fish in the ponds.
  • Take a relaxing walk in the garden.
  • Enjoy a delicious meal at dinner.

Family Solo Couples Local experience Nature Cheap Free Medium

San Jose Flea Market

As an urban tourist finding the best deals while visiting a foreign city should be second nature to you. While living in San Jose can be extremely expensive the San Jose flea market offers bargains that everyone will love.

Take a look at the different restaurants and what they have on offer.

The flea market has been around since 1960 and has a wide variety of stalls offering different delicacies and apparel for you to try.

TIP - Use the mobile shopping directory to navigate your way around the market.

  • Tackle all your shopping needs in one place.
  • Enjoy live music with your family at the San Jose Flea Market.
  • Ride the vintage carousel and mini Ferris wheel.
  • Various cuisines to test out that will intrigue your taste-buds.

Couples Local experience Culture Free

San Jose Museum of Art

One of the gems in the city is the Museum of Art that is situated in downtown San Jose. It has a good collection of modern art and is there to showcase local artist on a big stage. There is also an emphasis on technology-based art such as the RetroTech Exhibition.

  • Recent acquisitions include South East North West (2017), Antique Earth Satellite (2016) and Drowning Sorrows (2001‒2002).
  • The museum has about 1,400 varied artworks throughout the museum.
  • Guided tours will make the experience worthwhile while learning about art.

Family Local experience Culture Medium

San Jose History Park

When on holiday it is always good to get to know the history of the city you visit.  At the history park, you will get to go through 14 acres of San Jose history. You will get to see 32 original and reproduction homes, landmarks and businesses.

The best part of visiting the History Park is that it is free to the public.

  • Visit the Candy Shop or the O’Brien’s ice-cream shop for tasty treats.
  • There are two rotating galleries to view namely the Arbuckle Gallery and the Leonard and David McKay Gallery.
  • An event or festival can be expected every week.
  • Go and explore the Pacific Hotel and get a glimpse at the 1880s.

Solo Couples Local experience History Culture Free

Children’s Discovery Museum

When traveling with your kids it can be difficult trying to keep them entertained throughout the trip. This is why we got the perfect place for you and your children to visit while you are in San Jose.

The Children’s Discovery Museum is at the forefront of creating innovative and educational experiences for the children. It is situated in a 52, 000 sq. ft. a purple building that gives of a warm and fun feeling.

  • Ranked in the top 10 of Children’s Museums in the United States of America.
  • Science activities should be booked in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • Activities for kids include a puppet show, pizza kitchen, storytime and dress up.

Family Local experience Medium

San Jose McEnery Convention Center

If you looking to attend some of the major events in San Jose it is likely to happen in the McEnery convention center. It has a whopping 520,000 sq. ft. of space and holds events like Silicon Valley Comic-con, Silicon Valley Auto Show and Fanime events.

  • Stay at the luxurious Hilton and Marriot hotels both adjoin the convention center.
  • Get to experience multiple visual and performing arts facilities.
  • Rail access is assessable close to the center.
  • Various five-star restaurants are on offer at the McEnery Convention Centre

Family Solo Couples Food Local experience Medium

Floodcraft Brewing Company at Whole Foods

When you need to unwind and hit back some cold ones try Floodcraft as they offer an abundance of craft beer for you to enjoy. They have a huge selection of craft beers for you to enjoy and the staff are experts in their trade so if you need some advice about the different selections don’t hesitate to ask.

What makes this place even more exceptional is the fact that you can grab a snack at Wholefoods whiles you there.

  • Happy hour is between 5-7.
  • Great selection of craft beer for you to choose from.
  • Grab a snack at Wholefoods and enjoy it upstairs.
  • The ambiance of the place makes for a great getaway from the buzzing city.

Solo Couples Food Local experience Medium

Japantown, San Jose: Hide Inada

While visiting San Jose you can get real Japanese experience at the Hide Inada. Japan town has a variety of Japanese restaurants with food that will entice your taste buds. There is also a lot of Japanese shops by trinkets and gifts while exploring the culture.

The neighborhood has a true Japanese feeling to it and the festivals they have is something to behold while you are there.

  • Get to eat authentic Japanese cuisines like ramen, sushi, and teppanyaki.
  • Explore the Japanese neighborhoods and meet the locals.
  • Check out the legendary CHU-HING house for a look at ancient Japan.

Family Solo Couples Food Local experience Culture Nature Medium

Los Gatos Creek Trail

The Los Gatos Creek trail is any active travelers dream. The creek offers trails for joggers, walkers, cyclist, skaters, non-motorized scooters and all the nature lovers out there. There is even a dog park for you and your furry friend. In the park, there are a lot of shaded areas and seating to enjoy a nice outdoor picnic.

Map of the Los Gatos Creek trail part 1

Map of the Los Gatos Creek trail part 2

  • Get to see diverse wildlife and plant-life in the creek.
  • Lots of picnic spots for you to enjoy.
  • The dog park is ideal for you if you are traveling with your pet.

Family Solo Couples Local experience History Culture Medium

Museum of Quilts & Textiles

There is a permanent collection of about 550 quilts, garments, and ethnic textiles. Most of the emphasis falls on 20th and 21st-century quilts and textiles. There is also a library hosting over 500 books relating to the craft of quilts & textiles.

  • The permanent collections hold over 1,500 individual objects.
  • The Marbaum Collection can also be viewed at the museum.
  • Read up on quilts & textiles while visiting the museum.

Couples History Culture Medium

Santana Row

Vibrant, trendy and one of the most popular places to be in San Jose is the Santana Row. It is a must-visit for any tourist as celebrities frequently visit this area. The whole Santana Row is a collection of high-end brand shops and boutiques; it also has about 36 restaurants.

  • Catch a movie at the CineArts movie theatre.
  • Do some shopping at Gucci, Tommy Bahama and Kate Spade New York.
  • You can also enjoy live music and outdoor Yoga classes at Santana Row Park.

Family Solo Couples Local experience Culture Expensive

San Jose City Hall

One of the well-known structures in San Jose is the City Hall. It is one of the highest buildings in San Jose reaching an impressive 18-story. The city hall connects you to all of the major attractions that San Jose has.

Construction of this unique building began in 2002 and was finished in 2005.

It is worth a visit while you are roaming the city and need to see some of the architectural glory.

  • Explore the exhibitions on display in the City hall.
  • The mayor’s office is located in this building.
  • Get to see Clara a falcon that lives on a ledge on the 18th

Family Solo Couples Local experience History Free

Skyline Boulevard

Exploring San Jose with your car may seem like a boring way to go about things, but this is not true if you are driving down Skyline Boulevard (route 35). This exceptional road offers beautiful scenery and various hiking trails for you to choose from.

  • At higher elevations you can go out and play with the snow, weather permitting.
  • Get to see the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean simultaneously.
  • There are numerous hiking trails to choose from along Skyline Boulevard.

Family Solo Couples Food Local experience Free

Hayes Mansion

The Hayes Mansion is a 5-star hotel with a rich history that dates back to the 1900s. The original owners were the Hayes family and back then it had a post office, railway station, and its very own power plant.

The city of San Jose acquired the mansion during the 1990s and did extensive renovations to make it look like the wonder it is today.

TIP - Get a 20% discount if you book a two-day stay.

  • Marvel at one the best 19th-century architecture buildings of that period.
  • Stay at a luxurious 115-year-old estate.
  • Take a walk in the park or enjoy the facilities like the gym or swimming pool.
  • Enjoy the San Jose weather while roaming the grounds that has plenty of greenery.

Solo Couples Food Local experience Medium

Shoreline Park

Once a trash heap Shoreline Park has undergone a metamorphosis to a 700 acre beautiful park with a salt lake.  The lake is ideal for windsurfing and small-boat enthusiasts. Not only does it boast with a saltwater lake but it also has a golf course and exclusive bay trails for a lovely afternoon expedition.

  • Visit the amphitheater that is located next to Shoreline Park.
  • Take a walk along the rolling grassy hills.
  • Try your hand at kayaking, canoeing or rowboat.
  • Bike riders, walkers and runners can explore the many trails at Shoreline Park.

Family Solo Couples Food Local experience Culture Nature Adventure Cheap

Portuguese Historical Museum San Jose

The museum is one of the biggest historical attractions in San Jose. The museum, in essence, is a real-life replica of the Chapel to the Holy Spirit. The original building was built to honor the Holy Spirit and as a beacon for immigrants to continue their religious beliefs.

  • The original building was built in 1915 and was named império.
  • The Museum depicts life as it was in Santa Clara Valley (Silicon Valley) at the turn of the century.
  • In the museum, you will find pictures pertaining to the Portuguese immigration.

Family Solo Couples Local experience Culture Medium

Guadalupe River Trail by bike

Taking your bike for a spin while on a holiday is both refreshing and a nice work-out at the same time. The Guadalupe River Trail is a nice activity for you to do solo or with your family. The trails are very easy and the surroundings are very beautiful. You can access the trail anywhere near downtown San Jose.

  • Great activity for you or for your family.
  • Enjoy the Guadalupe River near the rose garden during springtime.
  • Meet new people on the trail or just go for a walk.

Family Solo Couples Local experience Adventure Cheap

Villa Montalvo

The city can sometimes become overwhelming this is why heading down to Villa Montalvo will be a breath of fresh air with all the acres of lush greenery. The estate was once owned by US Senator James Phelan at was the main destination for political, social and artistic life in Northern California.

The Villa still has all of its prestige as it is still an artistic oasis because it is open to all types of the art form.

  • Explore the expansive lawn area all around the villa on a sunny day.
  • Summertime is the best time to visit as there are various concerts held.
  • A lot of hiking trails located above the villa to check out.
  • The trails are pet-friendly but you will need a leach.
  • The botanical gardens are situated nearby if you want to take a detour.

Family Solo Couples Food Nature Medium

Viet Museum

The Viet Museum focuses on the Vietnamese Americans who traveled from Vietnam to America and their journey to the States. Some of the stories are truly heartwarming and will leave awe-inspiring.

  • Learn the history behind the Vietnamese Americans.
  • Get to see memorabilia pertaining to Vietnamese travels.
  • Explore their collection of excellent books that are for sale.

Family Solo Couples Local experience History Culture Cheap

Tech museum of innovation

San Jose is the pillar of Technology in the United States if you want to see firsthand how innovative the museum can be then you have to go and see the advances being made. It does not matter if you have half an hour or a whole day the museum will dazzle you with its creativity.

  • You will get to design, tinker and explore at the Bio-design studio.
  • Get to be a cyber detective and learn all about internet safety.
  • Build your very own robot using sensors, controllers, and actuators.

Family Solo Couples Local experience Adventure Medium

San Jose heritage rose garden

The rose garden is an exquisite representation of San Jose. It is one of the loveliest grounds you will find, however, roses are only in bloom certain parts of the year so choose the right time to visit. There are a lot of open spaces to have a picnic with your family.

  • Watch the heritage garden in full bloom.
  • Have picnics on the terrain while sitting amongst the roses.
  • Take the Guadalupe trail near the rose garden.
  • Volunteer at pruning time to meet the local people.

Family Solo Couples Local experience Culture Nature Free

Visit the Winchester Mystery House

The Winchester Mystery House is truly a unique stop on your journey through San Jose. The house was owned by Sarah Winchester and after her husband died she started building this massive mansion with secrets room unorthodox building style.

  • They offer 2 daily tours every day; The Mansion Tour and The Explore More Tour.
  • Explore the hidden passages and secret rooms built by Sarah Winchester.
  • Learn on the tour about the origins of Sarah and how she came to build this labyrinth.

Family Solo Couples Local experience History Adventure Expensive

Great America

If you could bottle your whole trip into one fun place then it should be the Great America center. At this center, you will be thrilled with roller coaster rides and ferries wheels that are suited for people of all ages. There is also live entertainment in the form of live musicians and performers.

There is a food court in-case you get hungry. The main attraction this year is the Halloween haunt that is ideal for scaring the pants out of anyone.

  • Explore the fun center at the Great American center.
  • Get on the roller coaster and ferries wheel for great thrill rides.
  • Visit the food court meals and shops.

Family Food Local experience Adventure Medium

Mountain Winery

In 1878 a young man by the name of Paul Masson started a winery in San Jose. He was originally from France and his family was all well-established winemakers. This age-old winery is the reason why San Jose is on the world map when it comes to wines and this is mainly due to the efforts of Paul Masson.

Since 1958 there has been an annual concert held at the Mountain Winery that features various artists and the world-class scenery has made it one of the top events around the world.

  • Visit an 1878 winery that put San Jose on the map in that regard.
  • The scenery and mountain tops are picture perfect and it feels like a whole new landscape.
  • There is an annual summer concert held at the Mountain Winery that features world-class artists and guests.

Solo Local experience Culture Medium

San Pedro Square Market

The San Pedro Square Market is a lively place full of activities and places to go shop. It is situated in downtown San Jose and has exciting food vendors at the market. You can get pizza, Latin American Food, craft beer, sushi, fusion hot dogs and a whole lot more.

There are various patios for you to dine at and most of the places are pet-friendly. If you looking for something different they also offer live shows in the form of bands playing to your heart’s content.

  • Get to the liveliest place in downtown San Jose.
  • Excellent food vendors at the market.
  • They offer pizza, Latin American Food, craft beer, sushi and a whole lot more.

Family Food Local experience Cheap

Castle Rock State Park

Along the Santa Cruz Mountains, you will find the Castle Rock State Park. The park is full of hiking trails and is considered a hiking paradise. It does not matter your fitness level this part of the park attracts rock climbers and nature lovers from all walks of life.

The park has a variety of fauna and flora range, and you will also be able to see the Californian Coastal Redwoods and Giant Fir Trees.

  • Enjoy the multitude of hiking trails.
  • Ideal for rock climbers and nature lovers of all fitness levels.
  • The park has a diverse range of fauna and flora.
  • You will get to see the Californian Coastal Redwoods.

Solo Local experience Nature Adventure Cheap

Downtown Los Gatos

The Los Gatos area is a tourist dream come true with its magnificent greenery and wide-open spaces. Los Gatos is one of the oldest communities in the Santa Clara region. Many people from all walks of life come to the town to see the residential, commercial and industrial areas.

The town is very high tech now with a buzzing IT industry and tech giants from all over the world are housed here.

  • Explore the greenery and wide-open spaces around Los Gatos.
  • Visit one of the oldest communities in the Santa Clara area.
  • Get to see some of the major IT companies in the world.

Couples Local experience History Culture Nature Free

Raging Waters

Many locals call the Raging Waters 23 acres of fun. It is one of the most popular San Jose amusement parks and is considered the largest in northern California. At the park, you can experience various slides and pools to will thoroughly entertain you and the whole family. At the lazy river, you will be able to soak up some of the lovely weather that San Jose has on offer.

  • Enjoy the 23-acre of Raging Waters that will offer fun for you and the family.
  • The largest park in northern California.
  • There are various slides and pools to keep you cool.
  • Enjoy and soak up some sun at the lazy river.

Family Local experience Adventure Medium

Emma Prusch Farm Regional Park

Sometimes the city can be overwhelming and people tend to forget that San Jose was a rural area before the boom of Silicon Valley. The Emma Prusch farm is dedicated to preserving that old way of life that tends to be forgotten in the busy day to day of the city life.

At the farm, there is an annual music festival held to commemorate the historic relevance of agriculture in the community. Acts at this festival include Banja Clara, Wild Cat, Radio Rail, and Goat hill Girls just to mention a few.

There are also various picnic spots and food stalls while the show is running. There are also allocated places to dance in front of the red barn. For the kids, there are farm animals to view and feed as you please.

  • Visit one of San Jose’s few agricultural centers in San Jose.
  • Join the music fest with acts like Banja Clara, Wild Cat, Radio Rail, and Goat Hill Girls.
  • Enjoy the picnic spots and the food stalls.
  • Hit the dance floor in front of the red barn.

Family Food Local experience Adventure Cheap

The battles on the Football pitch

The MLS soccer league is very huge in the United States with teams battling it out for the top position. San Jose has their very own team named the Earthquakes and they are a formidable team on the soccer field.

You can watch the senior team or the college cup showcase that has the best college teams going at it to prove who the best is.

  • Get to experience the massive MLS soccer league in San Jose.
  • Support the local favorites Earthquakes as they take on their rivals.
  • Watch colleges from all over duke it out in the College Cup Showcase.

Solo Food Local experience Culture Medium

Lake Cunningham Park

Lake Cunningham is a beautiful scenic setting of about 50-acre or pure clean lake. Here you can spend the whole day doing various activities around the park.

Many people start their day with a mid-morning jog or walk or if you looking for something more advance add calisthenics with a trip through the par course.

As the day gets hotter you can hit the water for some great water activities like sailing, boating, or fishing for a full fun day with the family.

  • Explore the scenic 50-acres of the Lake Cunningham Park.
  • Take a morning walk or jog around the park.
  • Hit the waters and enjoy activities like sailing, boating, and fishing.

Couples Nature Adventure Free

South First Fridays

Enjoy a relaxing evening full of culture on a spectacular night out of the time. Experience an art walk with a difference around the SoFA district. The walk will take you through museums, galleries and pass independent creative businesses that offer special performances and art exhibitions.

  • Take a walk around the SoFA district.
  • Walkthrough galleries and museums and street stalls.
  • Visit the independent businesses that offer special performances.

Couples Local experience Free



General info San Jose

Country The United States of America
Capital Washinton DC
Language English
Timezone  (GMT-7)
Currency Dollar (USD)
International dialing code +1 408
Electricity In the United States of America, the power plugs and sockets are of type A and B. The standard voltage is 120 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz
City population of Copenhagen  1,035 million

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *