Unlike its neighbor 1 hour to the north, Silicon Valley (or the South Bay) is very flat and spread out. Additionally, it’s known to be lacking in cool sites, unless ‘cool’ to you means shopping and driving around for places to shop. Stocked full of engineers and scientists of every field, Silicon Valley boasts one of the highest medium income of any county in the United States as well as one of the lowest levels of crime. Therefore, living costs, especially housing, is very expensive. However, because the area grew up a lot later than San Francisco, it doesn’t have a lot of its history and charm. Nevertheless, you can make a day trip out of the 3 spots below if you are ‘forced’ to spend some time there.

Winchester Mystery House

1. Winchester Mystery House – This is probably the most true ‘tourist’ place in the Silicon Valley because it operates very much like any attraction, where you buy a ticket and are given a tour with a guide. There are different parts of the house that the tour goes through, and I think they do their best to take you away from San Jose and make it feel like you’re in a whole different place and time. It’s not a bad place to check out, and it’s down the street from Silicon Valley’s hottest shopping area, Santana Row. 525 South Winchester Boulevard, San Jose, CA

Japanese Friendship Garden

2. Japanese Friendship Gardens – In a city full of mundane technology campuses and strip malls, this is probably San Jose’s most beautiful place. During the cherry blossom festivals, the Japanese Friendship Garden always has activities and events going on. Even when it’s not the spring time, this place is great to take someone for a walk. There aren’t many places like this in the U.S.

3. Computer Museum History Center – Silicon Valley has a few technology themed museums, but I pick this one because it has an extensive history of computers going back to the 1950’s. Also, it’s got an exhibition on the most important invention in my lifetime, the Internet(s)! Even if you’re not a big tech geek, I think you’ll find something at this museum that has impacted your life. And afterwards, you’re close to downtown Mountain View, which has a pretty good selection of eats.

(Find more information about the Silicon Valley in the WanderRegions section of our site.)

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