I’m just ashamed of the busy city San Francisco i MontereySan Jose is really easy to visit while exploring the bay area. And not only that, there are plenty of the best things to do in San Jose, scattered all over the city, making it a gem to visit.
From centuries of exploration history, epic trails and museums, it’s the perfect stopping point along the wider area California travel.
In many ways, San Jose is a type of California city that is neglected in favor of its popular neighbors around the bay.
So to avoid missing the best places, I wanted to visit a few of my favorite places to visit.
Check out the best things you can do in San Jose, California below. Have fun amazing!
1.) Winchester Mystery House
The mysterious house of Winchester was once owned by Sarah Winchester, the famous widow of William Winchester of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. It is said that the weapon created by his company is what actually “conquered the west”.
Anyway, without going into the whole history lesson, when William Winchester died, Sara inherited a huge fortune and threw money into a new home, the Winchester Mystery House. Nowadays, visiting is one of the best things about San Jose, especially because of the unusual rooms and eerie ghosts.
Once inside, you’ll explore a bunch of different rooms that Sara has chosen. From fake stairs to deceptive doors, it’s a total mystery and a pretty unique place to see.
The guided tour is great and worth seeing if you are interested in a rather unusual and completely unique place in San Jose.
Although Sara never explained her plans, it is often said that the schedule was made to confuse some awful paranormal spirits.
2.) Los Gatos Creek Trail
If you like chatter, then Los Gatos Creek Trail is for you!
From the edge of downtown San Jose, hop on this lovely, ten-mile road, heading south to Los Gatos itself.
The end point is the Lexington Reservoir, which is quite epic and worth visiting one day on foot. Saying yes, whether you are walking or cycling, the Los Gatos Creek trail is absolutely great and is quite easy to navigate.
Just be sure to take plenty of SPF and fluids for the route. No one likes to be a burnt or thirsty wanderer!
Imagine something a little more adrenaline pumping? Jump California Great America a family theme park that is completely epic. A patriot slide is everything!
3.) Red Santana
So, a trip to Santana Row is one of the best things in San Jose for anyone who wants a little retail therapy! You see, in Santana Row there are small boutiques, delicious gourmet places and larger outlets where you can spend that cash.
In the evening, you could even catch Makers ’Market, an outdoor craft fair held on certain days in the area. There is everything from live music to a range of sustainable goods, local artists and independent producers; it’s great!
For a fiery treat, come in Chika for their epic burritos and wings. They also have absolutely amazing cocktails!
In addition, you can easily visit Santana Row after exploring the mysterious house of Winchester.
4.) San Jose Flea Market
Over 120 hectares of agricultural land have been turned into what is called today San Jose Flea Market and it’s absolutely amazing! Honestly, if you’re anything like me, you’ll love a few hours of research here.
Open from dawn to dusk, the San Jose flea market is the largest market of its kind in all of California. It is a spacious scene with lots of small stalls and bazaars to explore.
In addition to shops selling antiques, trinkets and souvenirs, there is a whole range of gourmet places and stalls that will keep you full all afternoon.
There is even a small amusement park for children and a huge agricultural market that offers different types of fresh produce.
Are you visiting San Jose tonight? Head out to explore the Berryessa Night Market that takes place on a Friday night. That’s epic!
5.) Municipal rose garden
Located in the heart of San Jose, the Municipal Rose Garden is an idyllic little place to cool off in a short walk.
With almost 100 years, the park has a long history in the city and covers five hectares (which is easy to explore). And not only that, almost 200 species of roses need to be discovered.
If you do decide to visit, head out in May; this is when rose flowers really come into play.
Afterwards, head to the chilled diner, Park Station Hashery for brunch. This local and friendly snack bar is completely informal and makes the best pancakes and sandwiches. Still, bring your appetite, the portions are big!
6.) Visit the museums of San Jose
First, be sure to stop by the world-class San Jose Museum of Art!
Housed in a permanent collection of over 2,500 pieces of modern and contemporary art, the Museum of Art is one of the best things to do in San Jose if you are an art lover. Not only are the permanent collections amazing, but there’s also a consistent schedule of seasonal art exhibits, so there’s always something new to see.
Isn’t art your thing? See the Intel Museum. Filled with everything and everything you can imagine around nanotechnology and all things, it’s one epic place to visit if you love devices. Walking through the exhibitions, you’ll explore how Intel’s technology has evolved over time. It’s pretty epic and totally worth it.
Has the Intel Museum whetted your appetite for technology? Then head to Tech Interactive which takes an honorable place in San Jose. Here you will be able to explore the various innovations and technological inventions that have transformed the world, and some are even available for practical experiences!
You can even design your own robot and see plasticized anatomical figures up close.
7.) Egyptian Rosicrucian Museum
Oh, I almost forgot! Don’t forget to visit the Egyptian Rosicrucian Museum!
Occupying the entire block, the Egyptian Rosicrucian Museum is a completely interesting place that takes you back to the time of the Pharos and the pyramids. Inside the complex there is an iconic Rosicrucian labyrinth, a temple of the Rosicrucian order, an exhibition of alchemy and a garden, and a research library that is all amazing to see.
Although, for me, the most impressive point of interest of the entire complex is the Egyptian Rosicrucian Museum. It is said to have been built to look similar to the temple of Amun at Karnak in Egypt.
Housed in one of the largest collections of ancient Egyptian objects on the West Coast, the Egyptian Rosicrucian Museum has thousands of things to see; including mummies!
Just give yourself a few hours to tour the complex.
8.) Almaden Quicksilver County Park
Located on a former mining site, Almaden Quicksilver County Park is a historic site, park and cultural destination all united in one beautiful location.
Once a busy mining town, with a 135-year history of mining activities and a housing community of over 1,800 miners and their families. To this day, the area is marked by the remains of holes and mining buildings. Although they are not open to research, of course for safety reasons.
However, you can still watch them as you wander the many hiking trails and bike trails in the park. We love the Hacienda trail and the Wood Road trail, which are great for relaxing weather off the street.
Japantown (also called Jtown or Nihonmachi), is a popular neighborhood to visit while exploring San Jose.
Founded by the first Japanese immigrants more than 120 years ago, it’s one of the best things in San Jose for a little wandering.
Once here, visit the Japanese-American Museum of San Jose and the Buddhist Church of San Jose. Oh, and don’t forget to visit the nearby Japanese Friendship Garden which is about a 10 minute drive away.
Then head towards San Pedro Square Market in which there is a crowd of tasty merchants. They make everything from the most delicious sushi (Hyland House of Sushi), Nepalese momos (in Urban Momo) and tacos (in Loteria Tacos). It’s so good.
10.) Cesar Chavez Square
In the heart of San Jose, the Plaza de Cesar Chavez is really easy to visit after exploring the Interactive Museum of Art and Technology.
Now it might be a little, but it has a huge amount of history and is easily one of the best things in San Jose. In fact, it is one of the oldest public spaces in Northern California and imbued with history.
And not only that, you have a bunch of spots dotted across the wider area of the beach for exploration. For example, for some epic cocktails go to Paper Plane (their delicious ABG milk tea with ginger is delicious).
Oh, and check out some of the tastiest and most famous pizzas in all of San Jose Kukar’s house of pizza. They have been around since 1950 and are still strong!
Finally, don’t forget to enter the Cathedral of St. Joseph’s Basilica. The ceiling is so impressive and a place you can’t miss.