1. Guadalupe River Park and Gardens
1300 Senter Rd, San Jose, CA 95112 · 408-277-2757
Guadalupe River Park and Gardens is a haven of sorts in the heart of San Jose. In addition to being a refuge for migratory and songbirds, the three-mile long park offers several stretches of scenic river walks and jogging trails. The Guadalupe Gardens, which features nearly 4,000 varieties of roses, is also located here. River Park and Gardens hosts several festivals and concerts each year and provides ample picnic facilities.
2. Kelley Park
1300 Senter Rd, San Jose, CA 95112 · 408-277-2857
Kelley Park, a 160-plus acre public park, offers an excellent break from the traffic and noise of downtown San Jose. This picnicker’s paradise includes several ponds, the idyllic Japanese Friendship Garden, and several lawn areas. San Jose's Happy Hollow Park and Zoo and the San Jose Historical Museum also are located here.
3. Mexican Heritage Plaza
1700 Alum Rock Ave, San Jose, CA 95103-0004
This is one of the states largest multipurpose centers dedicated to the furthering of Latino culture. The Mexican Heritage Plaza contains beautiful thematic gardens, a Pavilion area, a 500-seat theatre, a 4000-foot exhibition space called La Galería, and several offices and classrooms. This facility hosts several exhibits, concerts, and festivals each year and offers suitable facilities for corporate meetings.
4. Intel Museum
2200 Mission College Blvd, Santa Clara, CA 95052-8119 · 408-765-0503
The Intel Museum, despite its modest size, is an interesting place for adults and children of all ages. At this museum, you can learn a little about the history of both the Intel Corporation and Silicon Valley as a whole, including an interesting exhibit that explains the genesis of a computer chip. The museum store is located across from the museum and carries a nice selection of souvenirs and gift items.
5. Machu Picchu and the Museum of the Americas
87 East San Fernando St, Inca Gardens Restaurant, San Jose, CA 95113-2511 · 408-280-1860
A museum dedicated to folk art from the Americas' native cultures is located in San Jose's Inca Gardens Restaurant. This museum is noteworthy for its beautiful collection of clothing, jewelry, musical instruments, and toys. Machu Picchu and the Museum of the Americas's store is a great place to find exquisite craft-items, books, and gift items. The museum also hosts music nights that feature, for example, Andean folk music.
6. San Jose Historical Museum
1650 Senter Rd, San Jose, CA 95112 · 408-287-2290
This San Jose museum focuses on the history of the city and the Valley in general. The museum is actually outdoors, so to speak. The approximately twenty-five acres include a replica of San Jose's original Main Street, a fire station, and a working old-fashioned ice-cream parlor. The site also boasts an exhibit gallery and hosts several special events throughout the year.
7. Tech Museum of Innovation
201 South Market St, San Jose, CA 95113-2008 · 408-294-8324
The noisy Tech Museum of Innovation, located on the Cesar Chavez Plaza, isn't too hard to find for its bright orange exterior tends to capture the eye. This is a great place for kids to be kids and adults to follow suit. Here, you can hop behind the wheel of a remote control Martin or do a test run on the same virtual simulator that the U.S. bobsled team used during their training. Other exhibits include laser technology, robotics, and space exploration.
Top Weekend Getaways And Day Trip Excursions:
1. Metro Fountain Blues Festival
San Carlos Plaza, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA 95192 · 408-924-6262
This blues festival is held each year at San Jose State University. The festival is free, and year after year the promoters are able to bring in some of blues' biggest names - R. L. Burnside, Son Seals, Bo Diddley, and John Coltrane to name but a few. The Metro Fountain Blues Festival is a family affair, and, while picnicking is encouraged, alcohol is prohibited. This is one of the area's best events.
2. San Jose Jazz Festival
476 Park Ave, Cesar Chavez Park, San Jose, CA 95110 · 408-288-7557
The San Jose Jazz Festival, which is held downtown every August, is a series of free concerts that usually attracts more than 100,000 people. It is the largest free jazz concert in the world. Most of the festival's best performances take place in Cesar Chavez Park. The festivalgoers are fairly eclectic - as are the magicians who perform - and it tends to get crowded fairly early. The festival is free of charge.
3. Paramount's Great America
Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, CA 95054 · 408-988-1776
Paramount’s Great America, located just north of San Jose, offers some of the best family-oriented fun in the South Bay area. The park is a great place to spend an afternoon, and you'll find a wide range of entertainment from rides and play areas to games and shows. Great America is the home of such rides as the "Demon," the "Drop Zone," a James Bond ride called "License to Thrill," "Stealth," the world's first flying roller coaster; and an IMAX theater.
4. Mirassou Vineyards
3000 Aborn Rd, San Jose, CA 95135 · 408-274-4000
The Mirassous, who have been making wine longer than any family in America, invite guests to visit during tasting hours. The vineyard is well known for its Pinot Noir and Blanc, Chardonnay, and Monterey Riesling. If you can't make the trip to Napa valley, then Mirassou Vineyards is a reasonable substitute. The wine is good, and the staff is helpful and courteous. They also operate the Champagne Cellars in Los Gatos.
5. Peralta Adobe
175 West Saint John St, San Jose, CA 95110-2434 · 408-993-8182
Dating back to the late 18th century, Peralta Adobe is the only vestige of the original El Pueblo de San José, one of the state's earliest Spanish settlements. Inside, the pueblo is furnished in much the same fashion as it was 200 years ago, and outside is an outdoor fireplace. Your ticket also gets you into the Fallon House across the street.
6. San Jose Heritage Rose Garden
715 Spring St, San Jose, CA 95110 · 408-298-7657
In the heart of downtown San Jose, nestled between Taylor and Spring Streets, is a five-acre rose garden called the Heritage Rose Garden. The garden, which was dedicated in 1995, is maintained by volunteers and now contains more than 5,000 rose bushes. If you are looking for a peaceful place to enjoy your lunch break, then scout out a spot on one of the benches here and do just that.