San Jose

This hub of all things high-tech also offers excellent parks, wineries and a well-established cultural scene.

Sitting in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, San Jose enjoys more than its fair share of success in the technology industry. Spread out around the southern end of the San Francisco Bay, it also has easy access to the nature reserves, parks and gardens the Bay Area is renowned for.

Explore the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge to watch for migratory and endangered birds. For a different take on Bay Area wildlife and terrain, head to Alum Rock Park. There are miles of walking tracks through woodlands and hills, where you’re likely to spot deer, squirrels and maybe even a puma.

When you get back to town, brush up on your Bay Area history by dropping into the Los Altos History Museum. To go even further back in time, check out the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. With a collection of over 4,000 artifacts, including mummies and objects from daily life in ancient times, there’s enough to keep budding Egyptologists occupied for hours. Wander outside to admire the Ancient Egyptian-inspired grounds.

At Kelley Park enjoy more outdoor beauty, as well as indoor attractions. This 156-acre (63-hectare) public space has cultural centers dedicated to local immigrant communities, as well as a selection of heritage buildings. Kids will love the nearby Happy Hollow Park and Zoo.

For a taste of contemporary Bay Area culture, visit the San Jose Museum of Art or the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. Both feature works by local artists from the 20th and 21st centuries. Techies should also take some time to explore the Intel Museum, where they’ll learn how microprocessors are designed and constructed.

Restore your inner zen at the Hakone Japanese Gardens, an immaculately cultivated space nestled in the tranquility of in the Saratoga Hills. Garden enthusiasts will also want to visit the award-winning San Jose Municipal Rose Garden.

San Jose is Silicon Valley’s unofficial capital. Its highly-educated population and strong economy ensure a thriving cultural scene, while its prime location allows locals and visitors to enjoy the Bay Area’s natural beauty without traveling too far from town.

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