Best & Fun Things To Do + Places To Visit In San Jose, California. #Top Attractions

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San Jose, California, offers a lot to its visitors! Here is our hand-picked list of the top activities and attractions in San Jose, California, so you can make the most of your time there. Scroll down for the best things to do in San Jose, California, and the best places to visit in San Jose, California. Wondrous Drifter, a Web 3.0 travel startup, hopes to have a significant impact on the world.

Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph

Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph San Jose
Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph San Jose / Ken Lund / Flickr

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, a huge Roman Catholic church in the heart of downtown San Jose, is a must-see for architecture fans.

It attracts many people due to its architectural splendor, both inside and out, and its intriguing history.

This basilica is the fifth basilica destroyed by earthquakes or fire in the 19th century. One thing in common, they all sit in the same location.

Be mesmerized by the intricately crafted domes and windows.

All 39 stained glass windows in the Cathedral can be found on its walls. The 21 that encircle the transept walls are the most prominent.

Also, the most eye-catching!

Sixteen of them were made in Munich from high-quality, hand-blown Bavarian glass. They were made using an 11th-century technique and are thus “fade proof.”

A one-of-a-kind technique that is no longer used. 

In addition to its stunning architectural features, the church is well-known for its beautiful and serene ambiance.

Address: 80 S Market St, San Jose, CA 95113

Children’s Discovery Museum

Children's Discovery Museum San Jose
Children’s Discovery Museum San Jose / Don DeBold / Flickr

This is a terrific option if you’re looking for things to do with kids in San Jose.

On Woz Way in the heart of San Jose, the Children’s Discovery Museum is devoted to inspiring children’s natural curiosity and creativity via hands-on displays.

The museum is primarily funded by Steve Wozniak. He was an Apple co-founder and a major supporter of the museum’s establishment.

The Children’s Discovery Museum first opened its doors in 1990. Now it is a

 Top-notch children’s museum and a world-class science center.

Bill’s Backyard is a brand-new outdoor playground that teaches children about the natural world. The interactive yard lets the children climb, construct, and dig.

Children are also given a chance to view new and old technology samples from Silicon Valley at the museum’s Discovery Youth program.

This is a great place to take the kids to San Jose if you’re looking for family-friendly and educational activities.

Address: 180 Woz Way, San Jose, CA 95110

Computer History Museum

Computer History Museum San Jose
Computer History Museum San Jose / Ik T / Flickr

True to what the city is known for, it’s no surprise that San Jose has a Computer History Museum.

Since you’re already at the world’s center of high technology, going back to the dawn of the Information Age will give you insight into how technology developed.

The museum was part of the now-defunct Digital Equipment Corporation. Until it moved to the Silicon Valley area in 1996, it has stayed ever since.

The rest is history.

This San Jose landmark is a must-see attraction since it houses what is said to be the world’s greatest collection of computer relics and artifacts.

You will learn a ton of stuff here, from photoshop, and internet history to making your own software. 

The Computer History Museum is open to visitors daily. And every Saturday, the museum offers family tours.

Just make sure to check that no private events are held during your visit.

Address: 1401 N Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View, CA 94043

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Happy Hollow Park & Zoo

Happy Hollow Park & Zoo San Jose
Happy Hollow Park & Zoo San Jose / Don DeBold / Flickr

This destination is family-friendly amusement in San Jose!

Their story dates as far as 1955, when Disneyland first opened its doors to the public in Anaheim, California. Development

plans for a San Jose children’s amusement park shortly followed.

Located in Kelley Park, Happy Hollow Park and Zoo are a 16-acre zoo and amusement park that offers a variety of activities for the whole family.

The puppet theater is a unique addition to the amusement park, which aims to entertain young children and toddlers.

It has a carousel, a roller coaster, and a petting zoo, which are all popular attractions.

Kids and adults alike will ooh and ahh at the Red Panda exhibit, where you can watch them go about their usual mischief.

Right after, you’ll see squirrel monkeys and the cutest fennec foxes!

For the more daring, definitely visit the American alligator exhibit.

Address: 748 Story Rd, San Jose, CA 95112

Hayes Mansion

Hayes Mansion San Jose
Hayes Mansion San Jose / Don DeBold / Flickr

The Hayes Mansion is a must-see, whether you’re simply there for the architecture or lucky enough to book a room.

It was erected in 1905 to replace the Hayes family’s earlier Queen Anne style home, destroyed by fire in 1899.

The Hayes Mansion, designed by architect George Page, has been considered one of the best examples of late 19th-century architecture.

Designed in the shape of a Maltese Cross, this luxurious 41,000-square-foot Mediterranean villa features an 18-foot-wide solarium that connects the south and north wings.

It was supposed to house Mary Folsom Hayes Chynoweth, but Mary died before the house was finished.

It has grown into a five-star resort with more than 200 guest rooms.

The talks of haunting and ghost stories are attached to the pretty interiors and architecture.

Needless to say, the haunting aspect actually draws people out to stay at the historic hotel.

Address: 200 Edenvale Ave, San Jose, CA 95136

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Great America Amusement Park

Great America Amusement Park San Jose
Great America Amusement Park San Jose / Jeremy Thompson / Flickr

The Great America Amusement Park is one of the top attractions in California.

Attractions like San Jose’s Great America Amusement Park, which opened in 1976, are not to be underestimated.

It is currently owned and operated by Cedar Fair, sits on 100 acres, and is considered one of California’s premier amusement parks.

In addition to the Demon, with a thrill level of five out of five amongst the coasters, the Flight Deck throws you on a 360-degree loop.

In addition to the Demon, with a thrill level of five out of five amongst the coasters, the Flight Deck throws you on a 360-degree loop. 

You’ll feel like you left your soul up in the air after taking these rides.

For more family-friendly rides or attractions, you can head to the Berserker or the water park, which includes rides, family attractions, carnival games, and more.

Aside from the rides, performances, and playgrounds, kids (and adults) can even get a chance to meet their favorite Charlie Brown characters at Planet Snoopy.

If you’re planning a trip to Great America, prepare to have fun all day.

Address: 4701 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, CA 95054

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Los Gatos Creek Trail

Los Gatos Creek Trail San Jose
Los Gatos Creek Trail San Jose / Don DeBold / Flickr

Did you know Los Gatos means ‘The Cats’ in Spanish? They don’t mean domestic cats either.

But don’t worry, the Los Gatos Creek Trail is still a safe place for you to take a hike while enjoying the scenery.

For many tourists, no trip is complete without using the trails at the local parks.

The Los Gatos Creek Trail is a popular spot for that same reason.

It is a family-friendly location that allows 9.7 miles of bicycling, jogging and walking for hours.

Here’s a quick fact: only a few urban streams in the Santa Clara Valley have remained untouched, and Los Gatos Creek is one of them.

In addition to providing a habitat for plants and animals, the riparian corridor is part of a complex water resource and flood control system that protects the city.

Now, if you’re worried your kids don’t enjoy the hike, maybe they’ll enjoy the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad and W.E. “Bill” Mason Carousel.

Both of which can be found along the trails of Los Gatos.

Address: 110 E. Main St. Los Gatos, CA 95030

Makers Market

Makers Market San Jose
Makers Market San Jose / Alper Çuğun / Flickr

Let’s go to a place where you can buy a souvenir to remind you of San Jose.

San Jose’s Santana Row shopping neighborhood is home to Makers Market, a high-end store founded by Suzy Ekman that has four locations in California.

They offer a wide variety of American-made goods on display at Makers Market that is both timeless, thoughtfully designed, and created in America.

Dedicated to preserving and promoting American-made quality handcrafted products, the store showcases a wide selection of goods manufactured by second and third-generation craftsmen who are creating stunning modern goods.

The shop offers an extensive range of clothing and accessories for men and women, jewelry, handcrafted home decor, and specialty apothecary items.

All products are obtained directly from American craftsman stores and studios, concentrating on manufacturers in the San Francisco area.

Purchases from this company help to keep American ingenuity and workmanship alive.

Since no product is mass-produced, you will never find something similar to the goodies there.

Address: 378 Santana Row #1120, San Jose, CA 95128

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Mount Hermon Adventures

Mount Hermon Adventures, San Jose, California
Mount Hermon Adventures is one of the best places to go in San Jose, California

The Mount Hermon Adventures is one of the best things to do in California.

Add this adrenaline-pumping activity to your itinerary and have your friends or family participate.

Mount Hermon Adventures offers a view and exciting activities all in one place.

The history of Mount Hermon Adventures goes all the way back to 1906.

Mount Hermon was established as the first Christian retreat.

Its founders envisioned it as a place where people from all walks of life could take a break from their daily routines and connect with friends, family, nature, and God in order to recharge.

Aerial courses and zip lines are popular here, which is no surprise given the location beneath the majestic and ancient Redwood trees.

Visiting Mount Hermon Adventures is a great way to spend an instructive and exciting day.

Don’t forget to enjoy the view while swinging from tree to tree.

Other than that, their zip lines are actually widely regarded as the best in California.

So rest assured, they are safe.

Reservations are needed, so make sure to book your schedule online.

Address: 17 Conference Dr, Felton, CA 95018

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Mountain Winery

Mountain Winery San Jose
Mountain Winery San Jose / Bonnie Moreland / Flickr

Wanna enjoy a night out with good food, music, and alcohol? Reserve a seat at the Mountain Winery.

The aspirational young Frenchman, Paul Masson, arrived in San Francisco in the autumn of 1878. 

He was born and raised in Burgundy, where he was surrounded by some of the best vineyards and wineries in the world.

Call it a blessing that he somehow landed in the fields of California.

The Mountain Winery is well-known for its wine tasting and its outdoor theater, which presents a variety of performances and concerts all year long.

Dinner and performance are great ways to spend an evening out here at the Mountain Winery. 

Start with a three-course meal at La Cresta Restaurant while listening to classical and contemporary music from bands and artists.

And on the Wine Deck, you can sample wine options served with cheese and charcuterie. 

You can also opt for a seafood feast instead.

Reservations are strongly recommended for the restaurant and the wine terrace to avoid waiting.

Address: 14831 Pierce Rd, Saratoga, CA 95070

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Museum of Quilts & Textiles

Museum of Quilts & Textiles, San Jose, California
Museum of Quilts & Textiles is one of the best places to go in San Jose, California

Another interesting place to visit in the city is the Museum of Quilts and Textiles. Especially if you have a healthy appreciation for quilts.

In the heart of San Jose, on South First Street, you’ll find the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. 

There has never been a museum devoted solely to quilts and textiles, and now there is. It is actually the first of its kind.

Founded in 1977, there are more than 550 pieces of 20th and 21st-century quilts, garments, and textiles displayed at the museum.

The quilts in this museum’s collection number in the hundreds (800).

The museum wants to show how people have used fabric fibers in different ways over time and across different cultures.

As an added bonus, there’s an entire study library dedicated to quilting and textiles, the techniques, and the history from different timelines.

It’s definitely not something you see every day.

Address: 520 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95113

San Jose Heritage Rose Garden

San Jose Heritage Rose Garden San Jose
San Jose Heritage Rose Garden San Jose / HarshLight / Flickr

The Heritage Rose Garden, which opened to the public in 1995, is a stunning sight you don’t wanna miss in San Jose.

Over 3,500 varieties of roses are grown in the area, making it the largest rose garden in the Western Hemisphere.

As a sanctuary for rare and magnificent roses, the garden’s goal was to educate the public about the importance of these plants.

The Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, the South Bay Heritage Rose Group, and the City of San Jose collaborated to create this lush garden.

The City of San Jose provides all of the materials, while more than 750 volunteers devote their time and energy to making this project a reality.

The garden’s climbing roses can even be seen on the fence of Santa Clara University.

You’re right on time if you’re visiting in March-May. 

You’ll get to see the formal rose garden with 2,800 different species of modern and heritage roses as well as miniature roses.

Address: 438 Coleman Ave, San Jose, CA 95110

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San Jose Museum of Art

San Jose Museum of Art San Jose
San Jose Museum of Art San Jose / VV Nincic / Flickr

Let us appreciate local talent at the San Jose Museum of Art one more time.

The San Jose Museum of Art focuses on West Coast artists’ work from the late twentieth and early twenty-first century.

The 2,000 pieces in the museum’s collection span a wide range of media, from drawings and paintings to photographs and sculptures.

The San Jose Public Library occupied the facility from 1937 to 1969.

In 1991, the Fine Arts Gallery Association purchased it and opened a new wing of the museum.

It has since been declared a California Historical Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places in the United States.

It is also a part of the American Association of Museums (AAAM), having been awarded accreditation, only offered to 750 of the nation’s 8,000 museums.

Art aficionados should not miss a trip to the San Jose Museum of Art.

Address: 110 S Market St, San Jose, CA 95113

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San Pedro Square Market

San Pedro Square Market San Jose
San Pedro Square Market San Jose / matt_bruensteiner / Flickr

Come to the go-to meeting place of locals, where you’ll find every flavor of the world in one place!

San Pedro Square Market is housed at San Jose’s oldest structure from Spanish California, the Peralta Adobe, the last of its kind.

It started in 1972, when restaurants and pubs, including the Tower Saloon and The Old Spaghetti Factory, opened in San Pedro Square.

Currently, SPS Market is a friendly neighborhood food hall. It brings together a variety of locally owned artisan restaurants and specialty food stores under one roof to give people a taste of different cuisines worldwide.

There’s something for everyone to enjoy with a wide variety of cuisines to choose from, like Latin American food, sushi, wine, salads, fusion burgers, and more.

Whether you’re looking to catch a movie, listen to live music, or catch a sporting event, San Pedro Square Market has it all.

It’s a popular spot where you can find everything you’re craving.

Address: 87 N San Pedro St, San Jose, CA 95110

Santana Row

Santana Row San Jose
Santana Row San Jose / Eric Fredericks / Flickr

If you believe in retail therapy and are currently looking to spend your hard-earned money on something. You might want to pay Santana Row a visit.

Located in San Jose, California, the heart of high-tech innovation and development.

There’s no better place in Silicon Valley to shop and dine than Santana Row.

On market day, this upscale outdoor shopping center offers the grandest shopping experience in the city, with its blend of California’s laid-back style and wealthy European villages.

There are benches for lounging under oak trees; enormous sculptures by French artists André Dumonnet and Christine Foulché; fountains; live performers; open-air seating outside; and great eateries. 

Totally immerse yourself in this diverse shopping experience.

And while considering your purchases, grab a croissant and a cup of coffee on a bench while you try not to think about how much you spent.

A day will hardly be enough to explore what San Pedro Square offers.

Address: 377 Santana Row, San Jose, CA 95128

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SAP Center

SAP Center San Jose
SAP Center San Jose / Travis Wise / Flickr

Located in San Jose, California, the SAP Center is an indoor sports arena that has hosted hundreds of important events.

The Sharks of the National Hockey League are among its most notable users.

Thus, the nickname “The Shark Tank” was born.

Additionally, the SAP Center in San Jose hosts a variety of concerts and events, including the Olympic Gymnastics Trials (held there in 2012 and 2016).

Mixed Martial Arts competitions are conducted on a regular basis there too. 

If you’re planning a trip to see a big-name concert or sports event, make sure to check the schedule and their calendar first.

Last but not least. In addition to the San Jose Sharks, the American Hockey League’s San Jose Barracuda and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors call this facility home.

Any time you visit the SAP Center in San Jose, it’s possible that one of their many events will catch your attention.

Address:525 W Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA 95113

Skyline Boulevard

Skyline Boulevard San Jose
Skyline Boulevard San Jose / Thank You (22.5 Millions+) views / Flickr

The Skyline Boulevard is one of the best places to visit in California.

Skyline Boulevard is one of the most beautiful drives in Northern California and probably the entire state.

Take a trip along Skyline Boulevard for a scenic drive into the mountains with winding, narrow roads, and breathtaking scenery.

The best part is that taking a drive through Skyline Boulevard is only the start of your adventure there.

It provides a way to access reservoirs, trails, state parks, and many more geographic wonders.

Numerous protected open space areas can only be accessed along the way. 

Each stop and turn is guaranteed to bring you somewhere spectacular. 

It’s a popular pastime for families regardless of the season.

You don’t even have to worry about going hungry while driving. There is even a stop for cold brews and mouth-watering burgers.

This is another example of a cost-free (except for the food), family-friendly activity in the Golden State. 

Address: Skyline Boulevard (CA Hwy 35)

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Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum San Jose
Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum San Jose / Michael Gray / Flickr

Have you ever found Egyptian history fascinating? Then don’t miss the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum.

Visitors to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum can learn about the fascinating history of ancient Egypt right in front of their eyes.

The museum was built by the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis, which was founded by Dr. Harvey Lewis.

It all started with a little statue of the lion goddess Sekhmet that H. Spencer Lewis kept on his desk.

In 1966, a new museum was built to store his growing collection of artifacts from ancient Egypt.

The museum was constructed in the style of an ancient Egyptian temple. True to its numerous artifacts’ origins.

They have more than 4,000 ancient Egyptian antiquities on display, making it the greatest collection of its kind in all of Western North America.

More than 100,000 people, including 26,000 schoolchildren, visit the museum each year.

It also features an Alchemy Garden and a Planetarium worth a visit.

Address: 1660 Park Ave, San Jose, CA 95191

Willow Glen

Willow Glen San Jose
Willow Glen San Jose / San José Public Library / Flickr

Tired of the California bustle? Visit Widow Glen for a breath of fresh air.

Willow Glen, a historic San Jose suburb, is recognized for its tree-lined avenues, numerous restaurants and stores, and attractive architecture, contributing to the district’s small-town feel.

Willow Glen, situated in San Jose, the country’s tenth largest city, has a charming small-town vibe.

The streets are lined with vintage and specialty shops, children’s stores, bistros, and coffee shops.

Since its founding in the 1860s, the Willow Glen community has been home to many architectural styles, including the Craftsman, Mission Revival, Neoclassical, and even Victorian.

Willow Glen also hosts several annual events, such as the Christmas Tree Lights, Dancin’ on the Avenue, and Founders’ Day celebrations.

Downtown Willow Glen is home to more than 250 retail, dining, service, and professional establishments eager to provide you with the personal treatment that only a small business can offer you.

Address: Willow Glen, San Jose, CA

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Winchester Mystery House

Winchester Mystery House San Jose
Winchester Mystery House San Jose / Derek Wolfgram / Flickr

You will find the Winchester Mystery House on San Jose’s South Winchester Boulevard.

Sarah Winchester, the widow of the late gunmaker William Wirt Winchester, originally lived in this Queen Anne-style Victorian home.

Many people, including her, believed the mansion was haunted.

The Winchester Mystery House has 161 rooms, 40 of which are bedrooms, two of which are ballrooms, and more than 10,000 panes of glass. And amongst the number of bedrooms, there is only one functioning bathroom.

Doors open onto walls in the strange interior, and stairways lead to nowhere.

The reason? She believed this would frighten and confuse any evil spirits that might be lurking around while she was working on the house.

After Sarah’s death, all work ceased.

Since 1923, tourists have been awed by the estate’s mix of gorgeous and just plain weird interiors.

The house is on the National Register of Historic Places. It has been designated a historical landmark in the state of California.

Address: 525 S Winchester Blvd, San Jose, CA 95128

Volunteer At Animal Shelters

Animal Shelters in San Jose, California
Animal Shelters in San Jose, California

Volunteer at a local animal shelter. Many animal shelters are run by groups that are non-profit in nature, so they depend on donations, gifts, and adoption fees to keep going. Any help you can give, whether it’s food, newspapers, or even your time, would be very much appreciated.

Volunteering helps to promote awareness and contribute to the solution to pet overpopulation, neglect, and abuse.

The holidays are a wonderful time of year to focus on people who are less fortunate than we are. Animals are frequently overlooked but helping out when you can significantly impact your neighborhood. Consider adding regional animal welfare organizations to your list this year when you get into the giving mood! Happy holidays, howls!

Help out in your community by visiting one of these animal shelters in San Jose, California.

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