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5 Amazing Things to Do in San Jose

Culture and quirkiness abound at these spots in Silicon Valley

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As the cultural center of Silicon Valley, San Jose is the land of innovation, startups, and technology history. Just a stone’s throw from some of the most pioneering businesses ever founded, you can find intimate opera performances and three-star Michelin dining. Here’s how to see a different side of San Jose.

Stay at the luxurious Hotel Valencia

Feel like an Andalusian aristocrat at Hotel Valencia, the only hotel on the city’s Santana Row, home of some of the city’s best shopping and dining. Architectural touches, inspired by Old World Spain, include a fountain-filled veranda, complete with fire pits when it’s time to get cozy.

Explore Winchester Mystery House

The product of a fascinating architectural undertaking, the Winchester Mystery House is a must-see. In 1886, Sarah Winchester, the widow of a firearms magnate, began construction on her home—a project that continued for 36 years, ending only with her death. Learn more about the eccentric millionaire and explore her home’s peculiar quirks—including 2,000 doors, staircases leading to nowhere, and a cabinet that opens to dozens of rooms.

Taste at the historic Testarossa Winery

Built in the 19th century by Jesuit Brothers, the Novitiate Winery in neighboring Los Gatos is one of the oldest in California. Its stunning cellars are now the home of Testarossa, where you can enjoy wine tastings, cheese pairings, and live music Thursday through Sunday.

Watch the Opera San José

Since Opera San José is the country’s only year-round company of principal artists, you can delight in arias any time of year here. Enjoy classics like Cosi Fan Tutte or The Flying Dutchman with the beautiful California Theatre offering a baroque-inspired backdrop.

Eat at Manresa

Tucked away in neighboring Los Gatos, Manresa is a member of the hyper-exclusive Michelin-three-star club. Chef David Kinch expertly crafts the season’s best products into a first-class, prix fixe experience: Think Hokkaido uni, Riesling-poached pears, and slow-roasted squab. If you can’t snag a reservation, sample his genius at Manresa Bread, which offers confections such as fluffy chocolate croissants and the perfect Pullman loaf.

Also, don’t miss...

San Jose is home to more than a dozen museums, including downtown’s lovely San Jose Museum of Art. Families will especially love the Tech Museum of Innovation, which features collaborative exhibits with Silicon Valley’s biggest brands, and the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, with its full-size firetrucks and giant bubbles.

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