Travelers to the San Francisco Bay Area have discovered a new attraction in recent years—technology. Tech travel is alive and well less than an hour outside of San Francisco in Silicon Valley, which includes San Jose and surrounding cities. Embrace the tech tourism trend with this guided tour through Silicon Valley.
9:00 AM - CHARGE YOUR BATTERY
It’s no wonder Google co-founder Sergey Brin is a regular here. The Palo Alto café was founded by Google’s first executive chef, Charlie Ayers, and 99 percent of the investors are former or current employees. Specializing in vegetarian cuisine, the busy spot encourages customers to order ahead (via app, of course) for treats like breakfast burritos with Google (hot) sauce.
10:30 AM - TAKE A BITE OF THE APPLE
Apple Employee Store
Stop in at this emporium in Cupertino and pick up an iShirt inscribed with “I think therefore iPhone,” an iMug, and, of course, an iHoodie. Many of the collectibles aren’t available elsewhere, such as the T-shirt emblazoned with the retro clip art created for the original Macintosh.
11:00 AM - REBOOT
Pretend you’re an Apple employee and grab a Java Monkey smoothie (coffee, banana, oat milk, date, and avocado) at this open-to-the-public cafeteria set in a sleek wood-and-glass structure.
NOON - GOOGLE YOURSELF
Google Android Garden
Regular folks can’t just waltz inside HQ, but you can grab a selfie with the large plastic Android lawn statues located near the Googleplex in Mountain View. The names of the lime-green creatures are based on code names for versions of the Android operating system, like Cupcake and Jellybean.
1:30 PM - GET THE DATA DEETS
Computer History Museum
For the full story behind computing's arithmetic history, visit this Mountain View museum tracking our fascination with gadgets, from the abacus to the smartphone. Gawk at a one-ton “minicomputer” designed in 1959, then get the skinny on self-driving cars.
3:00 PM - POST A FACEBOOK PIC FROM FACEBOOK
Facebook Farmers' Market
On Saturdays, Mark Zuckerberg’s kingdom opens the doors to its 430,000-square-foot campus in Menlo Park, welcoming you with local farmers’ fare, artist booths, kids' games, a beer garden, and peeks at the amazing facility, designed by famed architect Frank Gehry. The live music stage is, of course, solar-powered.
6:00 PM - A TRIP BACK IN TIME
In 1938, Dave Packard rented a cottage for $45 a month, using the one-car garage for his HP workshop, which he founded with Bill Hewlett. In 2000, HP purchased the property, now a California Historical Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places, for $1.7 million.
7:30 PM - TECH FOR YOUR TUMMY
Buck’s of Woodside
How many diners can say they cater to venture capitalists? Execs at PayPal, Tesla Motors, and Hotmail favor this place, which features framed bug collections (insects, not computer viruses), antique chandeliers, and a parking lot full of prototype cars. The hot crab sandwich, smothered in melted Cheddar on a sourdough baguette, is a knockout.