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Courtesy of Apple Park Visitor Center

Tech Tour

This two-day road trip will take you as close as you can get to today’s sharpest minds developing tomorrow’s earth-shattering technologies

Start:University of California, Berkeley
End:Santana Row
2 - 4Days,11Stops,86Miles
Galen Rowell/Getty Images
Couresty of Exploratorium
Jonathan Clark/Getty Images
Natasha Breen/Getty Images
Alanna Hale
Courtesy Hilton
Alanna Hale
Amy Osborne/Getty Images
Alacatr/Getty Images
Stop 1

University of California, Berkeley

2180 Milvia St, Berkeley

The history of University of California, Berkeley dates back to 1868, and for more than 150 years the school has nurtured some of the nation’s brightest minds. The school is famous for a history of social activism but it’s also a heavy contributor to the Bay Area tech scene (graduates include Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Intel’s Gordon Moore). Stroll through the lovely campus where well-kept gardens frame Beaux Arts-style buildings surrounded by shaded trails. On a clear day, the Lower Fire Trail in Strawberry Canyon will deliver a beautiful view of the Golden Gate Bridge. If you have little ones in tow, check out The Lawrence Hall of Science, where kids can participate in ingenuity challenges or try a rocket launch.

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Stop 2

Exploratorium, San Francisco

Pier 15, The Embarcadero, San Francisco

Set amid San Francisco’s bustling Pier 15 , the crowd-pleasing Exploratorium invites guests to experience science in action—like standing in a fog cloud or walking into the totally dark Tactile Dome. Check out six unique galleries, like the hands-on Tinkering area, where you can watch museum staffers create wonders but also make your own. In the Living Systems gallery, look at fruit flies and stem cells under a powerful microscope, or let kids “pedal” the bike-powered machine outside that approximates a giant, squirting game of jump rope. Climb the stairs to the Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery for remarkable views of sailboats, freighters, and ferries, as well as the nearby Bay Bridge and Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands. And don’t miss the all-glass observation cube at the very tip of the pier.

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Stop 5

Palo Alto

250 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto

Stanford University is more than just the geographical center of the city, it’s Palo Alto’s heart and soul. The academic institution permeates the landscape (manicured lawns, Romanesque architecture) and culture at large (free thinkers, innovative ideas). The campus is open to visitors and makes for a beautiful stroll. While you’re in town, stop for a photo at the Hewlett-Packard Garage, now a California Historical Landmark where two alumni birthed Silicon Valley’s first tech behemoth. Need some caffeine? Power up down the street with a Blue Bottle Coffee Americano from HanaHaus, a coffee shop and workspace founded by software giant SAP to “spark new thinking.”

Stop 7

Googleplex, Mountain View

1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy, Mountain View

Silicon Valley earned its name thanks to the silicon semiconductor devices, which were first manufactured in Mountain View in the 1950s. Today, the city continues to be a tip-of-the-sword tech hub. See where the world’s most popular search engine was developed at the sprawling Google campus. (The buildings may be private, but anyone is free to walk the grounds.) Look for Googlers on yellow bikes and inside self-driving cars, and explore the Android Garden, dotted with whimsical statues.

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Hilton Garden Inn Sunnyvale

767 N. Mathilda, Sunnyvale

A few miles from The Tech Interactive and Silicon Valley's digital titans, the Hilton Garden Inn Sunnyvale offers sleek Danish-style furnishings, a relaxing outdoor pool, and charging stations for your Tesla.

Stop 9

Computer History Museum

1401 N Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View

Your first impression of Silicon Valley, the Northern California brain trust south of the San Francisco Bay, may ironically be how pretty its landscape is, thanks to its lush green foothills. But the human-made wonders at Mountain View’s Computer History Museum will quickly grab your attention too. Learn about the birth of the computer, driverless cars, and tech heroes such as Ada Lovelace, an English mathematician. Another fascinating exhibit sheds light on the little-known story of Colossus, an electronic code-breaker device developed by British math whizzes and engineers, which helped win World War II.

Stop 10

Apple Park Visitor Center

10600 N Tantau Ave, Cupertino

The headquarters of the notoriously secretive Apple Inc. is off-limits, but the Apple Park Visitor Center in Cupertino is open to guests and offers exclusive souvenirs. Admire the stunning structure: A curved carbon fiber roof appears to hover above walls of pristine glass. Stop in the cafe for a coffee or tea, available for order via (of course) an iPad. If you’re hungry for an insider experience, stop at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. The closest eatery to the Apple headquarters, BJ’s is so popular with employees that it’s referred to as part of the campus proper.

Stop 11

Santana Row

333 Santana Row #1015, San Jose

Shopping doesn’t get much chicer than San Jose’s Santana Row. High-end stores like Gucci and Ted Baker mix with trendy spots like Warby Parker and Bonobos. If you’re not in a mood to spend, simply walk around and admire the district’s beautiful design. Pedestrian-friendly streets are lined with potted pansies and antique fountains decorated in blue tile, while sculptures from French artists André Dumonnet and Christine Foulché elevate the experience. If you’re considering a serious Silicon Valley splurge, visit the flagship Tesla showroom to take the sleek Model S or Roadster for a spin.

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Road Trip Snapshot

Learn more about the amazing locations featured in this road trip. Ready to plan your trip? Print the itinerary or map your adventure to get started.

Stop 1University of California, Berkeley
2180 Milvia St, Berkeley
Stop 2Exploratorium, San Francisco
Pier 15, The Embarcadero, San Francisco
SPOTLIGHTMenlo Park: Facebook Headquarters
1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park
    Stop 5Palo Alto
    250 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto
    Stop 7Googleplex, Mountain View
    1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy, Mountain View
    • Googlehttp://www.google.com/about/company/
    SPOTLIGHTHilton Garden Inn Sunnyvale
    767 N. Mathilda, Sunnyvale
      Stop 9Computer History Museum
      1401 N Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View
      Stop 10Apple Park Visitor Center
      10600 N Tantau Ave, Cupertino
      Stop 11Santana Row
      333 Santana Row #1015, San Jose

      Car & RV Rentals

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