There are so many things to do and see in the San Francisco Bay Area and even in San José proper that we cannot hope to catalog them all, but here are a few of our favorites.
Downtown San José around the San José Fairmont Hotel (170 S. Market Street) is an attractive, walkable area with plenty of things to see, places to eat, and services to use. It gets a maximum score from WalkScore.com. The WalkScore map will show you how many restaurants, grocery stores, and other services are within a short walk of the convention site.
Several of the following attractions are within fairly easy walking distance of the hotel.
- The Tech Museum of Innovation
- San José Museum of Art
- Children’s Discovery Museum
- Cathedral Basilica of San José
- San José Sharks (home games on 28th & 30th)
- Winchester Mystery House
- Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium
Here’s a map.
For additional information about some of these places see below.
These attractions are located outside of San José will require a car to access.
- San Francisco
- Napa Valley
- Napa Valley Wine Train
- Sonoma Valley
- Santa Cruz Mountain Wineries
- Roaring Camp Railroads
- Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk
- SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University
- California’s Great America amusement park
- Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park
Winchester Mystery House
Possibly San Jose’s most famous attraction is the Winchester Mystery House. This house was built by Sarah L. Winchester who had been told that when the house was finished she’d die. She was wrong. She died 38 years after she started building the house but her attempt resulted in architectural oddities such as window built into floors and stairways leading into blank walls.
Other San Jose Attractions
Other worthwhile San José attractions are the Tech Museum of Innovation, located right across the Plaza de Cesaer Chavez outside the front door of the Fairmont, the San José Museum of Art less than a block away to your right as you come out the Fairmont’s main entrance, and the Children’s Discovery Museum, which is less than fifteen minutes’ walk (or two stops along the light rail line) from the hotel.
Also in San José is the quirky Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium.
Wineries and Trains
The Greater Bay Area is renowned for its wines, and one of the best way to experience the wine and the scenery of the Napa Valley (located northeast of San Francisco Bay) is the Napa Valley Wine Train. A trip to the Napa Valley with a car (and a designated driver) will allow you to visit multiple wineries in one day. One valley over is the Sonoma Valley, which sports a more laid-back atmosphere than its more famous neighbor. The wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains are closer to San José (about 45 minutes) but are also worth the trip if you like good wine.
Speaking of trains and the Santa Cruz Mountains, you can take a train from Roaring Camp Railroads to either the Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk or the summit of Bear Mountain, while taking in the beautiful forest and mountain scenery.
San José is of course near San Francisco, and it’s easy to get to The City from San José, even without a car, as there is regular rail service between San José and San Francisco daily on the Caltrain commuter-rail system, with 98 trains daily. (See our Travel Page for more information about various transit options in the Bay Area.)