Winchester Mystery House
- Type: Historic Homes/Mansions, Parks and Gardens, Tours
- Time to Spend: 1 to 2 hours
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Across the street from hip Santana Row, the Winchester Mystery House is both a piece of San Jose history and a tourist trap. The incredibly superstitious Sarah Winchester -- heiress to the firearm fortune -- built this monstrous structure in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The estate boasts mind-boggling designs like a staircase to nowhere, secret passageways, a Hall-of-Fires and a séance room. While some visitors appreciate the architectural oddities, others quickly grow bored of the furniture-less rooms. One traveler reports to Yelp.com, "The house is a random, unorganized labyrinth of useless rooms." The tour guides and their cheesy schpeel don't help to endear the hour-long yawn fest to visitors. Still, you might consider a visit: The house is one of San Jose's oldest homes, and some people won't believe you've truly seen the city if you don't make a quick stop here.
Just a short drive west of downtown, the Winchester Mystery House offers Behind-the-Scenes ($27), Mansion ($30) and Grand Estate ($35) tours. And the estate maintains a complicated schedule of operating hours, so please check out the website before your trip.