Tech Museum of Innovation#4 in Best Things To Do in San Jose
The Tech Museum of Innovation is right at home in San Jose, the capital of Silicon Valley. This blue-domed facility in downtown brings in school children by the busload – literally. This place thrives off the curiosity of young people and offers plenty of hands-on learning opportunities that serve to educate museum-goers about scientific concepts, such as space exploration, biotechnology, clean energy, genetics and the science of sound. Recent visitors raved about the fun yet educational exhibits for their children like the Social Robots gallery, an area that allows kids to design, build and program a real robot using sensors, controllers and actuators. The museum also has an on-site IMAX Theater that runs both educational and feature films. Those who ventured in without young children offered a word of caution for future visitors, saying the facility is better suited to elementary school kids and not necessarily an entertaining stop for adults or teens.
The museum is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission costs $24 for adults and $19 for kids ages 3 to 17, and combined educational IMAX film and museum tickets are available ($29 for adults and $23 for kids). There are several parking decks near the museum, many of which charge a daily flat rate of $5. For more information, check out the Tech Museum's website.
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#1 Santana Row
Where do Silicon Valley tycoons go to spend their money? To Santana Row, a chic shopping development just a short drive west of downtown San Jose. Here you'll find delectable eateries, a movie theater and designer shops like Gucci and Kate Spade. And the apartments and the Hotel Valencia built above the ground-floor businesses create an urban vibe that particularly takes off at night when Santana Row becomes a nightlife hub. Many recent travelers claim that this is the best people-watching spot in the city. Also keep your eyes on the parking lot: Exotic sports cars like Lamborghinis and Ferraris are often spotted here.
The shops and restaurants open around 10 a.m. and close around 9 p.m., although many that cater to the late-night crowds will stay open well past then. Visitors should be aware that parking can be extremely limited at busy times, so you might have to leave your car across the street at the less-trendy Westfield Valley Fair mall. For more information about special events and specific store hours, check out Santana Row's website.