How to Spend a Weekend in San Jose

San Jose is a great place for a weekend getaway. As the center of Silicon Valley, the city is packed with surprises you’d never experience in other California cities. San Jose offers more than the prestige of Silicon Valley, though. It’s a cultural hub, too. If you go around the city, you’ll find interesting historical gems that make the city culturally unique. Here’s how you can spend your perfect weekend escape in vibrant San Jose, California’s first state capital.

Where to stay

San Jose Wincheser Mansion

Photo by Meg Faller from

The first thing to consider when visiting for the weekend is the proximity of your hotel to the places you want to visit. Choosing the best hotel or motel is crucial for maximizing the short time you spend in the city.

First Day

A great way to start your weekend is a visit to the Tech Museum of Innovation in Silicon Valley, the most innovative place on earth. Whether you’re a geek, a nerd, or somewhere in between, this museum is for both children and adults. It’s educational, informative, interactive, and entertaining. You’ll have so much fun here that you won’t notice how fast time flies. For lunch, fill your tummy with glorious seafood at Scott’s Seafood Restaurant and enjoy the spectacular view of the city and surrounding hills from the sixth floor.

After lunch, visit the Winchester Mystery for its bizarre architecture. It’s said that the house is haunted, and to understand the house’s history and intriguing fame, you should join the Mansion Tour. From there, take a lift to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph which has been rebuilt five times. Even if you aren’t religious, you’ll be amazed looking up at the stained glass windows and antique pipe organs.

Before sunset, take a stroll through Willow Glen, with tree-lined streets, cafés, and bars. Take notice of the charming architecture here, too. In the evening, check out the Original Gravity Public House if you like beer. There’s a rotating menu of both local and international craft beer. This place also serves high-quality gourmet sausages.

Second Day

Take a morning stroll through the beautiful Municipal Rose Garden. Enjoy, relax, and smell the heavenly fragrance of more than 4,000 roses. Then head to California’s Great America to reconnect with your inner child and enjoy a wide range of entertainment and fun. When hunger strikes, drive off to San Pedro Square Market, which specializes in farm-to-table food. You’ll find everything you’d like to eat here, from pizza to seafood and falafel to burgers. The cheerful live music adds to the fun and festive ambiance in the market.

When lunch is over, treat yourself to a shopping spree at one of America’s largest flea markets, the San Jose Flea Market. For 67 years, this fun-filled market has brimmed with colorful lanes, rare treasures, diverse cuisine, and entertainment for the kids. By the time you’re done shopping, you’ll be exhausted and thirsty. Sit in one of the cafés inside this 120-acre market and indulge in some people-watching.

All the activities mentioned above are family-friendly, except the bar scene, of course. San Jose is a big city with a casual charm that invites you to return again and again.



A wanderer. A frustrated photographer. Hiker. Lover. Half extrovert, half introvert. Solo traveler.

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