About two years ago, I packed my bags and moved from San Francisco to San Jose. Having grown up in San Francisco, I had surprisingly little knowledge of the Silicon Valley besides it being the birthplace of tech giants like Google, Yahoo and Hewlett Packard.
When I was a kid, the only times I would head down south would be to go to the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View or Great America in Santa Clara. Over the past 24 months, I’ve quickly learned that there is a lot more to this area than what my San Francisco snobbery presumed.
As a resident, I love exploring the amazing parks and recreational areas the infuse the landscape, I cannot get enough of the local eateries and I’m always excited when I come across a mom and pop shop that has been around since forever.
Here is my top ten list of things to do this summer in the Silicon Valley:
1. Roy’s Station Coffee & Tea’s- Serving locally roasted coffee in San Jose’s historic Japantown, this is one of my favorite places to sit outside and enjoy a cup. Recently renovated, the coffee shop was once a WWII era gas station (197 Jackson St, San Jose CA).
2. San Jose Giants Game- Summer and baseball go hand and hand and there is no better place to go see a game than the San Jose Municipal Stadium and there is no better team to watch then the current California League champions, The San Jose Giants. With tickets that get you just feet from the field and a crowd that stands behind its local team, these games are blast without breaking the bank (588 E. Alma Avenue, San Jose CA).
3. San Jose Municipal Rose Garden- With over 4,000 rose shrub’s covering 5 ½ acres, this is a great place to get lost amongst the flowers. The best part, there is no entrance fee and this is the only rose garden in California to be an official Display Garden for the All-America Rose Selections (Intersection of Naglee Ave and Dana Ave, San Jose CA).
4. Strike Bowling – Featuring glow in the dark bowling, big screens and a full service restaurant and bar, Strike is the ultimate infusion of classic arcade and geek tech chic’. Located blocks from Apple’s corporate headquarters, this is the perfect place to bowl a game, drink a mojito and eavesdrop on techies discussing Apple’s next big thing (10123 Wolfe Road, Cupertino CA).
5. Golfland Sunnyvale - This is the perfect place to recapture the kid at heart and embrace cheesy nostalgia to the fullest. With 18 holes of miniature golf, that include a giant red dragon and a castle reminiscent of the White Castle burger joint this is the perfect place to let loose (855 East El Camino, Sunnyvale CA).
6. Trials Pub – Located in downtown San Jose, Trials Pub has a full pub menu and an array of games such as darts, scrabble and connect four. For jeopardy fanatics, the best time to go is on Monday nights for their famous pub quiz. With questions ranging from sports trivia to popular culture, this is the best quiz to test your wits against Silicon Valley’s smartest (265 N 1s St, San Jose CA).
7. Japanese Friendship Garden- Located in Kelly Park, the Japanese Friendship Garden is patterned after Japan’s famous Korakuen Garden in Okayama. With several ponds stocked with koi, and each pond connected by a stream, it is almost impossible to not get lost in its beautiful simplicity (Kelly Park, San Jose CA).
8. Big Al’s Record Barn- The Record Barn lives true to its name, it is a store full of records that is about as clean as barn. But for the passionate record collector, who is willing to roll up their sleeves and go digging, you can find some very rare hard to find (not even at San Francisco’s Amoeba) records at a decent price. The biggest challenge with the Record Barn, besides its cleanliness, is finding a time when it is Open. This best thing to do before heading over is to give the store a call, but if it is open it is definitely worth checking out (522 South Bascom Ave, San Jose CA).
9. Retro Dome – Located near San Jose’s Westgate Mall, The Retro Dome is a performing arts center that features classic movies in its movie theater, comedy shows on its stage and hosts various art centered events (1694 Saratoga Avenue San Jose, CA).
10. King Eggroll – You’ve never had an eggroll until you’ve tried King Eggroll. A local secret, King Eggroll’s are flavorful and delicious. With a line that usually extends out the door, these eggrolls are worth the wait. The biggest challenge is trying to eat just one (980 Lundy Avenue, San Jose).