Silicon Valley, Forevs


Editor’s note: In addition to being a guest blogger and Silicon Valley eggroll aficionado, Jessica Comaskey works with Joie de Vivre’s Silicon Valley properties and our Dream Inn in Santa Cruz.

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).

26 Responses to “Silicon Valley, Forevs”

  1. Riccardo Pella Says:

    I love the Trials Pub! And after visiting Silicon Valley, a good glass of wine in Napa Valley!!

  2. Erica Ryan Says:

    When I visit the Silicon Valley, I love going to Great America. I like staying at the Wild Palms Hotel becuase the scenery is beautiful and with a big pool and nice hot tub it’s a great place to relax.

  3. Madoka Says:

    Another great spot for tranquil koi viewing and getting away from it all is the Hakone Garden in Saratoga. You can even experience an authentic Tea Ceremony at this Japanese garden!

  4. Andrea Says:

    This area put NORTHERN California on the International map with the first computers.

  5. Vicki Says:

    You should visit the new and improved Happy Hallow (you just missed it when you were at the Japanese Tea Gardens). It’s a great place to take the little ones if you don’t want to go all the way to the SF zoo.)

  6. Sue Says:

    I love the indie bookstores in the valley, both new and used. Books Inc has been a favorite of mine for years, and both Recycle Books and Bookbuyers have acres of shelves just waiting for you to discover some new treasure.

  7. Jeff Says:

    I love going to Santana Row and sipping coffee outside the Left Bank and watch the people go by…

  8. Jennifer Luna Says:

    Santana Row…I’m a Shopoholic! 😉

  9. Melissa Trader Says:

    Another Santana Row fan! Love the shopping!!!

  10. Colleen Sanford Says:

    Great list! Love finding new adventures in Silicon Valley. Still tops for me and my kids, however, is the Tech Museum.

  11. Jenny gregory Says:

    Almaden quicksilver county park is beautiful. Great hikes, peaceful, amazing views and some history as well. Los Gatos is also great for independent stores and just wandering around too.

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  13. Diane Says:

    How cool, love this list!

  14. Evange Mango Says:

    love the Valley.. spent time at the rose garden… check out the museums..

  15. Justin K. Says:

    I love the new Avatar Hotel! Perfect destination for going to Great America, shopping at the Mercado down the street, and close to lots of dining options, especially my favorite Japanese restaurant Shin’s on Blossom Hill Road. It is in the heart of the Silicon Valley which I love! Easy access to the freeway means I can visit my family in San Jose and SF really easy and have chances for some fun in the sun!

  16. janelle Says:

    love this list! can’t wait to explore these finds!

  17. Debbie Says:

    I love Roy’s Station and Coffee House. Very retro, great coffee and lattes. Made with a little love… Found it after having a Japanese dinner and walking through Japantown. Better J-Town than SF… Very nice area. Great Japanese restaurants, tough choices.

  18. Jbucs12 Says:

    Santana Row Farmers’ Market!

  19. Audrey Webb Says:

    The Indian Store in Santa Cruz is always on my must-visit list when I’m in Los Gatos. Each trip there gives me something to dream about: native art, jewelry, and clothing. I could spend hours there!

  20. Lisa Says:

    Bogart’s Lounge and Tech Pub in Sunnyvale – great little neighborhood bar with free wi-fi and owners who will do everything to make you feel welcome. Limited but tasty food served, with BBQs on Wednesday night during the summer. They also carry Buzztime trivia and have karaoke on Friday and Sunday nights.

  21. Chandini Says:

    I would have to say Apple Headquarters to get some Apple branded tshirts and hats!!

  22. Nicole Gustas Says:

    I know it’s pathetic, but my favorite place in the Valley is The Old Spaghetti Factory in San Jose! I love the pseudo-opulence of the velvet chairs, I love the old trolley car in the middle of the dining room, and the pasta with browned butter and mithriza cheese is just awesome.

  23. Stella Cook Says:

    Santana Row has the best shopping ever!

  24. Winona Holmes Says:

    Happy Hollow- I just took my 1 year old there for the first time ever! We all loved it 🙂

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