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What to See and Do in San Jose - Landmarks, Museums and a Flea Market

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San Jose is a vivacious city that enjoys showing off its assets, whether for its place in the world of technology and innovation, embracing world cultures, or appreciating the finer things in life. Known as the “Capital of Silicon Valley,” the city is chock full of things to do, including several museums, lush public gardens, and colourful markets.

Markets in San Jose

 

Vibrant and bustling markets are a great way to explore what San Jose has to offer. San Jose Flea Market has been part of the city's fabric since 1960, and offers a wide variety of family-friendly options to suit almost everyone, including freshly prepared food, clothing, and fashion accessories. There are also children's rides, like a vintage carousel, and a playground with inflatable slides. San Pedro Square Market is foodie heaven, with 15 food vendors serving mouthwatering choices, as well as craft brews and gourmet coffee. The market also hosts special events regularly, like live music and karaoke nights.

 

  • San Jose Flea Market, 1590 Berryessa Road, San Jose, CA 95133; Tel: +1 408 453 1110; Website: San Jose Flea Market
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  • San Pedro Square Market, 87 North San Pedro Street, San Jose, CA 95110; Website: San Pedro Square Market

Museums in San Jose

 

The city has fascinating museums to choose from, including the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, which has the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in western United States. The building has been designed to resemble ancient Egyptian architecture, and is set within an Egyptian themed park. The Tech Museum of Innovation is known for its interactive exhibits, where visitors learn through hands-on experiences. Galleries on themes like exploration, genetics, and energy efficiency are permanent fixtures, alongside revolving temporary exhibitions. There's also a 280-seat IMAX Dome theatre that plays major motion pictures, as well as educational films.

 

 

Gardens in San Jose

 

The city has several lush gardens that are perfect for enjoying picnics, or simply strolling through with an iced coffee in hand. The San Jose Rose Garden features 189 different varieties of roses spread over several acres. There's rarely a month when it isn't blooming, but the optimal time is early May when roses at their most beautiful and fragrant. The Japanese Friendship Garden is a symbol of the relationship between San Jose and Okayama, Japan. It's designed to resemble the Korakuen Garden in Okayama, and has 3 ponds filled with koi fish.

 

  • San Jose Rose Gardens, Naglee Avenue and Dana Avenue, San Jose, CA 95126; Tel: +1 408 794 7275; Website: San Jose Rose Gardens
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  • Japanese Friendship Garden, Senter Road and East Alma Avenue, San Jose, CA 95112; Website: Japanese Friendship Garden

 

Exploring a Victorian landmark

 

The Winchester Mystery House is a large mansion that was once the residence of Sarah Winchester, a millionaire widower who inherited her husband's gun manufacturing fortune and proceeded to construct this bizarre landmark. Winchester believed that only by continuously building and expanding the property would she appease the ghosts haunting her family and threatening their wealth. The mansion is a spooky maze, including a staircase that descends 7 steps before ascending another 11, and winding hallways leading to secret passages inside walls. All of these were intended to throw off the ghosts Mrs. Winchester believed followed her everywhere.

 

  • Winchester Mystery House, 525 South Winchester Boulevard, San Jose, CA 95128; Tel: +1 408 247 2101; Website: Winchester Mystery House

 

Lick Observatory

 

Located on top of Mount Hamilton at a height of 4,209 feet, Lick Observatory is open during the day to the public. You'll be able to see many of the facility's powerful telescopes, like the 36-inch telescope dome, and wander through fascinating exhibits. A state-of-the-art research centre also offers stunning views across the surrounding valley. There's a gift shop where you can pick up astronomy-related souvenirs to bring home.

 

  • Lick Observatory, 7281 Mount Hamilton Road, Mount Hamilton, CA 95140; Tel: +1 408 274 5061; Website: Lick Observatory