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Things To Do In San Jose

Whether you’re a foodie, nature enthusiast, artist, or techie, there’s adventure for everyone in San Jose. The Silicon Valley is surrounded by parks and outdoor recreation areas, including several paths on the Los Gatos Creek Trail. San Jose’s vibrant downtown is bursting with culture and houses both the Tech Museum of Innovation and the San Jose Museum of Art. Discover the quirky side of the city with a movie at the Retro Dome, a giant game of Monopoly in the Park, or a fancy drink at one of San Jose’s many speakeasies.

San Jose is bustling with life, culture, historic neighborhoods, and unique museums. The culinary scene is also to die for. Diners can find cuisine from all over the world, including Somalian, Morrocan, and Cambodian restaurants. Some of the best places to visit near San Jose, CA include:

  • The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, a unique cultural experience
  • Willow Glen, a neighborhood full of shops and restaurants with a small-town feel
  • The Great America amusement park, just a short drive from downtown San Jose
  • The Tech Museum of Innovation, an excellent adventure for families
  • Firehouse No. 1 Gastropub, a restaurant with a superb dining experience

Vacations can be just as fun on a budget. If you’re visiting San Jose, there’s plenty to see in the city without spending a dime. A few cheap things to do near San Jose, CA include:

  • The Municipal Rose Garden, a free park that’s thought to be America’s best rose garden
  • Los Gatos Creek Trail, a beautiful 9.7 mile hike nestled within the city
  • Kelly Park, an ideal spot for nature walks, picnics, and outdoor gatherings
  • The San Jose Flea Market, a trove of quirky treasures and colorful alleyways
  • Falafel Drive-In, a local restaurant with delicious and cheap Mediterranean food

Whether you’re a resident or experiencing San Jose for the first time, there are many must-see locations in the area. Popular attractions near San Jose, CA include:

  • The SubZERO art and music festival, a great place to find inspiration
  • The macabre yet beautiful Winchester Mystery House
  • The San Jose Museum of Art, which boasts both modern and contemporary art
  • Santa Cruz Boardwalk, a small amusement park along the shoreline
  • Japantown, one of the last remaining Japanese towns in the US


As one of the largest cities in the state, San Jose has enough restaurants, coffee shops, and breweries to last a lifetime. That said, consider working a few of these local favorites into your routine. Exciting activities near San Jose include:

  • Catching the newest flicks at CineArts Santana Row
  • Getting your puzzle on with a Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt
  • Snacking on your favorite sandwich at Freshly Baked Eatery
  • Sitting down with a flight of beers at Faultline Brewery
  • Taking out some pins at 4th Street Bowl


San Jose’s nightlife is both vibrant and diverse. With craft breweries, karaoke bars, and dance clubs, you’re sure to find an engaging evening experience for everyone in your group. Nighttime activities near San Jose include:

  • Discovering your new favorite comedian at ComedySportz club
  • Sipping one of Paper Plane’s signature, uniquely named cocktails
  • Dancing the night away at San Jose’s OPAL nightclub
  • Choosing from more than 100 craft beers at Yard House
  • Grabbing a drink at District, a wine, whiskey, and cocktail bar downtown  

Silicon Valley is known for its high-energy workplaces. Take a break from the daily grind with one of San Jose’s cultural or natural attractions. Weekend activities near San Jose include:

  • Driving out to Half Moon Bay for a wine and cheese tasting
  • Walking on the wild side in the Santa Cruz Mountains
  • Catching a Sharks game at the SAP center
  • Brunching till you burst at The Table, a tasty spot with American food
  • Taking a trip up to Napa Valley and enjoying a day of wine tasting

With so many museums, parks, and outdoor activities, it’s easy to find fun for the whole family around San Jose. Whether you’re raising an animal lover or a gamer, there’s plenty of activities to help nurture your little one’s favorite hobby. Family-friendly things to do include:

  • Visiting the Children’s Discovery Museum for a scientific adventure
  • Hanging out with wild animals at the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo
  • Hitting Nickel City Family Entertainment Center for some arcade fun
  • Playing an exciting game of laser tag at Laser Quest
  • Learning about the rustic world of farming at Deer Hollow Farm

Date nights are different for every couple. Thankfully, San Jose has romantic diversions for all walks of life. Restaurants and attractions range from casual and to downright swanky. Date night ideas near San Jose include:

  • Catching your favorite band at The Mountain Winery concert series
  • Eating popcorn and watching a movie at the Retro Dome
  • Spending a luxurious night in the glamorous Hayes Mansion
  • Kicking it old school at the West Wind Capitol Drive-In movie theater
  • Heading to The Temple for drinks and dancing

Exciting Group ActivitiesView All

Whether you’re team building or planning a family reunion, the San Jose area has plenty of exciting activities for groups both large and small. Things to do in San Jose with friends include:

  • Making a list of your favorite songs and hitting 7 Bamboo for karaoke
  • Working together to break from Quadra Escape, a popular local escape room
  • Watching a demonstration and trying to play polo at Segway Polo
  • Testing your knowledge during Thursday night trivia at Golden State Brewing
  • Passing “go” and collecting $200 while playing a life-sized game of Monopoly in the Park

When the temperature starts to rise, museums and indoor workshops are our refuge. San Jose has plenty of indoor art galleries, spas, and performances. San Jose’s best indoor activities include:

  • Taking some time for reflection at WORKS art gallery
  • Visiting the Lick Observatory for both city and star gazing, day or night
  • Taking a workshop or attend a lecture at NUMUNew Museum Los Gatos
  • Treating yourself to a well-earned pampering at Silver Sea Day Spa
  • Checking out a play or performance at the Montgomery Theater

The Bay Area is one of the most active spots in the country. Located between the mountains and ocean, San Jose offers outdoor experiences for every type of adventurer. Some of the best activities include:

  • Hiking the many trails of Alum Rock Park, the city’s oldest municipal park
  • Exploring the natural and historical beauty of Almaden Quicksilver County Park
  • Wandering through the peaceful sanctuary of the Japanese Friendship Garden
  • Enjoying a game of golf at the Cinnabar Golf Club
  • Riding and bar hopping with friends on the San Jose Brew Bike

San Jose is full of quirky spots for dining and exploration. Look for hole-in-the-wall speakeasies and cozy coffee shops during your stay. Must-see places near San Jose include:

  • Seeing a show or taking a class at Made Up Improv Theater
  • Experiencing the prohibition era at the Haberdasher speakeasy
  • Visiting the San Pedro Square Market for music, food, coffee, and more
  • Learning about local folklore at the Bigfoot Discovery Museum
  • Taking a guided walk and watching the elephant seals at Año Nuevo State Park