San Jose

San Jose

San Jose has grown from being a small farm town. San Francisco’s former country neighbor at the bottom of the peninsula is now the third largest city in California (following Los Angeles and San Diego) and the largest city in the Bay area, with a population now numbering over one million. people, San Jose is ground zero for the Silicon Valley, with 6,600 technology companies employing over 250,000 people in the area.

There’s a lot to do in San Jose. A big attraction is California’s Great America amusement park. With lots of big-time thrill rides, live stage shows and “Boomerang Bay,“ where you can “enjoy the exhilaration and the feel of real ocean waves without the sand.,“ this is a full day’s outing. Single day admission tickets for adults are $45.99, junior and senior tickets are $24.99. (Be sure to check the website. There are great ticket deals online.)

Of course, there’s the world famous Winchester Mystery House, which everyone should see at least once. The lovely but bizarre edifice is an extreme example of remodeling gone amuck. The story is that the superstitious widow of the Winchester Arms fortune believed that she would stay alive if she kept building onto her Victorian home. With an income of $1000/day for 38 years (in the era before income taxes) , Sarah Winchester turned a simple farmhouse into a behemoth mansion with 160 rooms, 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors, 47 fireplaces, 47 staircases (some to nowhere), 13 bathrooms, and 6 kitchens.

There are separate tours available but the best deal is the Grand Estate Tour, which includes the Mansion and the Behind-the-Scenes Tour. Adults (ages 13-64) are $33, Seniors (64+) and children (6-12) $30. Kids under six are not allowed due to safety concerns.

The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium is a fantastic half-day outing, well worth the trip to San Jose. The Rosicrucian Museum houses the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in the western U.S. and includes a replica Egyptian tomb and real mummies. Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon-Thurs, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and weekends 11 a.m.-6 p.m. General admission is $9, seniors 55+ and students with I.D. are $7. Kids 5-10 are $5 and under 5 are free. Admission to the Planetarium Show is free.
1660 Park Avenue, San Jose, CA 95197