San Jose, rated one of America’s best cities to live and retire in, is nestled between the rolling hills of the famous Silicon Valley. This large, sunny city is also a well-known technology hub at the heart of California’s Bay Area.
San Jose is a beautiful family-friendly region but is also home to innovation and a bustling downtown sector packed with techy university students. Surrounded by the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range, San Jose is also ideal for nature lovers with a prime, outdoor environment, even if the cooler weather of fall is closing in on us.
If you’re planning a visit to this part of California over the fall season, here are some of the top family-friendly things to do in San Jose.
A Little More About San Jose
San Jose is a perfect example of blending the old with the new. Head to the city’s downtown area and you’ll see gorgeous architectural landmarks dating back to 1883. Some of the most popular include the Italianate-style Oddfellows building and Spanish Colonial Revival structures. Juxtaposed next to this is the popular Tech Museum of Innovation, devoted to the exploration of science and tech in the 21st century.
San Jose is one of the largest metro areas in the United States with over 2 million residents, and actually surpasses its close cousin, San Francisco. The city displays an eclectic mix of cultures, ranging from Spanish influence, seen in the downtown area, to rich Latino and Asian influence in nearby neighborhoods. You can also find central/south American influences throughout the metro area and a rich Japanese history dating back 125 years!
To add to all of this, San Jose is a perpetually sunny city. It’s known to experience an average of 300 days of sunshine annually. This means only one thing: there’s no shortage of time to head outdoors and explore with these fall activities as temperatures and sunshine remain in steady supply…
Top Family-Friendly Things to Do in San Jose
Despite its expansive metropolitan area, there’s a plethora of fall fun to enjoy in San Jose. Some of the top family-friendly spots include:
1. Happy Hollow Park and Zoo
Happy Hollow is undoubtedly one of the most popular family destinations in San Jose. It doubles as both an amusement park and an accredited zoo and offers hours of exploration in the perfect California fall weather.
The park is spread across 16-acres of land and features a carousel, roller coaster, petting zoo, and even a putter castle theatre. There are also a number of spectacular animal exhibits that are fascinating for children of all ages. You’ll have the chance to spot lemurs, meerkats, jaguars and plenty more creatures. Due to the park’s emphasis on conservation and sustainability, this is a great outing in terms of both education and fun.
2. The Tech Interactive
Even if your kids aren’t into tech, this is still a fascinating outing due to the interactive experience you’re guaranteed to enjoy. The Tech Interactive is one of the most iconic landmarks in Silicon Valley, dubbed the ”most innovative” place on Earth.
The grounds span a whopping 132,000 square feet and host the nation’s top technology and science museums. You’ll get a chance to enjoy hands-on, interactive experiences, designed and supported by none other than Stanford and NASA. The museum is designed to unleash your creative side, no matter your age.
You can also get a chance to experience the largest IMAX dome screen in the Western Hemisphere, which is an eight-story-high screen, kitted with incredible surround-sound capabilities.
3. Winchester Mystery House
It’s not called a ”mystery house” for nothing. Winchester House is a brilliant opportunity to satiate inquisitive minds, for both adults and children.
This beautiful mansion was constructed by Sarah Pardee Winchester, heiress of the Winchester Repeating Arms fortune, back in 1884. She continued to build onto the house for 38 consecutive years until she passed away in 1922. So you can imagine the level of detail this sprawling property holds!
The house itself features fascinating, yet bizarre details, including doors that open into walls, staircases that lead into the ceiling, hidden alcoves, and 160-bedrooms to explore. The home has been open to public exploration and bemusement since 1923, offering daily guided tours around the estate.
4. San Jose Public Art Walk
This is a wonderful outing for art-lovers or children who love expression.
Head to downtown San Jose for a stroll along the Public Art Walk for a number of awe-inspiring artworks on almost every street corner. You can spot some of the city’s top art installations near the convention center, city hall, San Jose State University, throughout the core campus. While most of the installations are beautiful to look at, some are even interactive.
5. Overfelt Gardens Park
If you’re looking for a touch outdoor space and appreciation, then the Overfelt Gardens Park is worth exploring. This property is also home to the Chinese Cultural Garden, created in 1971 by Frank and Pauline Lowe.
The garden itself stretches across 32-acres of pristine land. This includes three large ponds, a fragrance garden, a wildlife sanctuary, a family picnic area, and even an old dairyhouse. Pick a book from the Educational Park Branch Library, stroll through the Friendship Gate or marvel at the many stately pavilions scattered across the park.
This is the perfect spot for a bit of family relaxation and a chance to lap up that California sunshine.
6. San Pedro Square Market
If you and the family love food, then the San Pedro Market Square is your go-to. Here you’ll find a great selection of food vendors, craft beer, delicious sushi, and live entertainment. Gorge on freshly prepare Latin-American food, fusion-style hot dogs, pizza, and more. Much of the dining is al-fresco, so this gives a good chance to enjoy the mild fall weather and the local crowd that passes by.
The San Pedro Square Market also hosts film screenings, book signings, sports games, and comedy shows- it’s a hub of entertainment worth visiting.
7. Lake Cunningham Action Sports Park
For kids that love a bit of outdoor thrill, this sports park is a must-visit spot in San Jose. Sprawling across 68,000 square feet of land, this park features a skate park like no other, including the world’s largest cradle, tallest vertical wall, and largest full pipe.
It’s a great park for kids (and parents) who are looking for a challenging skate territory, however, it’s also open to scooters and bikes.
Hire the Help and Head Out
If you’ve recently relocated to San Jose and looking for a housekeeping service, then use Anita’s to find a licensed and screened local expert to help you. There’s nothing worse than being new to an area, but being bogged down by housework. Anita’s can help you book the help you need so you can head out and explore, instead!
We hope this blog on the top things to do in San Jose has inspired you to get out more often.