11 Reasons to Visit Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley Financial Center
Silicon Valley Financial Center | © Christian Rondeau/Flickr
Deanna Morgado

Silicon Valley should be on more people’s travel bucket list, as there’s more to the region than just tech. These southern Bay Area towns can satisfy all kinds of visitors; thrill-seekers, music and art enthusiasts, and culture aficionados. No matter what you’re seeking, Silicon Valley has plenty of reasons for a visit.

Silicon Valley Financial Center

The chocolate

Silicon Valley isn’t just for those hungry for technology and innovation. It’s also a great place for those with an insatiable sweet-tooth. Taking a visit to The Chocolate Garage in Palo Alto is a must, where you can get an insight into the world of artisanal chocolate and enjoy an eye-opening experience. Around 200 types of chocolate are carefully curated from all over the world. The Garage holds free tastings and will often pair chocolate with dessert wine, tequila, curry spices, whiskey and even goat milk.

chocolate cake truffles on wood cutting board

Explore Alviso

Once recognized as just another San Jose neighborhood as well as an independent city, Alviso is now an area well worth exploring. In Alviso Marina County Park, miles of trails stretch along this wetland, as do the sweeping, picturesque views. The 20.6 acre bayside park is also perfect for bird-watching enthusiasts. In the right season, hundreds of different bird species can be seen in their natural habitat.

Music in the Park

Los Gatos’ Music in the Park is one of the free pleasures offered in this rather pricey and extravagant city. Held on Main Street’s Civic Center lawn, free concerts have taken place here for over 18 seasons. Music in the Park is only held on Sundays in the warm season, perfect after window shopping at the Lamborghini dealership or finishing an early dinner at one of many downtown bistros or eateries. The event prides itself on being an open, multi-ethnic and multi-generational musical evening for its audience.

California’s Great America

Located in Santa Clara, California’s Great America is an amusement park unlike many others. The park’s selection of fear-inducing roller-coasters is perfect for serious adrenaline junkies. There are 100 acres within the park, meaning you probably won’t have time to see it all in one day. Rides, shows and special events take place throughout the year, offering fun, thrills and adventure.

California’s Great America

Art and Wine

Mountain View’s Art and Wine Festival is Silicon Valley’s time to eat, drink and give back. This festival began as a fundraiser by the Chamber of Commerce to help raise funds for local programs. The Art and Wine Festival features multiple musical stages, around 600 arts and crafts vendors and booths, a plethora of wines from up and down California, as well as multiple food vendors offering a perfect pairing for your wine.

Open Day at La Honda Winery

The award-winning La Honda Winery opens only once a month to the public for tasting. This Redwood City winery – which the locals call the region’s “best kept secret” – farms over 50 estate vineyards all over the Bay Area. The charming atmosphere just adds to the unique and almost decadent experience of tasting La Honda’s vast selection of artisan wines.

La Honda Winery “Steep Slopes”

Computer History Museum

This beautifully modern museum is dedicated to the preservation of technological artifacts, the sharing of pivotal stories that had significant impact on society, and exploring the revolution and evolution of the computer and the information age. Docent-led tours are held at the museum all month long. Visitors can participate in tours such as “Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing” and “Women in Computing,” as well as family tours. Countless exhibitions are held throughout the year, and are sure to pique the interest of tech-buffs and novices alike.

The camaraderie

One of the most amazing things about virtually all of Silicon Valley is the seemingly automatic camaraderie and sense of community in this southern portion of the Bay Area. Arguably the technology capital of the world, Silicon Valley is home to some of the most influential tech companies, startups and institutions. That being said, whether you’re in the industry or not, there seems to be an unspoken respect among people here. Ideas, visions and innovations can be shared in even the most casual of environments in this culturally-diffused area.

Cantor Arts Center

This Stanford University museum was first created by the school’s founding family, the Stanfords. The family traveled extensively, collecting art pieces along the way and creating the museum to display their findings to students and the public. The Cantor Arts Center holds numerous exhibitions, classes, events and tours. Over 5,000 culturally-rich years of art history can be found at the museum. It’s also home to one of the largest Rodin bronzes outside of Paris.

2011-12-17 Palo Alto, Stanford University 073 Museum of Art, Auguste Rodin Sculpture Garden, The Three Shades

Lawn Bowls Club

Drop in at Palo Alto Lawn Bowls Club on Sundays to try your hand at this popular lawn sport. Lawn bowling is like the cousin of bocce ball, and is a great way to spend a sunny afternoon in Silicon Valley; all you need is some flat-soled shoes. Popular tech companies often host company games and team-building events at the club. And tournaments are held where visitors are welcome to watch.

Lawn bowls

All the Oktoberfests

Oktoberfest, celebrating Bavarian and German culture, is a festival stretching over several days that happens all over the world. If you’re visiting Silicon Valley in October, you’re in luck. Silicon Valley has a bunch of fun, beer-filled, festival days. Whether you’re visiting Mountain View, the Peninsula, San Jose, Redwood City, or many other Silicon Valley towns, you can be sure there’s a Bavarian celebration happening nearby.

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