Things to do and eat in Silicon Valley

Summer is the time for family and friends to come and visit, so I took a little while and tried to think about things to do and places to eat.

Some things to do in Silicon Valley and nearby:

  • Sunday morning farmers’ market in Mountain View
  • Take a tour of Google (okay, you need to know someone who works there, probably)
  • Kitsch value: Intel Museum, Nickel City (arcade games are only a nickel, or even free!), San Jose flea market claims to be the world’s largest. There’s also an electronics flea market on the second Saturday of the summer months (e.g. Aug. 13, 2005) on the De Anza College campus parking lots. Meanwhile, De Anza has its own flea market on the first Saturday of the month (e.g. August 6, 2005).
  • Shopping: Santana Row/Valley Fair, Stanford Shopping Center, maybe University Ave or Castro St
  • San Jose: The Tech Museum, the Winchester Mystery House
  • Computer Geeks: Weird Stuff, Fry’s (I like the Sunnyvale store), Digital Guru (tech bookstore right near the Sunnyvale Fry’s), Microcenter, Best Buy, CompUsa, Surplus Computers
  • Pretty drives: Driving down Highway 1. Skyline Boulevard. Lick Observatory is only 20 miles away, but two hours of winding driving.
  • San Francisco: the painted ladies, then drive the Haight, and end up in Golden Gate Park to see the Japanese Tea Garden and the botanical gardens, continue on to rent a boat on the lake in the park, then drive by Cliff House before finishing at the Palace of Fine Arts and the Exploratorium. Or hit the Museum of Modern Art before walking to Union Square for shopping and walk in Macy’s and Tiffany’s before walking through Chinatown on the way to Pier 39 and Alcatraz (while looking up at the crookedest street) and looping over to Ghirardelli Square, then finish with a trolley car ride back to Union Square. Or get dim sum and then drive across the Golden Gate Bridge (stopping on the other side to look back at the city) before proceeding on to Muir Woods and hiking around.
  • Day trips: Santa Cruz (cold water, but nice boardwalk. Kitsch lovers might want to check out the Mystery Spot), Roaring Camp Railway, Carmel/Monterey (including the aquarium), or spend the day walking around Stanford and go up in the Hoover Tower, then check out the Stanford bookstore or the Rodin sculpture gardens.
  • Overnight trips: Healdsburg is a nice introduction to the edge of wine country. You can also go canoeing on the Russian River in Healdsburg. The Point Reyes lighthouse is really pretty; we haven’t found a favorite place to stay up there yet. Lake Tahoe can be nice.
  • Multiday trips: Yosemite is 5-6 hours away but is spectacular: rent a cabin in Camp Curry or stay in the Wawona hotel (their Sunday brunch is expensive but amazing). If you prefer to go up the coast, Eureka has a quaint downtown. If you make it up to Portland, be sure to spend some time in Powell’s bookstore.
  • Hikes: Borel Hill, Rancho San Antonio, the Stanford Dish, Eagle Rock Loop in Alum Rock City Park in San Jose

Places to eat:

  • Left at Albuquerque
  • Amarin Thai
  • Pho
  • Tomatina
  • Mexicali
  • all along University Avenue in Palo Alto
  • all along Castro St in Mountain View
  • In and Out Burger or Clarke’s
  • Chipotle in the Cherry Orchard (Ozzy Osbourne loves this food)
  • BJ’s Brewhouse in Cupertino
  • Benihana
  • Cheesecake Factory
  • Mongolian BBQ (in Santa Clara, the one that is not Sue’s)
  • Evvia (Greek, Palo Alto)
  • Picasso’s (Tapas, San Jose)
  • Sushi Lovers or anything with a sushi boat, Seto Sushi (recommended by Linus Torvalds!), Miyake
  • Dim Sum (San Francisco or Ming’s in Palo Alto)
  • Original Pancake House in Los Altos, esp. for their coffee
  • Ethiopan place (maybe on Homestead?)
  • Banana Leaf in Milpitas
  • Amber India
  • Maybe Dave and Busters in Milpitas, just for the games ‘n’ stuff
  • Mexican: Bueno Bueno in Mountain View, Burrito Real, La Bamba, La Costena, Fiesta del Mar, that one place on the south side of El Camino between Rengstorff and Shoreline, Taqueria los Charros
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