When you think of a short 4-5 day getaway and California, usually it means San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palm Springs or even San Diego. San Jose is rarely a weekend getaway destination. Most people consider San Jose as a business trip destination for techies flying down for meetings in Silicon Valley. However, this is one vacation destination that should be considered, especially in the summertime. Air Canada offers direct flights to/from Vancouver and San Jose twice a day, typically cheaper airfares than to San Francisco and with shorter flight time. The hotels are more affordable, frequently lower prices on the weekends than weekdays. There are also a lot of cultural festivals, restaurants, and attractions in and around San Jose to see and do. According to Team San Jose, the official travel and tourism association, San Jose averages 300 days of sunshine a year!
Next time you are considering a short destination look up flights to San Jose. To help with your travel planning here are our 5 recommendations of things to do and see in and around San Jose for this summer:
- Check out Japantown‘s Obon Festival – July 8 & 9, 2017.
Being one of the three oldest and remaining Japantowns in the United States, there’s a lot of cultural events that take place in this 127-year-old historic areas of San Jose.
The Obon Festival is Japantown’s largest festival taking place the 2nd week in July for 2 nights. Activities include Taiko drumming, live music performances, games, Buddhist temple tours, food stations, beer and safe crafts, and dancing! Each night the Obon Festival ends the evening with dancing – over 1200 dancers dressed up in full costume each evening – everyone welcome!
- Take a short drive to Cupertino, home to Apple headquarters, and visit Ridge Vineyards’ Monte Bello Estate in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
This vineyard produces some of California’s finest Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and signature Monte Bello and rivals some of the best vineyards of Napa and Sonoma Valley.
Their tasting room is open 7 days a week, with a picnic area open to the public on weekends and by reservation on weekdays. You can enjoy your wine tastings with your lunch. This vineyard is a hidden gem worth visiting for wine enthusiasts.
- Visit the Santa Cruz Boardwalk for Friday Night Bands on the Beach – June 16 – September 1, 2017
Santa Cruz is a short 45 min drive from San Jose. It is home to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, operating since 1907. This iconic boardwalk features the beach, classic amusement park rides, midway games, and carnival food. In the summer, from mid-June to September 1, enjoy Friday evening concerts from bands spanning the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. This summer, enjoy concerts from Eddie Money, Blue Oyster Cult, Los Lobos, Gin Blossoms, and much more. The drive itself along Santa Cruz Oceanside is scenic enough to take in on its own!
- Discover your inner geek by visiting one of the cool tech museums.
San Jose is home to the Tech Museum of Innovation. This museum was built to showcase the science and technology the Silicon Valley has to offer. Visitors can check out interactive exhibits on biometrics, robotics, virtual/augmented/mixed reality, and more. Visitors of all ages will get to try various exhibits such as building your own robot.
If you want something more technical, visit the Intel Museum, a short drive away in Santa Clara. Intel is the largest manufacturer of semiconductor chips and historical to the innovation of computers. At the Intel Museum & Headquarters, you will get to learn about the history of Intel through interactive displays and find out how it contributed to the computer industry since the 1960s. Make sure to pick up a souvenir from the gift shop on the way out!
- Enjoy some Asian eats before heading home.
Finish off your trip with a Vietnamese pho or famous Taiwanese dumplings!
San Jose is home to the largest population of Vietnamese residents outside of Vietnam. You are sure to find the most authentic Vietnamese meals here. Check out Vung Tau, rated one of the top Vietnamese restaurants in San Jose by TripAdvisor and Yelp!
Din Tai Fung, a famous Taiwanese restaurant world renowned for their juicy pork dumplings (xiaolongbaos) has a location in Santa Clara. Wait times when they first opened were up to 4-5 hours long, according to our contact at Team San Jose, Kyle Schatzel. Considering on most busy evenings when the wait time can be an hour or more, plan ahead and get there early for those juicy dumplings or order some for takeout!
For more travel information on San Jose and the surrounding areas, visit www.sanjose.org. Here you’ll be able to find recommended itineraries, attractions, events, and more.