Best & Fun Things To Do In San Jose

Whether you’re a tourist looking for amazing experiences in San Jose or a local looking for something new, these are the best activities.  There are so many things to do in San Jose, CA that it can be hard to know where to start. From exploring downtown and checking out all the unique shops and restaurants, to taking a walk or bike ride through Kelley Park, there’s something for everyone in San Jose. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!

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Things To Do in San Jose, CA

Downtown San Jose

Downtown San Jose San Jose, CA

San Jose packs a city’s worth of culture, entertainment, cuisine, sightseeing, and nightlife into a few blocks bordered by the Guadalupe River and San Jose State University.

You could walk across this vibrant neighborhood in minutes, but there are more places to eat and drink than you could fit into a month, and many of the attractions listed below, from the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library to the San Jose Improv, are located downtown.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library

150 E San Fernando St, San Jose, CA 95112

In the early 2000s, the City of San Jose and San Jose State University collaborated to develop an eight-story library to serve the city’s public and SJSU students. As of 2010, this was the largest library built in a single phase in the entire Western United States.

On floors 6–8, serious academics will have access to the university’s research resources, while on the first three floors, you can use one of the public computer terminals.

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San Jose Improv

62 S Second St, San Jose, CA 95113

This iconic Downtown theater was taken over by The Improv chain in 2002, offering nonstop laughs Tuesday through Sunday. There’s a packed calendar of A-list and upcoming stand-ups, sketch groups, open mics, and live podcast recordings.

Combine that with an intimate atmosphere, terrific food, and fashionable cocktails, and you’re guaranteed to have a fantastic time.

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Winchester Mystery House

525 S Winchester Blvd, San Jose, CA 95128

Sara Winchester’s renovation choices make this popular tourist destination so fascinating. According to local legend, the fake stairs, deceiving doors, and 160 separate chambers were built to ward off haunting ghosts from her family’s past. 

These theories, and others, are thoroughly discussed during the guided tours, which are available seven days a week and include access to the carefully groomed grounds surrounding the mansion.

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Santana Row

377 Santana Row, San Jose, CA 95128

Santana Row is a premier business and entertainment neighborhood that features a thriving mix of shopping, dining, and foot activity. Name-brand retailers such as Kate Spade and Gucci line the pedestrian pathways of the Mediterranean outdoor shopping complex, alongside well-reviewed eateries serving anything from fine-dining Italian to casual street tacos.

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Alum Rock Park

15350 Penitencia Creek Rd, San Jose, CA 95127

The park is located in the Diablo Range’s foothills, with Upper Penitencia Creek running through the center of the landscape. Hiking, picnicking, and simply enjoying nature are among the many activities available in this rich and picturesque location.

Alum Rock Park has designated picnic spots, some of which can be reserved. There are also 13 miles of trails that run through the countryside, including popular routes such as the Eagle Rock Trail. Hikers, bikers, and horseback riders can use the trails, but they should be aware of any trail markers that indicate limits.

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Lick Observatory

7281 Mt Hamilton Rd, Mt Hamilton, CA 95140

This historic mountaintop observatory in the Diablo Range east of San Jose is run by the University of California.

The observatory, which looks like a mountain village of white domes, offers an almost unimaginable view over Silicon Valley, made even more spectacular at night by an infinite lattice of lights. However, you can drive the long, winding route to visit from Thursday through Sunday, when there are five free talks per day inside the dome of the 36-inch Great Refractor.

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Los Gatos Creek Trail

Los Gatos Creek Trail San Jose, CA

Los Gatos Creek Track is a regional cycling trail that runs south from San Jose to Los Gatos. It’s over 10 miles long and popular among bicyclists, joggers, walkers, and anyone who wants to enjoy the creekside surroundings.

The Los Gatos Creek Trail ends in Downtown San Jose, not far from Guadalupe River Park, where further trails can be found. It’s a popular weekend route that connects various regional parks, open space preserves, and other scenic city locations.

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California Theatre

345 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95113

The Silicon Valley Symphony and Opera San José’s main stage is a captivating feature in the SoFa District. The colorful Jazz Age design of the theater was brought back to life, complete with plateresque moldings, stained glass chandeliers, and Solomonic columns. With a seating capacity of 1,119, the facility is among the world’s smallest opera houses however, it provides viewers a sense of inclusiveness. 

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Mount Umunhum

Mt Umunhum California 95120

The fourth-highest peak in the Santa Cruz Range, at more than 1,060 meters, is a convenient day trip from San Jose for hikers looking for a bit more of a challenge or drivers since Mt Umunhum Road leads right to the top.

The top had previously been inaccessible to the public due to dangerous chemicals left over from the abandoned Almaden Air Force Station, but the road and hiking trail reopened in 2017. Mount Umunhum, like its neighboring summits, is a fragment of oceanic crust and mantle from the Middle Jurassic period (up to 203 million years ago), metamorphosed into metamorphic serpentinite.

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