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Sprawling over almost 2,695 square miles of flatlands south of San Francisco Bay, California's third largest city is a modern metropolis (or technopolis) exceeded in population only by Los Angeles and San Diego. It seems remarkable that San Jose was founded in 1777 as the first Spanish settlement in Nueva California. Today, the overwhelming impression is of Space Age high-rise offices and high-tech factories in the midst of Silicon Valley – the source of San Jose's recent phenomenal growth. San Jose is often given short shrift for its sightseeing attractions, which it boasts in abundance. Consider the museums, which range from the Tech ...

Sprawling over almost 2,695 square miles of flatlands south of San Francisco Bay, California's third largest city is a modern metropolis (or technopolis) exceeded in population only by Los Angeles and San Diego. It seems remarkable that San Jose was founded in 1777 as the first Spanish settlement in Nueva California. Today, the overwhelming impression is of Space Age high-rise offices and high-tech factories in the midst of Silicon Valley – the source of San Jose's recent phenomenal growth. San Jose is often given short shrift for its sightseeing attractions, which it boasts in abundance. Consider the museums, which range from the Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose Historical Museum, and San Jose Museum of Art (one of the nation's premiere Modern Art museums) to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium, exhibiting a vast collection of Middle Eastern antiquities. And who can resist a visit to the Winchester Mystery House, a spooky 160-room mansion built by a superstitious heir to the Winchester rifle fortune. Moreover, San Jose's fine dining scene is well developed. So too is its nightlife, ranging from discos to acclaimed classical orchestras and symphonic venues.

Christopher Baker
About the Expert

Christopher P. Baker has authored guidebooks to Costa Rica, California, and various Caribbean islands for Frommer's, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic, among others.

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Christopher Baker for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring, early summer, autumn