October 28, 2016

Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in San Jose

Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in San JoseIn July, the kids and I had the opportunity to explore San Jose, CA. While I’d been to San Francisco a number of times, this was my first time in San Jose. Of course, there are a lot of tech companies in the San Jose area, like Google and Nintendo, but I had no idea what to do with kids.

Whether you have just a day or two, or even a week, you’ll find a lot to do as a family in San Jose. Here’s the scoop on where to stay, what to do and where to eat. Have fun. 🙂

Where to Stay

We stayed at the Hilton San Jose. Centrally located in downtown San Jose, the hotel is an easy walk to the Tech Museum of Innovation, as well as the Convention Center. It was also less than a ten-minute drive to Santa Clara University, which we enjoyed exploring while we were in town.

We stayed in connecting rooms at the Hilton San Jose. My husband and I had a room with a king bed, while the kids relaxed in the room next door with two queen beds. Even better, the beds were Hilton Serenity Beds, allowing for a fabulous night’s sleep while on the road. It was a perfect set-up for us.

Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in San Jose

Even better, the hotel is just three miles from the airport, so if we had flown in, the Hilton San Jose would have been super convenient, especially when traveling with kids. The hotel also has a heated outdoor pool and a whirlpool, as well as a tasty in-house restaurant, Affinity.

What to Do

The Hilton San Jose is easy driving distance from a number of kid-friendly attractions, including the Tech Museum of Innovation and Winchester Mystery House. If you go, here are a few of my top things to do with kids in the San Jose area.

Tech Museum of Innovation. My kids loved The Tech, and as luck would have it, we got to go two days in a row while in San Jose (when I had to have two tires replaced on my minivan). There are loads of hands-on activities, like Cyber Detectives, which teaches about online safety and code cracking. You can also build robots and roller coasters, even experience an earthquake.

Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in San Jose

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. Kids will love learning about kings, pharaohs and gods through various exhibits at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. It’s also a must to check out artifacts in the Daily Life gallery for a glimpse into life in ancient Egypt. The museum even offers a Junior Archaeologist Program.

Winchester Mystery House. Head to Winchester Mystery House for a tour of a Victorian mansion that is unlike any other. Not only do some claim that the house is haunted by ghosts, but the twisting hallways, secret passageways, staircases to nowhere and four-story chimneys will intrigue visitors of all ages.

Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in San Jose

Children’s Discovery Museum. At the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose, small children can enjoy lots of interactive activities. Explore a miniature version of a town, complete with stoplights and firefighters. Or, learn about fresh produce, drive a food truck or take food orders in the Rainbow Market.

Municipal Rose Garden. Pack a picnic lunch and head to the Municipal Rose Garden to relax and explore for the afternoon. Stretching across more than five acres, the Municipal Rose Garden is a wonderful place to visit with children to check out the roses, including new rose varieties, in bloom from April to November.

SJ-Municipal Rose Garden

History Park. Head to History Park, which highlights what life was like years ago in the Santa Clara Valley. Kids will love exploring 32 original and reproduction homes, businesses and landmarks, like the Associated Oil Service Station, Trolley Barn, Pacific Hotel and Print Shop.

Where to Eat 

There are a number of restaurants in the San Jose area that are perfect for kids and families. Here are a few to check out during your visit.

Peggy Sue’s. Head to this 50’s style restaurant for some of the best hamburgers and milkshakes in San Jose. Peggy Sue’s is in downtown San Jose and is an easy walk to hotels, museums and the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. Kids will love checking out the 50’s memorabilia all around the restaurant.

SJ-Peggy Sues

Old Spaghetti Factory. All kids love spaghetti and you’ll find plenty to go around at the Old Spaghetti Factory. There are plenty of pastas on the kids menu, like fettucine alfredo and ravioli, as well as cream sodas, classic milkshakes, even a Cotton Candy Limeade, which is garnished with real cotton candy.

Pizza Antica. For pizza, head to Pizza Antica at Santana Row. Take time to shop at the outdoor shopping plaza before settling in either inside or on the outdoor patio for pizza, pasta and salads. Look for seasonal pizzas, like the Butternut Squash with bacon, red onions and fresh mozzarella cheese. Yum.

Iguanas. Home of the Burritozilla, Iguanas is a fan favorite in San Jose among those who like Tex-Mex food. Look for tacos, nachos, quesadillas, and yes, the Burritozilla, a five-pound, 18-inch super burrito. For those who aren’t quite so hungry, there’s a Cheap Thrills menu with smaller bites for just $1 each.

Disclaimer: I was a guest of Team San Jose. However, all opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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