Stay-cation: 8 Amazing Places to Visit in San Jose This Summer

With only eight weekends left until the end of August, you’re probably feeling the itch to get out and enjoy summer while you can.

Thankfully, you don’t have to plan a huge vacation or spends thousands of dollars to get out and have some fun―there are plenty of things to do and see, right here in San Jose!

We put together our top eight best things to do in San Jose, so you have somewhere new to go every weekend, until the kids go back to school.  Get out there and have some fun!

  1. California’s Great America


(via California’s Great America)

This classic theme park is the perfect summer getaway, without actually having to leave San Jose.

California’s Great Adventure has something for everyone―from thrill rides like the Gold Striker, Northern California’s tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster, to Planet Snoopy, a special play area just for kids featuring the whole Peanuts cast, it’s a park you can bring the whole family to.

There’s plenty of special events happening here all summer, too, including live music, fireworks, and cultural celebrations.  Don’t miss the summer-long free admission to their on-site water park, Boomerang Bay―two parks for the price of one!

  1. Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium


(via Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum)

The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium might be a mouthful to say, but this spectacular small museum is unmissable.

Filled with ancient Egyptian artifacts, like human and animal mummies, hieroglyphic tablets, and a walk-through tomb, the museum is packed full of things to do and see.  There are daily shows at the planetarium, as well as daily workshops where you can learn more about ancient Egyptian customs or get hands-on experience with their lifestyle.

  1. Monopoly in the Park


(via flickr/HarshLight)

If you’re looking for big fun and “friendly” competition, this 930 square foot replica of the classic Hasbro board game is the perfect place for it.

Located in California’s Discovery Meadow, the giant granite slab playing board was constructed in 1992 as part of the San Francisco Landscape and Design Show.  The board is fully playable―you can rent it out for a game that comes with custom, to-scale tokens, dice, hotels, and playing cards.

Need a cheaper option?  Check out Santana’s Row’s Chess Plaza for a giant game of chess, no cost to the public.

  1. Winchester Mystery House


(via TripAdvisor/Jeff C.)

Whether you are an architecture buff or avid ghost hunter, the Winchester Mystery House will not disappoint.

Built by Mrs Sarah Winchester in the late 1800’s, the house is full of twists and turns as she designed the house to be purposely confusing for “evil spirits”, whom she believed to follow her.  With an unlimited budget and fear of the paranormal, the house was constantly being changed and updated, leaving behind stairs that lead to nowhere, doors that open to walls, and other structural oddities that need to be seen to be believed.

Tours run daily, taking visitors through the house and surrounding grounds and gardens―keep an eye and ear out, as many guests claim to hear ghosts knocking on doors during the Mansion Tour!

  1. Alum Rock Park


(via TripAdvisor/ATS001)

Alum Rock Park is one of California’s oldest municipal parks.  It was originally used as a “health retreat”, featuring natural springs for spa treatments, but has now been transformed into a beautiful park full of trails and perfect picnic spots.

The park has 13 miles of trails specifically suited to hiking, biking, or horseback riding.  There are plenty of activities including a summer camp, nature center, wildlife viewing, and picnic areas with public barbecues.

  1. Tech Museum of Innovation


(via Facebook)

Great of kids and adults, alike, the Tech Museum of Innovation is constantly updating to keep up with advances in technology.

This hands on museum has more exhibits than you have time to see all in one day, so take your time and plan for a few visits this summer.  If you have a 4th-8th grader, check out their summer classes, where your child can learn everything from veterinary science to 3D printing.

The must-sees in the museum include the Social Robots gallery, where you can build your own robot, and the Exploration Gallery, which has a working jet pack chair you can float around in, just like the kind NASA send into space.

And if you’re looking for an escape from the summer heat, there are a few movies on rotation in the museum’s state-of-the-art IMAX dome movie theater.

  1. J Lohr Vineyards & Winery


(via Facebook)

Looking for time away from the kids?  The J. Lohr Vineyards and Winery is the perfect place to unwind.

The winery is open daily from 10am – 5pm for free wine tastings in a spectacular surrounding.  Best of all, they are hosting special events, every week, all summer long―check our their San Jose events page for tickets to events like the weekly Friday Wine and Cheese Nights and a tapas-style Farm-to-Fork dinner.

  1. San Jose Flea Market


(via Facebook)

For fun and quirky morning out, head down to the San Jose Flea Market―it’s so much more than just shopping!  For more than 55 years, this market has been offering more than 120 acres of fun, food, and shopping, with more than four million visitors every year!

There is fresh food as far as the eye can see (from local cuisine to fair-style corn dogs), antiques and collectible vendors, fashion and jewelry, even pony carnival rides for the kids.  The market is open Wednesday – Sunday, but Sunday has the most vendors (as many as 1500!), but there is always something to see, do, hear or taste, no matter when you go!