High-technology tours are among San Jose's attractions

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Silicon Valley is now known throughout the world as the capital for high-tech companies.

The boundaries are loosely defined as San Mateo to the north, the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west, the San Francisco Bay and the Diablo Mountains to the east and Morgan Hill to the south.

San Jose is the largest city in the region and serves as headquarters to such high-tech leaders as Cisco Systems, Adobe and Netcom.

Other corporate giants -- Intel, Apple, National Semiconductor, Advanced Micro Devices and Hewlett-Packard -- are based within minutes of San Jose's borders, in adjacent cities.

San Jose serves as headquarters to technological companies such as Cisco Systems, Adobe and Netcom. The San Jose Convention and Visitors Bureau, capitalizing on the interest in the Silicon Valley boom, is developing technical tours, to be available through tour operators.

These programs will enable visitors to learn about technology first-hand, with visits from some of the leading companies in the valley.

One visitor attraction that is garnering a lot of interest is the Tech Museum of Innovation in downtown San Jose.

The original facility opened in 1990, and the museum moved into a larger, $96 million building in October 1998.

The museum offers workshops in addition to a number of themed galleries, an Imax theater, an education center, a gift shop and a cafe.

Among the visitor activities is the opportunity for guests to design virtual roller coasters, take 3-D computer portraits of themselves and ride a virtual bobsled.

Visitors also can make their own movie in the facility's Digital Studio.

Not all of San Jose's attractions revolve around technology, however.

Here are some of the other things to do in the city:

  • Children's Discovery Museum downtown is one of the largest children's facilities of its kind in the nation, with more than 150 hands-on exhibits including one on learning how electricity is generated and one on making artwork from recycled goods.
  • The Historical Museums of San Jose are in 25-acre Kelley Park. Visitors will find a collection of reproduced homes, businesses and landmarks as they existed near the close of the 19th century.
  • Included are the Peralta Adobe, built around 1797, which is the city's oldest structure, and Fallon House, the 1850s home of one of the city's mayors.

  • Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium features the largest exhibit of ancient Egyptian antiquities on the West Coast, including mummies, artifacts and an underground tomb.
  • The San Jose Museum of Art offers a changing exhibit of contemporary art and works drawn from the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of Art of New York.
  • The Whitney Collection includes 20th century art by such artists as Georgia O'Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol and Jacob Lawrence.

    The museum recently reopened a historical wing, an 1892 Romanesque-style building.

  • The San Jose Flea Market, about a 10-minute drive east of downtown, is open on the weekends and is the largest flea market the U.S.
  • There are 2,700 booths and 35 restaurants on 120 acres. The merchandise runs the gamut, including fruit and vegetables, furniture and rugs.

    For more information about the museums, technical tours and attractions, contact the San Jose Convention and Visitors Bureau at its Web site, www.sanjose.org, or call (408) 295-9600.

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