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We can pick you up anywhere within 90 minutes’ drive of San Francisco—at your home, hotel, ship's terminal, or the airport!
Silicon Valley -San Jose Sightseeing Tour
- Stanford University (guided tour) & Palo Alto
- Computer History Museum (inside)
- Apple (HQ store) & Google 'campus' (outside)
- Tesla Motors (its Menlo Park showroom)
- NASA Ames Research Center
- Intel Museum
- The Tech Museum (downtown San Jose)
- other Local Favorites
Winchester Mystery House
Hakone Japanese Garden (Saratoga)
Rosicrucian Museum (Egyptian antiquities)
Silicon Valley and its 'capital' San Jose have revolutionized not only global communications but how we manage our daily lives. Come see where half a million creative minds are designing and engineering all sorts of future possibilities. We custom-design your tour and will pick you up anywhere in the San Francisco Bay area.
Before planning to book this tour, please fully appreciate the following:
If you want to tour the facilities or workspaces inside Google, Apple or any other Silicon Valley company, you must make those arrangements yourself (directly with the desired company) since we do not have any special access to them, and most do not offer public tours. Student and business groups should contact the companies they want to visit directly. Again, we do not facilitate such arrangements. Once you're close to finalizing those arrangements yourself, then we're happy to incorporate them into a customized full-day itinerary.
The fee for our usual 9-hour version of this tour is $660, assuming pick-up and drop-off in/near downtown San Francisco. This fee applies to a person traveling solo or with (up to 5) friends/colleagues.* We get many inquiries for this tour from solo travelers or couples basically requesting to be paired up with other travelers so as to make the tour more affordable; unfortunately, two parties wanting the same (or similar) itinerary on the same date seldom happens for us. So if our fee doesn't fit your budget, then we probably cannot accommodate you.
Silicon Valley & San Jose Tour Itinerary
You must choose which sites are most important for you to see, as it may be feasible to experience many (but never even most) of the noted options in a single day. For example, if you want to see some of Stanford's huge, beautiful campus, we can plan to take one of their daily student-led walking tours (which covers several main attractions along with an historical overview). Or the even more comprehensive tour by golf cart may be available--if you're a group of 4 or fewer and book at least 2 weeks in advance. Stanford, especially its engineering school, is indisputably the intellectual wellspring of much of the Valley's innovation and one of the world's great universities. Nearby we often see the HP Garage, the "birthplace of Silicon Valley," Steve Jobs' last home and the charming, leafy "Professorville" neighborhood.
Usually we have lunch in lovely downtown Palo Alto or at a great cafe specializing in great sandwiches, pizza or Indian cuisine. Or if you want to experience what this "Valley of Heart's Delight" was like before modern technology, we can visit one of the oldest houses in the area, having lunch at the golf club next to its windmill...less than a mile from the Googleplex.
A visit to Tesla's Menlo Park showroom has become a highlight of many visitors' Silicon Valley tour. The latest Model S of these all-electric vehicles was named "Car of the Year" by Motor Trend magazine (Nov 12); Consumer Reports said it's the "best car they have ever tested." There are so many features to admire about Tesla--its beauty, innovative design, zero emissions, the fact that it's made less than 20 miles away in Fremont. If you become a prospective customer, they may even take you out on a test drive.
The Computer History Museum can provide the focal point of your visit--it is probably the world's best. With funds from many private donors (including Bill Gates), the Museum has created an exciting, expertly designed 19-room exhibit called "R/evolution: the First 2000 Years of Computing"--so rich with information, videos, rare artifacts that if you're a true geek (or business historian), you'll need at least two hours to begin appreciating it. In a separate space they have a replica of the Babbage Engine, a computer designed in the 1840s! and other interesting displays. (Docent tours can be arranged with sufficient notice.) Afterwards you can walk around as much of the grounds of nearby Google's headquarters as Google's security will allow.
You may prefer to visit Intel's Museum, a well-designed space that features the history of, concepts behind, and the design and manufacture of microchips—the essential core of every computer—and explains the operation of "clean room" facilities. Usually you guide yourself, though docent-led tours can be arranged with sufficient notice. There's also the NASA Ames Exploration Center with its Living and Working in Space exhibit among others.
Many like to see the current main headquarters for Apple...in their retail store (open weekdays) you can buy clothing for adults and children imprinted with their logo.
Oracle has one of the more beautiful headquarters--blue glass towers rising above a lagoon. The Tech Museum in downtown San Jose has is own attractions including an IMAX theater. If there's time and little traffic some may choose to drive-by a selected few of the following headquarters: Adobe, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Electronic Arts, Cisco. In early 2012 Facebook moved into its new headquarters, but like Google is a "closed campus." BTW Twitter, Salesforce, Instagram, Square, Zynga and Craigslist are headquartered in San Francisco...Genentec in South San Francisco...Netflix in beautiful Los Gatos, 40 miles to the south.
You may decide to play hooky so as to: appreciate the elegant Hakone (Japanese) Gardens (the oldest private Japanese garden in the US) in quaint Saratoga; tour heiress Sara Winchester's apparently haunted Mystery House; visit the Rosicrucian Museum (the largest display of ancient Egyptian treasures on the West Coast); cruise Santa Cruz' Beach Boardwalk, an old-fashioned seaside amusement park (with its Giant Dipper, voted one of the nation's best wooden roller-coasters). Or visit a winery or two in the Santa Cruz Mountains region.
So decide on your priorities, and we'll make a day of the multi-faceted and ever dynamic Silicon Valley.
Why tour Silicon Valley and San Jose with A Friend in Town
and not just rent your own car?
Because it's often hard to reach sites in Silicon Valley--most are far from each other, public transit is sparse, and traffic frequently slows to a crawl. We put what you're seeing in an historical context, respond to your questions, and help you optimize your time, minimize your stress, maximize your enjoyment. FYI we can pick you off/ drop you off: in or near San Francisco; in San Jose or its nearby suburbs (Palo Alto, Los Gatos, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Menlo Park, Cupertino, et. al.); at SFO: at San Jose's Mineta International; at Oakland International airport. The other guys are on a big bus, tour sporadically, and have much less experience in the Valley than we do.
* Groups of more than 6 should ask for a specific quote.
There are so many reasons why we're your best choice for a tour of Silicon Valley and San Jose.
What will it Cost?
Because each tour is designed to fit your interests, our fees vary. Basically you pay by the number of hours in your itinerary. We do not add the fuel surcharges, "license fees," "tax" and mandatory gratuities that many other companies do.
|FEE||Average Duration||Additional Costs
(paid to vendors)
|Gratuity||Add'l Hours||Minimum Duration|
to the Computer History Museum,
Winchester Mystery House
* Not per-person
* These fees are for couples, groups of up to 6 people, or solo travelers. For groups of 7 to 25+ (whereby we charter a minibus), please ask for a quote.
** A gratuity is customary and will be appreciated, but is not required. Please note that if you are being referred by a Travel Agent, s/he may add to your total a commission (fee for finding and making arrangements with us).
Call: 1-800-960-8099Reserve Your Tour