Silicon Valley Tour from San Francisco or San Jose Silicon Valley, the vibrant hub of the world's most influential browsers, software, AI, etc.
Silicon Valley, and its "capital" San Jose, have revolutionized not only global communications but also how we manage our daily lives. Come see where several hundred thousand creative minds are modeling and engineering all sorts of future possibilities. We custom design your tour and will pick you up anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area (within 90 minutes of downtown SF).
Stanford University (student guided campus tours no longer offered, but we can visit Main Quad, historic Red Barm, bookstore, art museum, other sites open to the public...considerable walking involved )
Computer History Museum (especially its docent led, hour-long history tour, excellent gift shop...closed most Mondays & Tuesdays)
Apple mainly its Visitors Center...across from "spaceship" HQ
Googleplex (new super-green HQ with "dragon-scale" roof...opening to the public in spring '23?)
Intel Museum (model of "clean room," other interesting exhibits re: a processor's innards)
The Tech Museum (oriented towards young people...IMAX theater...in downtown San Jose)
San Jose HQ for Adobe & eBay...America's 10th largest city
Levi's Stadium (49ers), Sunnyvale ...Museum only open on game days
Winchester Mystery House (possibly haunted, one-of-a-kind, grand Victorian)
Children's Discovery Museum
Hakone Japanese Garden (one of the nation's best)
Rosicrucian Museum (Egyptian antiquities), San Jose
The fee for our usual 8-hour version of this tour is $660 for 1-7 passengers ...assuming pick-up and drop-off in/near downtown San Francisco. If your pick-up and,or drop-off is closer to San Jose than San Francisco, then our fee is $760 for 1-7 passengers; if you're willing/able to travel at least to Palo Alto or Mountain View by Caltrain, then this fee will be discounted.
Before planning to book this tour, please consider the following: If you want to tour workspaces inside Google, Apple or any of the better known Silicon Valley companies, you must make those arrangements yourself, since we do not have any special access to them and none offer tours to the general public. (The new Google headquarters plans to have public dining and entertainment spaces soon.) We'd be happy to take you to headquarters for photos from the exteriors, but we cannot get you into workplaces without you making advance reservations directly with a current employee. Once you're close to finalizing those arrangements, then we can incorporate them into a customized full-day itinerary. FYI, the following sites have retail outlets for the general public on the premises: Apple; The Tech Museum; the Intel Museum; the Computer History Museum with books, videos, posters, etc.--possibly the best venue for retail related to Silicon Valley per se. Occasionally we offer our Silicon Valley tour togroups of more than 7 participants when you both: contact us at least a month in advance; and have a clear and specific plan of the sites you want to visit (and why).
We get many inquiries for this tour from solo travelers or couples basically requesting to be matched 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.
You must choose which attractions are most important for you to see as visiting more than 4 major sites in a single day is logistically difficult.
You must choosewhich attractions are most important for you to see since visiting more than 4 major sites in a single day is logistically difficult. You may, for example, want to experience Stanford University, the intellectual wellspring of much of Silicon Valley's innovation and one of the truly great universities of the world--Silicon Valley is where it is because Stanford is there. Their student-led walking tours are no longer offered except to prospective students through their admission office, but we can build in time for you to explore the Quad and other historical sites. In nearby Palo Alto we often drive through the leafy "Professorville" neighborhood, stop at the HP Garage (the "Birthplace of Silicon Valley"), and drive by Steve Jobs' last home.
Usually we have lunch at a cafe specializing in great sandwiches, pizza or Indian cuisine. Or if you want to sample what this region (the "Valley of Heart's Delight") was like before modern technology, we can visit one of the oldest houses in the area, and lunch at the golf club near its windmill. The Computer History Museumcan provide the focal point of your visit--it is probably the world's best, a veritable Smithsonian of rare artifacts and technological innovation and the stories behind them. With funding from many private donors (including Bill Gates), the Museum has created a 19-room exhibit called "R/evolution: the First 2000 Years of Computing"...if you're a true geek (or business historian), it's recommended that you budgetat least90 minutes for appreciating it. (The docent-led tours are excellent.) Afterwards, if its security folks will allow, we'll walk through as much of nearby Google's campus as you want to allot time for. Google is completing what will undoubtedly be one of the most environmentally advanced headquarters on our planet--with a "dragonskin" roof and near-zero carbon emissions...their grounds are xerispacing at its best.
Intel has a well-designed Museum at their headquarters, one 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.
Applehas two main campuses: the super-green "Spaceship" with a Visitors Center nearby, and its "historic" headquarters at 1 Infinity Loop.
We can drive by Oracle, in blue glass towers rising above a lagoon, or the 49ers innovative Levi'sStadium. The Tech Museumin downtown San Joseis highly regarded by the museum community with its many exhibits (including an IMAX theater) mostly oriented towards elementary to high-school aged children. If there's time and little traffic, some may choose to drive-by a selected few of the following headquarters: Adobe, Yahoo, Samsung,LinkedIn, Nvidia, ElectronicArts, Cisco. Facebook/Meta is a "closed campus"...but you can visit the "Meta" sign. By the way, Twitter, Salesforce, Zynga and Craigslist are headquartered in San Francisco, Genentec in South San Francisco, Netflix in Los Gatos (40 miles south of The City).
You may decide to mix it up in order to: appreciate the elegant Hakone (Japanese) Garden (3 times larger than the more famous one in Golden Gate Park) in quaint Saratoga; tour heiress Sara Winchester's reportedly hauntedMystery House; visit the Rosicrucian Museum (the largest display of ancient Egyptian treasures on the West Coast); stroll through a little bit of Spain--an art village called Allied Arts, along a secluded creek across from Stanford; 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.
So decide on your priorities, and we'll make a day of multi-faceted and ever dynamic Silicon Valley.
Why tour Silicon Valley and San Jose with A Friend in Townand not just rent your own car? Because it's often hard to reach sites in Silicon Valley--most are not walking distance apart, 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. 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.). The other tour companies are on a big bus, tour sporadically, and have much less experience in the Valley than we do.
* Tesla is so popular that test drives usually require appointments made at least a week in advance. The showroom staff asks that you are at least 25 years old, with a valid US Driver's License or an International Driver's License (with "International" displayed in English).
A Private Custom Sightseeing Service for the San Francisco Bay Area