A friend of mine visiting Silicon Valley for a first time asked me for suggestions. I decided to put this to good use for everyone, hope this Must See in Silicon Valley guide will be of help. Feel free to provide feedback on it.
Must see in Silicon Valley & Stanford (Link to map)
- Start point: Westin Palo Alto;
- Stanford Palm Drive – park in front of old wing. Step out of the car, walk via main gate and turn left towards library and Stanford Clock Tower;
- Drive on campus streets towards Stanford Bookstore. Check out apparel – super practical and comfortable;
- House of Steve Jobs. They are fine with you stopping and taking pictures. But please respect their privacy;
- HP garage – historical monument. Stop, take pictures, but garage itself is a private property. Essentially this is where the Silicon Valley started;
- Apple Campus – Check out the Apple campus store, it’s different from traditional apple stores;
- Google main campus. Free access (except for buildings) – just to drive through;
- Facebook campus (is on the way, not much to see. You can drive into parking lot and take a picture next to the FB sign with address 1, Hacker way).
House of Steve Jobs (2101 Waverley Street, Palo Alto)
HP Garage (367 Addison Ave, Palo Alto)
Facebook Campus (1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park)
San Francisco (Optional) (Link to map)
- From FB campus head to San Francisco;
- Pier 39 – sort of amusement park. Quite famous. Optional;
- Ghirardelli – world’s best ice cream – worth a try (watch out for waiting time in line – may be considerable);
- Golden Gate Bridge (SF side);
- Golden Gate Bridge (Wine Country side);
- Sausalito – recommend for lunch. Clint Eastwood used to be a mayor of this small city. (optional) At the point marked try out the candy store, say hello to owner from a guy who buys “Warheads” in big quantities (me).
2019 additions (Mark, enjoy!)
Every geek knows you need to start every day with a great breakfast. And the best place for tech entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to do that is, for no reason, Buck’s. It’s a fun diner located in little village of Woodside with analog and delicious pancakes and awesome décor — biplanes, blimps, stuffed beasts, a cosmonaut suit, a Statue of Liberty that sometimes wears a sombrero, sometimes a politically pink knit hat.
Buck’s has a rich history: companies like PayPal, Hotmail, Netscape and Tesla were born here, although Buck’s owner, Jamis MacNiven, says he doesn’t know why it’s such a draw for the tech elite.
Details: 3062 Woodside Road, Woodside, www.buckswoodside.com
NASA Ames Research Center Visitor Center
The visitor center is just outside the NASA-Ames main gate in a big white marshmallow of a tent. Inside, you’ll find a mock-up of the International Space Station, an exhibit on the Kepler Mission and a moon rock from Apollo 15. (Hint: It’s the thing that looks like a rock). The visitor center is not huge, but has some cool spacey stuff. And it’s free.
Details: Moffett Blvd/NASA Parkway exit off Hwy. 101, Mountain View
Not far from NASA, you’ll pass some Google and Yahoo buildings on your way to a bland office/industrial area in Sunnyvale. There you’ll find the WeirdStuff warehouse. This is hard-wired geek territory for those who want to rummage around old electronics and rig up their own “Star Trek” transporter (so there, Musk!). There are shelves and shelves of circuit boards, hard drives and power supplies and mountains of keyboards and mice. It’s open to the public daily.
Details: 384 W. Caribbean Drive, Sunnyvale, www.weirdstuff.com
Inside Intel (hah, geek humor) on the company’s Santa Clara campus, you’ll find a small but very slick, Jetson-ish museum with glowing blue-and-white exhibit panels, displays on Intel’s history and products, as well as exhibits about Silicon Valley semiconductor technology. And it’s free.
Details: 2200 Mission College Blvd., Santa Clara; closed Sundays, www.intel.com
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Take I-280 south to Sand Hill Road. You’ll pass SLAC, which is super cool, because inside the two-mile long building is the world’s longest particle accelerator, which sends molecules speeding around like subatomic race cars. Public tours of the Stanford-run research facility are offered twice a month; advance registration required and make sure you wear closed shoes.
Details: 2575 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, www6.slac.stanford.edu