Day 1 You'll See:
Day 2 You'll See:
Day 3 You'll See:
Drive to San Jose - 1 hr 15 minutes
Day 4 You'll See:
For 4 amazing days, your group will be able to explore San Francisco and the surrounding areas including Silicon Valley and San Jose. This trip is meant to show you the best of what the Bay has to offer, plus some!
Golden Gate Bridge
The bridge, a breathtaking arc of high-visibility *international orange* cable and Bethlehem steel, holding a comfortable 5th place on a list of America’s Favorite Architecture and declared one of the modern wonders of the world, spans the three-mile-wide channel between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, firmly lashing Marin County to the City. In all her Art-Deco glory, the Golden Gate yawns, flexes and curves across the water, shrouded in woolen morning fog, bathed in ethereal California afternoon sunlight, and glowing, golden and elegant, after dark. She’s even more awe-inspiring in person than in any postcard depiction you will ever see; a visit here should find a place on every Northern California travel itinerary.
Located 1.5 miles off the coast of California in the San Francisco Bay, the island of Alcatraz is a historical landmark boasting several fascinating qualities. The first lighthouse and U.S. built fort on the West Coast, Alcatraz was also the site of a military prison and later a famous federal penitentiary. A federal prison from 1933 to its closing in 1963, Alcatraz has a lurid and exciting history. The prison island was declared a national historic landmark in 1986 and was subsequently opened to the public for visits.The partially self-guided day tours let you tour at your leisure, leading you through audio guides and park rangers. Free programs inform you about the island’s military history, prison escapes, the Indians of All Tribes occupation, and more throughout the day. The National Park Services recommend that you reserve at least two to three hours to fully tour the island.
Cable Car Museum
Running since 1873, the iconic and beloved San Francisco cable car system has remained in operation more for nostalgia than practicality. Though only 17 miles of track remain, the cars running up and down the city streets are as much a part of San Francisco as the Golden Gate Bridge. Locals continue to utilize the service as convenient transportation and a cable car ride is on just about every visitor’s to-do list so a stop in at the Cable Car Museum is a must during your San Francisco getaway! Established in 1974, the museum is open year-round and showcases historical and interpretive exhibits on the San Francisco Cable Car System. A variety of antique cars and memorabilia provide a real sense of bygone days while a wonderful gift shop, car-seat photo op, and penny machine offer perfect mementos of your foray into the very heart of the city's history.
San Francisco Chinatown
The largest Chinatown outside of Asia and the oldest in the United States, San Francisco’s landmark district was established in 1848, dating back to the original Chinese immigrants who settled in the area. Attractions in Chinatown range from cultural events to authentic Chinese restaurants, shops, visually stimulating architecture, and more. Enter through the iconic Dragon Gate near Union Square and find yourself among the streets dense with people, shops, and kiosks. The alleys of Chinatown are a popular tourist attraction for their Old World charm and uniquely traditional appearances. Waverly Place is a particularly popular street for its significant role in Amy Tan’s novel The Joy Luck Club and the painted balconies that overlook the street. Other attractions include the Bank of America which is decorated with 60 gold dragon medallions and the Sing Chong Building, one of the first buildings restored after the 1906 earthquake.
California Sunset Cruise
Come as you are, but bring a light jacket or cozy hoodie; no need to dress for dinner unless you choose on most of these delightful excursions! If dining on the water is your pleasure, casual to elegant options are afforded, from hearty appetizer fare to elegant four-course repasts. Go simple or go grand, but don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to unwind and enjoy unparalleled views of glittering skylines and iconic Bay features like Alcatraz and Angel Island as the sun slips below the horizon and the lights come out in the City by the Bay with one of many tours offered year-round.
Whether you’re wanting a little solitude, some great views, a place to picnic, the sound of surf and seabirds, a little beachcombing or a morning stroll in the sand with a steamy cup of coffee-to-go, any San Fran beach will do the trick. Quiet Ocean beach is a great option if you’re craving a natural refuge away from the busy city for an hour or two. This almost-five-mile stretch of white, sandy beach is located on the Western-most border of San Francisco, adjacent to Golden Gate Park. Perfect for kite flying, horizon-gazing or just catching your breath. East Beach, also known as China Beach, is a family-friendly choice: this small, sheltered cove in the Sea Cliff neighborhood of San Francisco features picnic areas with restrooms and cold water showers, shallow waters for waders young and old, opportunity for a little sunbathing and spectacular views of the Marin Headlands and Golden Gate.
Built on the ruined buildings destroyed by the devastating 1906 earthquake, Fisherman’s Wharf was born out of a renewed love of the sea and the traditions surrounding ocean-side living.The food stops at Fisherman’s Wharf are the highlights of the area. Built around the fishing industry, wharf restaurants feature the freshest, best seafood around. From Alioto’s to Boudin at the Wharf, Castagnola’s, and the Fog Harbor Fish House, Fisherman’s Wharf serves only the best food. If you aren’t a seafood fan, American cuisine favorites, Italian plates, and Chinese restaurants can be found along the piers. Over the decades, the wharf has drawn entertainment attractions, museums, and more to hypnotize visitors. Aquarium of the Bay is located on Pier 39 though you can also find Madame Tussauds, the Maritime National Historical Park, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, the Sea Lion Center, and the San Francisco Dungeon where you can hear about the darker side of the Bay City.
Browse fabulously eclectic and upscale shops; choose the perfect, organic cupcake, grab a twirly, red stool and retro burger, shake and fries or treat yourselves to some beautifully fresh seafood; a fantastic variety of choices offer tantalizing treats and first-rate, expertly-prepared fare. Absolutely convinced nothing but a huge, ooey -gooey cherry-and-sprinkle-topped hot fudge sundae served up in a tall, frosty old-fashioned parfait glass will do? This is the place-savvy travelers flock to the factory for the old-fashioned ice cream, alone! In a shake, mocha or frappe frame of mind? Grab something sweet from the ice cream shop to nibble while you sip your choice of any of their famously delicious specialty drinks and enjoy magnificent views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Indulge your curiosity and learn as you play-gawk, dawdle and tinker your way through six amazing galleries displaying over 600 crazily-engaging interactive exhibits- come prepared to explore and experiment your way to an easier understanding of the amazing world we live in! What is “triboluminescence?” Is there life in other galaxies? Can I survive a California-style earthquake? Accompany Sun Artist Bob Miller on a light walk; recreate a rainstorm or dissect a cow’s eye; explore the briny deep and interpret the intriguing ancient text. We already know proper nourishment is the key to a lively mind - Seaglass Café, a fabulously casual waterfront venue offers a creative and delightful locally sourced seasonal organic menu of “upscale” cafeteria and dinner favorites sure to satisfy and fuel your Exploratorium excursion!
Drive to San Jose - 1 hr 15 minutes
Tech Museum of Innovation
Located near Plaza de Cesar Chavez in the heart of downtown, The Tech, as it is more commonly called, provides guests of all ages with several different hands-on, accessible exhibits and experiences, plus it supports an onsite IMAX showing both educational and current popular films. Inside, your group will be able to explore several different STEM-based exhibits such as BioDesign Studio, Cyber Detectives, Social Robots, and The Tech for Global Good. Each exhibit is hands-on and works to educate guests on the power of engineering and creative innovation. There are various labs and educational resources available to field trip groups, as well as different experiences like Girl Scout Badges, Stanford Day, Girls Day, and our favorite, Birdly, a virtual reality flying experience.
Apple Park is the $5 billion headquarters of Apple, a glass-walled, circular building located in Cupertino, California. The building is an exquisite example of blended architecture and totals 1 mile in circumference, though it is closed to the public. What isn't closed to the public, however, is the Visitor Center across the street, a combined exhibition, store, rooftop terrace, and cafe that serves as an 'architectural extension of the main private campus'. Inside this center you will be able to 'explore, shop, and attend Today at Apple sessions', all of these experiences together providing fans of Apple with an unmatched company experience.
There are over 50 shops and 30 restaurants, a boutique hotel, and a movie theater within the Santana Row. Shopping-wise, your group will be able to find apparel, accessories, home supplies, and salon and spa ware. This spot is considered to be 'the ultimate destination for style', with stores from Amazon Books to Z Gallerie. Food-wise you will find everything from casual to gourmet. Some favorites include The Counter Custom Burgers, Amber India Restaurant, Hello Kitty Cafe, and Pizza Antica. Be sure to check if there are any possible special events happening during your visit, with regular happy hours, races and marathons, live music, and sporting events. If you have some extended time here check out what's playing at Century's CineArts 6, the 'art and indie' house that plays independent, foreign and art films, and box office hits.
Kelley Park is one of San Jose's most popular public spaces, this 172-acre park holding gorgeous scenery, several walking trails, picnic pavilions, and even an onsite living history museum and Japanese Garden. The park holds the Japanese Friendship Garden, a 'stunning compilation of stone features and immaculately trimmed shrubs around a large pond', as well as a Greek-style amphitheater holding regular events behind the Leininger Center. Very nearby the park is the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, which you can read more about on its page. Perhaps the most popular feature of the park is the onsite living history museum, History Park. This 14-acre area holds 32 buildings reminiscent of small-town America in the early 1900s. Explore pioneer day relics and shops, including a post office, doctors office, smith shop, and so much more. There are running trolleys to take you about the park, as well as a working ice cream shop on site!
Monopoly in the Park
Totaling 930 square feet, this custom granite board was first created in 1992 for the San Francisco Garden and Landscape Show. It was installed here in the park in 2002 and has since then become quite the hit! It is such a big hit (no pun intended), in fact, that it has become the only Guinness Book of World Records attraction in the entire city! Groups can reserve game pieces and spend an afternoon teambuilding through the San Jose parks system. The rules are basically the same as the original board game, with a few minor exceptions: 2 players per game token, 3 properties to each time to start, and hotels may be bought after 3 houses, versus 4. All pieces are made to scale, so have fun throwing the jumbo dice and donning the game tokens like the thimble and hat! There is even jailhouse garb to put on when you go to jail!
San Jose Flea Market
The San Jose Flea Market is open each Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Within the market, you will find crafts, vendors, food stalls, and even kiddie rides such as a vintage carousel and mini Ferris wheel. There are around 1,000-2,000 vendors selling here each week, depending on the season. Every member of your group/family can find something they want here, with everything from organic veggies within the 1/4th mile Produce Row to religious supplies and fine jewelry. There are oftentimes free live music performances to enjoy while you are dining and/or snacking, with over 12 restaurants and food carts available at any given time on site (usually more). Enjoy food from the Chuck Wagon, Fish, La Pulga Taqueria, plus many more options!
Winchester Mystery House
Inside Sarah Winchester's 'Mystery House' there are staircases to ceilings, doors to bricked walls, and ornate rooms with no purpose every which way you look. In fact, there are 160 rooms total in the home! There are also 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors, and 47 stairways. Some believe Sarah built on the house to appease the ghosts of the 'Gun that Won the West', others believe a psychic told her to. When your group visits you will be able to tour the home and decide for yourself! Take the basic 1-hour Mansion Tour and see 110 out of the 160 rooms, or the Explore More tour, with access to 10 more never before toured rooms (no kids allowed due to safety issues).