Located just inland off California's central coast, San Jose is many things at once. It is California's third largest city today, having passed through a massive growth spurt during the past few decades. It is now the capital of Silicon Valley, a world center of high technology. Far from a dull outpost of the global economy, it is a place where culture thrives, as shown by several fine museums and cultural attractions, as well as big city comforts.
Glancing at the gleaming office buildings and secluded research facilities, with their parking lots full of luxury cars, you can see the outward evidence of the technology boom (if you have any doubts, ask locals about the never ending upward pressure on housing prices). For an exciting look at what sorts of things all these great minds have produced, pay a visit to the Technology Museum of Innovation. Hip, cutting edge, and entertaining, it allows the visitor to breeze through high tech exhibits and absorb a dizzying amount of information about the digital revolution.
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Lest you think that San Jose is all about the microchip, it also is home to a couple of outstanding attractions that celebrate the past. The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum has the best collection of its kind in the western United States, with several mummies dating back 3,000 years among its prize pieces. Another fascinating place to visit is History Park, where you can view a collection of 27 historic buildings.
Befitting its size and wealth, San Jose boasts an assortment of restaurants and hotels, ranging from the budget friendly to the luxurious. A good value, and a quality place to stay, is the Arena Hotel, where Jacuzzis, breakfast, and dinner all are included in the standard room price. For beer, barbecue, and some generally good music, head to the popular Waves Smokehouse.