The Silicon Valley is one of the most renowned regions in the United States. Found in Northern California on the southern side of the San Francisco Bay Area, it is mostly known for its high-tech reputation. No other region in the country surpasses the Silicon Valley in terms of high-tech innovation and development. The name of the valley was inspired by the silicon chip operations that set up shop there, as well as the semiconductor and computer companies of the region. Today, it generally refers to all of the high-tech businesses that operate in the area. Originally, the Silicon Valley’s nickname was the Valley of the Heart’s Delight, and before the high-tech companies moved in, it was a land dominated by orchards. Among the most recognizable high technology companies that are currently headquartered in the Silicon Valley are Apple Inc., Google, Hewlet Packard, Intel, and Yahoo!. Also worth noting is the fact that the region is home to a number of universities and colleges, the most renowned of which is Stanford University.
Traditionally, the Silicon Valley nickname refers to just the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area, or the Santa Clara Valley area. Among the notable cities that call this region home are San Jose, Santa Clara, Cupertino, and Palo Alto. San Jose is the largest of the bunch, actually ranking as the most populous city in Northern California and the third-largest city in the entire state. Understandably, San Jose is commonly referred to as the Capital of the Silicon Valley. Among its many attractions are the largest water park in Northern California, the famous Winchester Mystery House, and a number of interesting museums. The other cities and communities of the Silicon Valley also offer their fair share of attractions and can make for excellent alternatives to San Jose if you are looking for a regional travel base.
The attractions that can be found in the Silicon Valley are numerous and can satisfy a wide range of tastes and interests. There are arboretums and gardens to stroll through, parks and trails to indulge in, and plenty of historical attractions to enjoy. Museums also abound in this culturally-rich land, as do event venues and shopping centers. Visitors can also include a trip to such regional theme parks as California’s Great Adventure and Gilroy Gardens on their Silicon Valley itineraries, and there are plenty of fun festivals to partake in throughout the year. Whether you are looking to enjoy some urban exposure or want to get out in nature, the Silicon Valley can accommodate, and with so many great attractions to consider, you’ll likely need more than one visit if you wish to gain a true appreciation for all of the region’s various offerings.
Vineyards and Wineries
The Silicon Valley lies in close proximity to two of California’s most renowned wine-making regions – Napa and Sonoma. Side trips to these destinations are understandably popular among travelers who choose to base themselves in the Silicon Valley. That being said, you don’t have to travel north to Napa or Sonoma if you want to enjoy wine tours and tastings during your Silicon Valley visit. Several vineyards and wineries can be found in the Silicon Valley or just beyond, with examples including the David Bruce Winery in Los Gatos and the Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards in Saratoga. The well-respected J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines also deserves mention. Headquartered in San Jose, this winery has estate vineyards in Paso Robles, Monterey County, and the Napa Valley. In 2010, Wine Enthusiast Magazine named J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines its American Winery of the Year. Many of the Silicon Valley wineries offer tours, and there are some that play host to festivals, concerts, dinners, and other special events throughout the year. Also worth noting is that several area wineries are available for such things as private parties, weddings, and corporate events.
Silicon Valley Hotels & Lodging
Silicon Valley Hotels & Lodging Image: Holiday Inn Express
The Silicon Valley is full of hotels, and they range from top brand contemporary hotels to charming bed and breakfasts. Motels are also in good supply for travelers who wish to save on rates. The San Jose hotels and motels can be a good place to start when searching for regional accommodations, partly because of the fact that San Jose is the largest city in the region and offers a healthy number of lodging choices. This doesn’t mean that travelers shouldn’t branch out and see what is available in other regional communities. If you’re not sure about some of the more unique hotels that can be found in the Silicon Valley, the region has plenty of highly-recognizable chain-brand lodging establishments to select from. Also worth keeping in mind are the many hotels that are found outside of the Silicon Valley. Examples in this department include the San Francisco hotels and the Santa Cruz hotels. Rounding out the lodging options for the Silicon Valley area are vacation rentals, campsites, and RV parks, so travelers can choose accordingly.