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Top Rated Attractions in San Jose

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Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies

The only place in North America dedicated solely to the works of Ludwig himself, this museum contains a wealth of material, including the much-heralded lock of Beethoven's hair. Original manuscripts, books, recordings, autographed materials, masks, sculptures, stamps, films and all sorts of things are here. The center sponsors many concerts and lectures throughout the year and several things are for sale, like coffee mugs, scores and a bibliography database. This is an excellent place for scholarly research.

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium

Tombs, mummies and all sorts of ancient Egyptian artifacts await you at Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium, one of the tourist favorites of San Jose. This place is located in the beautiful Rosicrucian Park, with palm trees and Egyptian-style buildings everywhere. The museum itself contains an extensive array of artifacts, jewelry and displays of Egyptian antiquity. The tour in the cavernous tomb below the museum is especially replete with information and entertainment. Through the displays, you will get an in-depth look at the nature of life in ancient Egypt.

San Jose Museum of Art

There is something for everyone at San Jose Museum of Art: contemporary art, lectures, concerts, tours, book signings, special events and even programs for children. The museum has been host to many outstanding traveling shows and has been a champion of local artists. The museum bookstore offers a nice selection of usual museum merchandise, such as books, tote bags and greeting cards. The museum cafe offers a wonderful rotating menu of seasonal delights.

Hoover Tower

Located on the Stanford University campus, Hoover Tower offers a small museum at its base and excellent views of the Bay Area at the top at an extremely reasonable price. Visit the museum and then take an elevator ride to the top while a guide tells tidbits of trivia about the tower's history. At 285 feet (87 meters) tall, the tower is a must-visit attraction. Be sure to check out the carillon of 48 bells housed at the top of the tower. Stanford students get in free with ID!

Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo

Located right next to the picturesque Professorville neighborhood, the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo has been a reliable source of family fun since 1934, when it was established as the first children's museum west of the Mississippi. The zoo houses around 200 species of animals, including snakes, reptiles, tortoises, sharks, raccoons, bats, a red-tailed hawk and two bobcats. A total of 14 hands-on museum exhibits are designed to educate children about physics, earth science and math. It is also a popular destination for field trips and birthday parties.

San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)

The ICA is a non-profit, innovative visual arts space located in downtown San Jose. For more than 20 years, they have presented cutting edge exhibitions featuring emerging and mid-career artists and provided the public a chance to see "what's new" in contemporary art. Exhibitions are accompanied by workshops and lectures to further engage the viewer. In addition to gallery programming, the ICA presents "Night Moves," new media installations in the front and rear windows that are visible only after dark. Admission is free.

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