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Historical

Top Rated Attractions in San Jose

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Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph

This huge, multi-domed church was originally built in 1877 and was restored to its original splendor in 1990. This is actually the fifth location of the parish seat; the first was built in 1803. The present structure is a monumental building. Incredible stained glass work renders the sanctuary into a lovely, almost mystical space when the sun causes the colors to play across the walls, pews and floor. Masses are held in Spanish and English.

Alum Rock Park

Established in 1872, the Alum Rock Park is by far the oldest municipal-operated urban park in all of California. Located at a distance of just 7.72 kilometers (4.80 miles) from the heart of San Jose's urban surroundings, this oasis of greenery is clasped on the slopes of Diablo Range's verdant valleys. Spanning nearly 720 acres (291.37 hectares), the park's grounds are traversed by the roads and trails of Alum Rock Falls, Calaveras Fault, and Sierra, making every corner of its protected lands accessible for off-roading enthusiasts and avid hikers. The park is dotted with classical wood-carved trail signs that add a rustic vibe to your overall outdoor experience. Wildlife includes red-tailed hawk, Cooper's hawk, turkey vulture, black-tailed deer, mountain lions.

Winchester Mystery House

Sarah Winchester was heir to the Winchester repeating rifle fortune, and she was convinced that the spirits of all those killed with that gun were haunting her. So she moved from New Haven, Connecticut to San Jose to construct her dream home. To confuse the restless spirits, she constructed one of the oddest houses ever built and kept construction in operation 24 hours a day, 365 days a year until the day of her death. The Victorian-style labyrinth that resulted features a door on the second floor that opens onto thin air, and others that open onto walls and stairs and corridors that lead to dead ends. It features 160 rooms and only 110 can be explored. Don't miss this intriguing attraction when in town.

Downtown San Jose

San Jose served as California's first capital in 1850, but it wasn't until the 1980's that the downtown area began to resemble the bustling district it is today. It is home to numerous landmarks, including the San Jose Museum of Art, the Tech Museum of Innovation, the De Anza Hotel, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, and San Jose State University's campus. Downtown San Jose is generally considered to encompass the area north of Interstate 280 and east of Guadalupe Parkway. Most of the downtown area is covered by a public WiFi network, fitting for such a leading tech city. With a slew of restaurants, nightlife, entertainment and shopping options, Downtown San Jose is a must-visit part of this historic city.

Stanford University

One of the United States' premier educational establishments, Stanford University's heritage, expansive curriculum and highly-qualified faculty attracts some of the brightest minds from all across the planet. Founded in the year 1891, student life is given tremendous importance by fostering a love for the literary, performing and visual arts, while athletics and fitness facilities abound throughout the campus. Spread across close to 8,000 acres (3,237 hectares) of hilly land, its Spanish architecture inspired residential campus is one of the finest in California. The Stanford Memorial Church, the Lou Henry Hoover House, the Hoover, and 'The Dish' are some of its campus' most famed attractions. Notable alumni include the likes of Elon Musk, Reese Witherspoon and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden

The Elizabeth Gamble Garden is a 2.5-acre (one hectare) property that includes a historic Victorian home, carriage house, tea house, a gazebo, and formal and demonstration gardens. The garden is home to fruit trees, a herb garden, several varieties of irises, perennials, roses, wisterias and a Mediterranean garden. If you come at just the right time of year, you may even see the garden at the peak of its cherry blossom season! Home gardening classes taught by master gardeners are offered throughout the year, and tours are available for groups of eight or more who call in advance; the property is also a popular site for weddings and wedding receptions. Admission is free to the public every day during daylight hours, though the office is only open during weekdays.

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