14 Sights You Must See In Silicon Valley

driving

Silicon Valley is situated in Santa Clara County, California, between San Francisco and the Hills. Back when it was known to locals as the Valley of the Hearts’ Delight, it teemed with apricot, plum, and cherry trees.

Overtime, the digital revolution transformed the fruit-laden land into the home of some of the world’s biggest technology companies.

The following list of must-see sites are defining features of the Valley’s legacy, from its humble beginnings to its rise as the nation’s hub of high-tech businesses.

Special thanks to Silicon Valley’s top blogger, Robert Scoble, for this list, video footage, and commentary.

IBM's New Almaden Research Lab

Address:
IBM Almaden Research centre
650 Harry Road
San Jose, CA 95120-6099

Details: IBM's Almaden Research centre was opened in 1986 to perform research in computer science, services, storage systems, physical sciences, and materials science and technology. The Almaden building contains 557 single-person offices, 20 group offices, and 155 laboratories.

Fun Facts: This is where the hard drive was invented.

More Information: http://www.almaden.ibm.com/almaden20/about.shtml

Sneak Peek

Map and Directions

View Larger Map

South Bay Historical Railroad Society (Santa Clara Tower)

Cost: Free

Address:
367 Addison Ave
Palto, Alto California

Details: While the HP Garage is not open for public tours, individual visitors and small groups may view and photograph the property from the sidewalk.

Fun Facts: In 1938, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard developed HP's first product, the Model 200A audio oscillator, out of this Addison Avenue rental, specifically chosen because it had a garage. The garage is now California Historic Landmark No. 976.

More Information: http://www.hp.com

Sneak Peek

Map and Directions

View Larger Map

Buck's of Woodside — Silicon Valley's Power Lunch

Cost: $

Address:
3062 Woodside Road
Woodside, CA 94062
Phone: (650) 851-8010

Hours:
Monday -- Thursday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Details: Buck's of Woodside is Silicon Valley's most known meetingplace for venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. The eatery serves classic diner fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Fun Facts: Hotmail and Tesla were incorporated here.

More Information: http://www.buckswoodside.com/index.html

Sneak Peek -- Meet Buck's of Woodside's owner, Jamis McNiven

Map and Directions


View Larger Map

Apple's Company Store and Headquarters

Nasa Ames Research centre

Address:
Moffett Field, California, 94035
Phone: (650) 604-5000

Details: NASA Ames Research centre does not provide public tours. However, you can visit the Exploration centre (open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. -- 4 p.m. and on weekends 12 p.m. -- 4 p.m) and Moffett Museum. An exclusive tour of the NASA wind tunnels (the largest in the world ) is below.

Fun Facts: Ames Research centre, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, is one of 10 NASA field installations. It was founded in 1939 as an aircraft research laboratory and became part of NASA In 1958. The research park comprises over $3 billion in capital equipment, 2,300 research personnel, and has a $600 million annual budget.

More Information: http://www.nasa.gov/centres/ames/home/index.html

Sneak Peek -- 40-year veteran, Herb Finger, gives us a tour in three parts: outside, inside the control room, and then Scott Rich, project manager, brings us inside the supersonic wind tunnel

Map and Directions

View Larger Map

The Intel Museum

Cost: Free

Address:
2200 Mission College Boulevard
Santa Clara, CA 95054
Phone: (408)-765-0503

Hours:
Monday -- Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Details: The Intel Museum is located in the Robert Noyce Building at Intel's headquarters in Santa Clara. Very few people visit here (no lines!), but you'll learn all about microprocessors and how our computing devices work. Parking and admission are free.

Fun Facts: The Intel Museum was initially only intended for the company's employees, their families, and customers when it first opened in 1983. It opened to the public in 1992 and today features more than 10,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits that explore Intel's culture and manufacturing process.

More Information: http://www.intel.com/about/companyinfo/museum/index.htm

Sneak Peek

Map and Directions

View Larger Map

SmugMug

Address:
SmugMug Headquarters
67 E. Evelyn Ave, Suite 200 Mountain View, CA 94040 Phone: (650) 265-0400
Details: SmugMug is a family-operated online photo-sharing service. The Web site was founded in 2002 by Don MacAskill and his father, Chris MacAskill. Chris' wife, Toni, handles SmugMug's finances. Don's brothers Ben and Mark both dropped out of college to join the SmugMug team shortly after. Their sister, Anne provides customer customer support from her home in Columbus, Ohio. Chris' sister Robin MacAskill telecommutes part-time as a customer service representative.

Fun Facts: SmugMug's is not like other technology and software companies headquartered in Silicon Valley. Why? Well, for one, you'll probably get in, unlike at Apple or Google. Second, they are nice. Third, they have the best food (better than Google or Facebook, which are awesome places to get fed). Fourth, they have awesome gigapixel photos on nearly every available wall space. Fifth, you probably will be able to get a neat camera strap as a memento. Sixth, they might race you around the office in their Go Karts. An exclusive walking tour of SmugMug's offices is below.

More Information: http://www.smugmug.com/

Sneak Peek

Map and Directions

View Larger Map

The Last Spike (Cantor Arts centre at Stanford)

Cost: Free

Address:
Lomita Drive at Museum Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5060
Phone: 650-723-4177

Hours:
Wednesday -- Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Details: You might not know, but Silicon Valley is really a railroad town. If it weren't for Leland Stanford's money, which he got by being Vice President of the Central Pacific Railroad back when it was the only way to ship things from California back east, Silicon Valley might never have happened. What was the key event in Stanford's life? The driving of the final spike of the transcontinental railroad. You can find it on display at the Cantor Arts centre at Stanford.

Fun Facts: From the Cantor Arts centre you can walk to the Bill Gates building, which is where Google really started, among other companies.

More Information: http://museum.stanford.edu/

Map and Directions

View Larger Map

PARC (Palo Alto Research centre)

Address:
PARC (Palo Alto Research centre)
3333 Coyote Hill Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304 USA
Phone: +1 650 812 4000

Details: Unfortunately, you can't get a public tour of the centre, but it has a fairly comprehensive website, including a timeline of PARC's history, photographs, and video.

Fun Facts: PARC (formerly Xerox Parc) was established in 1979 by the Xerox Corporation as part of the company's goal to create 'The Office of the Future.' Over the last 40 years, PARC's team of experts in information and physical science have been responsible for such important developments as the invention of ethernet (the first ethernet cable is still embedded in the wall), laser printing, object-oriented programming, the Postscript language that built Adobe, and the basis for the Macintosh. If you're lucky enough to get in, they have the nicest view of the valley from their back deck.

More Information: http://www.parc.com

Map and Directions

View Larger Map

Mt. Umunhum

Address:
Mt. Umunhum
Los Gatos, CA 95032

Details: The Mt. Umunhum area covers 11,646-acres in Santa Clara County. It is the fourth-highest peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California ( 3,486 ft.). The summit of Mt. Umunhum is the site of the former Almaden Air Force Station, which was part of the early-warning radar network built during the Cold War. The top is closed to the public due toxic contaminants and property issues. A reclamation project to cleanup the area is scheduled for the summer of 2011.

Fun Facts: This is a long drive from the Valley floor, but you won't find a better view. Say hello to David Leeson, founder of California Microwave, who lives near the top.

More Information: http://openspace.org/plans_projects/mt_umunhum.asp

Map and Directions

View Larger Map

The Winchester Mystery House

Cost: $$

Address:
525 S Winchester Blvd
San Jose, CA 95128
Phone: (408) 247-2101

Hours and Rates

Details: Tickets can be purchased online for guided daily tours of the Grand Estate, Mansion, Behind-the-Scenes, and Garden. Special 65-minute Flashlight Tours of the Winchester Mansion are given every Friday the 13th and at Halloween. Tour lengths vary from 55 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Fun Facts: It's not Google or Apple, but the 160 room-mansion that underwent continuous construction for 38 years, will still knock your socks off. The house was purchased by Sarah Winchester in 1884 after her husband, gun manufacturer William Wirt Winchester, passed away leaving her to inherit $20,000,000. The house is believed to be haunted by spirits.

More Information: http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com

Map and Directions

View Larger Map

New Almaden Quicksilver Mine

Address:
21350 Almaden Road
New Almaden, CA 95042
Phone:
(408) 268-3883

Details: The New Almaden quicksilver mine covers 4,147 acres of foohills, forests, meadows, and valleys. It is a U.S. National Historic Landmark and is listed on U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Fun Facts: This used to be a mercury mine, back during the gold rush period of California history. What's the name of Silicon Valley's newspaper? San Jose MERCURY News. Now you know where it got its name.

More Information: http://www.newalmaden.org/

Map and Directions

View Larger Map

Peralta Adobe

Address:
175 West Saint John Street
San José, CA 95110
Phone:
(408) 918-1055

Details: The Peralta Adobe Historic Site is available for tour by appointment.
Call (408) 918-1055 to schedule a tour.

Fun Facts: The Peralta Adobe, built in 1797, is the oldest surviving building in San Jose. It is San Jose's Historic Landmark No.1, California Historical Landmark No. 866, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. To understand where the tech industry came from you have to study the roots of the area, and it started here.

More Information: http://www.historysanjose.org/visiting_hsj/peralta_fallon/

Map and Directions

View Larger Map

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at research.businessinsider.com.au.