5 Unique Places in San Jose California | 2023

San Jose is the smaller sister to San Francisco and it’s a place that I know like the back of my hand. There are a ton of unique places to visit in San Jose but I’ve chosen the five that would appeal to families who travel.

san jose unique places
Palms in Cesar Chavez Plaza

Children’s Discovery Museum/Monopoly Board

The big purple building adjacent to the freeway is the Children’s Discovery Museum.  It’s a great place for children ages 2-8 to visit.  Every quarter there is a different theme in the museum.  There are lots of activities and water play for children to explore.  Once you are done in the museum, head across the grass to check out the World’s Largest Monopoly board and snap some pictures for the ’Gram!


Japantown is considered one of the most unique places in San Jose because it is one of the only three Japanese Districts left in the US.  Get lunch or coffee at Roy’s Station and do some shop shopping in a quaint neighborhood nestled just north of Downtown San Jose. 

BrokenSphere, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Thursday Night Japantown hosts a food truck event that features art and music from local residents. Parking can be tricky especially if there is an event going on in the neighborhood. Consider taking the light rail or being patient as you look for a parking space.

Mount UmunHum

Want to visit a place that has been closed off to the public for more than 50 years? Then Mount Umunhum is for you! What used to be a Naval Radar Station in the 1960’s,  is now a tourist site at one of the highest points in the Bay Area.  Mount Umunhum is considered one of the most unique places in San Jose because it provides gorgeous views of the valley and beyond. The interesting history of the site is depicted on signage around the site. 

Elwood P. Dowd, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Mount Umunhum is a small, well-maintained area but be sure to take it slow up and down the windy road!

Rotary Playground

The best and most unique park in San Jose is easily the Rotary Playground.  The park was designed for children of all abilities.  There are a ton of things to climb on, fast slides, and lots of areas both high and low to explore. 

Parking is tough, especially on the weekends to plan to park in the shopping center across the street.

Winchester Mystery House

Winchester Mystery House

One of the most famous and unique places in San Jose is the Winchester Mystery House! Try out a flashlight tour and walk through one of the spookiest mansions on the West Coast.  The basic tour is affordable and for a higher fee you can tour rooms like the basement that aren’t included in the regular tour. 

When you are done, head across the street to the popular shopping district, Santana Row.

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

Nestled in the Rose Garden District of San Jose is the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum is located at 1660 Park Ave, San Jose, CA 95126. The museum is devoted to ancient Egypt and has a collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the culture and history of ancient Egypt.

The cost of admission is $10 per adult and there is a free parking lot available for visitors. The museum is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday. It’s a fairly small but loaded museum with a replicated tomb and beautiful grounds.  Tickets are very reasonable and there is plenty of street parking or parking in the lot behind the museum.

The museum is appropriate for all ages. It has something for everyone, from children to adults!

Water Lillies Outside Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

Have you visited any of these places in San Jose? What would you add to the list?

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