10 Best Things To Do Alone In San Jose, California

things to do alone in san jose
| 5 min read

Welcome to the heart of Silicon Valley–famous around the world as a global technology hub. But there’s much more to this city of one million people than just its technological marvels. From the stunning and sprawling expanse of the Winchester Mystery House to the magnificent history of ancient Egypt that you can explore in the Rosicrucian Museum, there’s a dizzying array of great attractions to occupy your time. And if you’re travelling alone–be it for business or pleasure–you have options aplenty from which to choose. Read on for some of the best things to do alone in San Jose, California.

1. Admire the roses at Municipal Rose Garden

As the old saying goes, in life you need to take the time to smell the flowers so what better way to spend a little quiet time in San Jose than a visit to the Municipal Rose Garden. Stretching across five-and-a-half acres (2.22 hectares), this former prune orchard features nearly 200 different varieties of roses and literally thousands of different plants. What’s more, the dizzying variety means that there’s almost always some of the flowers in bloom–perfect for peaceful reflection or fishing out the camera for some snapshots.

Municipal Rose Garden

Address: Dana Avenue & Naglee Avenue, San Jose, CA 95112

Website: Municipal Rose Garden

Opening hours: 8am - 30 minutes after sunset (daily)

Price: Free admission

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2. Explore the artworks at San Jose Museum of Art

San Jose Museum of Art - San Jose, CA - DSC03778
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daderot used under CC0

San Jose Museum of Art has a strong reputation for its mix of contemporary and modern art and presents somewhere in the order of nine to twelve different exhibitions each year–showcasing the latest in contemporary design, art, and architecture. This means that whatever time of year you visit there’s likely to be something new to see–perfect for those who make more than the occasional visit to the city. The museum also offers guided tours, should you wish to join a group rather than appreciate the art alone. There’s even a cafe for a little light refreshment before heading elsewhere.

San Jose Museum of Art

Address: 110 South Market Street, San Jose, CA 95113

Website: San Jose Museum of Art

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 11am - 5pm; Third Thu of the month: 11am – 8pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 10 USD (adult), 8 USD (over 65), Free admission (17 and under)

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3. Shop organic produce at San Pedro Square Market

The San Pedro Square Market is more than just a shopping experience although the 20 unique vendors sell everything from home goods to tasty food and will certainly keep you occupied for a while. It also serves as a social gathering space with live music every Thursday through Sunday, trivia quiz events, and even karaoke. The open-air Peralta Adobe Plaza, meanwhile, hosts a range of outdoor seating where you can sit back and watch the world go by, enjoy evening music, or tuck into meals any time of the day.

San Pedro Square Market

Address: 87 North San Pedro Street, San Jose, CA 95110

Website: San Pedro Square Market

Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 11am - 10pm; Fri & Sat: 11am - 12am (Times may vary at individual vendors)

Price: Free admission

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4. Wander in the scenic streets of Willow Glen

And speaking of somewhere to watch the world go by, solo travellers will likely get a kick out of a visit to Willow Glen in downtown San Jose. Affectionately dubbed the city’s “local treasure”, Willow Glen is home to tree-lined streets, picturesque residential neighbourhoods and, in Lincoln Avenue, a hub for bookshops, clothing boutiques, and foodie delights. Indeed, the area hosts a farmers’ market every Saturday–meaning you’ll be able to tuck into some locally-sourced ingredients to whip up something special back home. There are also plenty of great food and drink outlets to enjoy, as well as occasional festivals–including the annual Dancin’ on the Avenue festivities, which feature a mix of live music, food, and local wines.

Visit San Jose California - Willow Glen

Website: Visit San Jose California - Willow Glen

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5. Visit the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum on Park Avenue is home to the biggest collection of Egyptian artefacts in the western United States, including four mummies. Other highlights include one of only seven statues of the famous Cleopatra to survive to modern times, an early dynastic period coffin, a funerary boat, and a prayer relief fragment depicting Akhnaton. Time your trip right and you’ll be able to enjoy guided tours of the tombs where you’ll be treated to fascinating tales and historical tidbits as you explore the museum. Weekend visitors may also wish to indulge in one of the regular workshops which cover subjects from the famed Rosetta Stone to perfume.

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

Address: 1660 Park Avenue, San Jose, CA 95126

Website: Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

Opening hours: Wed - Fri: 9am - 5pm; Sat & Sun: 10am - 6pm (closed Mon & Tue)

Price: 9 USD (Adults and children over 10); 7 USD (over 55); 7 USD (students); 5 USD (ages 5 to 9); Free admission (4 and under). Free admission in final hour.

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6. Check out the interactive exhibits at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo

Fans of wildlife will likely be enchanted by a visit to the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo. It is home to all manner of species–from anteaters to jaguars to exotic birds of paradise–while the park features public art, a restaurant, family-friendly rides, as well as facilities showcasing some of the work at the zoo. These include Doc’s Critter Care animal hospital and an education centre. There are also interactive exhibits and workshops, such as the beekeeping workshop which shows you how to become your own “backyard beekeeper”, and events with special guest speakers.

Happy Hollow Park & Zoo

Address: 748 Story Road, San Jose, CA 95112

Website: Happy Hollow Park & Zoo

Opening hours: 10am - 2pm, 4pm, or 5pm depending on time of season (daily)

Price: 14.25 USD (Ages 2 to 59); 11.25 USD (over 60)

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7. Discover the story behind Winchester Mystery House

Winchester Mystery House (front)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Spiel used under CC BY-SA 3.0

This striking Winchester Mystery House is one of San Jose’s most noted landmarks. The result of decades of work by Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester–widow and heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune–the building started from much more humble beginnings. Buying the building following the deaths of her infant daughter and husband, she spent 36 years continuously expanding it. Before her death in 1922, she had extended the original 8-room house into a 24,000 sq. ft. (2230 sq. m.) mansion featuring no fewer than 160 rooms. The sprawling building features 2,000 individual doors, 10,000 windows, and 52 skylights. Needless to say, a visit to the Winchester Mystery House for some exploration is a rewarding way of spending some alone time in San Jose. And there are a range of tours to enjoy–including the standard mansion tour through 110 of the mansion’s 160 rooms.

Winchester Mystery House

Address: 525 South Winchester Boulevard, San Jose, CA 95128

Website: Winchester Mystery House

Opening hours: Opens 9am (daily). Closing times vary. See website.

Price: Tours from 20 USD to 49 USD.

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8. Drink at the SP2 Bar

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

If you plan on a visit to the San Pedro Square Market then you may wish to check out this popular and stylish bar and restaurant, which sits adjacent to it. Its spacious outside patio lounge will make for a relaxing and chilled place to enjoy a drink or two while its menu features a range of meals, from spiced pork fillets and New York steaks to wood oven-fired pizzas and seafood options. There’s even a sizeable mix of vegetarian and gluten-free choices. And if you fancy meeting new people then the three-hour ‘happy hour’ will be a good budget-friendly way to sup a few pints. Previous bar-goers rated its food and atmosphere highly.

SP2 Bar

Address: 72 North Almaden Avenue, San Jose, CA 95110

Website: SP2 Bar

Opening hours: Tue: 3pm - 10pm; Wed: 11.30am - 10pm; Thu: 11.30am - 11.30pm; Fri: 11am - 2am; Sat: 10am - 2am; Sun: 10am - 8pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 11 USD - 30 USD

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9. Enjoy nights at The Farmers Union

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

And sticking with bar options, if you’re a fan of a good ale, then The Farmers Union may be the drinking and dining option for you when out exploring San Jose’s historic downtown district. It is home to no fewer than 52 craft beers on tap and a host of tasty wines to enjoy in its stylish interior, which boasts wooden floorboards, exposed brickwork and other atmospheric design touches. The food was also a big hit, earning the eatery one of the top reputations among restaurants in San Jose and securing it a ‘Best of Silicon Valley’ award in 2019. Past diners loved the atmosphere of the"old building conversion", as well as the menu’s American dishes and vegetarian and gluten-friendly options.

The Farmers Union

Address: 151 West Santa Clara Street, San Jose, CA 95113,

Website: The Farmers Union

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11:30am - 10pm; Fri: 11:30am - 11pm ; Sat & Sun: 4pm - 11pm

Price: 11 USD - 30 USD

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10. Get adventurous with rock climbing (from USD 105.0)

Looking to do something to take you out of your comfort zone? Then why not try your hand at rock climbing. This half-day introduction to the sport in the mountains around Los Gatos is suitable for beginners. An instructor will teach you the technical skills you’ll need to start–from knots to gear–before having a go ascending the sandstone of the Castle Rock Skate Park. What’s more, the gear and guide are included in the price, so you’ll only need to bring yourself and a little determination. Further sessions are also available to help you take your next steps.

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Beginner Outdoor Rock Climbing - Bay Area

Duration: 4 hours

Plenty of options to enjoy

Best Things To Do In San Jose, California
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user mplstodd used under CC BY 2.0

There’s plenty to see and do when alone in San Jose. So whether you simply wish to while a few hours amid the serene blooms of a local park or push yourself by taking on a little rock climbing, the choice is yours. What do you want to do?

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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