Silicon Valley Guide

Silicon Valley, located in Northern California, is home to iconic technology companies like Apple, Google, Meta, and Uber. This guide gives an overview of things to do in Silicon Valley and is intended for software engineers and programmers looking for geeky Silicon Valley points of interest. Every year, thousands of geeks visit the Silicon Valley destinations outlined in this guide. 

The Silicon Valley Tour page provides more information for visitors that want a guided tour.

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Quick facts

What to see

Silicon Valley covers a wide geographic area and points of interest are spread out among several cities. The following map  highlights the attractions listed in this guide. 

What to expect: Visitors are often surprised when they arrive in Silicon Valley. The area is mostly suburban, filled with office parks . Companies are geographically dispersed and the traffic is bad. Many companies are developing innovative technology, but the work is done in access-restricted office buildings, hidden from the public.

Menlo Park

Geek Appeal: ★★★★ | 15 minutes

1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, CA 94025

Facebook, the social media giant, is based in a 40,000-square-meter main campus designed by Frank Gehry.

The Good: Take a selfie next to the big thumb up sign and make it your Facebook profile picture. 

The Bad: There isn't anything else to see unless you know a Facebook employee.

Fun fact: The back of the sign still has the old logo of Sun Microsystems, the previous tenant of the campus.

Tip: During  warm seasons, the Facebook Farmers Market is hosted on the main parking lot.

Learn more: Facebook Menlo Park

Sandhill Road

Geek Appeal: ★ | 5 minutes

Sandhill Rd, Menlo Park, CA

Sandhill Road is home to the most powerful venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. Firms such as Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Accel, Benchmark Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Greylock Partners are located here. Entrepreneurs come to this area to meet venture capitalists and raise money for their start-ups.

The Bad: There isn't anything to see here except for office buildings.

Fun Facts: 

Read more: The VC Address of Choice: Sand Hill Road.

Palo Alto

450 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305

Geek Appeal: ★★★★ | 1 hour

Stanford University is where many of the biggest tech companies, like Google, Yahoo, and Cisco, were founded.

The Good: Beautiful campus. Very smart (and sometimes famous) students and faculty.

The Bad: Parking can be hard to find if you visit on a weekday during the school year.

Tip: Parking is easier to find on the weekend.

Learn more: YouTube

(Image CC from small-world.)

Geek Appeal: ★★★★ | 30 minutes

4180 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306

Telsa's showrooms are open to the public.  Browse  and learn about their electric vehicles, even if you can't afford the cars!

Test drive: You can test drive cars for free if you are over 25 years old and have a valid US driver's license. This requires making an appointment ahead of time on the Tesla website.

The Good: Friendly staff. Sales people aren't pushy. Free test drives.

Tesla also has showrooms and stores in San Jose, Fremont, and Sunnyvale.

HP Garage

Geek Appeal: ★★ | 2 minutes

367 Addison Ave., Palo Alto, California

Hewlett Packard was founded in this garage in 1939.

The Good: Located in a pleasant Palo Alto neighborhood.

The Bad: The garage is part of a residential property and is only viewable from the street. You cannot go inside the garage.

Geek Appeal: ★★ | 2 minutes

260 Sheridan Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94306 

This statue of Nikola Tesla is also a free Wi-Fi access point and time capsule which will be opened in 2043. The statue was originally started as a Kickstarter project.

The Good: Tesla is relatively obscure compared to Edison, so it's nice to see him honored.

The Bad: It's just a statue.

Mountain View

Geek Appeal: ★★★★★ | 30 minutes

2000 N Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View, CA 94043

Google's headquarters, also known as the Googleplex, spans over 100 buildings in a sprawling campus in Mountain View and Sunnyvale. See this map for specific locations for taking your selfies!

The Google Visitor Center sells shirts, hats, cups, and other souvenirs with Google, YouTube, and Android branding. You can also buy the same goodies online.

Throughout the Google campus, you'll find quirky decorations such as physical Google Maps markers, Google Street View car, a volleyball court, and Stan the T-Rex. Colorful bikes are scattered across campus. Employees use these bikes to quickly travel between buildings on the massive campus.

The Good: Store is open during the weekdays.

The Bad:  Visitor Center is relatively small.

Fun Fact: Google has nine conference bikes where teams can hold meetings while cycling.

Read more: 

Geek Appeal: ★★★★★ | 1 hour

1401 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View, CA 94043

The Computer History Museum is adjacent to Google's headquarters. The museum has the world's largest collection of historical computing artifacts, spanning from ancient counting machines to autonomous vehicles.

The Good: World's largest collection of historical computing artifacts. Hosts a model Google self-driving car that you can sit inside.

Price: $17.50 (General Admission)

Tip: Groupon frequently has discounts for the Computer History Museum

(Image CC from brianjmatis on Flickr. See more.)

Shockley Semiconductor

Geek Appeal: ★★ | 2 minutes

391 San Antonio Rd., Mountain View, CA 94040

Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory was the very first company working on silicon devices. Today, a produce market occupies the space. 

The Good: It's fun to say that you purchased produce from the same place the transistor was invented.

The Bad: It's a produce market.

Image from Wikimedia Commons.


Geek Appeal: ★★★ | 30 minutes

Moffett Field, California 94035

The NASA Ames site has two parts. The first part is the NASA Exploration Center. This is a small exhibit that showcases the work done at NASA Ames. The second part is the Moffett Field Historical Museum. This contains history around the country's airships during the first half of the 20th century.

The Good: Gift shop has neat NASA gear. 

The Bad: The Exploration Center and Moffett Field Historical Museum are small. Touring each will take about 30 minutes.


Apple Visitor Center

Geek Appeal: ★★★ | 30 minutes

10600 N Tantau Ave, Cupertino, CA 95014

Apple's headquarters are located in Cupertino. They have a company store that's open to the public. It's the only place in the world that sells Apple-branded t-shirts, caps, and accessories. The store is the only part of the campus that's open to the public.

The Good: View Apple's futuristic spaceship campus can be viewed from the terrace.

The Bad: The site is mostly a collection of office buildings and access is heavily restricted.

Read more: Wikipedia | Official Site

Los Altos

Original Apple Garage

Geek Appeal: ★★★ | 2 minutes

2066 Crist Dr., Los Altos, CA 94024

The original garage where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple. It is now a historic site.

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Santa Clara

Geek Appeal: ★★★★ | 30 minutes

2200 Mission College Boulevard, Santa Clara, CA 95054

This corporate museum hosts the history the of the Intel Corporation. There is also a gift shop where you can by Intel schwag.

The Good: Free. This museum is unique because of its focus on semiconductors.

The Bad: Relatively small. Focuses exclusively on Intel technology.

Geek Appeal: ★★ | 20 minutes

3350 Thomas Rd, Santa Clara, CA 95054

The Hacker Dojo is a place where computer enthusiasts can hang out, in the spirit of the Homebrew Computer Club. It was the first location in California to host a Bitcoin ATM. Check out their calendar of events.

The Good: Great community focused on technology and hacking.

Learn more: Fox News

Whole Foods - Pay with Palm

2732 Augustine Dr Ste 1600, Santa Clara, CA 95054

Geek Appeal:

If you're interested in biometric authentication, this Whole Foods lets you pay with your palm using Amazon One! Otherwise, it's just a regular grocery store.

San Jose

Geek Appeal: ★★★ | 1 hour

201 South Market St., San Jose, CA 95113

Price: $15 for adults, $10 for kids

The Good: Unique displays that teach basic science concepts.

The Bad: This museum is targeted to kids, so you may feel out of place if you're an adult.

Read more: Yelp

2855 Stevens Creek Blvd, Santa Clara, CA 95050

Step into the Gamebox and enter a fully-private, interactive digital room featuring projection mapping, touch screens, motion tracking, and surround sound to enjoy a hyper-immersive 60-minute adventure.

San Francisco

San Francisco is typically not considered to be part of Silicon Valley, but many hot startups have migrated to the city. Many young tech workers live in San Francisco and commute to the suburbs for work. People in the Bay Area refer to San Francisco as "the city" or "SF".

Fun fact: there are self-cleaning toilets throughout the city. The newer ones are metallic pods, like this.

Geek Appeal: ★★★★ | 1 hour

Salesforce Tower is the headquarters for Salesforce. It's adjacent to Salesforce Park on the Salesforce Transit Center.

Pros: It's a nice park.

Cons: It's just a park.

Learn more: Wikipedia

Yoda Fountain

Geek Appeal: ★★★ | 2 minutes

1 Letterman Dr, San Francisco, CA 94129

A life-size Yoda fountain is positioned at the Lucasfilms HQ. 

Learn more: Yelp

2169 Mission St, 3rd floor, San Francisco, CA 94110

Noisebridge is a 5,200 square-foot space with an electronics lab, machine shop, sewing/crafting supplies, photography darkroom, and more. 

San Mateo

Sandbox VR

Geek Appeal: ★★★★★ | 1 hour

Hillsdale Shopping Center, 60 E 31st Ave #304, San Mateo, CA 94403

Play virtual reality games in an immersive experience.

Learn more: Yelp


870 Great Mall Dr, Milpitas, CA 95035

Indoor LEGO playground located at the Great Mall in Milpitas, CA.

Recycling Vending Machine (at Safeway)

555 E. Calaveras Blvd, Milpitas, CA 95035

Yes, it's just a Safeway grocery store. But, they have a cool machine where you can bring your recycles and get reimbursed. Powered by Olyns.


UC Berkeley is a public university. Many Silicon Valley startups were founded by UC Berkeley alum. The campus is open for visitors.


3400 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (The MADE) is a non-profit dedicated to the preservation of video game history and to educating the public as to how video games are created.

Price: $10 to play games all day

Pros: Comprehensive collection of video games and consoles.

Cons: Relatively small.

6050 Lowell St. Ste 214, Oakland, CA 94608

Ace Monster Toys is a hackerspace. It has a large collection of tools and machines. They also host regular events for hacking.

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