Do you know the way to San Jose? For those from the NorCal area, this city is known best as being home to tech mecca, Silicon Valley. But it’s not only a place where technology and education thrive! San Jose also boasts some of the best cultural attractions in the state, and its proximity to San Francisco, Big Sur, Monterey, and Napa Valley makes it a top tourist destination for many.
If you’re in town for the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose races, be sure to explore the city’s rich history, experience the area’s innovations, and enjoy the diversity San Jose has to offer. There’s plenty to see and do beyond a short weekend to the Bay Area, but if you’ve only got 48 hours to work with on race-day weekend, we’ve mapped out the perfect itinerary for your trip.
Friday, October 6
Pick Up Your Swag
The Health & Fitness Expo floor opens at 1:00pm on Friday at San Jose McEnery Convention Center. With access to downtown by the light rail, Caltrain, and a free downtown shuttle, it makes it easier to get to and from the area, while also planning the rest of your day after you’ve picked up your swag. This is the place where you can pick up your race bib packet, shop for race day and running gear, check out demos, and taste free samples from the rows and rows of vendors on the floor.
Get Inspired at The Tech
The Tech Museum of Innovation is a one-of-a-kind experience giving visitors a chance to unleash their inner curiosity and see where the future of technology is taking us. Museum doors open at 10:00am, so try to stop by before you hit the Expo hall.
Catch an IMAX show, participate in a STEM-related workshop (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), learn about your genetic code, and enter the world of virtual reality as just a few of the many ways you can spend your time here.
Dine at a Silicon Valley Favorite
In 1956, the Rocca family established Original Joe’s Restaurant, which was originally founded 19 years earlier in San Francisco. It’s a historical hotspot focused on quality food and service, dishing up Italian-inspired plates. In addition to their famed breakfast menu (with offerings like Joe’s Special of ground chuck sautéed with onions, spinach, and eggs), the restaurant offers salads, sandwiches, and daily specials like ossobucco, a specialty braised lamb shank. Especially if you’re carbo-loading, you’re sure to find something that hits the spot at Joe’s!
Travel Back to Ancient Egypt
The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum is another spot not to be missed. Get there before 2:00pm to witness Journey to the Stars in the planetarium and then sign up for a guided tomb tour at 3:00pm. If you head to the museum on Saturday or Sunday, the tours are scheduled at 1:30 and 4:30pm.
Browse through the different exhibits, artifacts, and image galleries to learn about what life was like nearly 6,000 years ago. It is the largest collection of authentic ancient Egyptian artifacts (over 4,000) in western North America. Be prepared to be awestruck as you walk the halls of this popular museum.
Head to Happy Hour with City Views
Take a rooftop seat and wind down the day with happy hour or dinner at Scott’s Seafood. Take advantage of beer, wine and well drink specials during happy hour from 3:30-6:30pm. Or try a craft cocktail for $7. Choices include Scott’s 185 made with gin, lemon juice, rosemary syrup, and prosecco or the Spiced Pineapple Paloma made with tequila, grapefruit and pineapple juices, jalapeno syrup, and decorated with a salted rim. As for food, shared plates like crab cakes, lamb chops, and steamed clams are favorites here.
Saturday, October 7
Race to Breakfast
The day starts bright and early if you’ve signed up for the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose 5K. Start time is at 7:30am, which means you’ll need a good spot for post-race breakfast. For a decadent treat, Psycho Donuts can’t be beat. This isn’t your average donut shop; you’ll be choosing from options like the Jasonut with a “bloody” raspberry filling and a powdered sugar hockey mask, the Sticky Donut, a bananas foster-inspired donut, and the ‘Mello Submarine that’s reminiscent of a Rice Krispie Treat, just to name a few.
For something more substantial, the SoFA Market offers a tasty brunch menu with items like Taro French Toast, Breakfast Burger, and Breakfast-All-Day Pizza. With both sweet and savory on the list, plus plenty of coffee drinks to choose from, it’s a great way to fuel up post-race.
Explore the SoFA District
It’s easy to spend an afternoon in “Silicon Valley’s Creative District” (Psycho Donuts is located in this area) visiting different art galleries, theatre spaces, and taking a moment to enjoy a cup of coffee with friends at one of the local shops. It’s also a great area to grab a snack or stop by for a late lunch.
The Anno Domini art gallery has rotating exhibits year-round, and the gallery is open noon – 5:00pm on Saturdays. The best part? It’s free! It’s just one of the many places you can enjoy art and music in the district.
The Tech Shop is another place to feed your creative side. Have a first-hand look into a community-built studio that welcomes guests to take a class and teaches them how to use laser cutters, welders, 3D printers, and more. You don’t need to be a member to take a class, and you can also reserve time with a machine — just make sure to secure your spot in advance.
Sunday, October 8
Ready, Set, Go
It’s race day! Both the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon and 10k start at 8:00am. Find your place at the start line, and take in all the sights and sounds as you wind your way around San Jose. Letters to Cleo is headlining this year’s half marathon, and you’ll be able to dance and celebrate with music and fanfare at the finish line in Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park.
Before you end your 48 hours in San Jose, head to a spa on Santana Row and maybe even do some shopping. A massage, pedicure, or facial will feel pretty nice after your race weekend, and it will leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed. Reflect on a wonderful race and weekend, and start planning to do it all again next year for Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose 2018!