San Jose Airport
Car Rental at San Jose Airport, California
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Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport is the third largest of all the three airports (the other two being San Francisco and Oakland airport) that service the Bay Area despite its downtown location.
So it’s a great idea to fly into and rent a car in San Jose Airport if you want to avoid the crowds but dive right into the action.
The heart of Silicon Valley is just 20 minutes away by car.
Explore Silicon Valley
Places of interest to visit locally by car include Great America, one of the country’s best theme parks.
This is probably the best amusement park in Northern California and has something for all the family.
Apart from the movie-themed rides it also features the Boomerang Bay Water Park.
Silicon Valley is also the home of the tech giants such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, and other household names, so you can drop in for a photo or two at their headquarters.
Always worth visiting is the beautiful 19th century restored Basilica of St. Joseph or the Winchester Mystery House with its fascination for the number 13 and its superfluous stairway.
Inspired by Egyptian temples, the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium exhibit the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in the western United States.
Mt. Hamilton Observatory
Mount Hamilton observatory is located just 26 miles to the east by car and makes a worthwhile visit if you are an avid stargazer.
Learn about the telescope which plays a major role in space exploration and, as the observatory is located at over 4,000 feet above sea level, enjoy great views of surrounding terrain.
Be advised however that while it makes a great spot for a picnic, there are no facilities to buy food either on the way to, or on top of the mountain so better stock up with provisions.
Keep to the east side of the bay and visit Oakland where you can ride in a gondola on Lake Merritt and enjoy a serenade from the gondolier.
You may also want to include a visit to the 86,000 square feet Chabot Space and Science Centre.
A Taste of San Francisco
San Francisco is just a 45-mile drive from San Jose Airport so you could experience driving across its famous bridge.
As one of the top gustatory destinations in the United States, you can follow the city’s foodie neighbourhoods by car and glimpse into some of its historic districts such as the Haight-Ashbury where the Summer of Love flowered, or The Castro where a sizable LGBT community thrives.
As both are popular tourist destinations even among domestic visitors, expect a lot of restaurants serving organic and locally produced food.
You may decide to continue north to the equally famous Napa valley or the Sonoma wine district, or head southwest to visit Berkeley and see what life is like at one of the county’s best universities.