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Top Five Destinations of San Jose

I think California has to have the highest number of songs written about its locales than any place else in the world. (I mean the Beach Boys pretty much made their complete career writing about southern California.) One that always comes to mind when thinking about California songs has the topic of this essay in its title, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” performed by Dionne Warwick and written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, the same guys behind “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” from the great “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

That’s a long way to go to say that a song comes to mind when I think of San Jose, followed by the Sharks and then the possible location for the A’s if the Giants ownership group ever gives its permission for them to relocate. However, just like any large city in the world, there are many interesting aspects to this place besides baseball, a 60s song and a sport that could be dead. However, if I’m going to make a list of the top destinations, at the top of it will be its current connection to my favorite sport.

Go see the San Jose Giants play

The San Jose Giants are the high-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants and play in the California League with other affiliates in Bakersfield, Stockton and Modesto. High-A features a great chance to see young prospects like Joe Panik or Clayton Blackburn both of whom are from John Sickels’s Top 20 Prospects listing. However, if you’re visiting in the winter or baseball is not your thing, you could always go to a Silicon Valley Roller Girls match.

Drive to Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton

It’s rare that I find reviews on Yelp helpful, but just looking through the few for Mount Hamilton, I find myself immensely intrigued. “A drive not for the faint of heart”? “Drive = curves”? Sign me up. Then, once at the top, there are exhibits and tours within Lick Observatory, the first mountaintop observatory and it still has scientists working on astronomical projects.

Visit the Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum

I like unique museums. I don’t think I’ve ever run across another museum that focuses on mercury mining like the Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum. As a fan of the TV show “Community,” I can appreciate the fact that they have a mine diorama.

Visit the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

Two things jump out at me from the name Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. First comes “Rosicrucian” which conjures up images of secret societies like the Freemasons, the Illuminati and the Templars. Then, throw in Egyptian Museum, and I’m thinking mummies and curses. Of course, that’s just watching too much Scooby-Doo as a kid, and the real exhibits concern cats in ancient Egypt and the actual process of preserving a mummy.

Visit the Winchester Mystery House

Besides, if I want real spooky, I have to look no further than the Winchester Mystery House. Building that went on and on and with secret passages so that the owner, Sarah Winchester, could fool ghosts that might follow her. If a place is good enough for Harry Houdini to visit and debunk, well, that’s reason enough to go for me.

Any suggestions for things that I missed? Any additional recommendations for the area? Just let me know in the comments.

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About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."


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