Despite the common held belief that we live in San Francisco, we are actually much closer to San Jose.
While complexly outshone by it's famous neighbour, San Jose sprawls at the very end of San Francisco Bay. It has a historic Japan Town, and the beautiful Almaden Valley. It's full of quirky historic homes and lots of independent restaurants and cafes. The city itself is flat, but stops abruptly at the hills which dominate the skyline and feel so close. As a result it does't have that bunched-up feeling that San Francisco does. By far the most famous attraction here is the Winchester Mystery House (we haven't been yet), and the Lick Observatory is a great spot too with an interesting museum and fantastic views across the city. I've heard good reports about the Egyptian museum too, but the weather keeps on being too nice for me to feel like going indoors.
I usually head into San Jose for meetings, and usually take the opportunity to have a bit of a wander around. It's always worth it. In San Francisco I often get the feeling that I should be enjoying every little thing, and that everything should be appreciated by virtue of it being in the city. In San Jose expectations are set a little lower, so it's a genuine pleasure to stumble across something beautiful.
Todays finds were:
A retro service station
Beautiful old homes
And a dilapidated one
And a gorgeous church (sadly closed on Tuesdays so I didn't get a look inside).
And of course, if you mention to anyone from outside this area that you are going to San Jose, they inevitably start singing. And yes, I do know the way thank you very much. Just take the 522 express bus.