In SFO for a weekend. What should I NOT miss?
November 17, 2008 11:14 AM   Subscribe

Will I have any time to check out cool tech sites with a Saturday and Sunday morning in SFO?

So, I'm heading out to San Jose on December 9th, then driving up to El Dorado Hills, CA for training Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I'd like to take advantage of being in the area by staying until Sunday evening, so I thought I'd drive back down towards San Francisco Friday after training, then spend Friday and Saturday nights in the Bay area.

My questions to the hive mind are:

1.) Am I crazy? Surely there's enough time to check out Google and Apple and all the other wicked cool stuff out there on a Saturday, right?

2.) Where should I stay Friday and Saturday? I'd be willing to split the visit if necessary, but one place would definitely be cooler. I'll have a car, FYI.

3.) What are the things/places I should not miss? I'm very tech-y, obviously, but I would like to cram as much in to the weekend as I can!
3a.) Is there anything going on that weekend that would be cool to see/visit?

4.) How long will it take to get to SJC and through security with car to return from SFO area on a Sunday afternoon?

Also, if there are any SF area MeFites who would like a free lunch or dinner, I'd love some guidance since you probably already know where you're going!

posted by cdmwebs to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
Best answer: I found myself in Silicon Valley a few months ago, and plugged in One Infinite Way into the GPS. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it turns out it's an office building. You know, pretty much like any other.

Save yourself the drive around, looking at commercial real estate and do the fun stuff in San Francisco instead.
posted by JakeWalker at 11:23 AM on November 17, 2008

Best answer: Google and Apple, without an employee to give you an inside tour, are pretty boring. Plus security may kick you off campus for just wandering around. Silicon Valley has been described with the phrase "There's no there there". Spend the time in San Francisco.
posted by GuyZero at 12:01 PM on November 17, 2008

Best answer: 1) You're not crazy but Apple and Google are office parks from the outside. They're not really worth the trip. The Oracle buildings are a bit cooler if you're just driving by buildings, but I'm not sure what you expect to do at a Tech Company, these tend to be offices with cubes and chairs and comuters and such. Some of the cooler ones have slides and neat art, but that's really not too exciting.

2) Depends on what you want to do, but I'd suggest Palo Alto.

3) The exploratorium and The Tech Museum

4) I'm not sure I understand this question.
posted by bitdamaged at 12:03 PM on November 17, 2008

Response by poster: Okay, so I guess thinking logically does help a bit. They are just office buildings, unfortunately.

So should I focus on San Francisco instead? Just stay somewhere in town?

Question 4 does seem to ramble. What I meant was, how long will it take to travel by car from San Francisco to San Jose Airport, turn in a rental car and get checked in on a Sunday afternoon? Two hours? Three?
posted by cdmwebs at 12:10 PM on November 17, 2008

Best answer: Upon further thought, The Computer History Museum just around the corner from GOOG is open Saturday and Sunday and may be a lot geekier than all the nearby companies. I mean, does it get any better than a working Babbage Engine and a PDP-1 restoration project? And in addition to the Exploratorium and The Tech there's the new California Academy of Sciences in SF which is a big science museum.

Palo Alto does have a nice central street (University) (per bitdamaged) and it's near Stanford where you can wander around a bit and oggle the architecture and/or undergraduate students. Also you can take your photo next tot he building where Facebook is and put that up as your Facebook profile photo with their logo beside you. I think you may have a tough time getting nerdier than that. Facebook is at the south end of University I seem to recall.
posted by GuyZero at 1:00 PM on November 17, 2008

Best answer: Oh and San Francisco proper to SJC is about an hour in normal traffic. With the car and check-in, I'd definitely give it three hours. Maybe 4. Better an hour early then a minute late with flights IMO.
posted by GuyZero at 1:02 PM on November 17, 2008

Best answer: I would agree with skipping the campus tour. Although it may seem cool, in all reality they're just a bunch of buildings which you can virtually see through Google Maps and Earth (should be on street view too. It might be fun, however, to get a picture in front of the various company signs. If you do decide to go the nerd route I would also suggest a drive up Sand Hill Rd. to see where all the VC money comes from and breakfast, lunch or dinner at Buck's in Woodside to see where a lot of the early ideas and startups got going. The food's not bad either (Save room for the bread pudding).

Also, no trip to the Valley would be complete without a trip to Fry's (that is unless you have one in your area). A Fry's tour could be a trip in itself with each store having it's own theme (from old west to Mayan ruins).

A drive through Woodside, up 84 to Skyline is also very pretty if you want to see some smaller redwoods. You can take Skyline north from 84 and head to highway 92 which will take you west to the beach or east back to highway 280. Keep in mind this is not the fast route.

Honestly though, I would make the nerd tour 2nd to spending time in SF but I'm not really sure what you're into. Depending on where you're coming from in SF I would reserve 3-4 hours to get to SJC as mentioned above.
posted by cjw333 at 2:13 AM on November 27, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all the advice!

I believe I'll take (all) your advice and hang around San Francisco instead.
posted by cdmwebs at 12:55 AM on December 4, 2008

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