Child-friendly restaurants and other things to do in San Jose?
September 14, 2016 7:08 AM   Subscribe

My family of four has two adults, one three-year-old boy, and a baby. We will be in San Jose for five days to look at housing. Please help me plan our meals and some fun activities.

Our kids eat lots of normal food and do not need a menu filled with breaded chicken nuggets. They are however young, so we try to choose places that are not too busy and where a mostly well-behaved but ebullient and active preschooler won't be seen as a nuisance.

Also, we are moving to the area soon and will be looking at neighborhoods and housing in Cambrian Park and Campbell. We would love to get a feel for what's nearby, so recommendations for those particular neighborhoods and Los Gatos are particularly welcome.

Here's my wish list:

1). A Chinese restaurant with a great wonton soup.

2). Restaurants with outdoor seating, since eating outdoors tends to inspire best behavior

3). Indoor places to entertain a three-year-old in case there's bad weather. (We've been to the children's museum.)

4). Favorite easy hiking trails in or near Cambrian Park, Campbell, and Los Gatos
posted by whimwit to Travel & Transportation around San Jose, CA (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

We live in Campbell and have a three year old boy.

For restaurants with outdoor seating: we love Aqui in Campbell (there are a few more scattered around San Jose). Aqui has great organic, vaguely Mexican food and nice outdoor seating, particularly good on farmer's market Sundays when the road is closed to ordinary traffic. Opa! is also nice.

Indoor places to entertain a three-year old: honestly there is barely ever weather bad enough that you can't be outside. The children's museum is great. We've also gotten a lot of mileage out of the tech museum and the computer history museum in Mountain View. There is an indoor play space on Camden Avenue called Jungle Island, which is a bit run down but the kids still love it and the entry fee is pretty reasonable. Our kid also loves to ride trains and buses, and those have been fun wet weather things for us.

Easy hiking trails: Nthing the Los Gatos Creek Trail. Campbell Park is on the trail and it's a nice place to stop and play. Further south-east, there is the Los Alamitos Creek trail which is similar but less heavily trafficked. There is also a trail around Almaden Lake. Lastly, Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve has a nice flat trail about a mile long that gets you to Deer Hollow Farm, a small demonstration farm which our son LOVES.

You didn't ask for outside play ideas, but I assume you know about Happy Hollow. And for outside parks our favourite is Oak Meadow Park in Los Gatos, it has a great play area, borders Vasona Park for long walks, and has a train and carousel for kids entertainment.

Good luck with the househunting!
posted by yogalemon at 9:24 AM on September 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

I spent my teen years, kind of long ago, in Cambrian Park. We still like Blue Sky restaurant on Winchester in Campbell. Indoor seating. (But I have been there when they had a not so good backup chef.)

This time of year, if you bring spare clothes and towels, the water feature at John D. Morgan park is really fun. Overhead sprinklers and some fancy sand play, mostly. It was a big favorite of my kid. The water stuff is near the north parking lot on Rincon, you can't see it from the south parking lot. Link.

If it rains before October 15th, I will just about die of shock. It might not rain until Nov. 15th.
posted by puddledork at 10:48 AM on September 14, 2016

South Bay denizen here - the first recommendation that comes to mind for Chinese with great wonton soup is China Stix in Santa Clara. No outdoor seating, but a large interior with loads of indoor seating and a very family-friendly atmosphere.

For hiking, especially hiking with kidlets, I would say Rancho San Antonio is a good bet. There's even a little farm not too long along the main(?) trail where you can hang out with goats, chickens, etc.
posted by aecorwin at 1:40 PM on September 14, 2016

The swings look awesome for all of you. And this art installation is cool too. Have fun!
posted by equipoise at 8:04 PM on September 14, 2016

I will second Aqui and Opa. Would also add Boudin, Eriks Deli and Sweet Tomatoes (all soup and salad places and my 3 and 5 yo favourite).
I'll also add Stacks Pancakes and The Spread in Campbell, MOD Pizza, The Habit (burgers) and if you drive 10 min East towards us and downtown Willow Glen there are a few more options including Pizza my Heart, Nick the Greek, Main Street Burger, another Opa! and Aqui and I'm sure I'm forgetting some others.

Just keep in mind that on weekends and prime dinner time there will likely be a 30 min+ wait (double if the farmers market is on) for tables and plan accordingly.

Also, "bad weather" made me smile. I would bet that there won't be rain before Halloween. But if you need inside I'll also add "whimsey" in Saratoga and "Play" in Los Gatos. Both are indoor play areas for about $30/family.
posted by saradarlin at 7:40 AM on September 15, 2016

Also Silicon Valley Toddler is a key resource for park reviews, kid friendly places and up coming activities. The archives are going to be loaded with so much useful info! Please feel free to message me if you want to meet for lunch one day or just have some local questions :)
posted by saradarlin at 7:44 AM on September 15, 2016

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