I lived in San Jose, California for 3 years. San Jose is a large city. There are only 2 cities in California that are bigger. I loved San Jose for the variety of activities that are available. You never get bored. San Jose has great museums, outdoor activities, shopping, and restaurants. The only thing I did not like in San Jose was the traffic and the large population.
If you go to downtown San Jose, you will find some wonderful museums. My favorite one is the Tech Museum. The Tech museum is a learning experience for both young and old. It is a museum with interactive technology. There are exhibits on the human body and the internet that are open every day. If you are downtown you can also visit the San José Museum of Art. This museum is known for its collection of modern art. They specialize in art from the West coast. San Jose has a variety of shopping and restaurants. One popular shopping area is Santana Row. Santana Row is has a European feel of shopping. Santana row is very popular area for residents. Another shopping area is the Valley Fair Mall. Valley Fair has over 250 stores and many good restaurants.
Since the weather is very nice and mild in San Jose, you will want to get outside. A fun place to go is Alum Rock Park. Here you can enjoy hiking, jogging, mountain biking, and picnicking. Visitors at the park like to view the canyon, creek, and the small waterfalls. The highlight of this park is the view of Mount Hamilton, which is the high peak of the Bay. You can view Mount Hamilton at the Lick Observatory which has a telescope. Another beautiful park that you won't want to miss is the Municipal Rose Garden. This area is over 5 acres with 4,000 rose bushes. The beautiful roses are in bloom for a long time with the mild climate.
Whenever we fly to northern California, we always use the San Jose airport rather than San Francisco's torturous, congested terminals 45 miles to the north - it's smaller and more efficient. So on our last trip, we decided to spend a day exploring the city of San Jose.
In the morning we went to the Winchester Mystery House, a weird old mansion built by the heiress of the Winchester Gun Company entirely without an architect - apparently she built it according to the directions of the ghosts of the people slaughtered by Winchester rifles over the years. Very spooky place. We spent the afternoon at the San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation which was truly awesome with an earthquake simulator and an IMAX theater - we watched a 3D movie about deep sea animals. San Jose also has a pretty cool Children's Discovery Museum and an Egyptian Museum run by the Rosicrucians.
I will say the downtown San Jose is a bit shabby and rundown, and the San Jose restaurant choices there were not so great. We looked for clubs or attractions where we might want to go but didn't see any that looked inviting. Also there's one mall with the usual big box stores, but we didn't see any small, interesting, unique retail shops or restaurants in downtown San Jose.