These 10 offbeat San Jose, California attractions do not disappoint

The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California is just one of the city's many offbeat attractions. (Image by Egor Shitikov from Pixabay)

San Jose is often overshadowed by its flashier neighbours like San Francisco and Los Angeles, but this California city holds a treasure trove of unique experiences waiting to be discovered. From the enigmatic to the downright quirky, this city offers a plethora of off-the-beaten-path attractions that do not disappoint.

Explore the peculiar Winchester Mystery House

Discover the labyrinthine corridors of the Winchester Mystery House, a sprawling mansion with a haunting history. Built by the widow of the Winchester Rifle Company’s heir, this architectural wonder features staircases leading nowhere, secret passages and doors that open into walls. The house is a testament to Sarah Winchester’s belief in appeasing spirits, and today, it offers tours that will intrigue those fascinated by the supernatural and the bizarre.

Pass Go and collect $200 at Monopoly in the Park

Monopoly in the Park, a larger-than-life version of the classic board game, invites you to become a real-life token on the world’s biggest Monopoly board. Located in Discovery Meadow, this unique attraction provides a fun, interactive experience for families and friends. Roll oversized dice, purchase properties and avoid jail in this whimsical twist on a beloved game, all while enjoying the Californian sun.

Uncover the secrets of Drawbridge, San Francisco Bay’s ghost town

Venture into the enigmatic remains of Drawbridge, once a thriving community now reclaimed by nature. Accessible only by train tracks, this ghost town whispers tales of its past to those who seek the allure of abandoned places. Explore the remnants of homes and buildings on a self-guided tour, and imagine the bygone era of a town that once bustled with life amidst the marshes.

Behold the wonders at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

Step into the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, home to the largest collection of Egyptian artefacts in western North America. This museum transports you to ancient Egypt, where you can marvel at mummies, explore a replica of an ancient tomb and learn about the fascinating rituals and beliefs of a civilization that has captivated the world for millennia.

Stroll through San Jose’s tranquil Rosicrucian Park

If you visit the Egyptian Museum, you’ll also find yourself in Rosicrucian Park, a serene oasis in the heart of San Jose. It’s also home to an alchemy museum, a planetarium and a labyrinth you can explore and, as its name suggests, it also happens to house the headquarters of the secretive order of the English Grand Lodge for the Americas of the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis, otherwise known as the Rosicrucians. Wander through beautifully designed gardens, ponder the symbols on its statues and find peace by the reflecting pools. This park is not only a feast for the eyes but is also a sanctuary for those seeking a moment of reflection amidst their travels.

Visit the grave of Bert Barrett’s left arm

In one of the most curious tales of San Jose, pay your respects at the grave of Bert Barrett’s left arm. The rest of Bert lived for another 61 years and was buried elsewhere, but his arm, lost in a childhood accident, has its own marked grave. This peculiar piece of local history offers a quirky and memorable story to share with fellow travellers.

Relish a bite at Mark’s Hot Dogs

Pull over for a quick bite at Mark’s Hot Dogs, an iconic eatery housed in a giant orange. This roadside attraction has been serving up delicious hot dogs since the 1930s. It’s a delightful spot for foodies and history buffs alike, offering a taste of Americana with every savoury bite.

Encounter Lupe the Mammoth at Guadalupe River Park

At Guadalupe River Park, come face-to-face with Lupe, a life-sized mammoth sculpture marking the site where the remains of a Columbian mammoth were discovered. This prehistoric encounter is a must-see for history enthusiasts and provides a unique photo opportunity that captures the imagination of both young and old. The park also offers trails and green space for people looking for respite from the urban environment.

Enjoy the Orchestria Palm Court’s musical dining experience

Dine amidst the enchanting sounds of self-playing musical instruments at Orchestria Palm Court. This restaurant not only offers a delectable menu but also an auditory feast with its collection of orchestrions, player pianos and violins. It’s a quirky celebration of the Golden Age of mechanical music that you won’t experience anywhere else.

Reflect at the Japanese Friendship Garden

The Japanese Friendship Garden in Kelley Park is a hidden gem where tranquillity reigns supreme. Inspired by the Korakuen Garden in its sister city, Okayama, Japan, this peaceful retreat features koi ponds, elegant bridges and meticulously maintained landscapes. It’s a place where one can meditate on the beauty of nature and the art of Japanese garden design.

ENS Editors

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