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Spend a Day Exploring the Museums of San Jose!

Posted by on May 11, 2015

Disclosure: I was hosted  for a weekend of exploring the Arts and Culture of San Jose.  This is my story.  All opinions are my own.

Whenever I visit a place, I love finding a local museum to discover, to explore, to enjoy while in town.  This is exactly the case every time I take a trek out to San Jose, CA.  They have a variety of museums throughout their Downtown Area, along with other parts of their city.

In San Jose you might just take the afternoon to explore one of the most unique houses ever built or an afternoon to learn more about the Egyptian History. If you love art, there are also a few offerings available, but if you’re like me, and enjoy a little more hands on, The Tech Museum of Innovation is going to be your go-to museum of choice.

Lets explore a bit more of their museums, shall we? The Museums of San Jose:

Winchester Mystery House:

525 S. Winchester Blvd.

When friends found out I was moving to Northern California, they ALL said I had to visit the Winchester Mystery House.

This past weekend I finally did, and I can see WHY it’s such a hit.  Tours happen daily at the house, and as you tour the house you may just see doors that lead to no where, lead to walls, or even the outdoors with nothing to stand on after.  So many questions go through your head as you walk room to room.

A tour is well worth it, to get an inside glimpse of the house, and to try to understand some of the decision making that took place in this house.  Seance, anyone? I, for one, can’t wait to take my other half, the Architect Draftsman to this house.



Grand Estate Tour: 2 Hours 30 Minutes

See it all! The Winchester Grand Estate Tour is a 2.5+ hour experience that takes guests on the 65-minute tour of the Mansion interior and the 55-minute tour of the basement, outbuildings and grounds. Also included is admission to the Historic Firearms Museum, the Antiques Products Museum, and to the Victorian Gardens.

44 Dollars: Adult

38 Dollars: Seniors

34.00 for Child (no child under 5!)

Mansion Tour: 1 Hour 5 Minutes

Adults: 36 Dollars

Seniors: 32 Dollars

Children: 26 Dollars

Tour through 110 of the 160 rooms and look for the bizarre phenomena that gave the mansion its name; a window built into the floor, staircases leading to nowhere, a chimney that rises four floors to stop just 1.5 feet from the ceiling, doors that open onto blank walls, and upside down posts!

Behind the Scenes Tour: (No children under 5!)

Adults: 30

Children: 25

Seniors: 28

The guided Behind-the-Scenes tour adds another dimension to the mystery that surrounds Sarah Winchester’s estate while simultaneously offering both a glimpse at an earlier lifestyle and showing the elegance of a lost but gracious era.

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum:


1660 Park Avenue

W – F: 9:00am – 5:00pm
S – Su: 10:00am – 6:00pm
M – Tu: Closed

$9.00 general admission*
$7.00 seniors 55 and older
$7.00 students with I.D.
$5.00 children ages 5 – 10
Free on Wed – Fri, 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Children under 5 are always free!


A museum that is worth a visit is the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum.  Believe it or not, there are over 3000 Egyptian Artifacts Inside including 3 Mummies, a replica Tomb made in the basement, and other fun surprises throughout the museum.

As you walk around looking through the different artifacts you are guaranteed to learn a thing or two.


But, when you plan your visit, plan some extra time to explore the surrounding gardens connected to the museum.  I could have easily spent an entire afternoon here.

They hold workshops every Saturday at 12:30pm.

San Jose Museum of Art:


Tuesday – Sunday, 11 AM–5 PM
Closed Mondays

The Museum is open 11 AM–8 PM on the third Thursday of each month.

  • Adults: $8
  • Student, senior, youth: $5
  • Free for SJMA members and children six and under
  • Third Thursdays: $5 after 5 PM
  • Free admission to active members of the military and their families from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.


If you’re looking for a little more art in your life, and a fun afternoon to explore, the San Jose Museum of Art is truly worth a visit.

During my visit this past summer, I really enjoyed walking through the David Levinthal: Make Believe exhibit where he would pose every day toys into Real Life Situations then photograph them.  It made for a truly interesting exhibit.

This museum does a great job of bringing exhibits in from across the Nation, and exhibits are constantly coming and going.

Exhibits on view right now include:

José Clemente Orozco: Figure Studies through August 23, 2015

Beta Space: Diana Thater through September 13, 2015

City Limits, City Life through June 14, 2015

Postdate: Photography and Inherited History in India through August 2, 2015

Koret Family Gallery: Maker Space  through January 17, 2016

Tech Museum of Innovation:

201 S. Market St.

Open Daily: 10am to 5pm


Adults: 20 Dollars

Students/Children/Seniors: 15 Dollars

It only makes sense to have an entire museum dedicated to Tech within Silicon Valley, right?  The Tech Museum does just that, but this museum has to be one of the most innovative museums out there.

From exhibits where you can create your own robot, to making your own music, there’s something for everyone here including an Earthquake Stimulator (and let me tell you, it feels exactly like a real earthquake!)

And, of course, they have their own Imax Theater featuring films throughout the year. (Separate Admission!)


Japanese American Museum:

535 N. 5th St.

Open: Thursday – Sunday: Noon to 4pm

Admission: 5 Dollars Adults

Children (Under 12) FREE

And then there are the museums that tell a story.  A story that needs to be told, a piece of history, that many may not even know about, but is felt, and told within the Japanese American Museum.  Located right in the heart of Japantown within San Jose.

This museum tells the history of the Japanese Americans within the San Jose area, but not only that, a history, that many don’t talk about.  The years when Japanese Americans were placed within Internment Camps.

But, beyond that historical news, there lies the work of Japanese Americans from being incredible farmers to members of the Military to Political Figures.  This museum tells their place in history, and in America.


Lots of emotions filled throughout me as I walked around this museum reading.

Honorable Mentions: (Museums that are in San Jose, but I have not been to personally!)

Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose

National Quilt Museum

San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art


Have you been to any of these San Jose Museums?  Do you have any favorite memories?  Share them believe.



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