I had heard a lot about the Silicon Valley before I ever got there for the first time. Given all of the renowned entrepreneurs and technological people who had gone to school and worked here, I was ready for a veritable parade of celebrities when I arrived. Unfortunately, I was so stuck in meetings that I did not have any opportunity to see anything outside of a couple of conference rooms and my hotel room late at night. I really wanted to check out the area, but I had resigned myself to the fact that it wasn’t going to happen. Much to my surprise, as I came downstairs for an early breakfast, I was told that our meetings were finished and we had done what we needed to do. I could stay for another 24 hours if that’s what I wanted, but I’d have to find a new Silicon Valley hotel room.
I extended the rental car agreement by a day, so that was no problem. I grabbed my phone to use the HotelTonight app, and searched for Silicon Valley hotels, not really sure what to expect. I saw a plethora of Silicon Valley hotel rooms ready to rent, and what made the situation even better was that I only needed to click a few times before I was all booked and ready to go. It was amazing, even in Silicon Valley. I tossed my things into the rental car and headed over to the next hotel. I asked them where I should go if I wanted to see the area for a day, got some good answers and I was on my way.
I decided to start my day on the far end of what would be my pathway through Silicon Valley. Palo Alto is a college town, but there’s a lot of other activity in this beautiful place. I stopped first in a lovely little bookstore and browsed. I moved on through some very nice art galleries, and finished my stop there – at least until the big finale in Palo Alto – at a few locally owned shops. From there it was a stroll through Stanford University, and it was easy to see how so many successful people had matriculated here. I wondered how anyone could concentrate in such a beautiful place.
My next stop was Los Altos, a city of approximately 30,000 people. I walked into a local museum, and they had more things on display than I could even remember an hour later. I went from there to see the San Andreas fault up-close, as I hiked on the San Andreas Fault Trail for a longer time than I had anticipated. I got back into town and really wanted a tasty iced coffee to quench my thirst and to give me a little energy boost. Los Altos offers many options in that regard, so I refueled and got ready for my next stop.
Sunnyvale is a town that immediately shows itself to be all about families. There are parks and playgrounds everywhere, and kids were out and about in droves. I don’t think I have ever gone to two museums in one day, but I had to check out the Lace Museum, which I did. All that looking and walking made me hungry, so I asked someone for a good place to eat lunch. I was told that I should check out this Middle Eastern place nearby, and I did so even though I don’t think I’ve ever had Middle Eastern cuisine for lunch. It was fabulous. I was full and ready to get back into my journey.
Santa Clara is one of the bigger cities in Silicon Valley, with a population of approximately 125,000. This is another college town, as Santa Clara University is a big driver of the economy along with the world of technology. This is a city that is also family-friendly and friendly in general, and I spent some time strolling through a park and walking off my lunch at least to a degree. I went from there to campus and spent some time looking at the different buildings and such. It was a very pretty place and another campus where it was clear that the students were going places.
I wrapped up my day in one of the main hubs of Silicon Valley. This is a city that’s a bit smaller than Santa Clara, with a population just north of 75,000. Google is here also, and you can see their presence throughout the city. I talked to a few folks who were milling around town, and before I knew it I was ready for another big meal. Mexican food is big here as it is throughout California, so I stopped at a place that didn’t fool around with what they prepared. It was the real deal, and I was thrilled to end the day on such a high note.
As I looked back on the day, I was very happy that I was able to take advantage of some available time and see the area. I owe a lot of this to HotelTonight, as Silicon Valley hotels can be difficult to find and expensive if you’re looking for one at the last minute. HotelTonight took care of me, and I’ll continue to work with them as I travel in the future.