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Once a sleepy farming community, sprawling San Jose is the unofficial Capital of Silicon Valley. The city has exploded over the last few decades, enjoying a new era of prosperity and growth fueled by the tech boom. That's all good news for travelers, as there are more dining and entertainment options than ever before.

Look for restaurants, bars and clubs downtown in SoFA (South of First Area), and be sure to check out the historic California Theatre while you're there. Downtown is also where you'll find the San Jose Museum of Art and the Tech Museum of Innovation, just a few blocks apart. About 5 miles west, Santana Row has tons of upscale shops and restaurants around an outdoor plaza.

If you're traveling with kids, spend the day at California's Great America theme park. Another great excursion is hiking in the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains, which start just 20 miles outside of town. Or hit the beach and boardwalk in Santa Cruz.