You will definitely want to visit Weird Stuff, which is an enormous warehouse of all kinds of discarded technology located in Sunnyvale. It's a bit out there, but very worth it.
If you're interested in doing any archival research, you might also want to schedule an appointment with Stanford's Silicon Valley Archives.
(Sorry for the late answer)
I've spent about 3 months over the course of a few trips (2 months on my first trip), and I had a list of places I wanted to see. Not all of them are 'attractions' or the usual, but nevertheless something as a geek that's been looking at the things going on in Silicon Valley from a far most of my life I wanted to see:
Facebook does not have a datacenter anywhere in CA. Their datacenter is in Oregon and another one elsewhere in USA (but I know for a fact that there is none in CA).
They also have one in Sweden.
In Silicon Valley they have servers but those are colocated at datacenters run by different companies.
Visiting a datacenter from outside is never a problem but ...
City of Mountain View, CA, has no street meters that I know of, so, all parking is free, even covered parking!
When visiting the downtown at Castro St, there is some street parking right on Castro St, as well as several parking lots, and even two several-story parking structures (on the west side of Castro St), all free.
Generally, there is a limit on ...
I'm surprised noone mentioned the book Geek Silicon Valley
It's been a long while since I read it, and it's 5 years out of date (which is a pretty long time in valley terms), but it has a lot of the sort of thing you're looking for.
I agree with other answers, by the way - the Musee Mecanique, the Computer History Museum, and Weird Stuff are all good ...
They have a tech museum in San Jose that may be quite savvy, atleast to your tastes.
Of course, you should also visit Palo Alto, not just restricted to Stanford University; it is place known for youthful energy and budding entrepreneurship that is characteristic of the Silicon Valley.
There is the Bay Model Visitor Center. It is a huge warehouse with a model of the bay and all water. Although the model is quite old and inaccurate by today's standards, it shows the efforts required to study the water movements prior to computer simulations.
It is controversial - I liked it, my colleague didn't.
Don't expect much interaction there.
None of the major software companies based in the San Francisco Bay Area (including Silicon Valley) appear to offer tours to the general public; I looked up Google, Facebook, Apple, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, eBay, Symantec, Intuit, and Salesforce.com.
The larger firms like Google and Apple have campuses, parts of which are open to the public; however, you ...
There's a lot of street meter parking in San Jose, CA, and a couple of garage structures with entrance tickets.
Parking in the garage could be expensive, but many businesses do validation of certain garage parking, and thus you can often park for free if you're willing to purchase something in a participating nearby business:
Safeway in downtown has an ...
I'd suggest the Lucky Juju Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda. It's pricey and also loud, so if you plan to spend a few hours there, take earplugs!
If you're carrying a laptop or other Internet-enabled device, you might enjoy spending a few hours in a coworking location or hackerspace.
Welcome to Bay Area! Enjoy the weather, forgive the traffic!
Now, depending on what you consider the best:
Fastest: taxi (unless you arrive in rush hour). Expect to pay $60-100.
Reasonably fast: shuttle. $29 on SuperShuttle.
If you have few bags:
Slow and not-so-cheap: BART + Caltrain + Stanford shuttle/walk. Around $10. Could be 1-2 hours, as BART and ...
Assuming you're starting right by El Camino (CA-82) and the Lawrence Expressway, Google Maps and Waze generally recommend the Lawrence Expressway to 101. This is the most logical and direct route as well and is probably, on average marginally faster than the Central Expressway. Waze estimates at least 25 minutes for this trip during the morning commute, ...
BART does not have luggage areas/racks as such, however all cars do have a large open area intended for bicycles and wheelchairs. Depending on how busy the train it at the time you get on you may be able to get the seat directly next to this area which will allow you to sit down and still control your luggage, or you may need to stand if that seat is taken (...
Blizzard Entertainment (known for Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft and other games) in Irvine, CA, offers tours, but only on a limited basis. If you're interested, you should contact them as soon as possible, as
Spots are limited and booked months in advance, so we recommend signing up on the waitlist for more information on availability and dates.
Firstly, the intersection of El Camino Real (82) and Lawrence is in Santa Clara, not Sunnyvale - but near enough.
There is no correct answer to this question.
I live very (very!) close to the intersection of El Camino (82) and Lawrence. I do part or all of the drive you're referring to frequently. The best route will depend on the day of the week and the ...
You could try doing meetups. For example...
There's a Nov 24 meetup at the Google San Francisco offices and another on Dec 12. January is probably a bit too far away for meetup's to be currently scheduled so maybe check the closer to CES that you get.
They have a lot of ...
I'm fairly certain that at least some cars on the Capitol Corridor have a luggage area by the stairs (I forget if it is upstairs or downstairs). You could ask the conductor as you board. There are also overhead bins for smaller items. The times I've ridden the Capitol Corridor it has never been crowded, but that's never been at 5pm on a weekday.
Haven't taken the Capitol Corridor yet, but I know for sure that CalTrain is a valid option. BART doesn't have any designated luggage spaces, but you can take your luggage on it. BART goes to SFO and OAK after all, people do it all the time.
You can take BART, then switch to CalTrain which has a couple of stops in Mountain View, or you can take the Capitol ...
Silicon Valley Guide has a listing of attractions. The guide is targeted towards tech-enthusiasts visiting Silicon Valley. It has a nice map which gives you a sense for the relative location of the attractions.
There are several! I guess you'd want a list or the 'best', so I've tried to accommodate that by linking to the Yelp list of such places in Palo Alto.
The currently 'top rated' one there is Dubbelju Motorcycle Rental, at 274 Shotwell St
San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone number (415) 495-2774
As the Freshen Up! at SFO is too costly ($40 - 1 hour • $10 per 15-minute increments first two hours and then $8 per 15-minute increment after), another option would be an airport lounge. All are airside, according to Sleeping in Airports, some have shower facilities, and access and cost varies.
Some hotels do offer day rates, often not published on its ...