The San Jose Tech Museum (locally called The Tech) seeks to show us (in their words) "how technology works... how it affects who we are and how we live, work, play and learn." It's an ambitious goal for any museum, even in an innovative place like Silicon Valley.
From its small beginnings in 1978, The Tech has grown into a 132,000-square-foot science museum. Permanent, themed galleries focus on green technology, the internet, innovation, exploration, and how technology enhances our lives.
It relies heavily on interactive exhibits and virtual technology.
Their gift shop carries some fun tech toys, and the on-premises Cafe Primavera serves food if you get hungry.
San Jose Tech Museum Tips
My favorite thing at The Tech isn't inside the museum but outside its exit doors. That's where you'll find a fun kinetic sculpture by George Rhoads entitled "Science on a Roll." It's an oddly mesmerizing contraption filled with balls rolling and falling. You can see a video of its Rube Goldberg-style workings here.
If you go to The Tech, take advantage of their "Tech Tag" - a barcode on your ticket stub that you can scan at some activities. You can use it later to "relive" museum experiences such as a 3-D head scan or earthquake ride.
Photography is allowed so that you can snap your fill of selfies and shots for your social media posts. That is, except inside some of their special exhibitions.
San Jose Tech Museum Review
I want to like The Tech more than I do. I keep trying but, but their high-tech exhibit technology comes with a downside. Exhibits may be fun and exciting, but they get a lot of use and break down. And there aren't enough of them, so you have to wait. Some exhibits also seem out-of-date.
If you're a high-tech professional working in Silicon Valley, you'll probably find it all ho-hum. Children like it more than adults.
We polled some of our readers to see what they think of the San Jose Tech Museum. 60% of them said it's awesome, and only 15% gave it the lowest possible rating.
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If you want to have fun at a science museum, I recommend the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, the Exploratorium in San Francisco or the California Science Center in Los Angeles instead.
What You Need to Know About the San Jose Tech Museum
You don't need reservations to see the museum, but they're a good idea for special exhibits and popular IMAX films. Allow several hours, longer if you want to see everything in detail.
An admission fee is charged. Check current prices and hours
Weekends and holidays are the busiest times to go. On weekday mornings, you may find lots of school groups crowding the place.
The Tech Museum
201 South Market Street
San Jose, CA
The Tech Museum website
The Tech Museum is in downtown San Jose at the corner of Market Street and Park Avenue. Street parking is hard to find downtown on weekdays, but easier on weekends.
Discounted parking is available (with validation) at the Second and San Carlos Street Garage and also at the Convention Center garage.
If you plan to go to The Tech by public transit, it's is near the VTA Light Rail line. You can get off the VTA at Convention Center Station or Paseo de San Antonio. You can also get to The Tech by Caltrain or Amtrak. Disembark at the San Jose Diridon station, then walk east on San Fernando Street and turn right on Market Street (about six blocks total). On weekdays, you can use the free morning and afternoon shuttle service.