A Journey Through Decades of Innovation in Silicon Valley
"Discover the people and technology that changed our world"
Why should you visit Silicon Valley? This new and exclusive discovery custom tour is a must-do for everyone, because the people behind high-technology in Silicon Valley have transformed and changed our daily lives. This discovery experience in Silicon Valley appeals to all generations, to visitors with varying levels of technical knowledge and interests.
Our Silicon Valley guided tour will be customized to your needs, interests, and requirements. We are flexible and can provide you with many options to choose from. After a complimentary pick-up at your hotel in the San Francisco Bay Area, your guide will take you to NASA Ames Research Center, stopping at the Exploration Center and Moffett Field Historical Museum. Continuing down the Peninsula, you’ll have an opportunity to tour the Computer History Museum and Intel Museum, and drive through the Google campus (Googleplex). You can visit the Apple Store in Cupertino or in downtown Palo Alto. Depending the time and location, you’ll have lunch in Palo Alto or Santa Clara where you can choose to visit both Santana Row and the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, or travel to Palo Alto and enjoy a guided walking tour of Stanford University.
You can tell us more about your priorities and expectations for the Silicon Valley discovery tour when you make your reservation, or send us an email, and we will customize your tour accordingly. Silicon Valley is an overwhelmingly widespread area, and it is impossible to cover all attractions in a one-day 8-hour trip. You may choose one of the following tour options to prepare in advance. Please note, many museums and high-tech firms require an appointment several days in advance to visit.
Tour option # 1: The most popular combination guided tour that will take you to Stanford University, the Computer History Museum, and Intel Museum. We highly-recommend you take the time to explore fewer sites in-depth, rather than spending the day driving between points A and B. True, California's freeways can be impressive, but we want to show you more than our state's beautiful cars!
Your knowledgeable, local guide will also offer additional stops and side trips to high-tech firms and sights, including HP and the garages where HP and Apple began, Apple Headquarters' gift shop (if schedule and time permits), Googleplex (from outside only), NASA from insides and outside (time permitting), downtown Palo Alto (where celebrities like Mark Zuckerberg live). Tour Option # 1 is highly recommended for prospective students and their parents. The advantage of Option #1 is that we will get you a guided tour inside each of these sights, with two of them complimentary. We may even get a complimentary private tour at Intel. We are a small tour company and are often sold out quickly. Please secure your booking as early as possible.
Tour option # 2: Visit the Computer History Museum, Intel Museum, Santana Row, and the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. Your driver-guide may also offer additional photo stops and side trips to famous sights (time permitting), including: Facebook, Oracle, Tesla Motors showcase in San Jose, David Packard's and Steve Job's garages where they started HP and Apple companies, Apple Headquarters gift shop, Googleplex (their security policy allows that we can stop only outside to see the YouTube building, and other sites on the campus), NASA Ames research center from inside and outside, and Palo Alto's downtown along charming University Avenue. Tour Option #2 is designed for those not interested in visiting Stanford University. Instead, you may visit and explore Santana Row and the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, in addition to the Computer History and Intel museums.
Tour option # 3: Our Curiosity Panorama Combo Express Tour allows first-time visitors to Silicon Valley to see it "all" in one trip. If you have no specific interest in Silicon Valley high-tech firms and wish to get a general overview of the area, then a one-day trip, with quick stops along the way, is the right tour option for you. This is a combination of Tour option #1 and # 2 in a one-day guided custom tour. Instead of spending an hour at each site, we provide quick stops. You will enjoy quick photo stops at firms and sights like Facebook (from outside) and spend an average of 15 to 25 minutes at each location: Facebook, Googleplex, Intel, Apple Headquarters Company Store and gift shop, Palo Alto, Stanford University, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field Museum, Tesla Motors in Santana Row, or take an optional guided tour to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose (tickets are not included; requires minimum one hour). You may also travel to HP's historic 1938 start-up Garage and Steve Job's garage; both on quiet side streets to give you an idea of neighborhoods in the area. You can also visit San Jose, Stanford University, and Palo Alto, and enjoy your lunch in Santana Row in San Jose, or at Oracle's headquarters in Silicon Valley. However, you may also change your mind during the tour, and decide to spend more time in one particular site, we are happy to accommodate you and customize your tour accordingly.
Our Silicon Valley tour lasts eight hours door-to-door, with driving time from San Francisco about an hour each way, leaving six hours to explore the area. We highly recommend adding overtime to your tour if you wish to explore Silicon Valley in-depth and we’ve added new attractions to our Silicon Valley tour for visitors, with or without kids, who are not interested in the above high-tech firms. You may also visit the Japanese Friendship Garden, the Children's Discovery Museum, and or, California's Great America amusement park. Please refer to our itinerary for more information about each site and their hours of operation.
Silicon Valley Tour itinerary and more
- What to expect on our tour itinerary
- Geography of Silicon Valley
- Evolution of Silicon Valley
- Computer History Museum
- Intel Museum in Silicon Valley
- Iconic Stanford University
- NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field
- Google and Googleplex
- Apple's headquarters: the company store and gift shop
- The Winchester Mystery House in San José
- Santana Row’s restaurants and elegant boutiques in San José
- Oracle Corporation and more
- HP garage and Palo Alto downtown
- California's Great America Amusement Park
- Children's Discovery Museum
- Japanese Friendship Garden
- Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz
- Hiller Aviation Museum
- Fry's Electronics in San José and much more
What to expect on our tour itinerary to Silicon Valley, This custom tour will take you to sites of interest and high-tech firms. Because Silicon Valley is overwhelmingly spread out, it is impossible to cover it all in a one-day 8-hour trip. Please choose one of the above tour options so we may prepare your guide and trip in advance, particularly for museums and high-tech firms that require appointments.
Your Silicon Valley tour starts and ends in San Francisco and lasts eight hours door-to-door. Driving time is about one hour each way (depending on traffic conditions), which leaves six hours to explore Silicon Valley. We highly-recommend adding overtime to your tour if you wish to explore Silicon Valley in-depth and we have just added new attractions for visitors with or without kids, who are not interested in high-tech firms. Some of these new attractions include the Japanese Friendship Garden, Children's Discovery Museum, hidden wineries, groves of redwoods, Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz, and California's Great America Amusement Park. These are optional side trips and entrance fees are not included.Back to Top
Geography: Silicon Valley is centered in the Santa Clara Valley in the southern region of the San Francisco Bay Area. Originally known as the Valley of Heart's Delight for its numerous fruit orchards, flowering trees, and plants, it was the largest fruit production and packing region in the world before 1960. The valley is bounded by the Santa Cruz Mountains on the southwest and Diablo Range on the northeast, is about 30 miles long and 15 miles wide. Silicon Valley now also includes the southern Peninsula Valley and southern East Bay, with a variety of high-tech companies located throughout other counties in the Bay Area. San Jose, often referred to as the capitol of the Silicon Valley, has a population close to 1.8 million.Back to Top
The Evolution of Silicon Valley: Silicon Valley evolved quickly since WWII and became the leading hub for high-tech innovation and development. Stanford University played a major role in Silicon Valley development, along with Terman and William Shockley, both former U.S. military during focused on classified research and development. They contributed to this new era of innovation through military defense, integrated circuits, and computers. Terman encouraged Stanford students like William Hewlett and David Packard to start their own companies, leading the way for today's current venture capital and startup culture in Silicon Valley, including Intel, founded by Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore.Back to Top
The Computer History Museum Established as a non-profit organization in 1999 and is dedicated to the preservation of computing history and its impact on the world. It is home to one of the largest international collections of computing artifacts, encompassing computer hardware, ephemera, photographs, moving images, documents, and software, among other collections and exhibits. The Computer History Museum offers many exhibits on a variety of topics related to the history of computing. You may sign-up for the public guided tour, or explore the museum at your pace and visit the exhibits you are interested in. General admission costs $15 (not included) and gives you full access to all museum exhibits and wings. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.Back to Top
Intel Museum: Book our private tour to discover the people behind the innovative technology that changed our world. The 10,000-square-foot museum is located at Intel's headquarters in Santa Clara in the heart of Silicon Valley. It contains interactive exhibits, which appeal to all generations and levels of technical knowledge and interest. These displays demonstrate how silicon chips are made, how they function, their impact on our daily lives, and their ever-faster and endless evolution. The museum offers a unique insider look at a high-tech world where distance is measured in billionths of meters, and time in billionths of seconds. You'll also learn about Intel, which is the world's largest maker of silicon chips that power computers, cell phones, and thousands of other digital products. Among its prize exhibits is a 12-inch-diameter silver ingot of silicon on display, which may be the purest "element" you'll ever touch. Kids can also try on the "bunny suits," which Intel workers wear in ultra-clean labs where computer chips are made. Book your Silicon Valley tour in advance and we’ll arrange a private and complimentary guided tour (if available), so you can see how semiconductor technology started and chips are designed and manufactured. The museum is open weekdays and Saturdays except holidays, closed on Sunday.Back to Top
Stanford University covers an area of 8,880 acres making it difficult to explore without a tour guide. Should you decide to take the guided walking public tour at Stanford, please let us know so we may book your tour in advance. You will spend about an hour and half with a local Stanford student-guide exploring the highlights and history of the campus. These students are knowledgeable about the history of the university, and offer you an insider view of what it is like to be a student at the second-largest campus in the world! During your tour, you may be joined by parents and prospective students, as well as visitors from around the world. A campus visit is your opportunity to get a firsthand inside view of this legendary college whose alumni include founders from HP and Google. Did you know that only 6% of all students who apply are accepted into the university? Please wear comfortable shoes as you will be walking for over 1:25 minutes. If you have mobility issues, please let us know so we may arrange a golf-cart guided tour for you (additional fees will apply). Also, if you do not wish to join a group tour to visit the campus, we can arrange a private walking tour for and additional feeBack to Top
NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field: NASA Ames Research Center is a key facility for many of NASA's missions and projects. The Center was established in 1939 as the second laboratory of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. It was named for the chair of NACA, Joseph Ames. Originally, the naval air station was a home base for the dirigible U.S.S. Macon. In 1945, the airfield was renamed Moffett Field after Admiral Moffett who lost his life in the 1935 crash of the U.S.S. Macon. In 1958, the area became NASA Ames Research Center, when Congress created the National Aeronautics and Space Act (NASA). Following the closure of Moffett Field as a military base in 1994, with the help of nearby communities Mountain View and Sunnyvale, the area is now a world class research and development center serving the goals of the United States’ space program. NASA Research Park began a collaborative partnership with educational institutions, industry and non-profit organizations, to stimulate innovation and education in science and research disciplines, including astrobiology, information technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. Our visit to the NASA Exploration Center will provide you with an overall picture of the space program through detailed exhibits and informative volunteers.Back to Top
Google: Did you know that a google (correct spelling googol) is the digit 1 followed by 100 zeros? This term was originally coined by a 9-year-old boy, named Milton Seratta, who is the nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner. Google, the company, was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while both were attending Stanford University, and originally began in March 1996 as a research project. In search of a PhD. dissertation theme, Page joined by Brin, and supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, created the search engine called Google. It originally used the Stanford website with the domain google.stanford.edu. On September 15, 1997 the domain google.com was registered and incorporated as a privately held company, and on September 4, 1998 in a friend's garage in Menlo Park in Silicon Valley. Its initial public offering followed on August 19, 2004. The company's mission statement was to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." The company's unofficial slogan is "Don't be evil." Page and Brin own about 16 % of the company's stake. In 2006, the company moved to its headquarters in Mountain View, California. Although closed to the public, we will drive you through campus and make stops for photo opportunities along the way including at Googleplex Area, YouTube, and the Googlemap car.Back to Top
Apple's Headquarters: Apple, was founded on April 1, 1976, by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, who started selling the so-called "Apple 1 personal computer kit," which was very basic, yet innovative for its time. Everybody turned them down to sell the product, except one computer store owner who gave them a chance to make hundreds of units out of their garage, as they couldn't afford an office or store. The kits were hand-built by Wozniak and first shown to the public at the Homebrew Computer Club. The Apple 1 went on sale July 1976 for $666.66. We'll visit the Apple Campus in Cupertino, south of Palo Alto, where the original Apple employee store is located. The store is open to the public, but unlike local Apple retail stores, they don't sell computers, iPhones, or iPads. However, they do sell Apple logo t-shirts, caps, and accessories. We recommend visiting the Apple retail store in downtown Palo Alto located a few blocks from Stanford Campus, if you want to purchase computers, phones, or other products.Back to Top
Winchester Mystery House: Seeking history and mystery? Take a guided tour of the Winchester Mystery House to discover one of America's most bizarre and "haunted" homes. This well-known mansion is located across the plaza from Santana Row. It was once a private residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester (of Winchester rifles). The mansion was under continuous construction for over 38 years, and, under Winchester's supervision, proceeded around the clock without interruption from 1884 to her death on September 5, 1922— when work stopped immediately. The building cost is estimated at about $5.5 million, equivalent to over $75 million today. According to local news stories, Winchester thought the house was haunted by the ghosts of people who lost their lives from Winchester rifles, and only continuous construction would appease them. Tickets are not included. Prices vary, ranging $24-$40, depending on the tour you choose.Back to Top
Santana Row: High-tech firms are not the only reason to visit Silicon Valley! Santana Row is an upscale shopping, residential, dining, and entertainment complex in San Jose, characterized by a Mediterranean ambiance. The 'Art de Vivre" fusion and modern architectural design plan earned Santana Row two major awards: the Builder Magazine's Project of the Year in 2003 and the CELSOC Engineering Excellence Award in 2004. It's a mix of high-end and classic retail stores, ranging from luxury brands like Burberry, Gucci, Salvatore, Tourneau and Ferragamo, to casual brands including H&M, Diesel, Ann Taylor LOFT, Anthropologie, Free People, and Urban Outfitters. There are a variety of restaurants to choose from, and a Tesla Motors has cars on display. If you choose to visit Santana Row, we will skip our stop at Stanford for schedule and time considerations.Back to Top
Oracle Corporation is an American multinational computer technology corporation that specializes in developing and marketing computer hardware systems and enterprise software products, particularly database management systems. Oracle is headquartered in Redwood City in northern Silicon Valley and has approximately 114,000 employees worldwide. Oracle has enlarged its share of the software market through organic growth and a number of high-profile acquisitions. It is the third-largest software maker by revenue, after Microsoft and IBM. Larry Ellison, its co-founder, has served as Oracle's CEO throughout its history and is ranked as the top-paid chief executive in the world.Back to Top
The HP Garage is a private museum where the company Hewlett-Packard (HP) was founded in 1939. It is nestled amongst the quiet and charming side streets near Stanford campus. Many consider HP Garage the "Birthplace of Silicon Valley, and although it is not open for public tours, the property can be viewed from the sidewalk and driveway. We will drive 16 miles further south to visit another famous garage where Steve Jobs started Apple, a modest 1950s ranch-style home, which our guides say exemplifies "The American Dream.”Back to Top
California's Great America Amusement Park: If you are not interested in the high-tech world, you may visit the Winchester Mystery House and combine it with a side trip to California's Great America amusement park in Santa Clara. It's the only combination theme and waterpark in California and one of four amusement parks that operate within San Francisco Bay Area. Families come from all over the Bay Area to enjoy the excitement and fun with and without kids.Back to Top
The Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose builds and displays interactive exhibits that respond to children's diverse educational needs. The 52,000-square-foot purple building was designed in 1990 by Mexico City-based architect, Ricardo Legorreta, who also designed the Tech Museum of Innovation. The Children's Discovery Museum is on Woz Way in San Jose, named after Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple. The museum's signature programs, such as BioSITE and Discovery Youth, encompass the broad themes of community, connections, and creativity, with the goal to create interactive exhibits that invite self-directed, open-ended explorations. The museum is composed of three floors, each with its own significance. Four major theme galleries fill the upper and lower levels: Communication, Exploration, Innovation and Life Tech. The Hackworth IMAX dome theater shows mainstream movies as well as educational films. Tech Museum of Innovation is a hands-on technology and science museum for visitors of all ages and backgrounds. This learning resource center was established to engage people in exploring and experiencing technologies affecting their daily lives. The Tech Museum of Innovation is a wonderful experience for young kids who want to experience the real high-tech world where they can spend a half day or a full-day in one location to see new exhibits, new movies, and much more.Back to Top
Japanese Friendship Garden is a walled section of Kelley Park, a beautiful and tranquil garden in the heart of San Jose. It's a living symbol of the "Sister City" of Okayama in Japan. In its three main ponds koi swim, which were originally sent from Okayama in 1966. The ponds are at different elevations in the park, and are inter-connected by streams. Not far away, you can also visit the hidden Happy Hollow Zoo, which provides an affordable, sustainable, conservation-centered outdoor adventure for families with children. This small 16-acre (6.5 ha) zoo and amusement park, was originally opened in 1961, offering a combination of theme park rides, games along, and a petting zoo. You may also visit Hakone Gardens, a traditional Japanese garden recognized as one of the oldest Japanese-style residential gardens in the Western Hemisphere, and an enduring American treasure. It was founded in San Jose in 1985, by leaders of the then-rapidly growing Santa Clara Valley Sikh community.Back to Top
The Mystery Spot is a tourist attraction in a remote forest in the mountains of Santa Cruz County, south of Silicon Valley. In this strange site, the laws of physics and gravity do not apply, and provide a number of illusions in support of these claims, where water seems to flow upward, people seem to be standing in slanted positions, and gravity is reversed! George Prather who first discovered this site in 1940, claimed to have detected strange magnetic anomalies during his property inspection. As you go on the walking tour (tickets not included), a local tour guide will explain the powerful vortex forces and the mystery behind this land. For skeptics and believers, this is a fun walking tour for all ages. Be aware of side effects like motion sickness or dizziness caused by spatial distortion and the mysterious forces behind this "Mystery Spot." Please note that this visit requires about 4 hours round trip from Silicon Valley, which leaves you 2 to 3 hours, so we only recommend this trip if you are not interested in and in-depth Silicon Valley tour. You may purchase tickets online in advance at www.mysteryspot.com/buy-tickets-online. You will also see a great many redwood trees along the way as we drive through the forest.Back to Top
The Hiller Aviation Museum is in San Carlos, north of Silicon Valley, founded June 1998 by helicopter pioneer Stanley Hiller Jr. It specializes in Northern California aircraft history and helicopter history and is part of the Smithsonian Affiliations program. This is an extra site to add for those who are interested in Silicon Valley high technology (tickets are not included and cost $14 per person).Back to Top
Fry's Electronics was founded as a Silicon Valley retail electronics store in 1985 to provide a one-stop-shopping environment for the high-tech professional. San Jose Fry's is a wonderfully large setting decorated in elaborate themes. It's like a museum paying tribute to the first astronomers, the Mayans, with scenes from Chichen itza. Interestingly, Fry's unorthodox advertising methods came under heavy fire in 2003. Actors Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis, and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger each sued Fry's for $10 million for posting their images on television sets, on their print ads, and flyers without permission. It's a great place to visit even if you don't need more electronic supplies.
SILICON VALLEY TOUR PRICES
This SUV tour is private and the price is per person
|Our Tour Price is
This van tour is private and the people in your party will be the only ones on the tour. The price is per party and not per person.
|Guests||Price per party|
|1 - 5 Guests||$1,399.00|
|6 - 7 Guests||$1,539.00|
|8 - 10 Guests||$1,649.00|
|11 - 12 Guests||$1,769.00|
|13 - 14 Guests||$1,899.00|
Included:Pick-up and drop-off in San Francisco, all applicable taxes, and a private 8-hour guided tour from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Not included: Meals, driver’s gratuity, overtime, wine tasting fees, Stanford University fees and optional activities or entrance fees to museums or firms.