The area south of San Francisco, encompassing Silicon Valley and its surrounding communities, is the center of technological innovation. Home to Apple, Google, Facebook, and countless startups, the region is also full of top restaurants and distinctive experiences, making it an unparalleled destination for travelers. If you’re traveling to the Bay Area for business, consider extending your trip and taking a closer look at what this vibrant area has to offer the discerning traveler. Here’s a closer look at what to do now in the South Bay.
Shopping in Style
The South Bay has some of the most luxurious shopping experiences south of San Francisco. In Palo Alto, the open-air Stanford Shopping Center features such upscale shops as Cartier, Hermés, and Louis Vuitton. Further south, in San Jose, Santana Row is comprised of 70 stylish boutiques and nearly two dozen trendsetting restaurants. This open-air mall is designed to resemble a small-town retail district, complete with courtyards, fountains, and more. After perusing the racks at Tommy Bahama and Kendra Scott, head to the Japanese restaurant Ozumo for sushi and sake.
Variety of Art
Culture abounds in the South Bay, especially for travelers who appreciate fine art. On the Stanford campus in Palo Alto, the Cantor Arts Center has one of the world’s most renowned collections of Rodin bronze sculptures. Many of the sculptures are inside the museum, but a handful are arranged outside in an open-to-the-public garden. In nearby Saratoga, the Montalvo Arts Center specializes in modern and contemporary visual art, but also hosts music concerts and traveling exhibitions throughout the year.
Spend the night in style in one of the South Bay’s iconic hotels. The Four Seasons Silicon Valley is located in the heart of Silicon Valley. Regular visitors rave about [esc], the hotel’s new wine bar, as well as the see-and-be-seen rooftop pool. The hotel is a short ride to downtown Palo Alto, where you’ll find a great farmers’ market on weekends. Another option in the area: Rosewood Sand Hill, set in the middle of venture capital country. Out on the coast, the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay offers an entirely different experience: romantic, intimate, and laid-back. The luxury hotel overlooks the Pacific Ocean, making it the perfect spot to watch the sunset as you listen to the sounds of bagpipes.
One of the South Bay’s most underappreciated highlights: the dining scene. Without question, the biggest culinary attraction is Manresa, David Kinch’s “New American” eatery that received three Michelin stars in 2018. The concept here is farm-to-table, and the prix fixe menu includes innovative dishes that are delicious, but also high art. Locally grown ingredients shine in the signature “Into the Vegetable Garden" dish, comprised of a custard topped with vegetable veloute and 35 to 40 picked leaves, flowers, and herbs from the restaurant’s culinary garden. Other notable restaurants in the area include Nobu, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s Palo Alto outpost; and Zareen’s, a Mountain View restaurant serving contemporary Pakistani and Indian cuisine.
Filoli, a 20th-century country estate in Woodside, is a world-renowned garden with terraces, hedge rows and hydrangeas as far as the eye can see. The estate boasts a nature preserve with a trail system that allows for about four miles of hiking or horseback riding, depending on the route. It also offers guided hikes, and programs for children. Another spot worth visiting: San Jose’s Municipal Rose Garden, which dates back to 1937. The five-acre parcel sprouts beautiful roses every summer—nearly 200 varieties in all.