San Jose Museums: Top Attractions for Culture, Fun and Discovery

Known as the capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose strives to provide a place for visitors to learn and make memories. One of the best ways to do both is exploring the top San Jose museums. These attractions provide a safe place to play together and discover what makes San Jose a thriving city. For an inside scoop, here’s where to go and things to do.

San Jose Museums: 7 Places to Play and Learn Together

san jose museums family child

Children’s Discovery Museum

Families with young children can’t pass up Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose. The attraction is tailored to children younger than 12, but all ages and abilities are welcome. In fact, there are places indoors and outside where everyone can roam together.

Exhibits at Children’s Discovery Museum range from art to water ways. While visiting, children enjoy creating masterpieces, seeing mammoth fossils, role playing, dressing up and making new friends. No matter what they try, kids have fun with interactive activities and different play areas.

The Tech Interactive

One of the top San Jose museums dedicated to technology is The Tech Interactive, a family-friendly science and technology center. The attraction encourages innovative experiences with hands-on learning, experiments and challenges.

Suited for all ages, The Tech Interactive has over a dozen exhibits and experiences. In Body Motion, learn how movement interacts with others. Exploration Gallery allows guests to feel like an astronaut. Guests also build their own robot using real sensors and controllers. For a ride unlike others, fly like a bird in a virtual reality simulator. Other sections include Cyber Detectives, Innovations in Health Care and Tech for Global Good.

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Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum houses one of the largest collections of Egyptian artifacts in the U.S. The collection is so extensive it represents Egyptian history dating to 4500 BCE as well as Babylonian and Mesopotamian cultures.

While touring Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, see jewelry, ritual objects, textiles, tools, vessels and mummy artifacts. Afterwards, the underground tour showcases Egyptian funeral practices at Beni Hasan cemetery site in Middle Egypt. After learning about exhibits, tour Rosicrucian Park and see alchemy exhibits, gardens, a labyrinth, and temple.

San Jose Museum of Art

San Jose Museum of Art (SMJA) helps art come alive through permanent and temporary exhibits. Its collection showcases 2,500 contemporary and modern pieces, including photos, paintings, sculpture and more spanning decades. Temporary exhibits feature artists from all over the world and change regularly. Past exhibits have educated guests about women in film, different cultures, social issues, design elements, historic photographs and portraits, to name a few.

In addition to changing exhibits, SJMA offers guided tours, classes for children as well as events. On the first Friday of every month, the museum stays open late. Or see live bands, network at mixers, create art and attend fundraising events.

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San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles

Another popular art attraction, Museum of Quilts and Textiles ranks among the best San Jose museums for its focus on quilts and fiber art. The attraction strives to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere while supporting local artists.

San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles offers temporary exhibits and has resident artists. The permanent collection contains over 1,000 textiles such as historic quilts, contemporary quilts and textile art forms. While the collection is not open to the public, guests may request a private tour. Past exhibits have included fiber art and technology, manipulated cloth, and weaving. Most exhibits are open to the public Wednesday through Sunday excluding major holidays.

san jose museum computer

Computer History Museum

At Computer History Museum, Information Age is showcased through exhibits and activities. The museum showcases the history of computing and ongoing impact it has on society. Guests see over 40 years of computers, development and innovation.

For example, learn about the first 2,000 years of computing. Then tour exhibits that discuss software, coding, Silicon Valley, hackers and hall-of-famers. Another popular stop is Where To?, which educates guests about self-driving cars and vehicles that traveled land, sea and space. Guests also admire over 1,100 artifacts such as computers dating from the 1940s-1950s.

Japanese American Museum of San Jose

Japanese American Museum ranks among the best San Jose museums for its focus on Japanese-American history and how Japanese culture influences West Coast communities. Through exhibits, visitors enjoy learning how these two cultures work in harmony today.

For example, the agriculture exhibit shows how immigrant farmers helped yield more flowers, fruits and vegetables in the early 1900s. Military exhibits tell the story of war and struggles Japanese-American residents faced during these historic events. Then learn about sports, military intelligence, important people and art. Those who want a personalized adventure should book a Japantown walking tour with a museum docent.

Want to visit the top San Jose museums? Start planning a trip to California.