Originally the home of pioneering companies like Hewlett-Packard and Cisco, California’s Silicon Valley (in the southern end of the San Francisco Bay Area) is still a high-tech hotbed. From Google and Facebook to a wealth of cyber start-ups—many of which were founded by grads of nearby Stanford University—the area boasts some of the world’s most influential digi-tech companies.
Here are three ways to experience Silicon Valley’s techie culture.
Take a “Friendly” Tour
Download the travel app Silicon Valley Roots & Shoots and plan an independent drive around the valley, or book a tour with A Friend in Town Private Tours, where you’ll board a luxury minivan that visits several high-tech companies. Included in the tour is a stop at the Computer History Museum (considered one of the world’s best), as well as Google, Facebook and Apple. Most of these companies’ doors are closed to the public, but you’ll still be able to see their campuses.
Explore the Intel Museum
Founded in 1968 by Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce, Intel (short for Integrated Electronics) is one of the world’s largest makers of computer chips. On the Intel campus, you’ll find a neon-blue and white museum dedicated to the glory of the micro-miniature world. Offering free admission, the museum’s interactive exhibits allow you to write your name in binary code or try on a “bunny suit” similar to what the Intel lab technicians wear.
Visit the Apple Company Store
It’s easy to find an Apple products store, but there’s only one place in the world where you can pick up items that carry the original company logo emblazoned on clothing, pens, mugs, mouse pads and other paraphernalia. The store is right next door to Apple’s main building.