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An Insider’s Guide to Silicon Valley: Channel Your Inner Geek

California

An Insider’s Guide to Silicon Valley: Channel Your Inner Geek

By: Meg Hurtado

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    California

From the first telegraph message received in San Jose in 1853 to the rise of social media in Menlo Park, innovation has always been at the forefront of the 39 cities that make up California’s Silicon Valley.

Weirdness rules here, drawing a colorful community of geeks who can fly drones, wear virtual reality goggles and ride Segways without judgment. Giants like Apple, Google and Facebook put Silicon Valley on the map, but there are lots of great ways to tour the world of tech.

See Where It All Started

The modern tech industry started small, in modest garages. In Palo Alto, the garage belonging to Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett of software company Hewlett-Packard has official landmark status as “The Birthplace of Silicon Valley.” Local legends Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created the first Apple computer in a garage in Los Altos, deemed a historic site by the Los Altos Historical Commission. Neither site offers public tours, but they attract people from all over the world for a glimpse of where the tech revolution began.

See the earliest computers built in the 1940s and 1950s, play vintage electronic games, learn about hacker culture and the rise of the internet, and more at the  Computer History Museum in Mountain View. The museum also hosts a series of evening lectures by local tech celebrities on the future of coding, social media and entrepreneurship. For a more detailed look at the power of computers, head to the Intel Museum in Santa Clara to learn how silicon chips and other hardware are made.

Get the full Silicon Valley experience with a Silicon Segway tour of downtown San Jose. Tours depart from The Tech Museum of Innovation, where you can explore everything from earthquakes to building your own robot.

See the earliest computers built in the 1940s and 1950s, play vintage electronic games, learn about hacker culture and the rise of the internet, and more at the  Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

See the earliest computers built in the 1940s and 1950s, play vintage electronic games, learn about hacker culture and the rise of the internet, and more at the  Computer History Museum in Mountain View.
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Courtesy of the Computer History Museum

Get Geeky

Pull out that selfie stick and head to Google headquarters in Mountain View. Although you won’t be able to tour the company, its campus is prime for photo opportunities, with brightly colored sculptures of its Android mascot and the desserts its operating systems are named after, including cupcake, donut and marshmallow.

Head to Buck’s of Woodside in Woodside, and you might catch a glimpse of startup royalty. Behemoths Yahoo and Tesla both got their starts at this quirky restaurant outfitted with bizarre knickknacks like cowboy boots and antique ray guns. It continues to be a popular meeting place for venture capitalists and aspiring entrepreneurs. Connect with successful inventors and test-drive new products at Coupa Café in Palo Alto, a coffee shop featuring Venezuelan specialties.

Google's colorful bicycles

Google's colorful bicycles
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Discover What's Next  

Explore the latest gadgets at b8ta, a showroom for tech prototypes in downtown Palo Alto. See a moon rock and a Martian redstone at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, where you can explore the grounds and watch films about the future of space and tech exploration.

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