San Jose is a wonderful city.  For the first time tourist, the list of must sees include:

The Tech Museum This is a wonderful science/technology museum for the entire family.  The Tech Museum has an iMax theater where special iMax movies play. Art fans can check out the local scene by visiting the San Jose Museum of Art, The Institute of Contemporary Art and Works as well as a host of smaller galleries.

 

Winchester Mystery house is an amazing place - many rooms, mysterious staircases, thought to be haunted - that the entire family will enjoy.

For a little bit of wine tasting, J. Lohr Winery is the place to go.  Nice place to sample some delightfully good wines.

For spectacular shopping (70 shops), dining  (18 restaurants), movies,  spa (5) , and outdoor walking and fun, head over to Santana Row - great place to spend a few hours and is across the street from the Winchester Mystery House and Valley Fair Mall.

For evening activites in the summer, head on over to a San Jose Giants baseball game at the San Jose Municipal Stadium. They are a Class A minor league farm team of the SF Giants and this is real fun for the entire family. They have one of the best barbecues in town. Or catch the free movie and concert nights in downtown San Jose.  At the end of July, San Jose is host to the San Jose Grand Prix.  This is a top notch racing event that is held on San Jose's streets; a fun time for all.

In the winter, American Musical Theater puts on some top notch performances.  The magic of Christmas is also amazing in San Jose, with ice skating and Christmas in the Park.

If you like gardens, San Jose also has the lovely Heritage rose gardens to visit and see. 

A very pretty and unique area of San Jose is Japantown - this has many shops, restaurants, and festivals to attend and enjoy Japanese Heritage.  It is one of three remaining authentic Japantowns in America.

For those first time visitors with families, two fun places to go include: Happy Hollow - located close to Spartan Stadium where the San Jose Giants play. It has a zoo, rides, and a children's theater.  Also, the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose is a fun "hands-on" museum for children to enjoy exploring and play.

With San Jose being the third largest city in California, there is a lively night scene downtown with several great bars/music and dance places.

San Jose Downtown is serviced by Cal Train and Light rail, so transporation is good to explore San Jose, as well as the entire Bay Area. Several wonderful hotels (Fairmont, Marriott, Hotel de Anza) are downtown.

If you'd like to explore some of the surrounding environs, you'd do well to rent a car. Santa Cruz is a great town on the beach (featured in "Lost Boys") only 30 minutes' drive south. On the way, you'll pass through the quaint Town of Los Gatos with its shops and restaurants. If hiking or running trails is your thing, check out the Mid-Peninsula Open Space District for a long list of managed open areas dedicated to runners, hikers, and sometimes cyclists. Up the peninsula a bit toward San Francisco is Palo Alto, home of Stanford University (with the Cantor Center) and Stanford Shopping Center.

There is also the San Jose Arena (i.e., HP Pavillion) which hosts many music, sports, and other special events throughout the year.

If you like Flea Markets, San Jose has one of the best Flea Markets in the entire state of California. One can spend several hours exploring the markets and enjoying the food there.