Things to do / see / eat in Silicon Valley – with kids!

Some friends are moving to the area with their kiddo, so I thought I’d write them up a (far from exhaustive) list of places we’ve been, or places that we’ve yet to go but have been recommended to us. Plus, I’d like to entice more visitors out our way! This is a kid-oriented list, but will also suit those who like low-key hikes, bike rides, and farm experiences.

  • PARKS. This place has a mad public park game, with splash pads and sweet playground equipment in several places.
    1. Seven Seas Park in Sunnyvale
    2. Baylands Park in Sunnyvale
    3. Rotary Playgarden in San Jose (has limited hours and is directly under a flight path, which can be great or terrible depending on how your kid feels about incredibly loud airplane noises)
    4. Lakewood Park in Sunnyvale
    5. Fairwood Park in Sunnyvale
    6. Fair Oaks (or, as the sign has it, Fairoaks) Park in Sunnyvale
    7. Ortega Park in Sunnyvale
    8. Braly Park in Sunnyvale
    9. Ellis Park in Sunnyvale (closed during school hours)
    10. San Miguel Park in Sunnyvale (also closed during school hours)
    11. Washington Park in Sunnyvale (swim lessons are offered here)
    12. Columbia Park in Sunnyvale (also offers swim lessons)
    13. Murphy Park in Sunnyvale
    14. Magical Bridge Playground in Palo Alto
    15. The Silicon Valley Toddler blog has reviews of several area parks and attractions, as well (h/t to EJH)
  • HIKES. If you like anything from flat to mountainous (or the foothills in between), you are in luck.
    1. The Rose Garden in San Jose (I’m calling this a hike, although it’s more of a stroll, because there’s no play structure and bikes aren’t allowed. But there are picnic tables and a fountain and a whole mess of roses.)
    2. Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve
    3. Stanford Dish Hike
    4. Half Moon Bay (I’m classifying this as a hike because we just went and walked on the beach)
    5. Baylands Park (also listed as a park because it has play structures)
  • FARMS. I found the number of farms around here surprising. (I don’t know what I was expecting from Silicon Valley, but it wasn’t farms.)
    1. The best one we’ve been to is Emma Prusch Farm. You can ride a horse here! And pick up a farm box of produce, or hit up their farm stand. Plus there’s a huge field for events and a barn-shaped play structure.
    2. There’s also a farm at the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve where you can see animals.
    3. Sunnyvale Full Circle Farm is a good place to pick up a farm box and get attacked by angry chickens. I say this from an experience that I do not care to repeat.
  • BIKING. Cars are terrifying at every level of the biking experience, but there are some great trails you can use to avoid them, particularly the Guadalupe Trail.


    1. Happy Hollow Park & Zoo in San Jose
    2. Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo in Palo Alto
    3. La Petite Playhouse in Redwood City
    4. Great America in Santa Clara
    5. Safari Run in Sunnyvale
    6. The Duck Pond in San Jose
    7. Stay and Play in Sunnyvale
    8. The Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose
    9. The Exploratorium in San Francisco (free on pi day! March 14)
    10. The Tech Museum in San Jose (better for older kids)
  • CITIES. San Jose, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and towns up and down the peninsula have tons of farmer’s markets, libraries, and events well worth checking out.


  • SHOPPING. There are lots of library books sales throughout the years, several consignment / swap opportunities (through parent groups, area Facebook parent groups, and also the twice-anual Outrageous Outgrowns), as well as some year-round consignment shops. My favorite is Kid-to-Kid in Santa Clara (small, but they go over your items for purchase very quickly and have pretty varied and changing items for sale). Other area thrift shops include Goodwill and Savers.


  • FOOD.
    1. I like Rokko in Sunnyvale for sushi and for not hating toddlers.
    2. There are lots of bubble tea places around. The one in downtown Sunnyvale also sells kochi ice cream, which is a huge hit with toddlers. (Next door to Rokko.)
    3. Ranch 99 in Mountain View has great dim sum.
    4. There are excellent burritos available from almost every (but sadly not every) street corner taco truck. We like the taqueria in Chavez Supermarket and Ruby’s in Sunnyvale.
    5. Hobbee’s has brunch and is very child friendly, going so far as to give kids free dinner on Wednesdays!

This list is partial and growing – I’ll add more as time and inclination allows. :-)

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