“I am Wesley, I am a university student born and raised in California and love to travel the world. My blog documents my trips and experiences and is intended to be shared with the world.”
Bay Area, California
The Bay Area, known for its plethora of tech start-ups and its hippie history, is the place I call home. I live in the city of San Jose, the city south of the San Francisco Bay. It’s one of the cities that make up the famous Silicon Valley. The other cities include Palo Alto, Mountain View, and San Francisco. San Jose has always been about technology. Apple, Tesla, and even Google have a spot in downtown. Growing up, I didn’t like San Jose much because there weren’t that many things to do as a child. If I wanted to go somewhere, I needed a car because there is no public transit system that takes people around the city. The city was mainly for aspiring workers looking for opportunities. But going away to university has made me appreciate my hometown for what it is.
The city itself is so diverse being the new home of immigrants. A lot of Vietnamese people (including my family) sought this city as their new home after escaping Vietnam in 1975 during the war. There’s also a good population of Mexican, Indian, and different Southeast Asian cultures living together. San Jose is one of the few cities where the minority population outnumbers the majority (White people) population. This diverse culture also brings about a number of awesome foods. The Asian population increased the popularity of boba( milk tea or bubble tea) and my personal recommendations include Pho, Korean BBQ, Bun Bo Hue (A beef-infused soup), Chinese Dumplings, Hot Pot, and Cajun/Vietnamese seafood. There’s also awesome Mexican restaurants such as Iguanas and La Victoria’s where their sauce is the most captivating feature. There are traditional Mexican restaurants that I recommend, one of which being La Chingada. My advice is to take the risk of trying new ethnic foods and experience the wonderful flavors that they bring to San Jose.
The Bay Area has a good balance between city life and nature. One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is to get out of the city and explore the beautiful surroundings. The Bay Area has the Pacific Ocean close by which is perfect for beach goers and surfers and it has beautiful deep forests hidden in Santa Cruz. Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe are amazing spots to visit in northern California as well if you have more time to spend.
One of the coolest spots I’ve visited is the Point Montara Lighthouse. It mainly serves as a hostel for travelers but offers an hour-long visit for locals. There was a heatwave coming into San Jose that weekend and my friends and I wanted to escape to the coast. None of us had been there or ever heard of it. I had found this place on Pinterest. As I told my friends about this, all we kept referring to it as was “the lighthouse.” But, Point Montara was much more than a lighthouse. It was a spot where it overlooked the ocean and held a secluded beach. It was one of the most beautiful spots on the northern California coast because you can see the glistening sun reflect off of the marine blue waves.
Of course, if you want to experience the city life, you have the options of downtown San Jose or going to San Francisco. I’d say both are very similar in that parking is hard to find but the food is delicious. Downtown San Jose has a shopping district called Santana Row. Santana Row is a beautiful district modeled after Europe and offers many unique restaurants and clothing stores. It also holds one of the few walk-in Tesla stores in the world. San Francisco is much more touristy and offers more spots such as the Golden Gate Bridge, The Love Arrow, Full House houses etc. I’d say that San Francisco is our more hipster and trendier cousin of the Silicon Valley while we are the quiet ones focusing on our lives and careers. If you ever wanted to live in this area, just keep in mind rent is crazy high in these areas. An average house in San Jose costs a million. An apartment in San Francisco is about the same price with less than spacious rooms similar to New York apartments.
The Bay Area is home to tons of diverse activities and people. Whether you enjoy hiking or trying new foods, the Bay has it all. I hope that you get a chance to visit my home!
Thanks again to Wesley for this wonderful post about Bay Area, California.