Everyone knows about Silicon Valley and how so many of the world's tech giants are there, but it's not really a tourist destination - or is it? There are plenty of big, futuristic, and flashy tech headquarters there - although most are not open to the public (other than being able to wander around the massive campuses). Apple is one of the tech giants that has actually included a visitor center in their headquarters campus so that fans can visit.
For a very different attraction while in San Jose, consider visiting the Winchester Mystery House - an extremely massive and odd building built for the ghosts of those killed by Winchester rifles. After that, head up to San Francisco and see the best of the newest restaurants in the iconic city.
Apple's Headquarters - Apple Park
Apple's headquarters is called Apple Park and it comes complete with a visitor center.
Apple Park Headquarters:
- Opened: To Employees In April 2017
- Location: Cupertino, California
- Site Size: 1.46 km2 (360 acres)
- Employees: Over 12,000 Employes (In The Groundscraper)
The main building of Apple Park is a massive circular groundscraper and has been nicknamed "the spaceship." The design of the Apple Park was influenced by Steve Jobs who wanted the campus to look less like more like a nature refuge than a typical business park.
- 80%: 80% of Apple Park is Green Space
- Main Building: A Massive Circular Groundscraper
- Visiting: The Apple Park Visitor Center is the Only Part Open To The Public
To that end, 80% of the site is made up of green space that has been planted out with drought-resistant trees and plants indigenous to the Cupertino area of California. In the center courtyard of the main building is an artificial pond.
The Apple Park Visitor Center
The Apple Park Visitor Center comes with four main areas, an Apple Store, an exhibition space, a roof terrace, and a large cafe. The Apple Store offers Apple-branded merchandise not available at normal Apple stores (like T-shirts, hats, tote bags, postcards). The exhibition space showcases a 3D model of Apple Park with augmented reality.
- Parts Of The Visitor Center: An Apple Store, Exhibition Space, A Large Cafe, A Roof Terrace
This visitor center is the only part of Apple Park that tourists are permitted to visit. So while one can't just stroll around and have a poke around Apple's headquarters, at least they have created a special place just for visitors.
The Visitor Center is an architectural extension of the private campus where visitors can learn, explore, shop, and more. The intention here is to showcase the innovative design principles of Apple Park. One will see how they seek to stay at the cutting edge of technology and how they plan to go carbon neutral across their entire business by 2030.
After relaxing with a coffee (either indoors or outdoor), head up to the Roof Terrace where one can enjoy a unique view of Apple Park and its rolling landscape.
Some of their services may be limited due to the current pandemic, if one is planning to visit, consider checking their website to see the current situation.
- Hours: Opens at 10:00 a.m. closes at 6.00 p.m.
- Days Open: Open Daily
- Address: 10600 North Tantau Avenue, Cupertino, CA
One Company of Many In The Silicon Valley
There are plenty more headquarters to visit while in Silicon Valley. One can visit Google's campus for example (but visitors can't enter the buildings there). Some of the other iconic brands may also have visitors centers or even tours.
Silicon Valley is a general term for the region in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area that's a global center for high technology and innovation (even if Tesla did move to Texas). Silicon Valley more or less corresponds to the geographical Santa Clara Valley and San Jose in particular.
- Location: More or Less Geographical Santa Clara Valley
- Main City: San Jose
- Startup Companies: There Are Thousands Of Startup Companies Based There
Other cities that Silicon Valley includes are Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Redwood City, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Cupertino.
The area is home to thousands of startup companies and has around a third of all the venture capital investments in the country. Technologies developed there include the microcomputer, the silicon-based integrated circuit, and the microprocessor.
Some of the most notable companies to be based in Silicon Valley are Adobe Inc, Google, Apple, eBay, HP Inc., Lockheed Martin Space, Netflix, PayPal, Twitter, and many others.
So if one is interested in emerging technologies and one of the USA's greatest technological success stories, consider popping into Silicon Valley. See where many of tomorrow's technologies are born.