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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   4 min read

Remember our post about the top 10 destinations for geeks? Well it’s high time we take a closer look at California’s Silicon Valley. Lets head to San Francisco to check out the computing giants, from Mountain View (Google) to Cupertino (Apple).

Anthony: “What’s so great about this garage?”

Kevin: “You’re joking!? This is where Bill Hewlett and David Packard first got started!”

Anthony: “Bill who?”

If you sound anything like Anthony, then please, keep reading! This trip is not only for the geeks but anyone interested in new technologies because let’s admit it, it’s a little crazy to swoon over an old wooden garage that was once the home for Bill Hewlett’s projects. Let’s see if we can’t find a touch of the American dream in San Francisco!

HP garage: the birth of the Silicon Valley


At 367 Addison Avenue in Palo Alto (not far from Stanford University), two software engineers, William Hewlett and David Packard, founded a company that still bears their names in 1939 with an initial capital of $585. It may be just a small garage, but it’s a symbol of the American dream. This small sanctuary is recognized by the State of California as the birthplace of the Silicon Valley.

Steve Job’s garage

Steve Jobs Home, the garage where Apple Started

The story of Apple’s humble beginnings is a legend. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created their first computer in Steve’s parent’s garage in 1976. You’d be surprised how many curious and passionate Apple fans have made the trip to this humble abode to see where it all got started. Since the death of the guru, the place has practically become a pilgrimage site.

Google Headquarters


The Googleplex is enormous. No barbed wire fences, no walls, no watch towers… just a wickedly cool collection of ultra-modern buildings where some of the world’s best software engineers and brainiacs work inside. You can check it out, just don’t get too close or you’ll get a personal escort out by security.

Apple Headquarters

Apple HQ


The name of the street circling the Apple HQ in Cupertino, Infinite Loop, will delight geeks endlessly (alluding to the name of a technical bug). But this will soon come to an end. Just before his death, Steve Jobs presented his plans for the future of Apple and designs for a new Apple complex called “Mothership.”

Why the name Silicon Valley?

The name originally came from a catch phrase used by a journalist in 1971 to describe the concentration of computer companies in the Santa Clara Valley. Silicon is the base of electronic components so it only seemed fitting.

Tech Museum

After you’ve gone and daydreamed in front of buildings (ahem, garages) that have shaped the world we live in today, head to the Tech Museum in San Jose. At least you can go in here and explore (not like the giant HQs). From the beginnings of computer technology to today, this museum is both interactive and totally modern.

Address: 201 South Market Street, San Jose CA

Tech museum 2

Tech museum 1

Getting in the mood

If you want a somewhat retro taste of what this part of SF was like in the 1990s, you have to watch this film before you go. Essentially it’s Bill Gates versus Steve Jobs… who will come out on top?

You’ll find the Silicon Valley in the southern part of San Francisco, just a few dozen kilometres from the city. The first step is to book flights to San Francisco. From there, rent a car, plug the zip codes into your GPS and go!

Are you ready for a “geek tour” of California?

Imgs: Affiliate, Revolweb, raneko, Mike Knell, Marcin Wichary, _e.t / Flickr cc.


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