Two years have already passed since the death of one of the most influential people of the past few decades, the man who revolutionized the tech world and our relationship with it. We are obviously talking about Steve Jobs, and to remember the Apple guru, what better way than to discover the places where his hi-tech developments were carried out?
If you too have a big of a tech geek hidden inside you, are openly part of the Cult of Apple, or you’d just like to take a tour of the breeding grounds of some of the world’s greatest technological feats, come with us on a route through the mythical places of Silicon Valley.
How to get there and how to get around
About 20 kilometers south of San Francisco, is San Francisco International Airport (SFO), the second busiest airport in California after Los Angeles (LAX). Once you reach the SF city center, the best way to get around the Bay Area is by train on the Caltrain railway. You can get to the San Jose city center, surrounded by commuters and students with tablets, smartphones, e-readers, all things high-tech. Also on your visit to the Bay Area, be sure to visit Whole Foods, a chain of organic supermarkets, where you can find some of the best selection of food in the world (note: the prices aren’t cheap!). An interesting fact: it was at the Whole Foods Market on Emerson Street in Palo Alto that Steve Jobs was seen talking on his mobile phone about the features of the first iMac back in 1998.
Founded in 1769, Palo Alto is a town of just under 65,000 inhabitants. Among the celebrities who live or have lived there are Steve Jobs (Apple), Sergey Brin and Larry Page (Google), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), David Filo (co-founder of Yahoo!), Jawed Karim (co-founder of YouTube) Marissa Mayer (President & CEO of Yahoo!), William Hewlett and Dave Packard (Hewlett-Packard).
On your stopover in Palo Alto, visit Xerox Park (formerly Palo Alto Research Center), at 3333 Coyote Hill Road. This is the place where Jobs saw for the first time, in 1979, a protype of a computer mouse and a graphical display with icons, from which he was inspired for Apple products.
The ex-home of Steve Jobs can be found in Palo Alto and is increasingly becoming a place of pilgrimage for Apple fans from around the world. You’re sure to find many people snapping photos outside the garage where Jobs and Wozniak founded Apple in 1976.
A town of only 35,000 inhabitants, Menlo Park is located in San Mateo County. It is not strictly part of Silicon Valley, but many major companies have their headquarters and research centers here (SRI International, Intuit and Oracle). It is here that on September 7, 1988 two former Stanford students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founded Google Inc.
Take a trip to SRI International located at 333 Ravenswood Avenue. Close to Stanford University, this research center has developed some of the most advanced technologies in computing, cybernetics, engineering, and medical technologies. Some examples? The mouse, copy paste, and hyperlinks. If you want to learn more, head to Kepler’s Books and Magazines: founded in 1955, it is the library of reference for the visionaries of Silicon Valley. For lunch, if you want to follow in the footsteps of Steve Jobs, try the Village Pub. But don’t let the down-home name fool you, it’s a top pick for the rich and famous, like Bono, and the California cuisine is of the best quality.
This small town between San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Sunnyvale, and San Jose, is the birthplace of Silicon Valley and also home to the Googleplex, the colossal HQs of the world’s most important website, Google. Other important headquarters located in Mountain View include LinkedIn and Symantec.
Googleplex is not open to the public, but still worth a peek at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway. More than just a workplace, the stomping grounds of Page and Brin are more like an amusement park: brightly colored furnishings, art installations, dinosaur sculptures, bars, gyms, volleyball courts, swimming pools… You will most likely come across many Googlers, young and energetic, biking around the Google campus or jumping on Segways to get around.
If you are interested in technological research in addition to the extra-terrestrial, pass by the former headquarters of the SETI Institute (search for extraterrestrial intelligence). From the parking lot on 189 North Bernardo Avenue you can observe the massive radio telescopes and dream about what may have been spotted.
Another must-visit is the Computer History Museum, the temple of computational and technological culture, with a huge selection of tech objects both “ancient” and futuristic.
Infinite Loop, the legendary street where the Apple headquarters are located, is an address that all Apple fans know about. You can’t go inside the HQs, but you can stop by the Apple Store, the only place in the world where official Apple merchandise is sold, from mugs to t-shirts.
The incubator of talented brains to excellent minds, Stanford is the institution where the future of computer science and innovation is bred. We suggest you take part in a free campus tour. Also stop by the University Cafe, which is where Ron Conway (a famous start-ups investor in Silicon Valley) met with Mark Zuckerberg, contributing to the fortune of Facebook.
The largest city in Silicon Valley, with about 1 million inhabitants, is San Jose. It has the same vibrant atmosphere and creativity as San Francisco, and is the place many major corporations call home such as Adobe, Cisco, eBay, Altera, Cadence, and TiVo. If you decide to stay for a couple of days, remember that San Jose is not cheap…the city’s restaurants and hotels are among the most expensive in the state of California.
Still interested in delving even deeper into the past of Silicon Valley and its iconic figurehead? Check out the emblematic film of the life of Steve Jobs, “jOBS” which was released last month in the US.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrvkCS0ZGPU[/youtube]