Travel in The Bay Area

Discover Hidden Gems

One of the truly unique things about the Bay Area is the amazing amount of choices that are available in regards to sightseeing and activities to indulge in. There are so many places to visit and things to do, all within a one day drive. One can easily take a hike in the mountains, explore a local museum, or spend a day at the ocean. San Jose has so many free activities during the summer season, featuring local artists and musicians, open air cinemas, cultural festivals, and some wonderful programs at our own San Jose Public Library branches. We are truly fortunate to live in a place with beautiful weather, and so much to do and see.

If you're looking for some new places to explore, check out some of the selections in these titles.

Bay Area Travel Books

San Jose Scavenger, book cover
100 Things to Do in San Jose Before You Die, book cover
Best Easy Day Hikes, San Jose, book cover
Secret Stairs: East Bay, book cover
San Francisco Like a Local, book cover
Walking San Francisco's 49 Mile Scenic Drive, book cover
Secret San Francisco, book cover
Beaches and Parks From San Francisco to Monterey, book cover
100 Things to Do in San Francisco Before You Die, book cover
Historical Gems of the San Francisco Bay Area, book cover
The Chowhound's Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area, book cover
 Rock and Roll Explorer Guide to San Francisco and the Bay Area, book cover
The 500 Hidden Secrets of San Francisco, book cover

Further Reading: True Stories and Bay Area History

Bay Curious, book cover

Bay Curious

Based on the KQED podcast of the same name, Bay Curious delves into unexpected true stories about the San Francisco Bay Area.

A People's Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area, book cover

A People's Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area

This book seeks to simultaneously document and engage. We aim to make disappearing and long-gone landscapes more visible in social memory, and to combat the erasure of visual clues to the past. We offer this geography in the form of a guide book, which is a practical approach through which to connect to readers as more than consumers of words on a page. We hope you will travel these streets, seeking clues to the past that help explain the present; these are real places where people have sought to make the world as they would want it. To that end, this guide is about understanding how places come into being, both in the Bay Area and beyond.

Season of the Witch, book cover

Season of the Witch

The critically acclaimed, San Francisco Chronicle bestseller—a gripping story of the strife and tragedy that led to San Francisco’s ultimate rebirth and triumph.

Salon founder David Talbot chronicles the cultural history of San Francisco and from the late 1960s to the early 1980s when figures such as Harvey Milk, Janis Joplin, Jim Jones, and Bill Walsh helped usher from backwater city to thriving metropolis. (-description from Amazon)

Bay Area Beyond This Mortal Coil

Ghost Hunter's Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area, book cover

Ghost Hunter's Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area

Ghost-hunting hobbyist Jeff Dwyer has devised a guide that allows the phantom-seeker in all of us to add spirit sleuthing to our list of typical tourist activities. Ghost Hunter’s Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area highlights more than one hundred haunted spots in and around San Francisco, all accessible to the public, where you can research and organize your own ghost hunt. Complete with handy checklists, procedural tips, and anecdotal evidence of previous sightings at each location, the guide is an inquisitive and informative supplement to—or replacement for—traditional tourist guidebooks of the Bay Area.

Whether readers visit familiar haunts such as Alcatraz, Angel Island, Fisherman’s Wharf, or lesser-known locations such as the USS Hornet, the Old Bodega Schoolhouse, or the First and Last Chance Saloon, all are sure to encounter places and consider possibilities unexplored by the average visitor. With advice on what to do with a ghost, what to do after the ghost hunt, and other telekinetic tidbits, this guide encourages travelers to be attentive and imaginative, willing to take that extra spirit-sighting step. For the curious armchair traveler, it is lively twist on Bay Area history and landmarks. (-description from Amazon)

Review Current Info

Be certain to cross check any of the above recommendations with current information via websites of the locations/attractions/events.

Discover & Go

Also check out Discover & Go. This SJPL resource will give you free admission or discount tickets to many of the museums in the Bay Area.