The Ultimate Silicon Valley High-Tech Tour (Part 1)


On a bright and sunny weekend in the Bay Area, I decided to explore Silicon Valley to visit the biggest high-tech companies in the technology game, and what I came back with was a list of places I think anyone who uses the internet and/or computers would really enjoy visiting. A tour guide if you will. Not only do these high-tech companies power the internet, they are a testament to the rich culture and history of technology that is unique to Silicon Valley. This guide aims at helping you navigate you through Silicon Valley – a term originally referred to the region’s large number of silicon chip innovators and manufacturers, but eventually came to refer to all high-tech businesses in the area, and is now generally used as a metonym for the American high-technology sector.

Now, if you’re adventurous enough and want to move through the Valley as fast the Valley moves through technology, you could probably zip by all these points-of-interest in half a day. However, in order for you to fully explore the cities you visit, discover the knowledge within the technology museums, and bask in the glory and surroundings that is Silicon Valley, I recommend you take a full day. After all, you’ll be making your way through a lot of cities (Menlo Park -> Mountain View -> Sunnyvale -> Santa Clara -> San Jose -> Cupertino) and you don’t want to miss a thing! In the morning, grab a cup of ether at Philz Coffee. During midday, grab a scoop of delectable gelato off Castro St. in Mountain View or eat lunch at the many different restaurants in Palo Alto. And once you’ve become familiar with the area, you can have dinner at any of the cities you’ve just visited. My point is: Keep Calm and Bay Area On.

As for the tour itself, We’ve done a lot of the grunt work for you by providing the addresses of our listed high-tech companies, which open up in Google Maps, and are accessible by clicking on the directions link by the picture of the place you’d like to visit. DISCLAIMER: Please keep in mind that some of the high-tech companies listed do not allow public access, are extremely hazardous if you decide to pull over and take pictures, and may not be open when you get there – so plan your trip ahead of time, respect private property, and most importantly, be safe! Having said that, this tour through tech-history has most definitely been an epic one and a labor of love to anyone/everyone interested in learning more about the history of Silicon Valley. Please enjoy:

Facebook Inc.

SiliconValleyTechTour_Facebook Sharing your world with friends and family. That is the Facebook way. Facebook is the largest all-in-one social network with over 1 billion users worldwide where you are able connect with friends and family, post your photos, list your contacts, share your videos, play games, and more.

Facebook went public (FB) in 2012 and has since moved its headquarters to a bigger location to accommodate its burgeoning growth. Facebook Headquarters is located in Menlo Park, CA. Here are the directions.

Stanford University

SiliconValley_Stanford Stanford University, located near Palo Alto, is one of the most prestigious research universities in the world – producing many of the smartest and brightest minds who just so happen to make a profound impact in Silicon Valley and beyond. Faculty and alumni have founded many prominent companies including Google, Hewlett-Packard, Nike, Sun Microsystems, and Yahoo! – and continues to do so today.

Due to its proximity to nearby tech companies and financial resources, its no coincidence that many of the Stanford students move on to become big players in Silicon Valley. Be sure to grab some Ike sandwiches while you’re there. Here are the directions.

Google Inc.

SiliconValleyTechTour_Google If you ask anyone what Google means there is a good chance that person will know what you’re talking about. Want to find an answer to your question? Google it. Want to find out how to get to your destination? Google it. The word Google has become a part of our vernacular, and even a part of the Oxford dictionary as a verb. But how?

That’s all due to the company itself, Google – the most powerful-est search engine in the world, for which the word google derives its name and meaning. You can search for anything on Google. Since then. Google has grown by leaps and bounds since its humble search-engine beginnings, venturing further into software and hardware to find more answers to life’s questions. And its all happening inside Googleplex, which is located in Mountain View, CA. Here are the directions.

Computer History Museum

SiliconValleyTechTour_CTM Learn the history of the computer at the Computer History Museum, the world’s largest history museum for the preservation and presentation of artifacts and stories of the Information Age located in the heart of Silicon Valley.

From power-on to silicon, the Computer History Museum takes you on a (meta)journey through technology space and time through the digital ages. The Computer History Museum is located in Mountain View, CA. Here are the directions.

Yahoo! Inc.

SiliconValleyTechTour_Yahoo Yahoo! was the search-engine brainchild of Jerry Yang and David Filo, and was so eloquently named Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web in its first iteration. Yahoo! is still known for its search-engine functionality, but has since developed into a media news outlet, email provider, and photo community hub (ala Flickr).

Yahoo! is currently experiencing a resurgence due in part to its new CEO, Marissa Mayer, who, during her short tenure so far, has acquired Tumblr, moved to New York, and is bringing Yahoo! to a whole new place of modernity and style. Yahoo! is located in Sunnyvale, CA. Here are the directions.

LinkedIn Corp.

SiliconValleyTechTour_LinkedIn When it comes to getting a job or finding your career, I’ve been told that its not what you know (although its important), but who you know. And who you know may very well be on LinkedIn, the largest social network for professionals. Connect with past colleagues and future job prospects with its vast network of individuals.

There are a lot of social networks out there, but none can hold a (virtual) candle next to the highly-acclaimed reputation of privacy and securability LinkedIn is well known for. LinkedIn is located in Sunnyvale, CA. Here are the directions.

Intel Corporation

SiliconValleyTechTour_Intel Intel is a semiconductor chip maker that enable your computers to operate. Intel also makes the processors that power your computer, the hard drives that store your information, the graphic chips that enable viewing, and other devices related to communications and computing.

Inside Intel, you’ll find public access to the Intel Museum, an exhibition of Intel’s products and history, as well as current semiconductor technology. Admission: FREE. Intel is located in Santa Clara, CA. Here are the directions.

Adobe Systems Inc.

SiliconValleyTechTour_Adobe Look closely at the pictures in the magazines you read, or videos captured in the movies you watch, and what you’ll find is a pretty good chance that the media you see before you has been, in some way, manipulated by software. And at the forefront of this software manipulation is Adobe, a company focused on developing multimedia and creativity software.

Products include Photoshop and Premiere Pro, with online versions of its software now available. Adobe is located in downtown San Jose, CA. Here are the directions.

eBay Inc.

SiliconValleyTechTour_eBay Selling your unwanted items on the internet has never been easier and that’s all thanks to the auction-style website eBayan online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide. But that’s not all.

eBay is also a convenient place to buy anything you want and more at a reasonable price, as well as search for items that are hard to find. Since its inception, eBay has added StubHub and Paypal to its online consumer-to-consumer repetoire and you can still find great things today.eBay is located in San Jose, CA. Here are the directions.

Fairchild Semiconductors International, Inc.

SiliconValleyTechTour_Fairchild Without silicon, there would be no Silicon Valley. And Fairchild Semiconductor may very well be at the very heart of the start of Silicon Valley. Originally formed by the traitorous eight, eight men who left Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in 1957 to form Fairchild Semiconductor – the pioneers in transistor and integrated circuit manufacturing who made semiconductors out of silicon.

Silicon would end up becoming the golden standard for transistor and semiconductor manufacturing, and the rest, as they say, is history. Fairchild Semiconductor is located in San Jose, CA. Here are the directions.

Apple Inc.

SiliconValleyTechTour_Apple As the story goes, it was 1976. In a garage nestled somewhere in Silicon Valley, a guy named Steve Wozniak developed a personal computer: the Apple I, and his friend, Steve Jobs marketed it. These two Steve‘s would then incorporate their computer business and call it Apple Computers.

Today, Apple is still making computers and has added even more to its line of products, like: the Macbook computer laptops, Apple iPods, Apple iPads, and most notably, the Apple iPhone – selling its products in over 400+ retail stores worldwide. Apple Inc. is located in Cupertino, CA. Here are the directions.

And there you have it! I hope you’ve had just as much fun exploring Silicon Valley as much as I had putting this post together. Obviously, there are tons more tech companies in Silicon Valley to visit, like the historical Hewlett-Packard and Oracle campuses (and my ultimate goal will be to include more tour locations in the future [San Francisco, South Bay, Peninsula, and Napa editions]), but this is just the beginning. Sound off in the comments if there are any locations you’d like to see covered, and if you want more information and the most comprehensive list of tech companies in Silicon Valley, be sure to make your way to Wikipedia.

[images via edoPENO]

***All other logos, products, and company names mentioned in this post are trademarks of their respective owners and subject to their own copyright laws, Foreign or Domestic.

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