Where is Silicon Valley Anyway?
Boundaries for Silicon Valley seem to be a moving target. The consensus, however, centers it in Santa Clara County and includes the following cities:
Considered part of the San Francisco Bay Area, the valley is located one hour south of San Francisco and a bit under an hour southeast of Oakland.
Silicon Valley’s Schools
Most homebuyers with school-aged children want to live within close proximity to quality schools. What they fail to understand, however, is that these homes are more expensive than similar homes in other areas.
If you have the budget, however, you’ll find that Silicon Valley schools are some of the highest-rated in the state and, in the nation.
Highest rated school districts in the valley include:
Cupertino Union – ranked 20 of California’s 853 public school districts. Top-ranked schools within the district include William Faria Elementary (6th of California’s 5,650 elementary schools) and Joaquin Miller Middle School, ranked number 8 of 2,449 public middle schools in California.
Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High – ranked 23 of the 853 public school districts in California. The highest-ranked school in the district is Saratoga High School.
Fremont Union High – this district is ranked the 38th best of California’s 853 districts. Best school in the district include Monta Vista High and Lynbrook High.
Loma Prieta Joint Union Elementary – ranked 45 of California’s 853 school districts.
California did away with the Accountability Performance Index (API) after 2013.
Instead of being based on test scores alone, public school ratings are now based on a combination of several measures and “assigned one of five performance levels,” according to the California Department of Education. The categories are, from lowest to highest:
You can find the ratings online at California School Dashboard.
Since many parents feel that academic performance is the most important rubric and that under the new system a school can rank highly despite poor academics, they aren’t on board with this change.
If you are among them, you can find a school’s ranking based on test scores at SchoolDigger.com.
Dining, shopping and entertainment in Silicon Valley
We could fill a book with the overabundance of dining, shopping and entertainment opportunities in Silicon Valley.
From dining on Mountain View’s Castro Street and the vibrant nightlife in downtown San Jose to shopping-‘til-you-drop at Stanford Shopping Center (Palo Alto), the Great Mall of the Bay Area (Milpitas) and the trendy Santana Row in San Jose (Best Experience), your shopping trips will only be limited by your imagination.
Then, there are the quaint downtown districts that offer locally-owned businesses. These include (but aren’t limited to) the uber-walkable downtown Campbell, Los Gatos and Willow Glen.
You’ll also find flea markets, farmers markets, antique stores and thrift stores.
Looking for the ingredients to create a meal from back home? Ethnic grocery stores abound, catering to the makings of cuisine from Japan, Latin America, India, Viet Nam, China, Korea, the Philippines, Ethiopia and the Middle East.
Getting outdoors in Silicon Valley
Travel Advisor’s number one outdoor activity in Silicon Valley is a visit to Happy Hollow Park & Zoo in San Jose. But, it’s not just for tourists – locals love it as well. With rides, puppet shows and, of course, the more than 140 animals in the zoo, there’s lots to do at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo.
The Los Gatos Creek Trail is a favorite of hikers, bikers, skaters, joggers and nature lovers. Running from downtown San Jose to the hills above Los Gatos, the Los Gatos Creek Trail passes through San Jose, Campbell and Los Gatos.
You’ll find a vast number of other trails and enough parks to explore for years – from neighborhood parks to city, county and state parks.
If a weekend is lost without a day on the links, you will love living in Silicon Valley. From private country clubs to muni courses, there’s something for every golfer. Some of the area’s more popular golf courses include:
Blackberry Farm Golf Course (Cupertino)
Boulder Ridge Golf Club (San Jose)
Cinnabar Hills Golf Club (San Jose)
Coyote Creek Golf Club (Morgan Hill)
Deep Cliff Golf Course (Cupertino)
Golf Club at Moffett Field (Mountain View)
La Rinconada Country Club (Los Gatos)
Pleasant Hills Golf and Country Club (San Jose)
Pruneridge Golf Club (Santa Clara)
San Jose Municipal Golf Course (San Jose)
Santa Teresa Golf Club (San Jose)
Shoreline Golf Links (Mountain View)
Sunken Gardens Golf Course (Sunnyvale)
Sunnyvale Municipal Golf Course (Sunnyvale)
See our individual community pages for a more hyper-local look at outdoor amenities in Silicon Valley.