Let’s start with the Non-Tech – Here’s a small piece I just wrote on the subject of how to visit the Bay Area and not be totally focused on techno-nerd things:
You should also expand your horizons beyond the techy stuff. I’ve worked and lived in Silicon Valley off and on for over 30 years (really!) and always enjoy the escapes from my techno-binary lifestyle there.
In fact, if you’re not so one dimensional and career/money/technology focused, you’ll probably have a better chance of meeting the right people.
I’m not disagreeing with the other lists here, especially Scoble’s list is very good and you should do all those. But here are a few of my favorites…
>> Go to downtown Los Gatos and walk Main Street and University Ave, it has a very non-techy feel to it. Then sit in the Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company for a bit.
>> Sit in the Rodin Sculpture Garden on Stanford Campus.
>> Drive the hills between Silicon Valley and the coast, go to the Half Moon Bay for dinner on the pier.
>> Drive up Sand Hill Road, slowly, and take it all in. This is the origin of most of the biggest VC deals in history.
>> Hit some dive bars in SF, there are too many to even list. SF is becoming more techy, but there are still many places where you can forget you’re in the center of techdom.
>> Walk the Golden Gate bridge.
Since SV is so tech focused, it’s actually a pleasant surprise when you find non-tech things to do there. If you do some of the above, I guarantee your trip to Silicon Valley will be much better.
For the technical visit list, my favorite was assembled by Steve Blank…