Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, San Jose
The view from the street offers a tempting peek inside, but for those brave enough to walk on in, San Jose’s Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum offers a quiet adventure. Behind the high walls that surround the museum is a tribute to the exotic: a lush garden dotted with colorful statues and monuments. Also, during operating hours, the tomb replica inside the museum makes for the ultimate in peace and quiet.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, San Jose
Practically a monument to peace and quiet, the Martin Luther King Library at San Jose State University sits right in the middle of what may be the loudest, busiest part of downtown San Jose. The MLK Library has seven floors worth of comfy nooks perfect for getting cozy with a favorite book.
Mission City Memorial Park, Santa Clara
A little morbid, perhaps, but this cemetery is still a very peaceful and calming spot of land in the middle of busy Santa Clara. On clear days, one is surrounded by spectacular views of the hills, and suddenly the idea of spending eternity there doesn’t seem so bad.
Stevens Creek County Park, Cupertino
Fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and even archery are all recreation options not only sanctioned but encouraged by the folks at Stevens Creek County Park. Just outside of Cupertino, Stevens Creek Park is a quick afternoon getaway.
Recycle Bookstore, Campbell
Even for non-readers, Recycled Books is refreshingly quiet. It doesn’t get much louder than a rumble until nightfall, when Campbell Avenue fills up with partiers. Browse the selection, pet the cat, and clear the head.
Drawbridge Ruins, Alviso
Santa Clara County is home to a surprising amount of ghost towns, ruins, and places people seem to have just up and left. The most famous are the ruins of Drawbridge, a former village along the Union-Pacific lines in modern-day Alviso. The eerie setting is an urban explorer’s dream, but beware the hazardous conditions of unstable buildings and the murky sloughs underneath.
Almaden-Quicksilver County Park, San Jose
The sheer immensity of the park lends itself to solitude. Home to untamed wilderness, sweeping vistas and the dilapidated ruins of mines that were once the bread and butter of some of the valley’s earliest settlers, Almaden-Quicksilver is a favorite of history buffs, hikers and photographers. It stands as a reminder that not too long ago, San Jose really was the Wild West.
San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, San Jose
When it’s not hosting a wedding ceremony or pre-prom photo session, the iconic Rose Garden is a good, easily accessible place to unwind. Check out a book from the San Jose Rose Garden library across the street, find a bench, take a breather and consider taking up gardening.
Highway 9 and Castle Rock, Saratoga to Santa Cruz
Sometimes it seems like Highway 9 was built for peace and quiet. A drive south on Highway 9 means slowly leaving the city behind for the isolation of the mountains and, eventually, the soothing sounds of the Pacific Ocean. Castle Rock State Park in Los Gatos is a favorite of city-dwellers, close enough for downtown denizens, but nestled far enough into the redwoods that it feels like miles away.