SanJose.com's new neighbor TechShop can be a fantastic first date for the right company.
10. Sing Your Heart Out at Karaoke
While some of you are looking at this and thinking, “SanJose.com, you crazy”, others are compiling a list of all the cheeseball monster ballads you sing along to in the car. For those who aren’t recoiling at the mere suggestion of karaoke as a first-date option, consider Creekside Inn in Willow Glen or track down Treatbot. Just stay away from anywhere with private booths; if you’re not in a group of three or more it can seem kind of creepy.
9. Paint at Petroglyph (and like places)
Petroglyph and like ceramic studios are always a safe bet for a first date; a tried-and-true neutral meeting ground. Luckily, San Jose and the surrounding area is replete with these kinds of places. And, happily, the next-week pickup offers a chance for a second meeting.
8. Take a Ride in Vasona
Vasona Park in Los Gatos is something all South Bay denizens have in common. It’s got plenty of stuff for outdoorsy—hiking trails, scenic vistas—and not-so-outdoorsy types (picnic grounds and play areas). Either way, it’s a good way to spend a weekend afternoon pretending you’re still six. Now, on to more pressing matters: carousel or train?
7. Belly Up to the (Sushi) Bar
Forget bento—sitting at the sushi bar can become a valuable window into your date’s psyche, or a trust exercise. Try recommending rolls to each other, or simply observe her (or his) hunting and gathering tactics. The types of sushi they choose can tell you a lot about how daring—or restrained—your date is. Sushi Kazoo in Campbell and Willow Glen are classic sushi boat joints.
6. Keep Warm and Fuzzy in Hidden Villa
Love cute animals? So do we. Show off your soft and cuddly side at Hidden Villa, a wilderness preserve and farm that’s packed with fun. Hidden Villa is mostly known as a popular field trip destination for its petting zoo, but Hidden Villa also has sprawling acreage ripe for the picnicking (see what we did there?).
5. Walk the Creek Trail
The Los Gatos Creek Trail is one of those rare things that everyone can agree is pretty awesome. Linking the west side of San Jose and neighboring towns, the creek trail is a scenic backdrop for a leisurely stroll, a picnic, or a bike ride for active types. There are several entry points along the trail from San Jose all the way down to rural Los Gatos, so wherever you are, and wherever your date is, you’re likely near a central meeting point.
4. Fire Up the Wayback Machine at The Retro Dome
The Retro Dome offers laid-back screenings of old favorites, and makes a super-casual meeting place. Leave it to the staff to bring the fun, who will provide things like pre-show trivia contests. If you’re taking out an artsier type, The Retro Dome will make you look good.
3. Find Your Zen in Hakone Gardens
Silicon Valley has some scenic spots, but none like Hakone. The grounds, originally made to mimic a Japanese estate, are dotted with restored structures and tranquil gardens, making it feel kind of like a nature-themed theme park, or at least one where you’re not really allowed to touch anything and speaking above a hushed whisper is kind of frowned upon (but you are allowed to bring in outside food). If you live in Saratoga, you’re entitled to free admission for you and a guest. Wander the grounds and ponder the prettiness. Maybe channel it into a haiku if you’re looking to score some brownie points.
2. Find Your Local Food Truck
San Jose’s hopped on the food truck bandwagon, so to speak, and no matter where you are there’s almost always an agreeable snack lurking somewhere nearby. Fire up your Twitter app and track down your nearest food truck—getting there will be half the fun. Classic? Go with Treatbot, one of the first of SJ’s food truck armada. Adventurous? Find Le Bon for French Vietnamese cuisine huddled next to 280.
1. Make It at TechShop
Nerds need love, too, and thanks to the gradual mainstreaming of geek culture in the last ten years, geekiness is now considered to be a downright sexy quality by many people. TechShop, which recently opened a branch in downtown San Jose, holds classes in tons of hands-on activities for grown-ups, and the class offerings read like a spring training schedule for Maker Faire. You can partake in everything from jewelry-making and sewing to “carbon fiber basics,” and pretty much all of the activities offer a sly chance to get close in case you need a hand with that soldering iron.