Every city has its peculiarities, but San Jose features them in a big way – as in giant outdoor chess games and one of the largest permanent monopoly games on the planet. The “big” picture evolves when you throw in a firearms-themed mystery house and some Egyptian mummies. Here are just a few eclectic ways to while away an afternoon in San Jose.
Monopoly in the Park
If you thought Monopoly was the longest board game, wait until you get your hands (and feet) on this giant version painted into 900 square feet of granite slabs at Discovery Meadow. Originally created for a landscape and design show in San Francisco, the slabs weigh from 140 to 250 pounds each. Bring along some dice and try your luck at real estate investment, or rent the whole game for a fun party, which includes jumbo-sized dice, jailhouse garb, token-shaped hats, a banker and a referee.
Santana Row Chess Plaza
When you need a break from endless shopping on Santana Row, head over to Chess Plaza in the 300 block. This is your one chance to play chess without maxing out your brain cells. Players of all ages typically toss around the rules a bit when playing with the larger-than-life queens, bishops, pawns and rooks placed strategically on checkered pavement stones. Join an impromptu game with other amateurs or grab an espresso and settle in for some serious competition from local chess clubs.
Winchester Mystery House
Have you ever wondered about the family behind the Winchester gun fortune? The secrecy only intensifies with a roam through the Winchester Mystery House. Eccentric heiress Sarah Winchester spent 36 years renovating a simple farmhouse into a mansion with 160 rooms, 2,000 doors and 10,000 windows. The result is a never-ending maze of doorways that drop surprisingly into a kitchen sink or garden bushes, Tiffany stained-glass windows with views into darkness, and stairways ending abruptly at ceilings. Sarah’s rumored fear of being haunted by spirits of those killed by her husband’s Winchester guns led to the labyrinthine paths and constant remodeling. You can explore on your own (if you dare) or take one of several guided tours.
Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
Owned by the Rosicrucian Order, which has existed since at least the 1600s, the collection of Egyptian mummies inside the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum was rounded up during the early 1900s on secret trips to Egypt. There are now at least 4,000 artefacts on display, along with mummified humans, sharks, cats and baboons. If you can wrap your head around the Order’s multi-layered philosophies involving alchemy, theosophy and Qabalistic thought, you can spend some time in the research library. The rest of us head over to the planetarium or Egypt-centric Peace Park next door.
Living in San Jose is full of quirky fun and surprises. But you always have a down-to-earth haven when making your home in one of our San Jose apartment communities. Call today for a real-life tour!