Block out the better part of a day for exploring the Computer History Museum ($15), a massive graphics factory turned multimedia fun house. With Bill Gates, Intel, and Intuit among the principal sponsors, the new “Revolution” exhibition is a richly funded dive into everything geeky—from abacuses to mainframes, supercomputers to robots. Less enthusiastic computer users can still easily spend an afternoon meandering through the leather-lined screening rooms and playing games of Pong.
Visit the biggest tech giants in the valley, starting furthest south, in Cupertino, at the headquarters of Apple (One Infinite Loop; 408-996-1010) where you can pick up clothing and accessories bearing the iconic logo at the Company Store (closed Sat. and Sun.). Then drive about fifteen minutes to Mountain View, home to Google’s headquarters (1600 Amphitheatre Parkway; 650-253-0000), better known as the Googleplex. Members of the public can only peak inside the campus from Charleston Park, next to the main entrance; if you’re lucky enough to know an employee, snag an invite to enjoy the vibrant cafeteria and futuristic sleep pods that wake napping employees with a zap. Finish up fifteen minutes away in Palo Alto at the offices of Facebook (1601 S. California Ave.; 650-543-4800), where you can “check in” and then pose for and upload a new profile photo in the surprisingly modest lobby.