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WWDC is once again held in San Jose, a.k.a. the best city ever and nobody can tell me otherwise

by Ola Ervin (2020-08-06)

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Any Vietnamese restaurant, anywhere: Along with LA, SJ has the best Vietnamese food in California. Not every place is spectacular, but even mediocre Viet food in SJ is better than anything you'll find elsewhere (including SF). Oh and yes, the service is aloof, but deal with it. Go to Dac Phuc for the pho (note: It's closed on Mondays), Vung Tau for the downtown location and Com Ga Nam An for the Hainanese chicken.

I would know because I use words like poppin'. Silicon Valley Comic Con and Facebook's F8 were held there; we're home to supersexy tech companies that make headlines every day, like Cisco Systems and Western Digital; and legendary punk rock band No Use For a Name is from there (RIP, Tony Sly). But one should be so honored to visit the third-biggest city in California (and 10th in the US) because it's really poppin'.

Yes, just like the last couple of years when the company ceased its 12-year run in San Francisco in 2017, Apple forced thousands against their will to descend upon this great giant suburb. Though the audience sounded excited enough about the devices, it was to the collective dread of the developer community and press that the event was once again being held in San Jose, California. Apple's kicked off its WWDC developers conference on Monday, introducing several products and software updates including the Apple Pro Display XDR, MacOS Catalina and  iOS 13, and the new Mac Pro.

It's where I learned to play shuffleboard, and my friends and I have a tradition of eating post-Thanksgiving-Thanksgiving-dinner there to this day, so it holds a special place in my heart. Places to drink
Old Wagon Saloon: OWS' saloon theme and beer pong tables (per request) attract a lot of bro-y clientele, but it can still be fun.

It's the most historically famous thing we got, so just go so you can say you went, OK? Convinced she was being haunted by ghosts as well as low-key annoyed by bag-head walker, Sarah Winchester continuously built out the house to confuse the ghosts. Stairs that went nowhere, hidden rooms and decoy bathrooms so the ghosts didn't know where to poop. Tours are given out daily to underwhelmed out-of-towners and local schoolkids.

It's famous for its delicious orange sauce that you should drizzle on everything. La Victoria Taqueria: La Vics is the closest to an SF Mission burrito™ you can get. There are two locations and both get sloppy after midnight. So if you still want tasty burritos but want a tad chiller ambiance, walk over to Iguana's nearby.

I ended up throwing up my drink right there on my table. True story, in high school I went to see Brian Regan there and choked on my drink while laughing and coughing at the same time. San Jose Improv: During the week of WWDC, MADTV actor Amir K will perform stand-up. The waitstaff was nice about it though, but the Improv has this two-drink minimum and since I was a teenager, that $6 soda I threw up was, like, a lot.

(Visually you can't miss it. Places to geek out
The Tech Interactive (formerly the Tech Museum): Bright orange with a purple dome up top, you can't miss the museum. But you can miss out on it if you want, I'm not your boss.) In addition to exhibitions about tech and robots, there's an earthquake simulator that is so scary it can make a young child (not me) burst into tears (again, spa xuyen moc not me) during her elementary school trip (definitely not me).

Santana Row: Nearby Winchester is a bougie outdoor mall. I go there to look at things I can't afford, touch the expensive washi paper at the Japanese stationary store Maido while the cashier eyes me and sit alone outside eating overpriced yogurt from Pinkberry.

Cinebar: What used to be a super divey, cash-only bar that served $7 LCs with a heavy pour (don't ask what's in it), Cinebar has since been remodeled with some skate theme. It may not have the same charm as it used to have, but at least it's cleaner and roomier now?

Places to eat
San Pedro Square Market: This indoor food market is similar to San Francisco's Ferry Building, but much smaller. It's still cool though, and it has lots of food vendors and bars to accommodate large groups. If you plan to party through the night, know that it closes early at midnight like a loser.

De Anza College: Yes, De Anza is technically in Cupertino, but it's still close enough for Apple fans to visit for its place in tech history. And I can personally attest that the school's outdoor benches are especially comfortable for napping between classes. Steve Wozniak went here after getting kicked out of another university for hacking its computers. In 1984, Steve Jobs unveiled the original Apple Macintosh at De Anza.

It's a Victorian mansion built for widowed gun heiress Sarah Winchester.  Places to go
Winchester Mystery House: As an SJ native, I am contractually obligated to shoehorn the Mystery House into any conversation about San Jose.

You've probably heard about it because of the 2018 movie "Winchester," which is basically a documentary that is 100 percent accurate and stars Helen Mirren, Jason Clarke and some kid that walks around with a bag over his head (I'm serious).

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