Vasona Park includes 45 acres of lawn which can be used for informal play such as frisbee tossing, softball or soccer. There are several picnic areas available on a first-come, first-served basis. Eight reservable group areas are placed at scenic locations throughout the park.
Vasona Lake is open for non-power boating year round. Paddle boats and row boats are available for rental from early spring through early fall. The lake also offers fishing for Black Bass, Crappie, Catfish and Blue Gill. Public boat storage is available for a fee and a launch ramp is provided.
The Youth Science Institute, located at the park''s north end, offers programs and outings which interpret science and inspire an appreciation for the natural environment. Behind YSI, visitors can find solitude while hiking the Viola Anderson Native Plant Trail.
Adjacent to Vasona Park is the Town of Los Gatos'' Oak Meadow Park. Here, visitors can ride a carousel, picnic, play informal sports, or enjoy the playground. Miniature train rides on the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad originate in Oak Meadow and run through Vasona Park.
Equipment: Hikers, runners, bicyclists, and skaters enjoy the Los Gatos Creek multiple use trail which begins at Lexington Reservoir and follows the Los Gatos Creek for nearly 14 miles through the Town of Los Gatos, Vasona Lake County Park, Los Gatos Creek County Park, and the cities of Campbell and San Jose.
Call boxes are located along the trail. Dogs are welcome on a leash and owners are expected to pick up droppings. Free disposable scoopers are available.
At the midpoint of the trail is Los Gatos Creek County Park, an 80-acre urban park encompassing six percolation ponds. The northernmost pond is used for fishing and non-power boating. This pond is stocked with Rainbow Trout from November through April. Black Bass, Catfish, Blue Gill, Crappie and Carp are also caught in the pond. The middle pond is designated for model boaters. The remaining ponds offer visitors the opportunity to view many types of water fowl. Please note that feeding water fowl is restricted; see Waterfowl Management for more information. Casting ponds are also available, open to the public daily from 8:00 a.m. to sunset for fly and plug casting. Targets are available for accuracy practice. No hooks or dogs allowed within the casting area. Use caution when walking in the "back cast" area.
This indoor bouldering rock wall is centrally located between 1st and 2nd Streets in downtown San Jose. The cost is $10 per adult/ $5 per kid. It is a day pass, so you can climb for however long you want. The wall is challenging with marked "puzzles" or paths, however you can climb however you want if you do not want to follow the designated rock grips. There were no ropes, but the kids (when I was there) were doing a great job, even getting to the top of the 15-20 foot wall. Unless you have the rock climbing shoes already, you need to rent their shoes for $4 a pair.
Equipment: Bring your own rock climbing shoes or you can rent theirs for $4. They stink like bowling shoes though!
Bring comfortable clothing and some quarters for their lockers in case you bring extra stuff. Or, you can just place it on the side near the pads.
There are several lakes and county parks where you can bring in non-motorized boats, canoes, or kayaks. Recently, I went kayaking in Lexington Resevoir. Surrounded by the Santa Cruz Mountains, this was a very quiet and isolated spot to cruise around. There were a few people fishing, but that was about it. The water was a clear greenish-blue, and it is a good size place to kayak around for hours.
Equipment: There are no parking or lake-use fees currently, but with budget cuts, that might change in the future. There is a boat launch area when the water levels aren't too low, otherwise, you'll have to carry your vessel for a little ways. Bring plenty of water as there are only portable toilets.
The course is open for play - weather permitting - 364 days a year. The course is closed on December 25. Play on the course occurs generally from dawn to dusk, as tee times are scheduled in relation to sunrise (5:40 AM in mid-June and 6:50 AM in mid-December) and sunset (8:00 PM in mid-June and 4:50 in mid-December).
During my visit to the San Jose area last time, I got the chance to watch the San Jose Sharks take on the Calgary Flames. Its always interesting to watch hockey in non-traditional hockey territory, because so many people do not know the rules... but still enjoy the game. This is definitely the case at the HP Pavilion in San Jose.
The stadium is accessible by the light rail or taxi, unless of course you have a rental car... which will cost you a pretty penny in parking. The best bet is to take the free Sharks Shuttle bus from downtown.
On a recent trip up to the Lick Observatory (Mt. Hamilton Road/130), I saw numerous cyclists trekking up the 24 mile road up to the top of the 4,000' elevation mountain. At a 7% grade, Mt. Hamilton Rd. twists and turns with numerous switchbacks and hairpin turns...perfect for serious cyclists. Once you reach the top, there is a great view of the Mt. Diablo Mountain range and the valley.
Be sure to bring plenty of water & food since there are no services throughout the journey.
Equipment: bike, pump, helmet, water & whatever else you would use.
Although San Jose is nowhere near the frozen lakes and fields of Canada and the Northeastern U.S. which spawned hockey, the city does have a good NHL team which has tried and tried (and has come very close) to getting the Stanley Cup.
If you're in San Jose, by all means try and see if you can get some Shark tickets. Although the majority of the crowds aren't from the East Coast or is Canadian, you'll be surprised by some of the downright passion people have for the Sharks here in Northern California. Sharks fans especially get rallied up when the much hated (and feared) Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs are in town.
The Sharks play at the Hewlett Packard Pavillion in downtown, which is affectionately known by the locals as "the Shark Tank."
Equipment: Around the Shark Tank, you'll find places dedicated to hockey equipment. However, hockey has yet to claim the dominant fanbase, as basketball, baseball and football are much more popular in the Bay Area.
Alum Rock Park
This park in San Jose's eastern foothills is highlighted by the constant flow of Penitencia Creek. Some vigorous legwork is rewarded with exceptional views of the valley.
Located in downtown San Jose the San Jose Arena (aka HP Pavilion) is where you can catch a Shark's game, a Monster Truck rally or a WWF match in addition to a variety of musical events.