By Train / Bus, San Jose
It is very easy to go to Winchester House by Caltrain train and the by a bus. From San Francisco Caltrain Sation to Santa Clara station and from there take a bus number 60 Southbound to Winchester house.
You can also try the south end of the valley: Morgan Hill and Gilroy. Caltrain goes there and the light rail comes down as far as Santa Teresa. Look up VTA for transit options. MH (where I live) and Gilroy are out of the center of things. Young adults don't like it here because there is not much night life. Families like it here because it's less of a concrete jungle than the center of the Valley.
This being CA, the public transit is only slightly better than So. Cal. Caltrain will only get you to a few locations that happen to be on the one and only line. BART doesn't come down to the South Bay.
I'm afraid this is still CA and you still need a car to get around.
VTA Bus Service is your main means of transportation if you don't drive in San Jose.
It practically goes everywhere around San Jose and also neighbouring regions.
They have Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH) that loops around downtown and terminates at Diridon Transit Centre.
They also have Highway 17 that brings you from Diridon Transit Centre to the neighboring town of Santa Cruz.
While BART, the subway system for the Bay Area, doesn't yet reach San Jose, Caltrain has a train that runs frequently between San Jose and San Francisco. There are several stops between the two cities (Santa Clara, Palo Alto etc.), and the San Jose station is located within easy walking distance to the HP Pavilion, where the San Jose Sharks play.
At the San Francisco end, Caltrain is an easy and convenient way to get to SFO airport and the city also. I've taken this train to the airport a few times, which has a quick BART link to the airport from the Milbrae train stop. The train terminal in San Francisco is in the south part of the city, but there are pretty good connections from there by bus.
Be sure to check the Caltrain web page for the train schedule. The train runs primarily for commuters, so on the weekend there are fewer trains going.
Save money and time by taking CalTrain from downtown San Jose to San Francisco. The train drops you off near the new Giants Baseball Stadium. From there you can take a bus to anywhere in SF. Listed below is the 800 number for calls from the Bay Area only. If you are calling from out of the area you have to use the 510 number. Remember, it can be warm in San Jose and cool in SF.
There are several public transportation options in downtown San Jose, plus the downtown area is very walkable.
Light Rail - http://www.vta.org/ -- connects downtown to the airport and major suburbs.
DASH - free shuttle through central downtown during business hours.
Sharks Shuttle -- Free 75 minutes before game time to 30 minutes after. Does a 2 mile loop through downtown San Jose passing many of the free parking garages.
Caltrain -- Major train route to San Francisco and LA.
The Sharks Shuttle provides free service from VTA Santa Clara and Paseo de San Antonio Light Rail Stations and downtown San Jose to HP Pavilion for all San Jose Sharks home games. Service is provided approximately every 5 minutes, beginning 60 minutes before the Sharks hockey game and continues running until 30 minutes after the game has begun. The shuttle will also operate for at least 30 minutes after the end of the game. Sharks Shuttle buses are VTA buses which are clearly marked "SAN JOSE SHARKS."
The shuttle will stop @ special "SHARKS SHUTTLE" signs.
All Sharks Shuttle buses are lift-equipped to provide service to persons with disabilities.
The free Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH) connects the San Jose Diridon Caltrain Station with VTA Light Rail and the transit mall, downtown office buildings, McEnery Convention Center, San Jose State University and outlying parking lots.
All mini buses operating this service are lift-equipped and accessible to persons with disabilities.
Shuttles run every 10 minutes from 6:15am to 6:55pm (Monday - Friday). Extra morning commute shuttles provide service every 5 minutes. No Saturday, Sunday & Holiday service!!
If you're not driving, this is one of the way to get from San Francisco to San Jose/Gilroy & vise versa.
Here's some of the options:
One-way tickets are valid for 4 hours from the date & time of purchase and are honored for one-way travel from point of origin, including stopovers within the zones shown.
10-ride tickets are vald for 60 days, but each ride is valid for 4 hours and must be time-stamped using one of the station validators. You can also use the same ticket for multiple passangers, but ticket must be stamped once for each passanger.
Day passes are valid for unlimited travel between zones indicated on the pass until the last train of the sevice day.
Purchase your ticket before boarding - tickets not sold on train!!
While I was staying at the Westin Santa Clara, I was able to take the light rail down to San Jose for the Sharks game and dinner. It was definitely an easy way to avoid rush hour traffic in the Bay Area.
The schedules are constantly changing, so make sure that you go onto their website and download the latest before your trip!
Caltrain will take you to or from San Jose and runs as far south as Gilroy and as far north as San Francisco. This is a great option to get to SF if you don't have a car. As the train goes north toward SF it stops in all of the major cities along the peninsula (west side of the Bay) so it's a great way to visit those cities as well. If the Airport is your destination you can now take the train to Millbrae where it will connect with BART which now runs to the airport.
Public transportation in San Jose and much of the rest of Santa Clara County is served by the VTA (Valley Transport Authority). The VTA operates many bus routes that go up and down the length and scope of the valley, as well as a state-of-the-art light rail system, whose hub is in downtown and connects to the city's surrounding neighborhoods and major coroporate compounds.
Fares are relatively inexpensive.
Good luck getting around San Jose without a rental car. This is a very public transportation unfriendly town.
Few cabs, bus schedules are inconsistant and take you through some sketchy areas and the newer metro lines just don't service the entire area yet.
It is like San Jose planned out a bad idea and ran out of money halfway through.
Rent a car, your best way around town. Parking is ok downtown, especially in evenings and weekends - most parking structures are free to get people to come downtown.
I travelled to San Jose via the train, but flying there would probably be significantly faster.
Since San Jose is sprawling (it's bigger than San Francisco), driving is the best way. However, a nice way to get to San Francisco from San Jose is via Caltrain, a commuter rail service that runs between the 2 cities, and cities along the route like Palo Alto. The station in San Jose is across from the San Jose Arena.
VTA Light Rail service is one convenient way to travel around San Jose, especially if you want to go from one end to the other end of San Jose.