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The Peninsula

South of San Francisco, squeezed tightly between the bay and the coastal foothills, a vast swath of suburbia continues toward San Jose. Dotted inside this area are Palo Alto – home of Stanford University – and Silicon Valley, the epicenter of the Bay Area’s tech industry.

You won't find Silicon Valley on any map: it's a nickname. As silicon chips form the basis of modern microcomputers, and the Santa Clara Valley – stretching from Palo Alto through Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Cupertino to San Jose – is thought of as the birthplace of the microcomputer, the region is dubbed ‘Silicon Valley.’ It’s hard to imagine that even after WWII this was still a wide expanse of orchards and farms.

Further west, the 70-mile stretch of coastal Hwy 1 from San Francisco to Santa Cruz is one of California's most bewitching oceanside drives. For the most part, it's winding, two-lane blacktop, passing beach after beach.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout The Peninsula.