Silicon Valley is not a town or region as such; it is merely the nickname given to the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area due to its strong presence in the computer technology sector.
The area generally regarded as being the Silicon Valley covers much of the Santa Clara County, and includes a diverse range of towns and cities. The region's largest city is San Jose, which has palm tree-lined boulevards and a history going back to 1777. Originally a farming town, San Jose has expanded rapidly in the past 50 years due to emergent technologies, and it is now a place with much to see and do.
Museums are popular places to visit for tourists and expats alike. One that particularly captures the spirit of the region is the Children's Discovery Museum. Based on Woz Way, its creation was largely funded by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and it features interactive displays that enable children to enhance their technology knowledge in hands on way.
Also in San Jose is the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, which has been open for more than seven decades and gives visitors an insight into the mystical brilliance of ancient Egypt. Among its 200-plus exhibits is an unwrapped Usermontu mummy that is believed to date back to 630 BC.
The Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center in Stanford is popular for lovers of visual arts, while those that like stunning outdoor scenery are typically attracted to the Japanese Hakone Gardens in Saratoga – where much of the movie Memoirs of a Geisha was shot.
As Silicon Valley covers an area of more than 1,000 square miles, there are a wide number of education providers, including public high schools and private institutions. San Jose, for example, has 127 elementary, 47 middle, and 45 high schools. Los Altos School District boasts one of the highest Academic Performance Index (API) scores in the whole of California, while Cupertino is home to three high schools with scores over the state average.
Higher education is greatly important to Silicon Valley, and the area has no less than 18 colleges and trade schools as well as 16 universities.
The most famous and prestigious institution in the valley is Stanford. Located in Palo Alto, the university was founded in 1885 and has one of the largest campuses in the US. Its notable alumni include the founders of Nike, Google, Hewlett Packard and Yahoo as well as 59 Nobel laureates and 17 astronauts.
Life in Silicon Valley is generally safe, and the Los Altos Hills has the lowest number of crimes in an average year (just 5.54 per 1,000 residents). Los Altos itself has the fewest violent crimes at 0.20 per 1,000 people.
The city of Campbell has the highest number of property crimes, but the number of people affected is still barely 4% of its population. San Jose has the most violent crimes at 3.63 per 1,000 inhabitants.
As with the rest of the US, the phone number to call in the event of an emergency is 911.