Best Motorcycle Tours Near San Jose, California

Mar 7, 2022

Tags:rentertourtravelsan jose

Ducati motorcycle ridden across the Golden Gate bridge.

For all kinds of California adventures, the nation’s premier tech hub is a fun starting point. Located in Northern California, just an hour from San Francisco, the beautiful city of San Jose boasts a small-town feel in the center of a vibrant, multicultural metropolitan area. San Jose is a sizable city, so you’ll have endless options of things to do and see without traveling far outside the city limits. 

For the motorcycle enthusiast with a flexible riding schedule, San Jose is a dream. The streets of downtown are sprinkled with lively cafes, unique boutiques, and artsy galleries, and at your fingertips are countless places to shop, sample cuisine from around the globe, and experience the performing arts. San Jose has an ideal location (a plateau surrounded by beautiful mountains), is only a short drive to the beach, and has over 300 days of sunshine each year. No matter what your interests are, San Jose has something for everybody.

Motorcycle enthusiasts in the San Jose area don’t have to go far to find amazing stretches of road that match their passion for riding. Some of the best routes are found within a short drive from the metro area. Below, you’ll find more than a few places you’ll want to check out when taking your motorcycle out for a spin. Visit the Riders Share, grab a motorcycle rental and prepare for a sun-drenched exploration of Silicon Valley’s best attractions!

1. San Jose - West Cliff Drive to Santa Cruz Beach Board Boardwalk

If you’ve been looking for a fun getaway from the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is the place. It’s relaxing, beautiful, and best of all, it doesn’t take much to get there. Views of the Santa Cruz Mountains complement sweeping coastal vistas, surrounding redwoods, the quirkiness of downtown Santa Cruz, and overall laid-back vibes. Only 37 minutes away from San Jose, CA-17 S is the best route to take to reach this destination. Enter Highway 1 to get onto West Cliff Drive. West Cliff Drive, or the “17 Mile Drive” as it’s sometimes known, runs along the incredibly scenic Santa Cruz coastline. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk itself stretches more than 3,000 feet along the beach. Here you’ll ride old-fashioned midway rides, listen to live band performances, or play old-school carnival games. There are over 50 concession stands and food trucks lining the boardwalk, serving everything from deep-fried Twinkies to French crepes. There’s also a great craft beer selection. Once you’ve had your fill, park at the beach to enjoy the sunset.

For your drive to Santa Cruz, a Ducati rental in San Jose would be an ideal choice. With the Ducati Monster 696/797, ABS and Brembo-equipped brakes are standard, ensuring increased performance and a safer ride, even when the road ahead becomes more treacherous than usual.

2. San Jose - West San Jose

San Jose's most famous landmark, the Winchester Mystery House, is located in west San Jose and is a definite must-see for anyone visiting Silicon Valley. This home isn’t so much a house as it is a jumbled maze of architectural curiosities and the location of haunting and tragic paranormal events. Sarah Winchester had a vision that ghosts killed by her family’s Winchester rifle would haunt her for the rest of her life—unless she continuously built and expanded her home. The Winchester Mystery House was designed by Sarah to confuse and trap these ghosts, therefore protecting her from malicious spirits. Today the house sits on three acres of land and features 160 rooms. Under normal conditions, the Winchester Mystery House offers tours daily.

This ride is best enjoyed by renting a Harley-Davidson in San Jose. A good choice is the Harley-Davidson Iron 883. This model is stripped down to the bare essentials and will put you in touch with the road like no other. The seat is low and lean for a natural riding position. Likewise, the fat tires offer a comfortable ride and excellent traction.

3. San Jose - Japantown

It’s been more than 100 years since the arrival of Japanese immigrants to the Santa Clara Valley and San Jose’s Japantown—the first Japantown in the nation. This historical area remains one of only three historical Japantowns left in the country and remains a popular spot for visitors and locals alike. This enclave is as culturally diverse as it is historically significant. Visitors will find a wide range of small businesses, restaurants, shops, and parks situated all over the community. Visit and enjoy shopping at Japantown’s boutique stores, or get a taste of the arts at San Jose Taiko on North Fifth Street. Take a step back in time at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose before finishing out the day at Okayama Japanese Restaurant on North 6th Street, which offers an array of authentic eats.

Riders in need of a motorcycle that is comfortable over longer distances, the Ducati SuperSport S is the right choice. With a 937cc L-Twin engine and three riding modes (touring, urban, and sport), this machine combines agility with comfort, giving you a unique riding experience. 

4. San Jose - SoFa District

Downtown San Jose is an up-and-coming arts and entertainment destination. The South First Area is named after the primary artery running through it, “South First Street,” but is known as SoFA by locals. It’s a vibrant culture, arts, and entertainment enclave within downtown San Jose that touts itself as Silicon Valley’s Creative District. It boasts chic cocktail bars and ultra-hip cafes located alongside some of the finest venues in the region for music, dance, theater, and visual arts. For example, the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art features an ongoing series of site-specific installations and unique, immersive exhibitions that utterly transform the gallery and engage, delight, and inspire visitors. An indoor, communal food and drink experience awaits at SoFA Market. Located on the corner of South First Street and East Santa Clara Street, SoFA Market is an intimate downtown gathering spot that consolidates a variety of independently owned restaurants and specialty coffee shops under one roof. This beautifully-designed, all-in-one food hall is unlike any other in San Jose and the wider Bay Area. A couple of the standouts at this South Bay hotspot include Corazon Kitchen + Bar, which features authentic Latin-street cuisine, and The Butcher Shop: Craft & Specialty Meats.

For agile, style-conscious riders traveling through urban areas, the Vespa LXV 150 i.e. is the right choice. This Vespa pairs timeless styling with athletic handling, so it’s guaranteed to carry you with ease and style while adding a dramatic new look to the streets. Smooth acceleration means less stress as you maneuver through heavy traffic. Pick up a Vespa in San Jose.

5. San Jose -  San Felipe Hills

If you’re looking for a fun trip on the outskirts of the city, head north to Lick Observatory. Created in 1888,  Lick Observatory is a historic scientific research center nestled in San Felipe Hill. The Observatory has been recording and documenting the night skies ever since. The Lick Observatory is located on Mount Hamilton, east of the city of San Jose, accessible via Mount Hamilton Road. Visitors can explore the original observatory and peer through a functioning Shane telescope, all located on the observatory’s scenic grounds. When heading back home, make sure you stop at Grand View restaurant for a delicious dinner. They serve astounding ranch-to-table dishes taken directly from their homesteads. Enjoy the café’s dazzling view of the Santa Clara Valley and watch the sun set behind the Santa Cruz Mountains.

As far as Harley-Davidson motorcycles go, we recommend Harley’s Forty-Eight. The Forty-Eight is a no-brainer for the rider who wants iconic style in an easy-to-ride cruiser. With its mid-mount controls, an ergonomic seat designed specifically for this model, and the same traditional Harley reliability, the Forty-Eight is your ticket to a good time.

Because San Jose offers a wide array of sights and attractions, it’s no wonder that this city has become a prime destination for travelers of all stripes. With its year-round mild climate, numerous cultural and entertainment centers, multicultural communities, recreational facilities, and easy access to mountains and beaches, San Jose has something for everyone. There are many great places in Silicon Valley that you might just want to come back for a longer visit before you head out to see the rest of California.