The area is rich in resources, from extremely tasty mochi to purveyors of fine orbital satellites.
It's hard to list all the local places as the hotel is nestled amongst three large shopping centers supporting a ridiculous number of restaurants. The major players are:
- Milpitas Square
- Easy walking distance across the street. Restaurants include the Darda Seafood Restaurant (halal Northern Chinese), Loving Hut (Pan-Asian Vegan), Mayflower (Cantonese), New Penang Garden (Malaysian), Chili Garden (Szechuan), Anjappar Chettinad (Indian, specializing from Chennai region), Liang's Kitchen (noodles, Mandarin), Pepper Lunch (Japanese hot plate), and more.
- Great Mall
- Short drive/Moderate Walking Distance over the freeway and around the block. Restaurants include an In-N-Out Burger, Black Angus and other standard American sit down and fast food chains, as well as a vegan place, a pretty plausible diner, a middling taqueria, several Thai and Indian places and other culinary options.
- Calaveras Shopping Center
- Everything from Mil's Diner and the Burger King to Chili Palace, La Fuente Fish and Chips, a Hawaiian BBQ place, sandwich shops, and an Afghani restaurant down Butler Street.
There are many music shops in the region but here are some we've tried ourselves:
- Guitar Center
They don't always put prices on their merchandise, but they claim they'll beat anyone's price. They do sell strings, and they're open Sundays.
There are also stores in nearby cities.
- Guitar Showcase
- These folks are a lot of fun and don't bite. I often wind up making the extra drive to go here, and I'm always treated with first-class service. I've done repeat business here; ask me about the day I spent there trying out fuzz pedals for my ukulele. They're open Sundays, and they have a small consignment shop in the next building that's fun to browse through.
- The Starving Musician
- From the con you would take 237 west to Lawrence Expressway south. Take Lawrence Expressway to El Camino Real, turn left, and it's on your left (you have to make a U-turn after you see it). It's also a fun place to visit; you never know what you'll find for sale, as they mix their current inventory with their consignment stuff. I've seen a guitarron (the big six-string bass guitar they use in Mariachi bands), regular and guitar lutes, and many international instruments. They sell strings 2-for-1, and their prices are very good. Unfortunately, they're not open Sundays.
- Gryphon Stringed Instruments
- This is a first-rate shop for anything with strings. They not only sell guitars, but harps, dulcimers, banjos, ukuleles, and violins. They try to save their customers money; when I went in looking for a guitar tuner, they showed me the least expensive one first. They're not open Sundays.
- Sylvan Music
- This isn't really local - it's down in Santa Cruz, but their selection of guitars/ukes/other strings is extensive and their staff extremely helpful. Open by APPOINTMENT ONLY Tuesday-Saturday from 12-5, and curbside pickups are available - set up by phone call or email.