Winchester Mystery House

Wonder about the alleged hauntings and other mysteries as you chart the life of a gun magnate’s widow in this unfinished manor.

The Winchester Mystery House is an enormous 19th-century mansion with fascinating architectural details, a rich history and tales of hauntings. Belonging to the widow of a gun tycoon, its rooms are decorated with intriguing trinkets that tell her story. Inspect the many rooms for a glimpse into the opulent and turbulent life of the Winchester rifle heiress.

Upon arrival, choose from several guided tour options. Try the Grand Estate Tour, which includes a look behind the scenes at the basement, stables and other staff areas that supported operations in the house. This option also includes the Mansion Tour, where you will explore 110 of the 160 rooms. Consider how the mansion got its haunted reputation as you encounter staircases to nowhere, doors that open to blank walls and other eerie features.

Speak with docents to learn background information about Sarah Winchester, who lived here until her death in 1922. She is said to have kept construction workers busy 24 hours a day for 38 years because she believed the continuous building activities would appease spirits after the untimely death of her baby daughter and husband, William Wirt Winchester.

Capture photos of the extraordinary manor and admire its Queen Anne Style Late Victorian architecture. Stroll through the stately grounds of the Victorian Gardens, restored with elegant paths, hedges and thousands of trees.

If you prefer not walking, take the Video Access Tour for a 45-minute presentation about the rifle heiress, her bizarre lifestyle and the spooky mansion.

Note that each tour has its own price, with discounts for children and seniors. The tours generally open from the morning until the final circuit in early evening.

The Winchester Mystery House is located in the western outskirts of San José. Take a bus to one of the nearby stops or drive to the site and leave your car in the parking lot. Nearby landmarks include the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Westfield Valley Fair shopping mall and Frank M. Santana Park.