04/16/2015 - San Jose, CA

The Winchester Mystery House, one of California’s most unusual mansions, has intrigued visitors, scholars, and the media from around the world for over 100 years. Its combination of the beautiful and the unusual is a stirring legacy of one woman who was imaginative, creative, and even a bit eccentric. Built by Sarah Winchester, widow of the Winchester Rifle fortune, the mansion offers a glimpse of an elegant, bygone era, a touch of mystery, and always the beauty of another time and place. Whether it be one of Mrs. Winchester's neighbors who watched on as an 8 room farmhouse transformed to a sprawling 160 room mansion, or one of the many guests from around the world who have visited since it's opening to the public in 1923, many guests have often wondered about what it would be like to spend the night on the property. With that in mind, we started looking into what it would take to make this happen.

After many years of preparation, the Winchester Mystery House has recently received approval from the city of San Jose, CA for a special use permit that allows us to move forward and explore the possibility of one-day allowing guests to spend the night on the estate in one of the surrounding out-buildings. While the bedrooms in the mansion proper are not included – primarily because we want all of our visitors on every day of the year to experience the mansion, not just those that may spend the night - guest rooms might include areas such as the Foreman’s House, the two story home of Mrs. Winchester’s long time foreman, John Hanson; the pump house, which held the Pierce gas engine that provided electricity to the mansion; and a caretaker’s apartment. As this idea is still in its earliest preliminary planning stages, nothing at this time has been decided as to what an "overnight stay" offering might look like or when it would become available to the public. With this important first step behind us, we are excited to have the capability to explore new possibilities! If you would like to stay informed about the progress of this venture, please send your name and address to and put "Overnight Stays" in the subject line.

With this new development we have also received approval to convert the Winchester Café to a full service restaurant. The Winchester Café is currently open to the public daily offering quick service items such as wraps, salads, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, and frozen yogurt.

The most pivotal news at this point has been approval to allow the consumption of alcohol across the entire estate. While guests have been able to purchase Santa Clara Valley wines and locally brewed beers in the Winchester Café year-round and seasonally in the Winchester Estate Wine & Spirits, a special wine and beer tasting room, this change will allow us to start looking at new options for public events such as offering a wine walk through the gardens or whiskey tastings in the garage, programs we hope to start sometime in the future.

This change also improves our ability to serve those that book the facility for private events. Spaces available for private use include the original Garage/Car Wash with beautiful floor-to-ceiling redwood; the formal Venetian Dining Room inside of the mansion; the Winchester Room, which is the original barn renovated to include modern conveniences such as free wifi and AV setup; and the Front Gardens which can accommodate upwards of 500 guests with a backdrop of the majestic 3-story front of the mansion, stately palm trees, and beautiful statues and fountains. More information on booking the facility for an event can be found at


Discover the world-famous Winchester Mystery House, Gardens, and Historical Museums. Tours daily from 9am in San Jose, California. The Winchester Café and Gift Shop are open daily. One hour tours of the world’s largest, strangest dwelling. . . the beautiful, but bizarre $5,500,000, 4-story, 160-room Victorian mansion rambling over 4.5 acres. Sarah L. Winchester, widow of the famed Winchester rifle manufacturer’s son, crushed by the untimely deaths of her husband and infant daughter, designed and built the strange mansion while keeping craftsmen busy 24 hours a day for 38 continuous years all in the hope of perpetuating her life and consoling the spirits of those killed by the Winchester rifle. The home is registered California Historical Landmark #868, has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places and is now nearly completely restored for tours. Admission to the Victorian Gardens, as well as the Historic Firearms Museum and the Specialty Gifts & Antique Products Museum, is included with the tour ticket. Located at 525 S. Winchester Blvd. in San Jose between highways I-880 and I-280, free parking is available. Additional information may be obtained by calling 408.247.2000 or online at

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Wander through 110 of the 160 rooms of this Victorian mansion, designed and built by the Winchester Rifle heiress. Tour the estate daily. Keep up to date on all the happenings, worldly and otherwise, only with the exclusive "13th Hour" newsletter.

According to the provisions of her will, Mrs. Winchester’s personal property was left to her niece, Mrs. Marian Merriman Marriott, who promptly had the mansion's furnishings auctioned off. It is said to have required six trucks working six weeks to cart the furnishings away.