Why the headquarters of iconic tech companies are tourist a…

Google employees arriving after bicycling to work at the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA.

Brooks Kraft | Getty Images

Google employees arriving after bicycling to work at the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA.

With many tech companies enjoying worldwide prominence, and with fodders to match, some headquarters have now become architectural wonders in their own right.

Even company offices that aren’t architecturally gifted, have drawn wide interest for not only their high tech products and services but also their employee perks such as massages, volleyball courts, cafeterias stocked with free gourmet food, dry-cleaning and doctors on site. Both the state-of-the-art buildings and lifestyle are fascinating to outsiders.

“Silicon Valley is the birthplace of these things. A lot of visitors from around the world want to feel closer to that and experience it first hand,” said James March of Silicon Valley Innovation Center, which organizes tours, education programs and conferences about technology.

The billion-dollar headquarters of some iconic U.S. tech companies have become so over-the-top that tourists from around the world are flocking to see them and maybe catch sight of a self-driving vehicle.

When Amazon offered to invest $5 billion in the construction of its second headquarters, finalist cities proposed some fantastical designs including public plazas, mixed-use spaces, dedicated traffic lanes for autonomous vehicles, and even a bullet train in Dallas. On Saturday, The Washington Post reported that Amazon was closing in on Northern Virginia as its choice for its 2nd headquarters.

Microsoft recently unveiled plans to overhaul its 500-acre campus in Redmond, Washington. Here is a look at some of the most popular tech headquarters that are attracting visitors.

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