Santa Clara is a diverse city of approximately 116,000 residents. You can find it immediately west of San Jose in the heart of California’s famous Silicon Valley. Among the many high-tech companies that call Santa Clara home is Intel, and thanks in part to the Santa Clara Convention Center, the city in general is a place where much business gets done. Santa Clara is also a great place to go to learn. Higher education institutions that are found in town include Mission College and Santa Clara University. For the tourist, Santa Clara delights with its various attractions, the likes of which include museums and a major amusement park. Sports fans are definitely covered. The San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer play their home games at Santa Clara University, and work on the new Santa Clara Stadium has begun. This stadium will serve as the home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers when it is completed.
Santa Clara was incorporated as a town in 1852, and for decades thereafter, the local economy was largely tied to farms that mostly planted vegetables and set up fruit-bearing orchards. The fertile soil of the region lent itself well to such endeavors. In and around the year 1960, the semiconductor industry began to take a hold in the region, and this caused a distinct change. The agricultural history of Santa Clara came to an end, and the city started focusing more on business and the building of its infrastructure. Today, Santa Clara is very much a forward-moving city that embraces technological advances and the possibilities of the future. This doesn’t mean that visitors can’t get in touch with the past while in town. Several museums offer insight into Santa Clara’s earlier days, and history enthusiasts should enjoy a walk around the Santa Clara University campus. This university was founded back in 1851 and is the oldest operating institution of higher learning in all of California. It can also be a joy to take more extensive Santa Clara walking tours that highlight other historic structures and the city’s history overall. Self-guided historic walking tour information is available through the City Manager’s Office.
Santa Clara certainly caters to cultural enthusiasts with its mix of museums and historic sites. As mentioned, Santa Clara University is a historic institute and has a campus that can be ideal for strolls. The university was built around a mission that was founded in 1777, it should be noted. This mission is a major campus landmark. While in university area, tourists with an interest in history are also encouraged to check out the Berryessa Adobe. Found near Santa Clara University at 373 Jefferson Street, it’s the oldest adobe structure in town and now serves as a museum. Housed inside are artifacts that speak to the era before California became a state in 1850. Other museums of interest in Santa Clara include the Agnews Historic Cemetery and Museum and the Harris-Lass House Museum. The Agnews Historic Cemetery and Museum displays artifacts relating the Agnews Developmental Center, or the Agnews State Hospital, as it was also known. This institution was a major mental health facility. The Harris-Lass House Museum is the last preserved farm site in Santa Clara and offers insight into life in the early 1900s. The list of interesting Santa Clara museums and historic sites doesn’t end there. Take the Headen-Inman House and the Santa Clara Museum, for example. Both offer additional insight into Santa Clara history.
California’s Great America
California’s Great America
The San Francisco Bay Area is home to four major amusement parks. Among them is California’s Great America. This amusement park in Santa Clara is the only amusement park in Northern California that has a water park within its boundaries, so it can be a great place to go if you want to cool off on hot days. The rides in general at California’s Great America cater to all ages, and among the park’s highlights is the Planet Snoopy area. This area opened in 2010 and caters to kids. There’s also another kid-specific area that is aptly-known as KidZville. Thrill seekers worry not, as California’s Great America offers numerous rides that can put your heart in your stomach. March through October is the operating season for California’s Great America, and the price of admission covers both the amusement park and the water park. For the sake of reference, the other three major amusement parks that are found in the San Francisco Bay Area are Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, and Gilroy Gardens in Gilroy.
Santa Clara Hotels & Lodging
Santa Clara Hotels & Lodging Image: Holiday Inn Express
More than 3,800 rooms are available for rent in and around Santa Clara. These rooms are offered by a mix of hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and corporate housing establishments. The chain-brand hotels and motels reign supreme, and they collectively offer good rooms at good prices. Many Santa Clara area hotels and motels have relationships with California’s Great America, it should be noted, so it isn’t difficult to find travel packages that include lodging and park admission. There are campsites and vacation rentals in the general Santa Clara region for those who prefer going another lodging route. You will likely have to stay outside of town when booking an area campsite or vacation rental, so this is something to consider.