Headquarters for some of the most renowned high-tech companies, Santa Clara is also home to the San Francisco 49ers’ stadium and California’s Great America amusement park, making it a destination for those in search of all kinds of thrills.
Silicon Valley’s biggest movers and shakers, such as Applied Materials, Intel and NVIDIA, have spacious campuses sprawled across the bay flatlands of this city just north of San Jose. The modern Santa Clara Convention Center provides facilities for large business meetings and conventions. But Santa Clara also has a long history—Santa Clara University is California’s oldest institution of higher learning and is located on the grounds of the historic Mission Santa Clara de Asis.
While Santa Clara might not have a true downtown, there is no shortage of top dining choices; among them are well-loved steakhouse, Birk’s Restaurant, a South Bay icon since 1989; and Bradley Ogden’s Parcel 104 at the Marriott, an upscale destination for creative California cuisine. The city’s many strip malls are also worth exploring for delicious food, particularly those in “Koreatown”—a strip of El Camino Real where you’ll find some of the Bay’s best Korean soups, barbecue and more. You can also drop by the recently built Santa Clara Square Marketplace, home to numerous top-notch restaurants.
Glance eastward as you’re driving through Santa Clara and you’ll catch glimpses of a surreal horizon of roller coasters and other thrill rides rising above the tops of high-rise hotels and corporate buildings. This bizarre landscape marks the home of California’s Great America, Northern California’s largest amusement park, where exhilarating thrills include Gold Striker, Flight Deck, Demon, Drop Tower, the floorless roller coaster, Patriot, and the new Rail Blazer—a first-of-its-kind single rail steel roller coaster that features extreme drops and turns at a super low center of gravity that enables more dynamic turns and rotations than ever before.
Next door, the state-of-the-art Levi’s Stadium draws thousands of football fans during San Francisco 49ers home games during the NFL (National Football League) season from August through February.
Local museums add to visitor interest. If art is your passion, you’ll find it showcased at the de Saisset Museum on the Santa Clara University campus, as well as at the Triton Museum across from the Santa Clara Civic Center. Technology is the theme at the Intel Museum, located in the company’s headquarters, while California history takes center stage at Mission Santa Clara—originally founded in 1777.