15 Best Things to Do in Santa Clara, CA

Santa Clara, CA
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Silicon Valley is not just a significant part of the country's major technological advancement.

It's also a place of vibrant communities and beautiful attractions, which makes it worth visiting.

Despite being densely populated, Santa Clara maintained its natural beauty and charm.

The entire county has a population of 1.92 million, while the City of Santa Clara has around 128,000 residents.

Its community's culture is also diverse and rich in history, while in terms of modernity, it's also the home of a major tech company.

In terms of diversity, about a hundred languages and dialects are spoken from different ethnicities living there.

The county is also known as sports lovers and huge art aficionados, as seen in its colossal stadiums and colorful art museums.

If you're planning to visit Silicon Valley, be sure to stop over Santa Clara.

Here are the 15 exciting things to do in Santa Clara to give you a fantastic way to enjoy yourself there.

Cheer for the 49ers at the Levi's Stadium

View of Levi's Stadium
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This man-made marvel home to the San Francisco 49ers in the National Football League (NFL) can accommodate 70,000 people.

If you're planning to catch up on a game of the 49ers, the NFL season runs from August (pre-season) to January.

The Levi's Stadium is a significant place for Santa Clara and the rest of Silicon Valley for entertainment and sports.

View of Levi's Stadium
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Aside from NFL games, the stadium is also host to world-class concerts and activities year-round.

You can still visit and see the stadium during the NFL off-season through its public tours that will take you to the 49ers Museum and the team's official store.

The stadium is situated at 4900 Marie P. DeBartolo Way in Santa Clara City.

View of Levi's Stadium
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Be One With the Locals at the Santa Clara Arts & Wine Festival

If you want to experience the authentic hospitality of the Californians, then head to the Santa Clara Arts & Wine Festival.

By nature, Californians are known hospitable and love arts and wines.

To celebrate their passion, they hold the Santa Clara Arts & Wine Festival every year during early fall when the climate is dry and cool perfect for outdoor gatherings.

It's an annual community affair that also has a charitable side on it.

The festival raises money for Santa Clara's nonprofits and community groups.

It has more than 175 vendors, artists, and food stalls lining up at Central Park, featuring handmade products, gourmet food, exquisite bottles of California wines, and fine arts.

The festival also has a place for toddlers at the Kids Kingdom, wherein a theme park featuring carnival rides, kids' games, and food is displayed for kids and kids at heart.

Experience California's Great America's Thrilling Rides

View of California's Great America
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California's Great America is one of the 38 amusements parks in the state.

Popularly known as Great America, this amusement park was opened in 1976 constructed by the Marriot Corporation.

It sits on a 112-acre property and boasts thrilling rides and attractions.

It has a water park, restaurants, and a lot more fun things to experience.

View of California's Great America
Jeremy Thompson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Its roller coasters, the 20-story drop tower, and the Xtreme Skyflyer are the most thrilling rides you shouldn't miss.

Of course, the place also has rides for kids and those for the faint-hearted.

The Boomerang Water Park boats huge pools, waterslides, and a wave pool for you and the family if you want to cool down.

Test Your Driving Skills at K1 Speed

If you're into motorsports, you should definitely try to hop on a go-kart and race at the K1 Speed.

This place boasts an indoor racecourse with a European-style design suitable for drivers of all skill levels.

K1's 20-horsepower go-karts that have electric engines can reach up to 45 miles per hour at their speed, while young racers can drive the slower 20mph go-karts.

If you want to experience authentic and adrenaline-pumping racing, head to K1 Speed if you happen to be in Santa Clara.

If you're done racing, the place also has a cafe that serves delicious food after an hour or two at the race track.

K1 Speed indoor race track is located at 2925 Mead Avenue in Santa Clara.

Breathe Fresh Air at the Ulistac Natural Area

A Sign in Ulistac Natural Area
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If you are looking for respite from the city noise, the Ulistac Natural Area is your best place to go.

It's considered the lung of Santa Clara for having lush green vegetation and large trees that serve as your canopy from the afternoon heat.

It also has scenic views featuring the riverside park and gardens on 40 acres of land dedicated to providing the locals a place to unwind.

View of Ulistac Natural Area
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Most of the time, locals use this place to sweat out as it's a usual destination for joggers, hikers, cyclists, and yoga practitioners.

In addition, the place is also teeming with wildlife.

Take pictures with local wildlife comprised of gophers, lizards, birds, butterflies, and jackrabbits.

Ultimately, the Ulistac Natural Area is a dedicated space to preserve the wildlife and vegetation of California.

A Bird in Ulistac Natural Area
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Treat Your Tastebuds at the Santa Clara Farmers' Market

There's no more terrific way to enjoy local food and delicacies than a farmer's market when visiting another place.

The good thing is that Santa Clara has its own farmer's market packed with the best the locals can offer.

To experience good food plus great products you can't find anywhere else, then head to the Santa Clara Farmer's Market.

In addition, the farmer's market is open to the public year-round.

It features a bit of the best things Santa Clara and Californians can offer.

You can buy and eat freshly-baked pastries and bread or enjoy the freshness of the seasonal produce.

The Santa Clara Farmer's Market is situated at Jackson Street, just a stone's throw away from downtown.

Visiting there is not just about rubbing elbows with the locals; it is also a great way to support small family businesses and local farmers.

Indulge in International Cuisines at 4th Street Market

A Sign in 4th Street Market
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The 4th Street Market is considered Santa Clara's destination for foreign cuisine.

This place is a hotspot for gourmet food wherein new-generation chefs share their fusion cuisines with food lovers.

It's also a hub for food lovers to exchange their wild but delicious ideas translated into extraordinary dishes.

View of 4th Street Market
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It has an atmosphere that combines a country fair, upscale market, and an art gallery packed with people.

Aside from the food, the place is also an excellent spot to take lovely photos with its giant graffiti mural.

Taste Thai, Chinese, Mexican, Greek, Italian dishes from gourmet food kiosks and cafes adjacent to each other.

Get Busy at Santa Clara's Central Park

Santa Clara's Central Park
Tomwsulcer, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Central Park is the main activity center for locals in Santa Clara.

It's always packed with locals and visitors who join various activities every weekend and during the weekdays.

Aside from its lake, picnic areas, and gardens, the park is also home to various sports facilities.

At its heart lies the George F. Haines International Swim Center and Santa Clara's Community Recreation Center.

In addition, it has twin well-lighted tennis courts of the Santa Clara Tennis Club, while there are also basketball courts, softball fields, and an amphitheater.

Central Park is situated along Kiely Boulevard in Santa Clara.

Become a 49ers Fan at the 49ers Museum

The famous 49ers Museum is located within the San Francisco 49ers' home field, the Levi's Stadium.

Your visit to Santa Clara will not be complete if you don't tour around the historic 49ers Museum, where you will learn the glorious history of the team in football.

You will enjoy touring around more than a dozen galleries filled with memorabilia and personal items from the team's famous players and the Super Bowl.

In addition, the museum is also home to various technological and scientific exhibits to further entertain you.

Take Pictures at the Historic Mission Santa Clara Church

View of Historic Mission Santa Clara Church
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If you want to slow down on your Santa Clara adventure, head to Mission Santa Clara for a solemn experience.

The church was built in 1777 and was later transferred to the Santa Clara University grounds after being hit with multiple calamities such as floods, earthquakes, and fire.

The church is perfect for reflection and some historical tours since it has its own museum that houses a collection of meaningful artifacts, documents, and other antiquities about the church.

The church is open to the public and regularly holds masses and other religious activities.

It is located at the 500 El Camino Real in Santa Clara.

Satisfy Your Cravings at the Fish Market

If you crave good food, head to Santa Clara's Fish Market.

It may not be as big as a conventional fish market, but it boasts some of the best oysters in Santa Clara.

The Fish Market is technically a restaurant/fish market that serves seafood and other dishes.

It also has its own bar and lounge area for drinks.

Experience its cozy but lively vintage vibe decoration, which instantly welcomes you right after entering the place.

You can choose from delectable meals or fresh catches that are cooked in different styles.

The menu at the Fish Market is regularly updated depending on the available seafood during the season.

Also, you must book ahead of time if you want to have a good seat since it's always packed with customers.

It is located along 3775 El Camino Real in Santa Clara.

Mesmerize the Artistic Beauty of the de Saisset Museum

Outside View of de Saisset Museum
Matthew Hendricks (SCUMATT at en.wikipedia), CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

The museum is named after Ernest de Saisset, a respected artist in the Bay Area whose works were trendy in the 19th century.

A French immigrant, Saisset studied at the Santa Clara University and honed his skills there throughout the years.

Today, his excellence in art earned him a museum named after himself situated inside Santa Clara University.

View of de Saisset Museum
Brian Wall, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The museum is worth a visit because it houses more than a hundred of his most beautiful artworks.

It boasts a collection of American and European artworks that are more than a hundred years old.

If you want to experience history and art, the museum is perfect for you.

Visit the Triton Museum of Art

Santa Clara has dozens of museums and art galleries, one of them is the Triton Museum of Art.

It boats artworks from Bay Area's local artists as well as international artists.

It has a collection of historical and contemporary artworks, while some are artworks to narrate the history of California.

Its main goal is to promote inclusiveness in gender and culture which can also be seen through the artists' pieces of artwork.

The entire structure of the museum is already a work of art as it's highlighted with pyramidal skylights on its ceilings.

In addition, it has a majestic curved glass wall that gives you a fantastic view of its sculpture garden.

The Triton Museum of Art is located along Warburton Avenue.

Get Techy at the Intel Museum

View of Intel Museum
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The main headquarters of the tech giant, Intel, is situated in Santa Clara.

Around 7,000 people work there, making the company the largest employer in the area.

For decades, Intel produced some of the world's most efficient and robust computer processors and components.

To inform the public how they innovated technology over the years, Intel built a museum that opened in 2012.

View of Intel Museum
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It houses not just artifacts of Intel's history; it has a collection of fascinating interactive exhibits that will turn ordinary people into tech-savvies.

The museum lets you go behind the scenes how Intel's technology created powerful computer components with interactive learning through its public tours.

The entire museum's size is about 10,000 square feet and is packed with exciting educational and interactive activities.

Experience Pure Entertainment With the Santa Clara Players

The Santa Clara Players started performing for the locals back in the 1960s with their stage plays.

After seven decades, they remained Santa Clara's most entertaining and well-respected artists in the theater industry.

They hold performances annually which mainly focus on dramatic theater filled with comedy, suspense, and mystery.

Today, the Santa Clara Players offer talented artists to showcase their potential by joining them with their stage performances and other activities.

The Santa Clara Players are also a group for a nonprofit program that provides the locals and visitors a very affordable theatrical experience that they will surely treasure.

To know their scheduled performances, visit their main office along Don Avenue.

Final Thoughts

Now that you've learned the 15 most fascinating things to do in Santa Clara, you probably realize that Silicon Valley has more to offer than techy stuff.

Its counties like Santa Clara are the perfect destination to fully understand Californians' authentic culture and lifestyle.

What makes Santa Clara a great place to visit are the attractions and activities that will surely pack a lot of fun memories.

Getting there is also very convenient since it's a few hours' drive from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Reno.

So, if you want to take your travel adventure to a new level without traveling to other countries, Santa Clara is your perfect destination.