Santa Clara Arts & Culture

If you're looking for arts and cultural activities in Northern California you can find a many options in Santa Clara. There are 30 museums in Santa Clara showcasing fine art, sculpture, elaborate displays, the city's railroad history, and local history. The Intel Museum focuses on the region's technology-based history, while the Santa Clara Historic Museum highlights the area's history in the days of Spanish missions and agriculture. The South Bay Historical Railroad Society pays homage the region's railroad heritage. For pre-mission artifacts including a diverse collection of American, European, African and Oriental art, visit the De Saisset Museum (at Santa Clara University).

In Santa Clara there is almost too much to do as you look for activities for family or outings with friends. There are kid-friendly destinations and also places that are only appropriate for adults. In Santa Clara, if you ask people for suggestions of things to do, the most popular places you’ll be told to visit are probably California's Great America theme park, the Intel Museum and Mission Santa Clara. If you enjoy going to events there’s the annual Art and Wine Festival and a more casual weekly gathering at Santa Clara Farmer's Market. However, to truly enjoy all that the Silicon Valley area has to offer, you’ll need to know more about what people living in the area like to do. We’ve put together a list of all the fun, unusual and enjoyable places to visit and experiences to try.

Mission Santa Clara de Asis

A must for any visitor to Santa Clara is the Mission Santa Clara de Asis located on the campus of Santa Clara University. The mission is one of 21 such missions built in what would become Northern California from the late 1700s through the early 1800s. The historic mission includes beautifully kept grounds and gardens.

Santa Clara University is the oldest private instruction of higher learning in California. The university has an extensive collective of architecture and art, most of it open to the public.

The Statue of Saint Clare, located on El Camino Real and Lincoln Street in Santa Clara, was sculpted by Ann Van Kleeck. Saint Clare was an Italian saint who spent her life as one of the early followers of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Olympic Swimmers Train Here

Central Park, home to the International Swim Center where many Olympic athletes have trained, is one of the city's most popular destinations. Free concerts are a big draw in the summer along with bike trails and walk ways and plenty of room for softball games and picnics.

Nearby Wineries

To enjoy local wineries you need to travel a short distance to Santa Clara’s neighboring towns. Some wineries are in the Santa Cruz mountains, others are in nearby Woodside town.

Byington Winery founded by Bill and Mary Byington, in 1958, is nested in 95 acres of mountainous and redwood forests. The winery produces reds, whites, and dessert wines. 21850 Bear Creek Road, Los Gatos, CA 95030. (408) 354-1111

Cinnabar Vineyards & Winery is in the Santa Cruz Mountains above the town of Saratoga. Wines are sourced from the Santa Cruz Mountains, California’s Central Coast, Sonoma County, the Red Hills of Lake County, the Clements Hills (above Lodi), and Santa Clara Valley. Cinnabar Winery’s The Tasting Room is part of the “Saratoga Wine Trail”. You can taste the wines, purchase wines and accessories. On Fridays and Saturdays from 5-8 p.m. the room is transformed into The MUDD ROOM, a wine bar. Each week on Friday from 5:30-7 p.m. you can listen to live music. May through September, the tasting room features live music every Friday and Saturday from 5:30-7 p.m. 14612 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, CA 95050. (408) 867-1012

J. Lohr Winery produces Chardonnay, Riesling, Valdiguié and Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc over more than 900 acres of vineyards in Monterey County, Paso Robles, and Napa Valley. You can visit two tasting room locations, one in Paso Robles and the second in San Jose. In addition to wines you can purchase books, branded apparel, and other gifts. The Paso Robles Wine Center overlooks the Seven Oaks Cabernet vineyards. [] The San Jose Wine Center is a short drive from downtown San Jose. [] 1000 Lenzen Avenue San Jose, CA 95126. (408) 288-5057

The Mountain Winery produces Chardonnay and Pinot Noir on grounds originally planted by Paul Masson. The Mountain Winery is more than a winery, it offers a cooking series and some of the best, most-intimate concerts in the county in full view of its spectacular surroundings. Artists who perform at the Winery include Creedence Clearwater, Kenny Loggins, Indigo Girls, Sheryl Crow, Earth, Wind & Fire, and much more. 14831 Pierce Road, Saratoga, CA 95070. (408) 741-2822

Thomas Fogarty Winery

For 30 years, Thomas Fogarty Winery has been producing some of the most well-known Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the area. The Santa Cruz Mountains is one of the best wine regions blessed with the climates and soil ideal for vines. Thomas Fogarty Winery is located 2000 feet above sea level and has one of the most beautiful panoramas of the San Francisco Bay area. Enjoy wines and learn about winemaking at the Fogarty Tasting Room where you can enjoy some lovely views. 19501 Skyline Boulevard, Woodside, CA 94062. (650) 851-6777

While not a winery, JJ's Blues is a restaurant and bar has a history as rich as the city of Santa Clara. Blues legends past and present have played at this place over the years.


Gilroy Premium Outlets is an hour south of San Jose. There are 145 outlet stores including Ann Taylor, Brooks Brothers Factory Store, Coach, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Sony. You’ll find great savings on brands that you trust.

Great Mall Of The Bay Area is Northern California's largest indoor outlet mall. It has more than 185 outlet, off-price and specialty stores all in one place. For those who prefer not to shop there are several restaurants, and two entertainment centers. It is located off I-880 in Milpitas at Great Mall Parkway and Montague Expressway. (408) 956-2033

Santana Row’s trendy avenue with shopping stores, spas, restaurants, movie theatre, and special events are not to be missed if you are in the area.

Westfield Valley Fair, right next to Santana Row, is one of Northern California's largest indoor shopping malls with specialty shops, hip boutiques, department stores, and a huge food pavilion. Located at I-880 and Stevens Creek Boulevard, Santa Clara, CA. (408) 248-4451

Franklin Square has a weekly Farmer's Market on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. There are shops, service stores, and restaurants. It is located at Homestead Road and Monroe, Santa Clara, CA.

Santa Clara Theme Parks

California's Great America is the best know of the four theme parks in the Northern California, Santa Clara area. Great America has heart-pumping rides and hosts annual events such as a yearly Halloween display and Fourth of July celebration. This is the only amusement park with a water park.

The three other theme parks in the area are Six Flags Discovery Kingdom located in Vallejo, Gilroy Gardens located in Gilroy and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk located in Santa Cruz.

Active Options

Sky High Jump is for trampoline lovers. And it’s not just for kids. A large area sectioned off with nets, bumpers and huge air-inflated beds is the main area for jumping. There’s a dodge ball area, a foam cube pit and a lounge area to get your breath back and watch TV.

Indoor Shooting Range

Reed's Indoor Range offers 20 shooting positions for target practice in two bays, 25 yards long, each with industrial strength target hangers and state of the art back stops. To maximize safety, shooters under the age of 21 may shoot only when accompanied by another experienced shooter who is over 21 with their own firearms.

More Places to see

We’ve put together a list of places to see if you have the time to delve into the unique history of Santa Clara.

Agnews Historic Cemetery and Museum
de Saisset Museum
Harris-Lass House Museum
Intel Museum
Mission Santa Clara de Asis
Santa Clara Historic Museum
Santa Clara Woman's Club Adobe
Shrine of Our Lady of Peace
South Bay Historical Railroad Society
The Tech Museum
Triton Museum of Art
Winchester Mystery House

Event Calendar