Campbell is a city of about 42,000 people situated in the Silicon Valley area of Santa Clara County. This suburb of San Jose is known for its very pleasant, year-round weather and strategic location close to the nearby cities of Los Gatos and Saratoga.
Campbell is home to many parks, restaurants, cafes and shopping areas including Pruneyard Shopping Center, Campbell Plaza and Kirkwood Plaza.
A number of festivals and events take place throughout the year in Campbell including Oktoberfest, Boogie: Campbell’s Music Festival and Downtown Campbell Festival of Lights.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around Campbell, California.
1. Learn About Local History at the Ainsley House
Since the early 1990s, the Ainsley House has been welcoming visitors to its living history museum.
The Tudor Cotswold cottage-style home was built in 1925, and it was the former home of John Colpitts Ainsley.
Today, this historic house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it’s open to the public on certain days of the week.
During a visit, you’ll be able to see rooms that are furnished the same way they would have been when the Ainsley family lived there. You’ll also see many artefacts, photos, antique furnishings and items that belonged to members of the family. Guided tours are available.
Throughout the year, several special exhibits are hosted, and these events focus on topics related to what life in Campbell was like in the early 1900s.
2. Spend an Afternoon in Campbell Park
Campbell Park is a community park that is a perfect place to spend an afternoon relaxing or catching up on your fitness routine.
On site, you’ll find several basketball courts that are lit up at night, horseshoe pits, picnic areas, benches and a playground.
The Los Gatos Creek Trail access is also situated in this park, and washrooms are available.
3. Catch a Live Performance at the Heritage Theatre
The Heritage Theatre is a historic building in Campbell that was built in 1938. After the building was fully refurbished in later years, it reopened as a performing arts venue and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The theater features a large stage, an orchestra pit and seating for about 800 people. Throughout the year, a wide variety of performances are hosted including concerts, musicals, plays, comedy acts and dance shows.
4. Dine on Traditional Italian Fare at A Bellagio Italian Restaurant
At A Bellagio Italian Restaurant in downtown Campbell, you’ll wine and dine in a spacious and inviting restaurant with the option to dine outside on the terrace.
Both lunch and dinner are served, and all dishes are made using the freshest, best-quality ingredients available. The meat contains no chemicals or hormones, and the vegetables are organic.
Italian cuisine is the main staple on the extensive menu that includes a wide variety of appetizers, salads, pasta dishes, seafood dishes and main courses such as pollo al carciofi, gamberi, pesce del giorno and saltimboca alla romana.
The wine list contains many Italian and domestic vintage options.
5. Visit San Jose’s Municipal Rose Garden
San Jose’s Municipal Rose Garden first opened to the public in the late 1930s, and it has since been a popular attraction in the city.
The 5.5-acre botanical garden is situated on what was once the site of a prune orchard. Today, the site features some of those original characteristics including the reflection pool, water fountain, arbour and rose beds.
As you make your way around the facility, you’ll see over 4,000 rose plants across 189 varieties including grandifloras and floribundas.
Peak blooming season is in May, but any time between April and November is a good time to visit the garden.
6. Wander Around the Historic Saratoga Village
Historic Saratoga Village is actually the downtown district of nearby Saratoga. This area is the perfect place to explore if you’re looking to have a low-key day.
You can go there to just walk around and admire the architecture and take in the lively atmosphere. Alternatively, you may choose to visit the quaint boutiques, dine in the popular restaurants or kick back with a caffeinated beverage and sweet treat in one of the cute little cafes.
At the end of the main street, there’s a nice little park with a creek and quiet neighborhood streets. As you explore the village, you’ll also come across some interesting thrift stores and ice cream parlors.
7. Browse the Downtown Campbell Farmers’ Market
Almost every week throughout the year, rain or shine, the Downtown Campbell Farmers’ Market takes place.
At this lively market, you’ll find a wide variety of fresh, local fruits and vegetables taken straight from farms around the region.
You’ll also find arts and crafts, flowers, homemade baked treats and more. Food and drink vendors are also set up, and they offer items from local restaurants and coffee shops.
8. Get a History Lesson at the Campbell Historical Museum
Since 1964, the Campbell Historical Museum has been acquiring, preserving and showcasing items of historical and cultural significance to the city of Campbell from the early 1800s to the present.
Both permanent and temporary exhibits are on display. As you browse them, you’ll see a wide variety of artefacts, photos and documents relating the area’s contributions to agriculture, technology, sports and more.
9. Enjoy a Wine Tasting at Byington Vineyard and Winery
At Byington Vineyard and Winery, you’ll enjoy a stroll through almost 100 acres of beautiful vineyards with stunning vistas of the Santa Cruz Mountains as a backdrop, a tour of the winery and a tasting.
After the tour, you’ll head to the on-site tasting room where you’ll sample five types of wines that are made at the facility. A picnic area is also available to guests who wish to relax and enjoy their samples outdoors.
On certain days of the week, visitors have the opportunity to visit the wine cave which is where wine is stored in barrels 40 feet underground.
10. Visit the New Museum of Los Gatos
The New Museum of Los Gatos is where you’ll indulge in the history, culture and arts of nearby Los Gatos.
On-site exhibits showcase the history and culture through a variety of artefacts, photos and documents that were collected and preserved over the years.
The Artist’s Studio is where you’ll see a rotating gallery of artworks by local artists. Throughout the year, a variety of events are held at the museum including arts and crafts classes, workshops and interactive experiences.
11. Take a Hike Along the Limekiln Trail
The Limekiln Trail, which is part of the nearby Sierra Azul Open Space, is a beautiful, well-maintained hiking trail suitable for all levels.
This five-mile trail passes through hillsides and forested areas and along a stream. As you make your way along, you’ll see a variety of plants. You may even spot some deer as they are commonly found in the area.
If you wish to hike more than five miles, you can continue on the Kennedy Trail which joins up with Limekiln Trail for a longer 14-mile hike.
12. Sample Local Craft Beer at Strike Brewing Co.
Strike Brewing Co. may be a small operation, but when it comes to craft beer production, they certainly have a knack for producing award-winning, high-quality, tasty creations.
Since 2019, their taproom in Campbell has been a popular place to stop by for a tasting. Some of the year-round beers that are available include Colossus of Clout Red Ale, Pastime American Light Lager, The Wheat Spot and Rained Out.
13. Admire Beautiful Art at the Whitney Modern Contemporary Fine Art Gallery
Situated in the downtown area of nearby Los Gatos, the Whitney Contemporary Fine Art Gallery strives to engage the public in the arts via their inspiring galleries filled with beautiful artworks from all over the world.
The on-site exhibits feature mainly contemporary works from both established and up-and-coming artists.
14. Take a Well-Deserved Break at Elements Massage Campbell
Elements Massage Campbell is said to be the top massage parlor in the region. It’s known for offering excellent services that will leave you feeling balanced and renewed without breaking the bank.
A wide variety of massages are offered including deep tissue, Swedish, hot stone, aromatherapy and trigger point massages. Himalayan salt stone rejuvenation service is also available and all services are customized to your unique needs.
15. Take a Fun and Historic Ride on the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad
In nearby Los Gatos, visitors of all ages can enjoy a fun ride on the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad.
This authentic and historic steam engine has been taking visitors around Oak Meadows Park and Vasona Park since the late 1960s. Admire the pretty scenery of the parks as you embark on this unique and fun journey.
Also on site are eateries, retail shops and an historic carousel that is more than 100 years old.
Throughout the year, several events take place including the Holiday Train and the Pumpkin Train.