Cupertino is a city of about 60,000 people situated in the San Francisco Bay Area of Santa Clara County. Globally, it’s known for being the headquarters of Apple Inc. and for being one of the original cities of the Silicon Valley.
Cupertino’s location on the edge of the Santa Clara Valley and in proximity to the Santa Clara Mountains allows easy access to outdoor recreational areas and scenic views.
The city is also within easy access to the major cities of San Jose, only ten miles away, and San Francisco, which is about 45 miles away.
In Cupertino, there are many restaurants, cultural attractions, and shopping areas, including The Oaks Center, Cupertino Village, and The Marketplace. Within the city limits, there are over 150 acres of parklands.
Many festivals and events take place in Cupertino throughout the year, including The Cherry Blossom Festival, The Lunar New Year Unity Parade, Diwali Festival, The Moon Festival, and Cupertino Silicon Valley Fall Festival.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around Cupertino, California.
1. Learn About Local History at the Cupertino Historical Society Museum
Cupertino has an interesting history, and visitors can learn about it at the Cupertino Historical Society Museum.
The primary purpose of the museum is to gather, preserve, and display various items related to the city’s past. As you browse the exhibits, you’ll see many artefacts related to various aspects of life in Cupertino over the last 100 years.
Items related to industry, homemaking, education, and settlement in the area are among the items on display.
2. Drop into the Apple Park Visitor Center
Being in the centre of the famed Silicon Valley, Cupertino is home to several tech companies, including one of the most famous of all, Apple Inc.
While the Apple Inc. global headquarters is an expansive complex that is mostly closed to visitors, a centre has been set aside on-campus just for tourists. This is where you can learn more about the company, its products, its history, and culture.
The campus itself – including the visitor centre – is an exhibit, with its unique design made to fit in with its natural surroundings. Inside, you’ll find a shop where you can purchase apple merchandise and products.
The on-site cafe offers snacks, light meals, and beverages when you need a break from exploring the grounds.
3. Kick Back in Cupertino Memorial Park
Cupertino Memorial Park is one of the more popular municipal parks in the city because it has facilities suitable for all ages.
Within the 28 acres of green space are picnic areas, a baseball field, tennis courts, and a gazebo looking out over a pretty pond. The amphitheatre is where various events take place throughout the year, including Shakespeare in the Park, which takes place during the summer months.
As you explore the park, you’ll also find the Cupertino Veterans Memorial, which pays tribute to local veterans.
4. Have an All-American Meal at Eureka
If you’re looking for a cosy, friendly place to sit down and enjoy some familiar comfort food, Eureka is the place to be in Cupertino.
On the menu, you’ll find a wide variety of items, including gourmet burgers, appetizers, salads, wings, nachos, sandwiches, and signature main courses. The beverage menu boasts a wide selection of craft beers and handcrafted cocktails made with natural ingredients.
Eureka is also home to the city’s top whiskey bar, and the on-site patio is dog-friendly.
5. Play a Round of Golf at Deep Cliff Golf Course
Deep Cliff Golf Course is a beautifully-maintained, prize-winning golf course suitable for all levels. This 18-hole course is home to a driving range, a large putting green, and a pro shop. Lessons are available.
The DC Tap House specializes in traditional American cuisine. The beverage menu features a wide selection of local craft beer and handcrafted cocktails.
6. Admire Beautiful Art at the Euphrat Museum of Art
While the Euphrat Museum of Art displays a range of local artworks across various on-site exhibits, it’s more than just an art museum; it’s where artists and art lovers go to be inspired and learn more about art.
Throughout the year, the museum hosts an array of events, such as lectures, workshops, and educational programs for all ages.
7. Learn About the Night Sky at the Fujitsu Planetarium
As one of the most modern planetariums in the world, and one of the biggest in the region, Fujitsu Planetarium, situated on the Cupertino campus of De Anza College, offers a one-of-kind experience.
Inside the planetarium, the interactive display features a state-of-the-art laser show with sound effects and vivid images on the 50-foot-high dome.
8. Check out the Cupertino Square Certified Farmers’ Market
All year round, whether the sun is shining or not, the Cupertino Square Certified Farmers’ Market is a weekly staple in the city.
Across the many vendors, you’ll find a wide variety of quality, local items, including fresh vegetables, fruits, and berries from nearby farms, homemade baked treats, hot food options, gourmet bread, and honey.
There’s also entertainment for all ages, including live music.
9. Attend a Wine Tasting at the Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards
The area in and around Cupertino offers prime conditions for growing grapes to make wine. Since the 1970s, when Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards started growing grapes in the property’s orchards, this estate has been hosting wine tastings in their on-site tasting room.
The historic Fruit House provides visitors with a comfortable and elegant atmosphere in which to sample these local wines. Each tasting features five selections, and these selections change weekly.
10. Spend a Day Outdoors at Castle Rock State Park
You don’t need to drive very far from Cupertino to find a pristine natural area that feels far, far away from the cities of the region.
Castle Rock State Park is only a half-hour drive away, and if you’re seeking a natural landscape filled with wide-open green spaces, thick forest, and stunning panoramic views, this park in the Santa Cruz Mountains is the perfect escape.
Some of the outdoor activities you can participate in while exploring this park, including hiking, horseback riding, and rock climbing. Hikers enjoy 34 miles of trails that pass along many natural features, such as coast redwood trees and many other species of plants and trees.
There are plenty of rock features and caverns for climbers to explore, like Castle Rock.
11. Enjoy Locally-sourced Coffee at Paper Moon Coffee Co.
Said to be one of the top coffee roasters in the area, Paper Moon Coffee Co. is more than great coffee: it’s a cosy, inviting place for people from all walks of life to kick back and savour the delight that comes with pausing for a moment to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee.
At Paper Moon Coffee Co., the beans are house-roasted and the ingredients locally-sourced and very carefully chosen to reflect best sourcing practices.
Traditional favourites, such as Espresso, Cafe Au Lait, Cappuccino, lattes, and Americano, are available, but a wide variety of dessert coffee drinks and sweet treats are also on the menu.
12. Explore the McClellan Ranch Preserve
In the earlier part of the 1900s, McClellan Ranch was a horse ranch. Today, the sprawling property is a living history museum featuring original structures, a nature museum, and a community garden.
As you explore the property, you’ll see the original ranch house, milk barn, and livestock barn, which have all been expertly restored to their original condition. You’ll also see a replica of the blacksmith shop.
Hiking is a popular activity in the preserve. As you make your way around the area, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to spot many species of birds. Deer, coyotes, and bobcats are often spotted in the area as well.
Throughout the year, a variety of events take place, including nature classes, educational activities, and guided nature hikes.
13. Get A History Lesson at the California History Center
California has a long and fascinating history, and whether you’re a history buff or not, the vast collection of historical material housed in this historic building is bound to pique your interest.
A variety of exhibits showcasing the history and culture of the state are on-site, and visitors have access to a library that houses archives and books.
14. Visit the Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve
There are many things to see and do at the historic Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve. The expansive area gets its name from the Picchetti family, who arrived from Italy and the 1870s.
On-site, you’ll see the old homestead and the Picchetti Winery. At the winery, you can kick back while sampling some of the exquisite wines available.
There’s also a series of hiking trails on-site, including the Zinfandel Trail. As you hike along these trails, you’ll see stunning views of South Bay and pass through hillside orchards and forest areas.
15. Take a Trip to Hawaii at Coconut’s Fish Cafe
At Coconut’s Fish Cafe, you get an authentic Hawaiian experience without actually leaving Cupertino. This laid-back, family-run eatery pays tribute to the Hawaiian islands with more than just their food offerings.
As soon as you walk in the door, you feel like you’ve been transported to the tropical Pacific islands. The colours are vibrant, the music is traditional, and the tables are custom surfboards.
The delicious and healthy food offerings feature a wide range of items, including some family recipes and homemade coleslaw and sauces.
On the menu, you’ll also find a range of appetizers, soups, salads, tacos, seafood dishes, pasta dishes, rice-based options and traditional Hawaiian favourites.