Gilroy is a city with a population of about 50,000 situated in Santa Clara County. The city is famous for its garlic crops that have given it the nickname Garlic Capital of the world.
The city is also known for its production of boutique wines, year-round fantastic weather and central location. It has easy access to Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz, and the San Francisco Bay area.
In Gilroy, there are parks, hiking trails, and natural areas with opportunities for a range of outdoor activities.
There are also many restaurants and shopping areas, such as Gilroy Premium Outlet, South Valley Plaza Shopping Center, and Westwood Shopping Center.
Several festivals and events take place in Gilroy throughout the year, including the Gilroy Garlic Festival and the Tamal Festival.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around Gilroy, California.
1. Get Outdoors at Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch County Park
Lake Harvey Bear Ranch County Park is located in a rural area just outside of Gilroy. The park features around 6,700 acres of wild, open space where you can participate in a range of outdoor activities.
One of the main features of this park is the large lake that is a popular destination for fishing and boating. Anglers have a chance to reel in a variety of fish species, including black bass, Eurasian carp, and bluegill.
For hikers, there are over 30 miles of trails passing through the park. You’ll have the chance to spot wildlife, including black-tailed deer and wild turkeys. There are more than 200 species of birds in the park, as well.
If you wish to stay overnight in the park, campsites are available.
2. Learn about Local History at the Gilroy Historical Society
The Gilroy Historical Society was established in 1966.
The society showcases a variety of artefacts, photos, and documents related to the history of Gilroy and the surrounding area.
The Historical Society also offers walking tours on certain days of the month. During one of these tours, you’ll visit historic neighbourhoods.
3. Spend the Day at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park
At Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park, there are more than just rides and themed adventures. This park has a wide variety of things to see and do for all ages.
The amusement area features thrilling rides including the Gilroy Gardens Railroad and the Quicksilver Express Mine Coaster. The water play area features water slides, pools, and peddle boats.
Also on-site are learning sheds and The Gilroy Gardens, which feature many plant species and a group of Circus Trees.
When hunger strikes, on-site eateries serve snacks and meals, including burgers, pizza, hot dogs, and healthier choices.
4. Participate in a Wine Tasting at Kirigin Cellars Winery
Kirigin Cellars Winery is among the oldest wineries in the entire state. The old-world decor and traditional hospitality give the impression you’re back in the early 1900s.
All wines are produced on-site and you can sample them during one of the winery’s wine tasting experiences.
Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, and Malbec are among the 11 varieties of grapes that are cultivated.
5. Play Some Golf at Eagles Ridge Golf Club
As one of the top golf courses in the Silicon Valley, Eagles Ridge Golf Club delivers a superior golf experience in the foothills near the Monterey Wine Country region.
This 18-hole championship course is surrounded by stunning vistas and features a range of challenges, including rolling hills and several lakes.
The practice facility features a driving range, two putting greens, and a practice bunker. Lessons are available. The on-site restaurant and bar feature a variety of dishes and beverages, including a wide selection of wines.
6. Enjoy a Classic All-American Meal at The Longhouse Restaurant
Since the late 1970s, The Longhouse Restaurant has been preparing and serving traditional American dishes from old family recipes with a modern twist.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served, and you’ll find a wide variety of items on the extensive menu.
The menu includes appetizers, sandwiches, salads, burgers, soups, pasta dishes, omelettes, grilled items, seafood dishes, vegetarian options, and entrees, such as prime rib and New York steak.
The Beehive Sports Bar & Grill connected to the Longhouse, serves beer and handcrafted cocktails and martinis. Many events, including live entertainment and sporting events, take place throughout the year.
7. Limelight Actors Theater
Since its opening in 2011, the Limelight Actors Theater in downtown Gilroy has been hosting world-class performances. It has been designated the best theatre in the South Country.
Comedy acts, dance shows, musicals, holiday classics, and dramatic plays are just some of the shows that have been hosted at this unique, cabaret-style venue.
The intimate layout of the theatre allows for mingling before and after the show, and a comfortable, informal atmosphere during the performance.
The interesting thing about this theatre is the fact that you can bring your own dinner and drinks. While many patrons order takeout from the nearby Milias Restaurant, others simply prepare dinner at home and take it to the theatre with them.
8. Relax in Christmas Hill Park
Christmas Hill Park is a 50-acre community green space that features plenty of wide-open spaces to relax. On-site leisure facilities allow participation in a range of outdoor activities.
There are several soccer and softball fields, picnic areas, and trails that are suitable for hiking and biking.
The adjacent Christmas Hill Park Ranch has even more sporting facilities and an environmental education centre.
9. Get Pampered at Lavender Luxury Day Spa
At Lavender Luxury Day Spa, you’ll get the ultimate relaxation experience to leave you feeling rejuvenated and renewed.
A variety of treatments and spa packages are available, and only the finest natural ingredients are used during treatment sessions.
Manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing services, and aromatherapy treatments are some of the services offered. You can also choose from a range of relaxing massages, including Swedish, deep tissue and hot stone massages.
10. Sample Fine Wines at Hecker Pass Winery
The ambiance that encompasses Hecker Pass Winery is the first thing you’ll notice upon arrival. Although it’s only a short drive from downtown Gilroy, the peaceful rural surroundings make it feel as if you are miles away from any city.
During a wine tasting, you’ll be able to sample five unique Italian wines. You’ll also be able to explore the beautiful vineyard.
11. Browse the Morgan Hill Farmers’ Market
The Morgan Hill Farmers’ Market is the place to go if you’re looking for fresh local produce and delicious hot food.
Over 35 vendors set up at this market and sell baked goods, honey, homemade apple cider, and much more.
The kid’s craft area hosts fun experiences, such as jewellery-making and other artistic endeavours.
12. Visit the Morgan Hill Museum
Since the early 1970s, the Morgan Hill Museum has been collecting and displaying items of historical significance to the Morgan Hill area.
The exhibits showcase a variety of artefacts, photographs and documents.
Throughout the year, the museum hosts many events, including wine tastings and lectures.
13. Escape the City at Henry W. Coe State Park
Set in the Diablo Range, Henry W. Coe State Park is an outdoor lover’s paradise.
This sprawling wilderness area is the second biggest park in the state. Its 87,000 acres are home to a wide variety of plants and animals, including coyotes, mountain lions, and gray foxes.
Facilities include a visitor’s centre, a campground and hiking trails. Several historic buildings are also on-site.
14. Sample Local Craft Beer at Promised Land Brewing Company
Promised Land Brewing Company might be small but when it comes to delicious, fresh, local brews in downtown Gilroy, it’s the place to be.
Whether you’re craving something hoppy, something smooth, or something fruity, this brewery has you covered.
15. Explore Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve
The Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve is a pristine nature area that feels like you are in the middle of nowhere, even though a major city is only a short drive away.
You can view the spectacular scenery on the Arrowhead Loop Trail. During this journey, you’ll travel several miles to a ridge where you’ll see the stunning views of several mountain peaks and the Coyote Valley.
A series of trails are suitable for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Picnic tables and restrooms are also on-site.