Gilroy in Southern California is sometimes called the world’s garlic capital. Located in the northern region of California, the city makes for an easy day out from the San Francisco Bay Area. Attractions include a family amusement park, several wineries, parks, and delicious restaurants.
1.Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park
© Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park
The Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park boasts a number of rides and attractions throughout the amusement park designed for the entire family. Rides in the theme park include South County Backroads, the Gilroy Gardens railroad, and the Quicksilver Express Mine Coaster which is themed to resemble an abandoned local mine. There are also a few exhibits in the park, such as the Learning Sheds and the park’s collection of Circus Trees that have become famous throughout the world. The Gilroy Gardens also are home to six grand gardens featuring a variety of plants, as well as water play areas.
3050 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy, CA 95020, Phone: 408-840-7100
2.Christmas Hill Park
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Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy, California is a community park that spans across fifty-one acres of southwestern Santa Clara County. The city-owned park offers trails for bicycling, hiking, and jogging. There are also soccer fields, softball/baseball diamonds, and several picnic areas. Adjoining the east side of the park is the Christmas Hill Park Ranch Site, which provide additional sport facilities and an environmental education center. The Christmas Hill Park is also the site of the city’s Garlic Festival every year. From March through October, the park is open from 6am to 11pm. From November through February, 6am to 8pm.
7050 Miller Ave, Gilroy, CA 95020, Phone: 408-846-0460
3.Kirigin Cellars Winery
© Kirigin Cellars Winery
Kirigin Cellars Winery is one of the oldest wineries in the state of California. It has been a lasting part of the state’s wine country since the year 1016. Kirigin Cellars exudes old world charm with its Tuscan-style Clubhouse, wine-tasting areas, and old buildings. The winery maintains a tradition of providing old-fashioned hospitality and unpretentious, complimentary wine tasting experiences. The wines produced here are made in small batches with grapes grown on property. Eleven types of wine grapes are cultivated: Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo, Malbec, Petite Sirah, Malvasia Bianca, and Pinot Grigio.
11550 Watsonville Rd, Gilroy, CA 95020, Phone: 408-847-8827
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Fifteen acres of pampered, happy Santa Clara grapes surround the outdoor wine tasting cabana at Satori Cellars, which is open every weekend from 12:00pm to 5:00pm. The main focus at the winery is estate-grown, award-winning reds. These include Petite Sirah, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Merlot. Wine tastings feature four red wines and one white wine. Satori Cellars also offers wine by the glass, occasionally their own special-recipe, homemade sangria, and mimosas. The winery is group-friendly, family-friendly, kid-friendly, and dog-friendly. Visitors can relax and enjoy the laid back vibe with a picnic, wine, and more.
2100 Buena Vista Ave, Gilroy, CA 95020, Phone: 408-848-5823
5.Martin Ranch Winery
© Martin Ranch Winery
The Martin Ranch Winery on Redwood Retreat Road is home to seventeen acres of secluded vineyards in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The vineyard today cultivates rows of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc grapes and produces nearly ten thousand cases of wines under three award-winning wine labels: Thérèse Vineyards, Soulmate, and J.D. Hurley. Wine tastings are available at the winery on the first and third Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays of the month. Tastings are offered from noon to 5:00pm, with the last tasting at 4:30pm to make sure guests have enough time.
6675 Redwood Retreat Rd, Gilroy, CA 95020, Phone: 408-842-9197
6.Hecker Pass Winery
© Hecker Pass Winery
The Hecker Pass Winery is open to guests for wine tastings and exploring the vineyard seven days a week, from 10:00am until 5:00pm. Wine tastings offer visitors a chance to taste the winery’s devotion to producing fine Italian wines, and include a tasting of five different wines. These wines are traditional and stay true to the customs and practices of the Hecker Pass Winery’s viticulture ancestry. The winery is located far enough away from the city for guests to enjoy a tranquil country setting, but close enough to get back to town for a nice dinner.
4605 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy, CA 95020, Phone: 408-842-8755
© Fortino Winery
The Fortino Winery was established back in the year 1970 after Marie and Ernest Fortino bought a vineyard that had already been growing grapes since the beginning of the 1930’s. Ernest Fortino was drawn to purchasing the vineyard due to the surrounding land being very reminiscent of Calabria, Italy, his hometown. Knowledgeable hosts in the Tasting Room guide visitors through a tasting of the winery’s handcrafted, award-winning wines, or guests can choose to simply buy a bottle of their favorite wines. It’s also likely that visitors may run into one of the members of the Fortino family.
4525 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy, CA 95020, Phone: 408-842-3305
© Solis Winery
The Solis Winery has been all about great wine for over one hundred years. All of the wines produced by Soli are made from grapes grown at the Vanni Estate Vineyard, located in the heart of California’s Santa Clara Valley, the oldest continuous wine growing area in the state. The tasting room offers visitors with a chance to try several of the winery’s quality wines. Guests can sip a glass of their favorite wine from the back porch at Solis Winery as they take in the beautiful views of the vineyard with the Gabilan Mountain Range in the background.
3920 Hecker Pass Highway, Gilroy, CA 95020, Phone: 408-847-6306
© Sarah's Vineyard
Sarah’s Vineyard is one of the most popular destinations for wine tasting in the Silicon Valley. Situated in the rural and scenic Hecker Pass region west of the city of Gilroy, the vineyard offers inviting hospitality combined with beautiful vineyards in a peaceful setting. The tasting room at Sarah’s Vineyard is open every day, and helpful staff are more than happy to introduce visitors to old favorites, new discoveries, and special products only available at the vineyard. The scenic property boasts amazing views, picnic area, a summer concert series, and bocce ball courts. Most wines produced here are made in small batches.
4005 Hecker Pass Rd, Gilroy, CA, 95020, Phone: 408-847-1947
10.Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch County Park
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The Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch County Park is a 6,695-acre recreational area situated in the hills just outside of Gilroy. Among the features of the park is a 449-acre lake that is great for boating and fishing. Coyote Lake is known for its black bass population, along with Eurasian carp, black crappie, and bluegill. 219 different bird species have been spotted in the park, making it an ideal place for birdwatching. Visitors may also spot turkeys and black-tailed deer. The park also contains more than 33 miles of trails and 73 campsites for tents and RVs.
10840 Coyote Reservoir Rd, Gilroy, CA 95020, Phone: 408-842-7800
11.La Vie Dansante Wines
© La Vie Dansante Wines
La Vie Dansante Wines is one of three wineries that are co-located at Blended in Gilroy, California. The winemaker’s studio is open for wine tastings and purchasing wine bottles on Saturdays and Sunday from 12:00pm until 5:00pm, with the exception of major holidays. It is open during the week by appointment. The fee for the wine tasting is refunded to guests who buy a bottle, and wine tastings allow visitors to choose five different wines from all wines available at Blended open for tastings. The name of the winery, “La Vie Dansante,” means “The Dancing Life.”
3200 Dryden Ave, Gilroy, CA 95020, Phone: 408-852-0779
12.Blended, a Winemaker's Studio
© Blended, a Winemaker's Studio
Dedicated to growing and supporting the wine and the winemakers of the Santa Clara Valley, Blended, a Winemaker's Studio offers the retail outlet, education, equipment, production space, and infrastructure needed for new winemakers. The idea behind the place is to help winemakers who have the ability and talent to be successful, but may lack the resources needed to enter into the regulated and highly competitive wine industry on their own. Visitors can try wine samples for three different winemakers, as well as sample different styles and varietals. Blended is open on Saturdays and Sundays, and on weekdays by appointment.
3200 Dryden Ave, Gilroy, CA 95020, Phone: 408-852-0779
© Jason-Stephens Winery
The Jason-Stephens Winery refers to itself as Silicon Valley’s winery. The wife and husband team of Janu and Jason Goelz bring a hip and fun approach to the limited releases of their traditional Bordeaux varietals, as well as their “Tech Series” labels of the Silicon Valley Wine Company. The popular tasting room at the Jason-Stephens Winery is open seven days a week, except for major holidays. It is situated only minutes to the south from the tech centers of San Jose. Pets are allowed on the front patio. Wines produced include Chardonnay, Blends, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc.
6500 Brem Ln, Gilroy, CA 95020, Phone: 408-846-8463
14.Aver Family Vineyards
© Aver Family Vineyards
The Aver Family Vineyards is open to visitors for wine tastings on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sunday, from 12:00pm to 5:00pm, and on all other days by appointment. Guests can simply walk over to the wine counter and have one of the friendly staff guide them through a sample of some of the premium wines produced by the vineyards paired with chocolates sourced locally. Visitors can make reservations, otherwise, it is first come first serve. Guest can get their tasting fee back if they buy at least two bottles of wine after their wine tasting.
2900 Soma Way, Gilroy, CA 95020, Phone: 408-203-8575
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The Rapazzini Winery offers wine tastings to visitors that include a sample of five different tastes of wines in the open-beamed tasting room. The winery strives to offers something extra in each bottle of its wines, a wine that is properly aged and is already ready to drink. The specialty of the boutique local winery is batches of California wines. Jon Rapazzini opened the Rapazzini Winery in 1962. The tasting room is a comfortable, friendly room featuring a 40-foot copper bar and stained glass windows. Great prides is taken on offering wines with at least a year two of age.
4350 Monterey Highway, Gilroy, CA 95020, Phone: 408-842-5649
16.Limelight Actors Theater
© Limelight Actors Theater
The mission of the Limelight Actors Theater is to host an array of quality performances for the public with its unique style of “Bring Your Own Dinner & Wine.” Located in the city of Gilroy’s downtown district, the theater aims to bring great shows, loads of fun, and good food to the Gilroy community and surrounding Bay area for locals and visitors alike. First opened in the beginning of 2011, the Limelight Actors Theater became the city’s newest theater, as well as the only theater in the downtown area. The theater has been voted as the “Best Theater in South Country.”
7341 Monterey St, Gilroy, CA 95020, Phone: 408-472-3292
© Westside Grill
The Westside Grill in Gilroy, California opened to the local community in 2006, and has since become a favorite among locals for weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner. The restaurant is a family owned eatery that boasts a menu full of favorite dishes, a constantly changing array of daily specials, and a full bar. The staff are known for being very friendly. Westside Grill is open for dinner every day, for lunch on Mondays to Fridays, and for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. There are also banquet facilities available at Westside Grill for business meetings, receptions, and parties.
8080 Santa Teresa Blvd, Gilroy, CA 95020, Phone: 408-847-3800
18.Garlic City Cafe
© Garlic City Café
The Garlic City Cafe specializes in delicious tortilla wraps, omelets, pasta dishes, sandwiches, salads, soups, waffles, and desserts that will all likely make any visitor’s mouth start to water. The menu, as the name of the eatery suggests, features quite a number of garlic dishes, such as the garlic fries, the garlic cheeseburger, the garlic calamari steak sandwich, and for those brave enough to try it, even garlic ice cream. Garlic City Cafe in the downtown area is open everyday except for Monday. It closes early at 1:00pm on Sundays. The cafe first opened for visitors and locals in 2007.
7461 Monterey St, Gilroy, CA 95020, Phone: 408-847-7744
© Barbeque 152
Barbeque 152 serves some of the best barbecue in the area. The casual dining eatery first opened to the Gilroy community and surrounding San Jose and Bay area back in 2011, and has since strived to offer its customers the best barbecue in town. Barbeque 152 cooks its food using the old school ways using plenty of time and oak wood and adding only the perfect amount of spices and salt to get the perfect barbecue flavor. The restaurant has created gluten-free versions of some of their dishes, great for anyone who loves barbecue but needs to stick to a gluten-free diet.
8295 Monterey Rd, Gilroy, CA 95020, Phone: 408-842-4499
20.The Milias Restaurant
© The Milias Restaurant
The Milias Restaurant is a fine dining restaurant that first opened back in the year 1922, making it one of the oldest restaurants in the city of Gilroy. Today, diners can enjoy the the friendly and unique atmosphere of the historic restaurant. Surrounded by the tradition and aura of one of the most respected and oldest dining establishments in the city, any food lover will likely be charmed by the professional service and presentation of the fine cuisine at the old, but now new city landmark. The Milias Restaurant, also known simply as The Milias, has long been a downtown anchor.
7397 Monterey St. Gilroy, CA 95020, Phone: 408-337-5100
20 Best Things to Do in Gilroy, California
- Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park, Photo: Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park
- Christmas Hill Park, Photo: Courtesy of tonktiti - Fotolia.com
- Kirigin Cellars Winery, Photo: Kirigin Cellars Winery
- Satori Cellars, Photo: Courtesy of goodluz - Fotolia.com
- Martin Ranch Winery, Photo: Martin Ranch Winery
- Hecker Pass Winery, Photo: Hecker Pass Winery
- Fortino Winery, Photo: Fortino Winery
- Solis Winery, Photo: Solis Winery
- Sarah's Vineyard, Photo: Sarah's Vineyard
- Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch County Park, Photo: Courtesy of photobyjimshane - Fotolia.com
- La Vie Dansante Wines, Photo: La Vie Dansante Wines
- Blended, a Winemaker's Studio, Photo: Blended, a Winemaker's Studio
- Jason-Stephens Winery, Photo: Jason-Stephens Winery
- Aver Family Vineyards, Photo: Aver Family Vineyards
- Rapazzini Winery, Photo: Courtesy of felix - Fotolia.com
- Limelight Actors Theater, Photo: Limelight Actors Theater
- Westside Grill, Photo: Westside Grill
- Garlic City Cafe, Photo: Garlic City Café
- Barbeque 152, Photo: Barbeque 152
- The Milias Restaurant, Photo: The Milias Restaurant
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Harris Shiffman - Fotolia.com