Santa Clara (California)

Santa Clara is a town in the South Bay, part of the San Francisco Bay Area, in California.


A statue of Saint Claire, the city's namesake, stands in Civic Center Park, near city hall.

Santa Clara, California is a small city of big contrasts. If any city can claim to be "the center of Silicon Valley," it is this town of just over 100,000. Intel, AMD, WebEx, NVIDIA, and National Semiconductor all have headquarters here. At the same time, Santa Clara is one of the oldest settlements (by Europeans) in Northern California. The Mission Santa Clara de Asís was established in 1777, and the Jesuit-run Santa Clara University, founded in 1851, is the oldest university in California. Dozens of 19th century homes are well-maintained by their 21st century owners in the "old quad," the earliest residential area, adjacent to the university.

Yet another contrast is the diversity of the local population, driven by the tech boom of the 1970s-1990s. Visitors from Asia and Europe frequently overhear strangers speaking their native languages. Specialty markets offer native ingredients from around the world, and the Indian and East Asian restaurants are some of the best in the Bay Area. But many of the best places in Santa Clara are not visible at first glance. You could drive right through this town and see nothing of any interest, or you could take the time to learn where to look, explore, and enjoy.

Get in

Just west of San Jose, Santa Clara is adjacent to San Jose Mineta Airport (SJC).

By train

Caltrain stops at Santa Clara Station, on the east side of Santa Clara University (1001 Railroad Avenue). Though Caltrain doesn't really stop at San Jose Mineta Airport, the free Airporter bus (VTA line 10) shuttles passengers between the airport and the Santa Clara Caltrain station.

The Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) is an Amtrak express train running from the central valley towns of Stockton, Tracy, Livermore and Pleasanton to San Jose. The train shares the Santa Clara station with Caltrain and also stops at the Great America station at Lafayette and Tasman, near the Santa Clara Convention Center, Levi's Stadium, and California's Great America. Only a few trains run per day. Note that the Great America stop doesn't include a station building, just a platform under an overpass, so plan connecting transportation before you arrive.

Amtrak California's Capitol Corridor train runs between Sacramento and San Jose via East Bay cities such as Berkeley and Emeryville. The Capitol Corridor shares the same stations as the ACE above, stopping at the University and Great America. The nearby Diridon station in San Jose includes a building with a ticket counter and may even be closer to parts of Santa Clara. Read schedules carefully, since some trains include a bus connection.

Get around

Light rail and bus. The Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) offers light rail in Santa Clara on the Alum Rock-Santa Teresa and Mountain View-Winchester lines. VTA also offers bus service within and around Santa Clara. Consult the VTA website for schedules, fares, and trip planning.

Rental car. Numerous national car rental chains serve Santa Clara and surrounding cities. Most people living in the area prefer automobiles as their primary means of transportation, and it is likely to be the fastest, although area freeways do get congested during commute hours. Rental cars are available both at the San Jose Airport and at various locations in the city. Throughout most of Santa Clara, public parking is ample and free.

Bicycle. Many city streets are wide and bicycle-friendly with painted bicycle lanes; expressways permit bicycles but have high-speed, heavy traffic that may be uncomfortable, especially for inexperienced riders. Stop by City Hall for a copy of the Santa Clara bicycle map showing recommended bicycle routes. Bicycles should ride on the right side of the road, going the same direction as traffic. Take care when crossing expressway exits and right turn lanes in traffic. Caltrain, Amtrak, VTA, both light rail and buses, are all equipped with bicycle racks. If you plan to take a bicycle on area public transit, consult the website of the system(s) you will use for information on locating and using the bicycle racks.






Area restaurants feature foods from cultures all over the world, reflecting the area's diversity. There is no need to eat in the same restaurant, or even the same kind of restaurant, twice.






Go next

Routes through Santa Clara

San Francisco Sunnyvale  N  S  San Jose Salinas
Oakland Fremont  N  S  San Jose

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, March 07, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.