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Gilroy Welcome Center Contact Information
Gilroy Welcome Center
8155 Arroyo Circle Suite #6
Gilroy, CA 95020
Celebrating Chinese Culture in a Whole New Light
Coming to Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park in July 2016, LUMINATION is a spectacular festival of light celebrating Chinese culture and tradition with over 30 colossal light sculptures and displays, some towering over six stories high! Lumination features stunning reproductions of historic landmarks like the Great Wall, Temple of Heaven, and Terra Cotta Warriors, as well as playful pandas, Chinese unicorns (Qilin), and a giant dragon constructed entirely of porcelain plates and bowls all carefully tied together by hand. As visitors stroll through the 26 acres at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park at night, they will witness the splendor and mystic beauty of the dazzling light displays, all handcrafted by master artisans from Zigong, China. The cultural festival also includes a bustling artisan marketplace and live performers from China.
California’s Best-Kept Wine Tasting Secret
Did you know that the Santa Clara Valley was California’s first premium wine growing region? Dubbed by Native Americans as “the Valley of the Heart’s Delight,” the area’s rich soils and Mediterranean climate proved to be ideal for growing wine grapes when French and Italian immigrants settled here during the Gold Rush era. Today, there are more than 20 thriving family-owned vineyards and tasting rooms located in Gilroy and surrounding communities along the new Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail. Visitors enjoy award-winning wines and breathtaking views with a more casual and relaxed atmosphere. And California’s original “wine country” is conveniently located just 30 miles south of San Jose International Airport, with plenty of budget-friendly hotels, shops, and outstanding restaurants to make for the perfect wine lovers’ weekend getaway.
Explore the Great Outdoors
Gilroy’s mild year-round weather and proximity to some of California’s best-loved parks and golf courses makes it the ideal place to explore the great outdoors. Hikers and bikers can explore the numerous trails at Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch, Mt. Madonna County Park, and Henry Coe State Park. Gilroy is also just an hour’s drive from America’s newest national park, Pinnacles National Park—a fascinating landscape of massive monoliths, sheer-walled canyons, and talus caves. Gilroy is also home to several outstanding golf courses geared towards players of all levels, from the beginner-friendly Gilroy Golf Course (billed as “The Best 11-Hole Golf Course in the United States”!) to championship-level courses at Eagle Ridge Golf Club and CordeValle Golf Club and Resort, which will host the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open tournament.
Originally known as “Pleasant Valley”, Gilroy’s history is filled with unique characters and fascinating stories for all to enjoy. With over 75 historic buildings located within walking distance of downtown Gilroy, a walking tour is “must” for history buffs and walking enthusiasts. Pick up a free Gilroy Visitors Map from the downtown kiosk and follow the self-guided tour of downtown Gilroy. Stop at the iconic Old City Hall (built in 1906) and be sure to check out the restrooms—they’re located in the city’s old jail cells! Other historic landmarks include The Milias Restaurant (once a favorite stopping-place for celebrities like Clark Gable, John Wayne, and Frank Sinatra) and the Gilroy Museum, which is housed in the historic 1910 Carnegie Library Building. Sprinkled throughout downtown are statues depicting Gilroy’s rich history, including one of the Scotsman named John Cameron Gilroy who founded the city of Gilroy in the early 1800’s.
There really is such a thing as fun for the whole family, and you’ll find it at the magical Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park, featuring over 40 fun rides and attractions (including Water Oasis), majestic gardens, and the world-famous Circus Trees. Starting in July 2016, the park will come alive at night with Lumination, a celebration of Chinese culture featuring colossal light sculptures, live entertainment, and an authentic Chinese artisans’ marketplace. Stay an extra day so you can also explore Casa de Fruta, go bowling at Gilroy Bowl, take a hike through history at Chitactac-Adams Heritage Park, or find great deals for the whole family at Gilroy Premium Outlets.
Shop ’Til You Drop
If you love to shop, Gilroy is the place to go! Gilroy Premium Outlets is one of Northern California’s largest outlet centers, where you can find extraordinary savings of 25-65% on 145 exceptional brands. Start your trip at the Gilroy Welcome Center and pick up special discount coupons and some fun Gilroy souvenirs. And be sure to take a stroll through Historic Downtown Gilroy, where you’ll discover an eclectic mix of antique stores, boutiques, garlic gift shops, restaurants, and more.
Follow the Wine Trail
Pick up a Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail Map at the Gilroy Welcome Center (or download at visitgilroy.com) and plan your own tasting adventure at 20+ different wineries in and around Gilroy. If you have just a few hours, we suggest heading out to Hecker Pass Highway for stops at Solis Winery, Fortino Winery, and Sarah’s Vineyard. Better yet, make it a wine-tasting weekend, so you can explore more of the area’s award-winning wineries and enjoy tasting flights at downtown Gilroy’s Bella Viva Ristorante wine bar.
Garlic, Garlic, Garlic
Thousands of garlic lovers gather every year on the last full weekend of July at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, the world’s ultimate summer food fair. But if you can’t make it to the Festival, don’t despair. We’ve got garlic in Gilroy all year long! Find fresh garlic, gourmet goodies, and other unique gifts at shops like Garlic World, Garlic Shoppe, and Garlic City Mercantile. And garlic’s always on the menu at our outstanding local restaurants, including Garlic City Café and Mama Mia’s Italian Restaurant.
Explore the Great Outdoors
If your idea of a great getaway involves plenty of California sunshine and outdoor fun, Gilroy’s the place to go! Hike (or bike) in the rolling hills at Coyote Lake – Harvey Bear Ranch or explore the redwood forests at Mt. Madonna County Park. For a little history with your hike, don’t miss the charming Chitactac-Adams Heritage County Park, where the native Ohlone once made their home along the scenic Uvas Creek. If golfing is your bag, you can choose from beginner- and budget-friendly courses like Gavilan Golf Course and Gilroy Golf Course – or play like the pros on championship courses at Eagle Ridge Golf Club and CordeValle Golf Club and Resort (which will host the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open).
Stroll Back in Time
Pick up a free Historic Downtown Gilroy self-guided walking tour map and visit Gilroy’s historic buildings and landmarks like Old City Hall and the Gilroy Historical Museum. Browse through the treasures of yesterday at the antique shops along Monterey Road. And be sure to dine at The Milias Restaurant, which has been an anchor in downtown since 1922 and was once a favorite stopping-place for celebrities like Clark Gable, John Wayne, and Frank Sinatra.