Come read about all the exciting things to do in Gilroy!
Romance is in the air this month in Gilroy—and we’ve got lots of great gift ideas for your favorite Valentine.
Tasting Tour for Two
If you’ve got a vino-loving Valentine, treat him or her to a romantic wine tasting tour along the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail in the heart of California’s original wine country. There are more than 25 family-owned wineries and tasting rooms nestled in the foothills surrounding Gilroy—with award-winning wines, a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and lovely vineyard views. Pick up a Wine Trail Map at the Gilroy Welcome Center (or download it from VisitGilroy.com) and start planning your own tour today!
Romance in the Valley
For something truly luxurious, book a romantic couple’s retreat at Rosewood CordeValle Resort. You can choose from different packages that include luxury accommodations, spa credits, golf or tennis, a wine and tapenade welcome, rose petal turndown, and continental breakfast, all at discounted winter rates. It’s the perfect way to indulge, relax, and get away from it all.
A Night at the Theater
A night at the theater is always a special treat, and here in Gilroy we’re fortunate to have not just one but two excellent local theater companies with great shows going on this month! Catch the candid comedy/drama “The Country House” at Limelight Actors Theater (playing through February 18) or get your giggles at “Farce of Habit,” a world-premiere sequel to the hilarious “Farce of Nature,” playing at Pintello Comedy Theater (February 3-25). Be sure to enjoy a delicious dinner before the show at The Milias Restaurant or Old City Hall in downtown Gilroy.
Unique Gifts from the Past and Present
If you’re still stuck for a unique gift idea for that special someone, just take a stroll through Historic Downtown Gilroy. Browse through the charming, well-stocked antique stores to find unique treasures from yesteryear, like vintage jewelry, clothing, vinyl records, and heirloom valentines. If your sweetheart’s tastes are more trendy, then head to Amoretto Boutique for the very latest fashions and accessories. Wherever you go, you’ll find friendly folks who are happy to help you pick out something that’s just right!
Shop ‘Til You Both Drop
If your Valentine loves to shop, treat her or him to an all-day spree at Gilroy Premium Outlets during the Presidents’ Day Weekend Sale (February 17-20). You’ll enjoy extra savings on top of the everyday 25-65% discounts on more than 145 top designer brands. While you’re here, stop by and see us in the Gilroy Welcome Center (we’re in Building A, close to Forever 21) – you might even find some fun Gilroy gifts!
January is California Restaurant Month – and your last chance to enjoy the wonder of Lumination at Gilroy Gardens!
Celebrate California Restaurant Month in Gilroy
Did you know that January is California Restaurant Month? This gives you a great excuse to visit the many wonderful restaurants we have right here in Gilroy—and maybe try someplace new!
Check out our Restaurants directory for a complete list of local favorites, including Family, Fine Dining, Asian, Italian, Mexican, and Specialty. Or stop by the Gilroy Welcome Center (we’re in Building A of Gilroy Premium Outlets, near Forever 21) to pick up our handy Restaurant Map and browse through sample menus.
Don’t Miss the Wonder of Lumination
If you haven’t yet gotten out to see the incredible light displays of Lumination at Gilroy Gardens, you’d better hurry! This unique night-time festival celebrating Chinese history and culture (which recently won the prestigious Brass Ring Live Entertainment Excellence Award) ends on January 8. The colorful lighted sculptures built from silk and steel by master lantern builders from Zigong, China are like nothing you’ve ever seen before!
There are 30 different colossal displays spread throughout the park’s 26 acres. As you enter, you walk beneath dragons atop the Lumination Welcome Gate and past the colossal Nine-Heaven Pagoda. Guarding the entrance to Water Oasis is the Porcelain Dragon, an incredible structure that stretches over 170 feet long and is made up of more than 60,000 Chinese porcelain plates, cups and bowls, all painstakingly hand-tied together. Monarch Greenhouse is transformed into a Panda Sanctuary, with dozens of the adorable black-and-white bears playing in a bamboo forest.
Be sure to get up close to the Bejeweled Qilin, mythical beasts with the head of a lion, the eye of a tiger, the antlers of a deer, the body of an ox, and the scales of a dragon (don’t worry—they don’t bite!). These incredible light displays were constructed using thousands of tiny glass bottles filled with colored water to create a dazzling jewel-like effect at night. And two of Lumination’s most remarkable displays were actually constructed right in the middle of Coyote Lake: the towering Temple of Heaven and the spectacular Carp Jumping over the Dragon Gate, which brings an ancient Chinese legend to breathtaking life.
When you visit, be sure to catch the “Lumination Live” show in the amphitheater, featuring talented jugglers, acrobats, and face-changing artists from China. You’ll also find unique hand-crafted gifts (and can even watch the artists at work) in the Artisan Marketplace and authentic Chinese food from The Wok and various food stalls.
Where Winter Fun Grows on Trees!
For the first time ever, Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park is also open during the daytime over the holiday break. So if the kids are getting tired of being cooped up inside, bring them out to enjoy their favorite rides and attractions—and the outdoor ice rink! Both the park and Lumination are open daily through January 8. Separate day and night tickets are required, but admission is free with 2017 park memberships.
December is always a special month here in Gilroy, and this year there will more holiday fun than ever—by day and by night!
Make Magical Holiday Memories
Winter will be full of wonder at Gilroy Gardens. During the day, the park will remain open for an extended season: Weekends through December 18 and then daily from December 19 through January 8 (except for December 24 and 25) while kids are on their winter break from school. This is a great chance to get out of the house, enjoy the rides, and explore the gorgeous gardens. You can even go ice skating on the new outdoor ice rink! To really get in the holiday spirit, be sure to visit Santa’s Workshop and indulge in the delicious traditional holiday feast with turkey and all the trimmings.
Lumination Lights Up the Holiday Season
At night, the incredible Lumination has also been extended by popular demand through the holiday season. Don’t miss this final chance to experience the Brass Ring-nominated event, which ends on January 8. The spectacular light displays, live shows, and bustling artisan marketplace are all brought to life by talented artists and performers from Zigong, China who have been living and working in Gilroy since June. It’s a truly unique cross-cultural way to enjoy the holiday season, and a perfect way to spend time with friends or family who are visiting from out of town.
Santa Sighting in Downtown Gilroy
For even more family fun, Santa Claus himself will be on hand to lead the Downtown Gilroy Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting on Saturday, December 3. This annual tradition keeps getting better every year! In addition to the parade, there will also be a doggie dress-up contest, many vendors supporting local non-profit groups, and performances by the Gilroy High School choir and Studio Three dancers.
Something for Everyone on your List
Of course, you probably have a lot of shopping to do this holiday season, but don’t worry—Gilroy’s got you covered there. Take advantage of everyday savings of 25-65% and extended holiday shopping hours at the 145+ brand stores of Gilroy Premium Outlets. Be sure to explore the charming antique stores and other locally-owned shops along Monterey Road in Downtown Gilroy. You can also find unique hand-made gifts at the Artisans’ Holiday Boutique at the Gilroy Center for the Arts (December 2-4) or the Fortino Winery Holiday Boutique (December 10-11).
No Overdue Fines at this Library
The holidays can get stressful, so make sure you set aside some time to unwind and relax. Solis Winery can help with that. They’re offering special Holiday Library Tastings each weekend in December—a rare opportunity to taste and purchase some of the wonderful super-premium wines from their library.
Celebrate the New Year with a Bang!
For the first time ever, Gilroy Gardens and Lumination will be open on New Year’s Eve, with an exciting fireworks show planned at midnight to celebrate the start of 2017. Hope to see you all there!
We are thankful for so many things to do in Gilroy this November!
Light Up the Night at Lumination
If you haven’t gotten out to see Lumination at Gilroy Gardens, don’t delay any longer! This spectacular night-time festival is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the incredible artistry of master lantern builders from Zigong, China. As you stroll at night along the “Silk Road,” you’ll see colossal light displays built from silk and steel that bring over 2,000 years of Chinese history and culture to life. Be sure to catch “Lumination Live,” the spectacular show featuring acrobats, jugglers and face-changing performers. There’s also a bustling artisan marketplace and delicious authentic Chinese food. Lumination is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights from 6-10 pm. Please note that rides are not running during the evening hours.
Ready, Set, SHOP!
November is the time to get ahead on your holiday shopping, and Gilroy’s the best place to do it! No need to fight the big-city crowds and traffic. At Gilroy Premium Outlets you can find everyday savings of 25%-65% on over 145 top designer brands—and truly incredible deals during the After-Thanksgiving Weekend Sale (Nov 24-27). And be sure to visit the fun boutiques and antique shops in downtown Gilroy too. It’s easy to find something for everyone on your list right here in Gilroy!
Enter Smiling…and Exit Laughing
Plan a date night in Downtown Gilroy! Enjoy the hilarious holiday show “Exit Laughing” by Limelight Actors Theater from November 4-26. You can bring your own dinner and wine—or place an order from The Milias Restaurant, and they’ll deliver right to the theater. Some of our other favorite things to do downtown include wine tasting at Bella Viva, dancing at The District Theater, rolling a few frames at Gilroy Bowl, or just unwinding with friends at Fifth Street Coffee Roasting Company.
Fall for Wine Tasting
As the days start to get cooler, warm up with a wine tasting tour! Late autumn is a lovely time to explore the 25+ wineries along the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail. You’ll find gorgeous fall color, a more relaxed environment, and of course some amazing (and award-winning) wines! Some special events coming up include the Fortino Winery Fall Boutique (November 19-20), and Solis Winery’s Holiday Library Tastings featuring vintage wines from the Solis vaults (weekends only, November 25 through December 31).
Gilroy’s got pumpkins, pilsners and pagodas on tap for October!
The Pumpkin People are Coming!
Keep your eye out for “pumpkin people” popping up throughout the town of Gilroy October 15-31 as part of a city-wide contest. To get in the spirit, local restaurants will be serving up a variety of creative and delicious pumpkin dishes—from pumpkin cheesecake to pumpkin martinis. Get your “pumpkin passport” stamped for every dish you try, and you might win a trip to South Lake Tahoe!
Raise a Mug to the Downtown Gilroy Beer Crawl
Now going on its third year, the Downtown Gilroy Halloween Beer Crawl has become one of our favorite events of the season! Come out on Saturday, October 22, from 2-6 pm for a day of costumes, craft beer, and great shopping for the over-21 crowd. There will be numerous pour stations set up throughout Downtown featuring great craft beers. Costumes are highly encouraged!
More Halloween Fun Going On All Month Long
On weekends in October, the Pony Up! Petting Zoo at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park will be transformed into “Spooky Zoo”—but don’t worry, it’s really not too scary! You can also find plenty o’ pumpkins and fun family activities all month long at Pumpkin Junction at Casa de Fruta. On October 31, come in costume and get a head start on your trick-or-treating at the “Halloween Spooktacular” at Gilroy Premium Outlets!
Discover Dragons and Dynasties at Lumination
If you haven’t yet experienced Lumination at Gilroy Gardens, don’t put it off any longer! This truly incredible night-time event includes towering pagodas, enormous dragons, and playful pandas, all sculpted from silk and steel and illuminated with thousands of LED bulbs. Come at 6pm to watch the live show, enjoy some authentic Chinese food for dinner, and stroll through the Chinese artisan marketplace. The magic really begins when the sun goes down and the lights come on!
Find your flavor this fall in Gilroy, CA!
Follow Your Taste for Adventure on Labor Day Weekend
Take advantage of the holiday weekend (September 3-5) to explore everything Gilroy’s got to offer! Head out to Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park for the ever-popular “All You Care to Eat” Labor Day Weekend BBQ, along with the Pony Up! Petting Zoo, Water Oasis, and over 40 fun rides and attractions. Be sure to come back at night for Lumination, the spectacular night-time celebration of Chinese culture featuring colossal light displays, live performances, authentic Chinese food, and artisan marketplace (separate ticket is required, and rides are not running during Lumination evening hours). Shop non-stop during the Labor Day Weekend Sale at Gilroy Premium Outlets and visit a wine tasting room (or two!) along the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail. Or enjoy a delicious dinner downtown at The Milias or Old City Hall and catch the hilarious new show “Buying the Moose” at Pintello Comedy Theater. Good thing you’ve got a three-day weekend to pack in all this excitement!
Where Will Your Passport Take YOU?
The 2016 Santa Clara Valley Wineries Fall Passport Weekend celebration (September 30 – October 2) is bigger and better than ever before! Purchase your ticket in advance for just $40 (or $45 at the door), then pick up your souvenir wine glass and come for select wine and food pairings on Friday evening at the Morgan Hill Community Center plus barrel tastings, live music, winery tours, new releases, and more at 25+ participating wineries all weekend long. Some tasting rooms will honor your passport throughout the month of October, so you can continue to visit the wonderful family-owned wineries along the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail. If you’ve wanted to give wine tasting a try, this is the perfect time to do it! Come in to the Gilroy Welcome Center or any participating winery to get your tickets today. Check the Hotels page of our website to book a room for your wine tasting weekend getaway!
Huzzah for the Renaissance Faire!
The Northern California Renaissance Faire returns to Casa de Fruta on weekends, from September 17 Through October 16. Heralded as one of the country’s best renaissance festivals, the Faire features live jousting tournaments, swashbuckling swordfighters, magic, storytelling, and non-stop music and dancing. You’ll also find hand-crafted creations by master artisans, and of course lots of great food and drink. Coming in from out of town? Be sure to book a room at one of Gilroy’s fine innkeepers so you can stay and tarry a while after carousing at the Faire.
Summer’s not over yet…and there’s still plenty of fun going on in Gilroy!
A Truly Illuminating Experience
Have you been to Lumination at Gilroy Gardens yet? As the sun sets, the entire park is transformed with all the sights and sounds of ancient China. This spectacular night-time festival takes visitors on a journey through 2,000 years of Chinese history and culture, with colossal silk-and-steel light displays of giant dragons, playful pandas, and the towering Temple of Heaven. Guests can also stroll through the Artisan Marketplace, enjoy authentic Chinese food, and watch nightly shows featuring live performers from China. Please note that separate night-time tickets are required for Lumination, and rides are not running during the evening hours.
The Garlic City Car Show is Rolling Back In!
The 15th annual Garlic City Car Show will cruise into downtown Gilroy on Saturday, August 20 and promises to be bigger and better than ever this year! All types of vehicles will be on display, from classic Model T’s and antique tractors to souped-up hot rods, muscle cars, the world speed record boat, and new cars too. There will be live music on three stages, a fun Kids Zone, and great food served up by your favorite downtown restaurants. It’s a great chance to hang out with friends and enjoy the cool downtown vibe. Hope to see you there!
Vineyard Vibes and Smokin’ Stogies
If you thought the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail was just about wine, think again! In August alone you can enjoy many musical events like KRTY Songwriters at Clos La Chance (8/5), Vines and Vibes at Guglielmo Winery (8/10 and 8/24), Music in the Vineyard at Fortino Winery (8/26), and the Sunset Music Series at Sarah’s Vineyard (every Friday night through September), just to name a few! Cigar and wine aficionados should definitely check out Cigars Under the Stars at Solis Winery (8/20 and 8/27), where you can enjoy two special cigars along with special wine and port selections.
Light Up Your Summer Nights at Lumination
When you do your back-to-school shopping at Gilroy Premium Outlets, you can save 25-65% on designer fashions for the whole family, including Nike, Banana Republic, Gap Outlet, Tommy Hilfiger, Lucky Brand, and more. Find even deeper discounts and extended hours during the Labor Day weekend sale, September 2-5.
Hang on tight…this July is going to be jam-packed with excitement in Gilroy!
Fire Up Your Fourth
The month starts off with a bang, with fun Fourth of July celebrations going on all over town. Bring the family to Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park and enjoy an all-you-can-eat Independence Day BBQ lunch in the Picnic Grove (July 2-4). Shop ‘til you drop at the Gilroy Premium Outlets and discover great bargains at the July 4th Summer Sale (July 1-4). Or cruise a few miles down the road to the historic Hollister Independence Rally and street music festival (July 1-3). And don’t miss fireworks on the Fourth at Gilroy High School (starting after sunset).
This year, July 4 also marks the start of the U.S. Women’s Open golf championship tournament at CordeValle (July 4-10). This is only the third time the U.S. Women’s Open has been conducted in California and the first ever in the Bay Area. We’re very excited to welcome some of the world’s greatest golfers—along with tens of thousands of golf enthusiasts—to this world-class course nestled in the rolling foothills north of Gilroy. Get your tickets and book a hotel room now to enjoy a great Gilroy golf getaway!
Light Up Your Summer Nights at Lumination
July 16 will be the official opening day for Lumination at Gilroy Gardens, a night-time event that celebrates over 2,000 years of Chinese history and culture. Craftsmen from Zigong, China are building amazing light displays throughout the park, including the incredible Porcelain Dragon, the towering Temple of Heaven, and the fascinating Bejewled Qilin. The festival also includes a bustling artisan marketplace, authentic Chinese food, and live performances. Note that separate tickets are required for night-time admission to Lumination, and rides will not be running during evening hours. It is a spectacular once-in-a-lifetime event that you definitely have to see to believe!
Light Up Your Summer Nights at Lumination
Closing out the month is the great garlic godfather of summer food festivals, the 38th annual Gilroy Garlic Festival (July 29-31). In addition to the usual lineup of great garlicky food, live entertainment, cooking competitions, and family fun, there are some exciting new events planned for this year. On Friday, teams of local first responder heroes will compete in the Champions for Charity cooking challenge to win $3,000 for their favorite charity. Friday will also mark the 25th year and final appearance of beloved cooking-and-comedy duo SakaBozzo on the Cook-Off Stage. On Saturday and Sunday, professional and amateur BBQers will compete in the first-ever Gilroy Garli-Que BBQ Challenge. Local radio station 95.3 KRTY has a great lineup of hot country stars (Brooke Eden, Drew Baldridge, and The Last Bandoleros) planned for Saturday at the Amphitheater Stage. And don’t forget to try the world-famous (and FREE) garlic ice cream!
Here in Gilroy, we’re celebrating the start of summer…and getting ready for the U.S. Women’s Open!
Gilroy is for dancers!
Now that the weather’s starting to warm up, you’ll find no shortage of great outdoor music concerts in and around Gilroy. The Sunset Music Series at Sarah’s Vineyard features live performances, fine wines, and delicious catered meals every Friday night through September. Wednesday nights are perfect for unwinding with “Vines & Vibes” at Guglielmo Winery. Fortino Winery hosts “Music in the Vineyard” on Friday, June 24. And starting June 17, you can also enjoy free Friday night concerts at “Fifth Street Live” in downtown Gilroy. Just don’t forget to bring your dancing shoes!
Spice up Dad’s day
Father’s Day is coming up on June 19! Make Dad’s day truly special with a great Gilroy getaway. You can book a tee time at Eagle Ridge Golf Course, plan a family Camp Night on June 18 at Gilroy Gardens, go for a hike at Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear or Mt. Madonna, or go wine tasting along the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail. Treat him to a delicious meal at The Milias, Old City Hall, Mama Mia’s, or Westside Grill. You can also find great gifts for Dad—at prices that won’t bust your budget—at Gilroy Premium Outlets. Save 25-65% off on all his favorite brands, including Nike, Kenneth Cole, Ralph Lauren Polo, Timberland, and Tommy Hilfiger.
Let your dog take you for a walk
You don’t have to leave your dog at home when you hike in Gilroy! In fact, two upcoming ranger-led events are specially designed for four-footed friends. On June 7, you can “Hike with a Ranger and His Best Friend” on a fun and educational hike at Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear. Or grab a flashlight and head over to Mt. Madonna to explore the redwood forest on a “Pawsitive Dog Hike” the evening of June 25. See the Outdoor Recreation page for more local parks and trails.
Who will rise up and claim her spot in history?
The ultimate championship in women’s golf is coming to CordeValle! Don’t miss the U.S. Women’s Open Championship (July 4-10), the first U.S. Women’s Open ever hosted in the Bay Area. Whether you come as a spectator or a volunteer, be sure to stay and explore Gilroy’s award-winning wineries, great outlet shopping, and outstanding restaurants while you’re in town! Check our Lodging page and make your reservation now.
From Mother’s Day to Memorial Day, the month of May is full of fun things to do in Gilroy!
Make Mother’s Day Extra Special
Gilroy’s got plenty of options to make your Mother’s Day extra special. Come out to Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park on May 8 for the opening of Water Oasis. While the kids splash and play, moms (and dads!) can sit back in under the palm trees and relax with tropical drinks. That afternoon, the park also hosts a special Mother’s Day Champagne and Dessert Reception in the Events Plaza (separate tickets are required).
If your mother loves music, take her to the South Valley Symphony concert on May 8 at Mission San Juan Bautista—it’s a beautiful venue to hear amazing music by Canadian, Argentinian, Mexican, and American composers. Mom might also love to go wine tasting along the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail, go for a shopping spree at Gilroy Premium Outlets, or head downtown for lunch or dinner at The Milias, Old City Hall, or Garlic City Café.
Wings of History Open House
Come discover one of South County’s hidden treasures on Saturday, May 14, when the Wings of History Museum at the San Martin Airport opens the hangar doors for its annual Open House. Enjoy free admission to the museum and displays, plus free airplane rides for kids ages 8-17, tethered hot air balloon rides, radio-controlled model aircraft demonstrations, and lots of hands-on activities. You’ll see airplanes of all kinds, plus antique cars, farm equipment, steam engines, and more. This event is high-flying fun for all ages!
Gilroy Downtown Art & Wine Stroll
Saturday, May 21 is the annual Downtown Gilroy Art & Wine Stroll, a great opportunity to explore historic downtown Gilroy while you shop, sip, and stroll. Thirty different downtown businesses will be serving as “pouring stations” for a wide selection of wines from local award-winning wineries. You’ll also enjoy live entertainment, art exhibits, special dining, and more. Pre-sale tickets are just $25 and available at the Gilroy Welcome Center. This is a “don’t miss” event and a great chance to discover the wonderful shops and restaurants in downtown Gilroy!
A Memorable Memorial Day Weekend
One of Gilroy’s most treasured traditions is the annual Memorial Day Parade, taking place this year on Monday, May 30. As someone once observed, it seems that half the town participates in this parade—while the other half is there to watch! The parade is a wonderful way to salute our veterans and soak up the small-town spirit that makes Gilroy such a special place.
You’ll also find other ways to celebrate all weekend long. Enjoy the All-You-Can-Eat BBQ at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park and take advantage of great sales at Gilroy Premium Outlets. Follow the Wine Trail to Solis Winery, which hosts their annual “Syrah & Sausage” event on Monday (5/30). The long weekend is also a great time to explore the great outdoors and all the outstanding hiking and biking trails at Harvey Bear–Coyote Lake, Mt. Madonna, Henry Coe, and other nearby parks.