10 Things to Know About Living in Santa Clara

Thinking of moving to Santa Clara? This California city is located in the heart of Silicon Valley and filled with tons of job opportunities, amazing restaurants, and fun outdoor recreation. Here are ten things you need to know about living in Santa Clara!

Thrive in Mission City

Home of the first outpost of Spanish civilization in the Santa Clara ValleyMission Santa Clara de Asís—Mission City now offers residents a place to live and work comfortably. While the cost of living in Santa Clara is more expensive than the national average, it’s significantly more affordable than other nearby Silicon Valley cities such as Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Cupertino, and Sunnyvale. Plus, Santa Clara County is one of the wealthiest areas of the U.S., with a low unemployment rate and income per capita significantly above the state and national averages, which can help offset some of the higher living costs in the Bay Area. As an added bonus, Santa Clara offers top-notch schools, amazing restaurants, and gorgeous homes perfect for those of all ages.

Work in Silicon Valley

Moving to Santa Clara in search of a new career? Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the city offers an abundance of business opportunities and plenty of tech companies with offices and headquarters nearby. Secure a job in engineering and manufacturing at NVIDIA, Intel, or Applied Materials, three of Santa Clara’s largest employers. Further your career in healthcare at area hospital Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center—which ranks among the best U.S. hospitals. Or take advantage of major roadways like U.S. Hwy 101 to seek opportunities at world-renowned big-tech offices located within miles of the city, such as Apple, Google, and Meta. Additional commuter options in Santa Clara include public buses and light rails from the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and train lines through Santa Clara Caltrain Station. And if you need to travel further afield, the San José Mineta International Airport is located on Santa Clara’s eastern edge!

Check Out Big-City Universities

If you’re planning to pursue a degree, Santa Clara offers high-quality options for further education. Become a Bronco and explore more than 50 areas of study, including special programs in law, medicine, and teaching at Santa Clara University—one of the oldest universities in California. Get hands-on training for a career as an electrician, medical assistant, or cloud computing specialist at the Institute for Business & Technology. Register for classes in programs such as culinary arts, accounting, and nursing at Mission College Santa Clara. Or head 30 minutes outside the city to receive a top-tier education in undergrad and graduate programs such as economics, engineering, and computer science at Stanford University, which is one of the best universities in the nation.

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Explore the Scenic Outdoors

One of the best things about living in Santa Clara is all the awesome outdoor activities you can do year-round, thanks to the city’s beautiful Mediterranean climate and local scenery. Spend the day playing tennis, going for a dip in the pool, and having a family barbecue at the 52-acre Central Park. Spot over 180 different species of birds, let your kids participate in the scavenger hunt, or embark on a bike ride at Ulistac Natural Area. Hit the driving range, practice your putts, or go for par on the nine-hole course at Pruneridge Golf Club. Get some air time as you bike your way through the rollings hills and jumps at Santa Clara PAL BMX Track. Head out for a morning run, bike ride, or walk with your dog along the creek at San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail. Or explore the 30+ parks scattered throughout this NorCal city, perfect for a family day.

Spend the Day at California’s Great America

Located in Santa Clara’s northern end, you can spend the whole day filled with exhilarating adventure and live entertainment at California’s Great America Amusement Park. Start your day by hopping on family-friendly rides such as the Berserker, Flying Eagles, and Pacific Gliders. Snap a photo with Snoopy and the rest of the PEANUTS characters at Planet Snoopy. Cool off in the South Bay Shores Waterpark with rides such as the giant Pacific Surge waterslide or Tide Pool. Channel your inner daredevil and hop on one of the many rollercoasters like the Psycho Mouse, Gold Striker, and The Grizzly. Relax at one of the park’s live shows featuring music and dancing while enjoying funnel cakes, boba tea, sushi rolls, and other amusement park favorites. Or make a visit during special events such as Carnivale at Orleans Place or Tricks and Treats.

Visit Top Santa Clara Museums & Historical Sites

Looking for history, culture, and science in Santa Clara? There are plenty of museums to visit! Journey through decades of innovation and technology in the interactive exhibits on the semiconductor industry and chip fabrication at Intel Museum. Stroll through the sculpture garden, view artwork from local Greater Bay Area and national artists, and tour exhibits like An Ode to Planets and Palace of Leaves at the Triton Museum of Art. Learn about California’s Mission-era history or explore the extensive collections of decorative art, new media, and more at the de Saisset Museum. Check out the model trains and view historic railroad artifacts in the original Santa Clara Railroad Depot at South Bay Historical Railroad Society. Head a few minutes outside the city and learn about Ancient Egypt at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum—home to the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in western North America. Or take a haunted flashlight tour through the 160-room mansion at the Winchester Mystery House.

Enjoy Year-Round Family Fun

You can find a variety of fun things to do in Santa Clara with the family! Putt your way around the medieval castle course in a round of mini golf or score some tickets in the arcade at Golfland USA. Spend the day shopping at luxury stores like Bloomingdale’s and Louis Vuitton at Westfield Valley Fair or Lululemon and Sephora at Santana Row. Support local businesses and get fresh fruit, vegetables, or beautiful flowers while strolling through the weekly Santa Clara Farmers Market. Attend concerts from musical artists like Luke Combs and The Rolling Stones or learn about California football history inside the museum when you visit Levi’s Stadium. Join a book club, take your little ones to storytime, and sign your older kids up for LEGO Club at the Santa Clara Public Library. Or participate in fun events like cookie decorating, painting, and hand-building clay workshops at Jiaren Cafe.

Cheer On Your Favorite Sports Teams

When you move to Santa Clara, you’ll want to learn the California football history on how the city came to be the home of the San Francisco 49ers (NFL)! After unsuccessful attempts to find a suitable location for a stadium in the city of San Francisco, the team ultimately had a state-of-the-art stadium built in 2014 next to the players’ long-time training facility. Now, fans from Santa Clara and the rest of the Bay Area can spend the morning tailgating in the parking lot before cheering on the players during games at Levi’s Stadium. But the 49ers aren’t the only sports team to support! Watch the San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) hit the pitch and score some goals against their opponents at PayPal Park. Root for the Santa Clara Broncos (NCAA D-I) during a volleyball, basketball, or soccer game at Leavey Center or Stevens Stadium-Buck Shaw Field. Register your kids for a recreational or competitive Santa Clara Youth Soccer league and watch them play locally or nationally. Or find an adult sports league to join in on the fun, as well!

Attend Fun Santa Clara Events

Throughout the year, there are several Santa Clara festivals and events to participate in. Get a taste of fine wines and food, shop for unique gifts from 160+ arts and crafts booths, and hear local bands perform non-stop hits from every genre during the Santa Clara Art & Wine Festival. Grab your lawn chairs and blankets to watch family-friendly films on a giant inflatable screen at one of the city’s many parks during Sunset Cinema. Celebrate the Santa Clara community and frontline heroes with food trucks, street dances, a parade, and more during the Santa Clara Parade of Champions. Head to Central Park for festive fun such as singing along to holiday music while sipping hot cocoa, perusing the vendor booths, and taking a photo with Santa during the Holiday Tree Lighting. Or step into a Winter Wonderland and enjoy ice skating, fresh baked cookies in Mrs. Claus’ kitchen, and live shows at California’s Great America WinterFest.

Taste Cuisines from All Over the World

Residents of this Bay Area city will find flavors and cuisines from all across the globe! Start your morning with fresh artisan breads and authentic French pastries like the Jalapeno Cheddar Country Bread, Mango Croissant, and Hazelnut Raspberry Pain Au Chocolat at Croissante. Order traditional Korean dishes like the Bulgogi B.B.Q., Bibimbap, and Seafood Soon Tofu at Jang Su Jang. Find some of the best Mexican food in Santa Clara at Puesto Santa Clara, with rotating dishes like the Passionfruit & Mango Shrimp Ceviche or Chicken Al Pastor Tacos and drinks like Puesto’s Famous Horchata. Taste classic Italian dishes like the Cappellini Gamberoni, Eggplant Parmesan, and Goat Cheese Pizza at Mio Vicino—a local Santa Clara favorite for over 30 years. Try fresh seafood like the Crispy Baja Shrimp Taco, Miso Black Cod, and Serrano Ahi Poke at Pacific Catch Santa Clara. Or enjoy a nice Santa Clara date night by ordering the Wild Boar Ragu or Prime Blackened Ribeye, and finish off with the Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake for dessert at Birk’s Restaurant.

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Moving to Santa Clara? Extra Space Storage has convenient self storage facilities located throughout NorCal to help with your move. Find affordable Santa Clara storage near you!

About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.

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