Santa Clara Getaway: A Family's Two-Day Itinerary

By Ben Landis, Marketing Manager

Santa Clara, with its vibrant mix of thrilling attractions, history, culture, and serene natural beauty, stands out as an ideal destination for your next family getaway. From exploring the innovative tech scene to indulging in world-class dining and shopping experiences, Santa Clara promises an unforgettable getaway filled with adventure and relaxation. We're thrilled to extend a warm welcome to Santa Clara and offer our suggestions for a delightful two-day stay for families eager to discover all that this city has to offer.

Travel and Lodging

Getting into Santa Clara and staying here is a cakewalk. Whether you're herding young children, dealing with angsty teenagers, or somewhere in between, we'll make sure your travel and lodging are the least of your worries. (And we’ll say a little prayer for you too.)

Flying in is easily accessible, with San Jose Mineta Airport (SJC) just about 5 miles away. You can fly in from a bunch of locations around the United States. If you’re a bit closer to Santa Clara and prefer to drive into the city, you have highways such as 880, 82 (Better known as El Camino Real), 101, and 237 all surrounding Santa Clara.

When you enter Santa Clara, hospitality is the name of the game, with numerous hotels backed by world-class brands such as Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott. With a diverse selection catering to boutique, upscale, classic, or modern preferences, you are bound to find a stay that perfectly aligns with your tastes and needs. If you want to see a list of all our recommended hotels and all their offerings in Santa Clara, we recommend that you click here.

Day 1- Explore Santa Clara: A Day of Museums, Dining, and Shopping

Are you ready to step back in time and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Santa Clara? Put on your best walking shoes and join us for a day full of learning and discovery. From historic sites to cultural landmarks, Santa Clara has a wealth of knowledge waiting to be explored.

i. Step Into Silicon Valley's Past: Intel Museum

Kick off your morning at the Intel Museum, where you'll discover the birthplace of Silicon Valley. Intel is the company that pioneered the microprocessor, a tiny but powerful electronic device that serves as the brain of a computer.

It's responsible for performing all the instructions of a computer program, including arithmetic, logic, and control functions. It's incredible to think that something as small as a microprocessor, which you likely carry around in your pocket or purse in your cell phone, plays such a crucial role in helping you perform everyday tasks. At the Intel Museum, you'll have the opportunity to explore the cutting-edge technologies that are transforming the way we work, learn, play, and communicate. With 10,000 square feet of free interactive exhibits, the museum offers a fun and educational experience for both children and adults.

(Intel Museum)

ii. Lunchtime- Savoring Santa Clara

After learning about one of the driving forces and pioneers of Silicon Valley, you might be feeling hungry for more than just knowledge. It's time to satisfy your appetite with a delicious meal. It’s lunchtime.

If you open up your Yelp app or check Google, chances are you'll find something tasty. Santa Clara boasts a plethora of amazing dining options for you to explore. To get you started, here are some fan-favorites in the area. Experience gourmet burgers and new American cuisine at Eureka! Santa Clara, explore the offerings of the Michelin Guide recommended Korean restaurant Jang Su Jang, or perhaps indulge in the unique Japanese and Italian fusion at La Casa Mia.

(Eureka! Santa Clara)

iii. Explore Santa Clara University's Historic Beauty

Now it's time to walk off your delicious lunch and dive deeper into Santa Clara's culture. Our next stop is Santa Clara University, known for its beautiful campus with a primarily Mission Revival style, characterized by Spanish colonial revival elements. The campus boasts red-tiled roofs, white stucco buildings, arched doorways, and beautiful courtyards, reminiscent of the Spanish missions that dot the California landscape.

Santa Clara University shares its grounds with the Mission Santa Clara de Asís, a treasured landmark dating back to the 18th century. Marvel at its majestic architecture and serene surroundings. Visitors can step inside to admire the intricate details of its adobe walls, ornate altar, and peaceful courtyard, gaining insight into the region's cultural heritage. The church is open 7 days a week from 7 am to 7 pm. (Pro Tip: We advise you to call ahead to see if there are any events that may impact your visit, especially on weekends.)

Continuing our cultural exploration, immerse yourself in art and history at the de Saisset Museum, open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm. The museum showcases captivating exhibitions featuring both contemporary works and timeless masterpieces. From thought-provoking installations to culturally significant artifacts, the museum offers a fascinating journey through the intersection of creativity and history. For further information about Santa Clara University and its array of attractions on-site, please visit


(Santa Clara University)

iv. Shop Until You Drop at Westfield Valley Fair

To wrap up your day, spend the evening at Westfield Valley Fair. This premier shopping center in Silicon Valley offers an amazing, top-notch shopping experience that's sure to be a delight. Explore a vast array of shops, including all your favorites, offering everything from high-end fashion to trendy and up-and-coming retailers, as well as electronics and more.

After all the walking and learning from the day, you're probably hungry again. Time for dinner! With over 70 food and drink options, you can indulge your taste buds at renowned eateries such as Baekjeong, Eataly, Din Tai Fung, and many others. (Pro Tip: These restaurants can fill up quickly, so you may want to make a reservation beforehand.)

In addition to shopping and dining, Westfield Valley Fair offers a variety of fun activities. Unleash your competitive spirit at Bowlero, where you can enjoy bowling and arcade games. Or perhaps you can experience the thrill of immersive escape rooms at The Escape Game, perfect for those who love puzzles and challenges. For a more relaxed evening, catch a movie at ShowPlace ICON Theatre & Kitchen, where you can enjoy the latest blockbuster films in a luxurious setting.

(Westfield Valley Fair)

Day 2- A Day of Thrills and Adventure: Great America

v. Fuel up: Santa Clara’s Breakfast Delights Await!

Good morning! Day 2 is here! For breakfast, you can enjoy a delicious meal at your hotel, or if you're looking for a different experience, Santa Clara offers several fun options.

Boichik Bagels is a popular choice, known for their delicious and freshly baked New York-style bagels with a variety of toppings and spreads. Bloom is another great option, offering a cozy atmosphere and a menu featuring creative and flavorful dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. For a more traditional breakfast experience, Mission City Grill is a classic choice, serving up a hearty breakfast in a casual setting.

Breakfast just may be one of the most important meals of the day, so no matter what you end up doing, you're sure to experience a delicious breakfast in Santa Clara, ensuring you start the day strong!

(Boichik Bagels)

vi. Embark on a Thrilling Adventure at California’s Great America

Next on the list, experience California's Great America! This amusement park is Santa Clara's pride and joy, boasting over 100 acres of thrilling rides, entertaining shows, and family-friendly attractions. It offers an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

Great America is a seasonal destination, open from Spring to Winter. Before planning your visit, we recommend checking their website for a full list of open days and scheduled activities/events. Since this is a full-day event, clear up the rest of your schedule, buckle in, and enjoy the ride (literally, in this case).

When planning your visit to California's Great America, it's wise to buy tickets and passes online in advance. This not only saves you time but also ensures you have everything ready for a seamless entry into the park.

To enhance your experience at California's Great America, consider purchasing additional packages available on their website. These include the Fast Lane pass, which allows you to skip the lines on select rides and attractions, ensuring you make the most of your day. Meal plans are also available, offering convenience and savings on dining options throughout the park. For those looking to capture memories, the FunPix photo package is a great choice, including unlimited digital downloads of all your photos taken at select locations throughout the park, allowing you to relive your adventures long after your visit. For a more luxurious experience, consider renting one of Great America's cabanas at South Bay Shores. These cabanas offer a private retreat with amenities such as comfortable seating, shade, and food and beverage service, providing a VIP experience for you and your group. To explore these options and enhance your visit, visit California's Great America's website for more information and pricing details.

Once inside, you'll find an array of thrilling rides to enjoy. California's Great America boasts an impressive array of rides that cater to thrill-seekers of all ages. From heart-pounding roller coasters like RailBlazer, Patriot, and Gold Striker to family-friendly attractions like the Carousel Columbia and Celebration Swings, there's something for everyone. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, the Drop Tower and Flight Deck offer exhilarating experiences.

Open in the summer to beat the heat, explore South Bay Shores. The park's water attractions, such as NorCal Wipeout, Breakers Bay, and Pacific Surge, provide a refreshing break from the California sun. You can easily find out more about all the rides and operating hours on the website.

When it comes to dining, California's Great America offers a variety of options to suit every taste and budget. From quick bites to sit-down restaurants, there's something for everyone. For a list of dining options, visit

Throughout the year, California's Great America hosts seasonal events that add to the excitement. In the summer, Carnivale at Orleans Place is a colorful celebration with live music, dancing, and festive decorations. Tricks and Treats is a Halloween event filled with spooky fun for the whole family. WinterFest transforms the park into a winter wonderland with ice skating, holiday lights, and seasonal treats. For a full list of events and dates, visit

There is so much to do, and we could suggest an order for exploring the rides, activities, and shows. However, our final Pro Tip for California’s Great America is to explore the park for yourself. Grab a map, talk to the employees, and wander around with curiosity. This way, you will get to experience the best of the park and find which experiences interest you the most.

Great America Carousel

(California's Great America)

vii. Finish with Fine Dining in Santa Clara

After a long day at Great America, you could call it a day and rightfully so if you choose to do that. With likely over 15,000 steps logged walking around the park, and hunger setting in, we recommend concluding your trip with a memorable, higher-end dining experience. Perhaps you can briefly return to your hotel and freshen up and dress a tad nicer.

We recommend experiencing the exquisite offerings of three renowned establishments: Birks, Flemmings, and Chungdam. At Birks, indulge in classic American cuisine with a modern twist, featuring premium cuts of steak and fresh seafood. Flemmings offers a sophisticated steakhouse experience, boasting perfectly aged steaks and an extensive wine list. Lastly, Chungdam invites you to savor the flavors of higher-end Korean BBQ, with premium meats grilled to perfection at your table. Each of these restaurants promises an elevated dining experience that will captivate your taste buds and leave a lasting impression. Reservations are highly recommended a day or two ahead of time if not required for most of these dining destinations. (And for those who really like to plan ahead, feel free to book a week in advance too.)

(Flemings Santa Clara)

viii. Checking Out of Santa Clara

As your excursion in Santa Clara comes to a close, we want to be the first to say, “thank you for visiting Santa Clara.” Whether you're returning for the plethora of amazing dining experiences or to witness the 49ers play during football season, Santa Clara has much to offer. Perhaps your favorite musical artist is coming to Levi’s Stadium? We will always welcome you back with open arms. Until next time, safe travels, our friends

To continue discovering Santa Clara, make sure to follow us on Instagram at @discoversantaclara and tag us in your Santa Clara photos!