Gilroy Welcome Center
Twenty miles south of Silicon Valley rests a charming town nestled among garlic crop and vineyards. An agricultural haven, Gilroy, California has been nicknamed the “Garlic Capital” since 1980. Just a 90-minute drive from San Francisco, here’s how to best spend 48 hours in the Garlic Capital of the World.
Where to dine in Gilroy
Being the garlic capital of the world, it is no surprise that much of Gilroy’s cuisine is infused with rich, tasty garlic notes.
Cruise the Monterey Road strip to find a wide offering of locally-sourced dishes made with - what else - savoury garlic. Stop by Milias Restaurant for seafood pasta, Cielito Lindo for chili verde, or the Old City Hall restaurant for roasted garlic heads and the popular Gilroy Roasted Garlic Burger.
Whatever you do, don’t leave without trying Gilroy’s famous garlic ice cream. You can find it at Pacheco Pass Produce, a no-frills stand located near the outlets.
Taste and experience Gilroy’s wine culture
Gilroy is not just a garlic paradise: being in the Santa Clara Valley, family-owned vineyards and wineries serve up award-winning wines totally worth tasting.
“Our wines get what God gives them,” we overhead one such winemaker say while praising Hecker Pass Winery’s old European-style wine production. The winery is just a stone’s throw from a cluster of vineyards that include Solis and Fortino Wineries.
Tasting fees are usually $5-10 USD but are often waived for patrons who buy one or two bottles. For a full day of wine tasting, commission one of Gilroy’s taxi services or book a tasting shuttle.
Rest and rejuvenate
When in Gilroy, be sure to secure a comfy abode that will serve as a temporary sanctuary.
Only a few minute’s drive from Gilroy’s Historic District, Gilroy Gardens theme park, country clubs, and wineries, the Hilton Garden Inn Gilroy has modern rooms and must-have amenities that will keep you at ease.
Dip your toes in the heated outdoor pool, jump on a bike in the fitness facility, or keep on top of your emails in the 24-hour business center. The best part? Hilton Garden Inn Gilroy also serves guest requests with a robot named Archie, who delivers anything you need from the front desk right to your door.
Gilroy Welcome Center
If you’re lucky enough to visit Gilroy in July, don’t miss the famous annual Garlic Festival in Christmas Park. Founded in 1979, the festival offers the perfect opportunity to taste garlic-adorned fares that are both delicious and eclectic. The three-day event attracts some 100,000 attendees and features food competitions, live entertainment, artisan crafts, and of course — lots of garlic.
A perennial visitor favourite is Gilroy's beloved Gilroy Gardens. Visitors should make a point to seek out the weird and wonderful collection of Circus Trees. They were born from the creative mind of Axel Erlandson who artistically grafted and shaped the trees into the most curious of shapes. If your visit coincides with winter, make a plan to visit after dark when the gardens are transformed by thousands of twinkling lights.
Once you've picked up a haul of garlicky goods at Garlic World, take advantage of designer deals at the Gilroy Premium Outlets, located right off Highway 101. With over 145 shops, savvy shoppers are spoiled for choice. It's also home to the Gilroy Welcome Centre.
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