Santa Clara, California is hosting the Super Bowl 2016 for the first time. Judging by the city’s official Instagram and government website, residents are stoked. The city is hosting a (sold out) day long ‘Countdown to Kickoff’ celebration complete with fireworks and a celebrity football game.
But not to worry. If you’re heading to Super Bowl 2016 to watch Cam Newton dab on ‘em, then there is plenty to do in the city before and after the big game. Here are the top 10 things to do when you decide to #SeeSomeSantaClara. — Marquaysa Battle
1. Check out the “Gridiron Glory’ Exhibit at Triton Museum
In celebration of Santa Clara hosting its first Super Bowl, the Triton Museum now features the Pro-Football Hall of Fame. The Gridiron Glory exhibit shows off lots of artifacts in the form of jerseys and footballs, but also explores football’s impact on the culture and the science of it all. The science portion is the perfect time to ask your tour guide about the concussion controversy, if it is not included.
2. Take A Walking Tour of Santa Clara’s Historic Homes
California is known for its beautiful buildings, especially old Victorian homes, some of which you can actually tour. For a map and full list of historic homes for your walking tour, visit here.
3. Enjoy the View at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA
Take a 20 minute drive out to Saratoga to unwind at the Mountain Winery. It sits on, well, a mountain that overlooks Santa Clara Valley. Founder Paul Masson, was from a prestigious winemaking family and enjoyed lots of success after a wine partnership with fellow vintner, Charles Lefranc. He ventured off in 1901 to build his own winery.
A full-out amphitheater has been added to make the facility as much a concert venue as a winery. The place has amazing views and the building is the perfect mix of old and modern architecture. Visit to catch a concert, tour the grounds, throw a few wine glasses back or all of the above.
4. Roll Out at K1 Speed!
Santa Clara is known for its amusement parks and other family attractions, but unfortunately, they won't be open during Super Bowl 2016. You can still get your thrills in an old-fashioned race. K-1 Speed has cars that go up to 45 mph and also a Pit Café for you to grub afterwards.
5. Visit the Intel Museum
You do not have to be a techie to enjoy yourself at the Intel Museum. Intel is the company responsible for computer chips and also a manufacturer of laptops, tablets and such. The most popular part of the museum is the Binary Rain exhibit, which has virtual rain that falls into your hands to represent code (like the ‘Rain Room’ at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art).
Fun Fact: Did you know that will.I.Am—Black Eye Peas will.I.Am— is the creative director of innovation at Intel?
6. Discover the Wonders of the Winchester Mystery House
It's the former estate of Sarah Winchester, the widow of the heir of the Winchester rifle fortune. After her husband's passing, Winchester inherited at $20m fortune and her earning were $100 a day (in 2013 numbers, around $28k). Winchester used her endless income to build her dream house, which includes 160 rooms, including 40 bedrooms, 2 ballrooms (one completed and one unfinished) as well as 47 fireplaces, two basements and three elevators. Construction on the home lasted 38 years, and remained unfinished at the time of Winchester's death. Why is it called a mystery? Because Winchester allowed her belief in ghosts to guide the bizarre construction, which includes doors and stairs that go nowhere, windows overlooking other rooms and more.
7. Visit Koreatown for a Roasted Sweet Potato
Koreatown is the unofficial name of the area because they city felt official recognition would be “exclusionary”. (It’s located on the El Camino Real if you look for it on a map.) But everyone calls it Koreatown, anyway. Visit for a taste of authentic Korean foods, tea and cool shopping finds. There’s a stall there that sells roasted sweet potatoes. Locals rave about this hot and healthy treat. Visit here for more details.
8. Explore the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
Take the 15 minute drive to San Jose to explore the Rosicrucian Museum. It is the only museum in the United States that is 100% dedicated to Egyptian culture and subsequently, has the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts on display. Even the architecture is fashioned after the Egyptian style. Different exhibits show daily life in Egypt, burial practices and of course—the life of royal Pharoahs. Many of the artifacts were donated from actual Egyptian burial grounds. Admission is free Wednesday through Friday, 4 to 5PM.
9. Indulge Your Sweet Tooth at Stan’s Donut Shop
Stan’s Donut Shop has been a community staple in Santa Clara for 50 years. The small shop is set up diner-style and also serves sandwiches, homemade chocolate bars and drinks. Locals say the donuts are worth the wait, and recommend you keep it simple with their original glazed. NOTE: The venue is super popular so locals usually stand in a pretty long line.
10. Visit Mission Santa Clara de Asis
Mission Santa Clara is the 8th of the 21 missions in California. Originally founded in 1777, the Spanish mission has been rebuilt a few times due to floods, earthquakes and fires. The current mission, located on the campus of Santa Clara University, was built in 1922 and features a bell and a few statues from the mission destroyed by fire. For more information, visit here.