In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, escape for the weekend to a enjoy a more relaxed pace in Gilroy, a city surrounded by the rolling hills to the east and the tree-covered foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west.
Gilroy is the perfect place to spend a weekend celebrating the holidays and preparing for the gift-giving season. What better way to combine two fantastic things—having fun with your loved ones while also getting some gift-giving checked off your list!
From the holiday events at our family theme park to our restaurants, boutique wineries, and great shopping, Gilroy has plenty of holiday activities and gift-giving options for everyone!
To make it easy for you, we’ve prepared a festive and fun weekend getaway itinerary!
- Arrive in Gilroy late Saturday morning in downtown Gilroy.
- Grab a coffee or tea at Fifth St. Coffee Roasting Co. (on Fifth St. & Monterey St.) to keep you toasty as you stroll through downtown Gilroy.
- Be sure to take a photo with the railroad mural outside the coffee shop.
- Cross the street to take a photo in front of our giant “Garlic Capital of the World” mural and Wineries of Santa Clara mural in the parking lot (where Fifth St. ends at Monterey St.)
- Explore historic downtown Gilroy. You can take the self-guided historic walking tour with our map (a paper copy is also available at the California Welcome Center Gilroy) and explore historical buildings or those designed by renowned architect William H. Weeks.
- To learn more of Gilroy’s rich history, visit the Gilroy Historic Paseo—a walkway with several colorful panels filled with pictures and descriptions of the past. They cover agriculture, the cowboy era, garlic, festivals and attractions, diverse founders and settlers, and more. (Located midway between Fifth and Sixth Streets on Monterey Street.)
- Once you’re done exploring, stop for lunch at one of the fantastic downtown restaurants. Try some local garlic dishes from Garlic City Café, explore the historical Old City Hall building for lunch, or enjoy local western history at The Milias Restaurant, where celebrities like John Wayne and Frank Sinatra visited in days past. Before leaving, purchase some gift cards for your family and friends to enjoy a meal out on their next visit to Gilroy.
- For the afternoon, stop at a local winery for a restful reprieve and delicious tasting. We have beautiful wineries in the Gilroy area, and many have special boutiques, events, and live entertainment. Check our events calendar for details. While you’re there, pick up some great wine as gifts for the vino-lovers in your life!
- Check into your budget-friendly hotel to drop off your purchases and enjoy a rest break.
- Bundle up and head out for a wonderful dinner at another one of our great local restaurants. Enjoy some garlic dishes at Mama Mia’s Restaurant or The Claddagh Irish Restaurant and Pub at Hecker Pass Plaza, or enjoy a delicious meal at Westside Grill, a local, family-owned restaurant. Here’s another great opportunity to pick up some restaurant gift cards for loved ones for gifts before you go.
- Head over for a fun, family night out at Gilroy Gardens Holiday (open select dates from November 25 through December 31, 2022.) Take in the festive holiday lights while riding the vintage train, carousels, roller coasters, and more. Get a picture of the kids visiting Santa, go ice skating on the special holiday rink, and check out the interactive light tunnel with lights synchronized to holiday music. Sing along to live entertainment and enjoy special festive food and drinks. Make your night one to remember! You can extend this great experience with family and friends by purchasing them the gift of Premium Membership passes, which are good for the 2022 and 2023 year, including special holiday events.
- After your busy but exciting day filled with memory-making adventures, head back to your hotel for a good night’s rest.
- Get up at your leisure and choose from a great selection of Breakfast Hot Spots to fill up on the most important meal of the day.
- Grab the family and head out to the Gilroy Premium Outlets for some fun shopping! Get amazing discounts during the holidays in the Mega Merry Holiday Gift Guide good through Dec. 24, 2022. Find the perfect gift for everyone on your list—from athletic gear at Nike or Lululemon to winter coats from North Face or Columbia to gift cards for your teen’s favorite stores—and while you’re at it, pick up something fun yourself (with the great holiday prices, now’s the perfect time!)
- Stop in at the California Welcome Center Gilroy in the Gilroy Premium Outlets, near Forever 21, to pick up some more fantastic gifts or souvenirs—from garlic olive oils to shirts, mugs, Gilroy and California items, and so much more. We can also help guide you to more things to do in Gilroy or help you plan your next family trip to Gilroy!
- After all your hard work shopping, you’re sure to need some sustenance. Choose from 25 authentic Mexican restaurants along the Gilroy Taco Trail for a delicious lunch!
- When you’re ready to head home, stop at Casa de Fruta on your way out of town. This is the perfect stop to let the kids stretch their legs one more time. They can ride the train or the double-decker carousel or mine for gems at the miner’s sluice. Before you go, you can pick up some more great gifts from the Casa de Wine, Casa de Sweets, or the Fruit Stand. Choose from gourmet gift baskets, dried fruits, nuts, all kinds of candies, pies, and their famous fruity wines. You won’t want to miss this special stop!
- Last but not least, check your calendar to plan another trip for next spring or summer—Gilroy has so many more things to see and do!
For your holiday weekend getaway to Gilroy, book one of our budget-friendly hotels. Be sure to check out our Visit Gilroy website for more information and stop in the California Welcome Center Gilroy where our friendly staff can help you find more great things to do on your weekend in our “Community with a Spice for Life.”