DescriptionGarlic was first commercially grown in Gilroy by immigrant Japanese farmers following World War I, and today this town a little more than an hour's drive south of San Francisco is a major garlic processor. Beloved by cooks and the bane of vampires, this aromatic relative of the onion is a $100-million-a-year industry in the self-proclaimed “Garlic Capital of the World.” At the annual Garlic Festival, held in July, it's showcased in every imaginable edible form.
A local wine industry begun by Italian immigrant families has been productive on a small scale since the era of the ranchos. Favorable weather and soil conditions also nurture the seed industry.
Historic turn-of-the-20th-century buildings, many of them along Monterey Street downtown, include the 1897 I.O.O.F. Children's Home for California and the 1906 City Hall. The Carnegie Library building on the corner of Fifth and Church streets houses the Gilroy Historical Museum, which displays vintage photos and regional artifacts; phone (408) 846-0446.
InfoOfficeGilroy Welcome Center 8155-6 Arroyo Cir. Gilroy, CA 95020. Phone:(408)842-6436
Self-guiding toursThe welcome center and the Gilroy Historical Museum both offer a walking tour pamphlet of Gilroy's historic district for $1. Oenophiles can follow the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail to approximately a dozen wineries; a map can be downloaded from the Gilroy Welcome Center website.
ShoppingGilroy Premium Outlets, 681 Leavesley Rd., has more than 145 stores, including Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Eddie Bauer, Gap, Levi's, Polo Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. Browse for antiques in historic downtown Gilroy along a five-block stretch of Monterey Street.
Attraction PlaceHoldersGilroy Gardens Family Theme Park