Welcome to Gilroy
Located in the Santa Clara Valley, Gilroy is nestled snuggly between the Diablo Mountains and the Santa Cruz Mountains. This has led to a peaceful, residential environment and mild year round weather. Often referred to as the “Garlic Capital of the World”, Gilroy is just as well known for its award-winning parks, golf courses, and community recreation programs. While not as well known for its technological industry as many cities in the region, the town has instead staked its reputation on superior community facilities and resources.
Lay of the Land
Located in the Southern end of the Santa Clara Valley, Gilroy is bounded by the Santa Cruz Mountains and Diablo Mountains to the west and east respectively. A short distance from both San Jose and the Pacific Ocean, Gilroy enjoys a mild, Mediterranean climate. Known as a bedroom community for Silicon Valley since the 1970’s with 51,701 residents according to the last census, Gilroy is a medium sized city with a relatively young population: median age 33.2 years. The estimated median income for a household in Gilroy is $78,627 according to data collected in 2013. Gilroy is a charter city and a center of government activity for the region. Elected every four-years, the city is served by a mayor and a seven member Gilroy City Council.
Based on its semi-isolated nature, many residents of Gilroy rely on San Jose when it comes to travel outside of the immediate area. San Jose sits at the center of four major freeways (101, 280, 680, and 880) and serves as a major regional interchange. It also houses a significant light rail system that serves the majority of the Santa Clara Valley. Other local means of transportation include vanpooling and the Caltrain Peninsula Commuter Train Line which services thousands of customers daily. Finally, the San Jose International Airport provides residents access to thousands of flights per year.
Gilroy boasts an amazing total of 12 parks, ranging in size from ⅛ acre to the sprawling 125 acre Uvas Creek Park Preserve. Gilroy has received more awards from the California Park and Recreation Society for their park design than any other city in the state of California. These include Christmas Hill Park, the sight of the city\’s annual Garlic Festival, and the centerpiece of the park system, Uvas Creek Park Preserve. The preserve features a natural riparian corridor, an interpretive center, and numerous walking and hiking trails.
Often referred to as the “Garlic Capital of the World”, Gilroy attempts to live up to its reputation by holding an annual Garlic Festival. Focused mainly on the celebration of food infused with the flavor of garlic, the festival also features live music, family entertainment, and numerous cooking competitions. Lasting for a total of three days during the summer, the festival boasts annual attendance of over 100,000 people. It is also the only known place in the world where attendees can purchase garlic flavored ice cream.
Finally, Gilroy has numerous smaller activities based on the local agricultural community. Based on its climate and location the Gilroy growing season can stretch as long as 350 days a year. Gilroy has been known as a major growing center for tomatoes, prunes, flowers, onions, and garlic. Like many California towns, it is also home to several small scale wineries. As such the town often hosts festivals and celebrations that coincide with the harvest of each of these agricultural products. Smaller in scale than the Garlic Festival, they serve to bond the community and reinforce the core values of the town.
With a total enrollment constantly hovering around 9,000 students the Gilroy Unified School district employs 800 teachers and support staff to operate 13 separate public schools. The local school board is comprised of seven members, each serving a four-year term. The town has an additional 5 private schools which serve an estimated 400 students. The city is also home to Gavilan College, a small local school established in 1919 and currently serving over 4,000 students.