The Technology Capital of the West Coast
South Bay is the home of the famous Silicon Valley area, the birthplace of the country’s technology boom. San José is the largest city in South Bay and the 10th largest in the nation. Some of the notable attractions and landmarks in the area include California’s Great America amusement park, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joséph, the Googleplex (Google’s corporate headquarters), Dolce Hayes Mansion, Mineta San José International Airport, the Santana Row mall, Stanford University and The Tech Museum of Innovation.
SANTA CLARA COUNTY
One word that can sum up Santa Clara County is technology. As one of the oldest counties in California, Santa Clara County started predominantly as an agricultural community. But since the 1950s, the area has been at the forefront of innovative technology. Nowadays, Silicon Valley, one of the largest concentrations of high-tech business companies in the world, boasts the headquarters of some of the biggest names in high-tech operations, including Apple, Hewlett Packard and eBay. The Palo Alto Airport of Santa Clara County is a general aviation airport used mainly for private and commercial aircraft. Caltrain provides train service to Palo Alto via the University Avenue and California Avenue stops, and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority provides additional public transportation.
Major Communities (2011 Population):
Alum Rock (15,536), Campbell (39,968), Cupertino (59,220), East Foothills (8,269), Gilroy (49,582), Los Altos (28,976), Los Altos Hills (8,046), Los Gatos (29,884), Milpitas (67,804), Morgan Hill (38,477), Mountain View (75,235), Palo Alto (65,412), San José (967,487), San Martin (7,027), Santa Clara (118,263), Saratoga (30,401), Stanford (13,809) and Sunnyvale (142,287)
- Population Growth (2010–11)............3.1%
- Persons Per Square Mile....................1,381
- School Districts: Alum Rock, Berryessa, Cambrian, Campbell, Cupertino, East Side, Evergreen, Franklin-McKinley, Fremont, Gilroy, Lakeside, Loma Prieta, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Los Gatos-Saratoga, Luther Burbank, Metropolitan Education District, Milpitas, Moreland, Morgan Hill, Mount Pleasant, Mountain View Whisman, Mountain View-Los Altos, Oak Grove, Orchard, Palo Alto, San José, Santa Clara, Saratoga, Sunnyvale, Union
- Total Public School Enrollment (2011–12): 270,109
- Educational Attainment (adult population)
- High school diploma...........................86.5%
- College degrees..................................45.5%
For more information, visit Santa Clara County’s website at www.sccgov.org
. Following are the highlights of the most prominent areas and communities in Santa Clara County.
— Silicon Valley
Extending south from San Francisco on the western side of the San Francisco Bay is a group of 15 suburban communities collectively known as “Silicon Valley.” Silicon Valley takes its name from the silicon chips used in computers, and the name is used to signify the heavy concentration of technology firms in the South Bay area. The Silicon Valley area comprises several cities, including Campbell, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, San José and Saratoga. Air travel to the area is facilitated by the Mineta San José International Airport (SJC), which averaged an annual total of 8.3 million passengers on 120 commercial and 87 general aviation departures and landings in 2012.
In addition to being the center of the technology boom of the 1950s, the region was also the site of the dot-com explosion of the mid-1990s. The number of technology companies currently found in Silicon Valley is almost too high to count, but it is the home to major headquarters of more than 30 Fortune 500 companies. There is also a significant presence of law firms in the area that provide legal services to the Fortune 500 companies headquartered here as well as the growing number of new technology and Internet businesses.
— Los Altos Hills
Los Altos Hills, a small town with a population just more than 8,000, is considered one of the wealthiest places in the United States. It is a strictly residential community with no independent industry, and the town shares its ZIP code with neighboring Los Altos, which provides residents with mail service. The town is dedicated to building a strong sense of community through an appreciation of its history and the surrounding nature. Residents of Los Altos Hills frequently enjoying using its one-of-a-kind Pathway System, a 65-mile trail that connects the town in its entirety and provides ample opportunity for residents to enjoy the outdoors and meet new neighbors.
— Mountain View
Overlooking the Santa Cruz Mountains, the city of Mountain View is one of Santa Clara County’s more picturesque settings. Its downtown is a charming collection of restaurants and stores and is the location of City Hall, the Mountain View Public Library and the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. Like other cities in the Bay Area, Mountain View has a Mediterranean climate with dry summers and wet winters. The economy of Mountain View most similarly resembles that of Silicon Valley to the south and serves as the headquarters or significant offices for many major technology companies. In addition, Mountain View’s public education system has yielded some of the highest test scores in California.
— Palo Alto
Recently honored by CIO magazine for its business growth and technology innovation, Palo Alto has become one of the top destinations for professionals with ambitions in the high-tech industry. Its gorgeous landscape also makes it an appealing city for relocation. Its proximity to the Santa Cruz Mountains provides the city with a rain-shadow effect, which means it receives less than average rainfall compared to the rest of the area. Palo Alto is another key player in the Silicon Valley region with many major technology companies headquartered here. Residents of Palo Alto have three different newspapers: The Daily Post, The Daily News and Palo Alto Weekly. The Midpeninsula Community Media Center located here is a public-access production center for the development of local television shows and video media.
— San José
As the largest city in Silicon Valley, San José is known for its exceptional colleges and universities that offer students an array of career opportunities. San José State University, in particular, is responsible for fueling the area’s large percentage of working engineers and technology professionals. San José also is home to several professional sports teams, including the National Hockey League’s San José Sharks who play at the HP Pavilion; the San José Giants, part of the California League of Minor League Baseball, who play at the San José Municipal Stadium; Major League Soccer’s San José Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium; and the city’s newest soccer team, Real San José, part of the National Premier Soccer League. San José residents also enjoy an extensive roster of cultural attractions and events, including the Ballet San José, the Opera San José, the San José Museum of Art, the Symphony Silicon Valley, the Cinequest Film Festival and the San José Jazz Festival.
Just as its name suggests, Sunnyvale is a tranquil and peaceful suburban environment with a nationally acclaimed record of safety. Noted for its commitment to community, it has beautifully maintained public parks, a rich annual calendar of cultural events and several key performing arts venues. Sunnyvale is located centrally, which makes it convenient for accessing several of the region’s major vacation hotspots, such as Lake Tahoe and California’s Redwood Forests. Sunnyvale is a bicycle friendly city and has been cited as such by the League of American Bicyclists. Sunnyvale’s several residential areas include Birdland, Cherry Chase, the Heritage District, Lakewood Village and San Miguel. Its annual festivities include the Art & Wine Festival, the Sunnyvale Summer Music Series and Hands on the Arts. The quality of life in Sunnyvale is influenced heavily by the broader economy of Silicon Valley, and major employers in the area include several technology companies.
With such a strong industry in the technology industry, it is easy to see why the communities of South Bay are high on newcomers’ lists for career advancement in a booming field.