The Top Things to See and Do in Cupertino, California

© Mike Oliver/Flickr
© Mike Oliver/Flickr
Photo of Judy Cogan
4 August 2021

While Cupertino is synonymous with Apple – it’s home to the company’s headquarters – there’s more to this Silicon Valley suburb than tech companies. Horse riding at Garrod Farms, hiking through Stevens Creek County Park and wine tasting at Ridge Vineyards are just a few activities on offer in this California city.

Named after Arroyo San José de Cupertino, this city was initially a small rural village known for its agriculture. After World War II, Cupertino transformed into what we today know as Silicon Valley. Although it may not have San Francisco’s charm or Santa Cruz’s killer views, it has an abundance of great cafes, leafy hiking trails and top vineyards on its doorstep.

Pop into the Apple Park Visitor Center

Building
Map View
The Apple Visitor Center in Cupertino, California
© graham jepson / Alamy Stock Photo

The Apple Park Visitor Center is a must-visit for Apple fans. It has a slender carbon-fiber roof, which sails over its transparent walls to cover outdoor seating areas with incredible views of Silicon Valley. Not far away, employees are busy like techy elves working on the next big thing, and you can stock up on Apple products in the shop. The futuristic 175-acre (71ha) park is a serene place to hang out, but you’ll need a car or Uber to get there.

Tuck into tacos at Coconut’s Fish Cafe

Cafe, North American, $$$
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This family-run restaurant first opened in Maui, Hawaii, in 2009. Its Cupertino branch serves a menu of award-winning, health-conscious seafood with a side of aloha and features custom-made surfboard tables and a laid-back, friendly vibe. The owners make their coleslaw with coconut milk, only serve brown rice and use the freshest seafood. The fish tacos are a local favorite.

Learn about space at the De Anza College Planetarium

Museum
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De Anza College, Cupertino, California
© SiliconValleyStock / Alamy Stock Photo

On the campus of De Anza College, this planetarium is among the largest school planetariums on the West Coast. The theater has a 50ft (15m) domed screen and digital surround sound. Expect a diary of astronomy and laser shows, along with live presentations covering the cosmos, stars, seasons and celestial motion.

Stroll down Main Street Cupertino

Architectural Landmark
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Main Street’s Marriott Residence Inn
Courtesy of Residence Inn by Marriott San Jose Cupertino / Booking.com

Main Street Cupertino is the closest thing the city has to a downtown area. It thrives as a hotspot for great eateries and upscale shops, with the town square at its heart. When it comes to dining, Lazy Dog, Eureka and Pizza My Heart are long-standing local favorites. It also hosts regular events, from carnivals to dance performances. Make like a local and stay at the Residence Inn by Marriott, complete with 180 rooms and an athletic club.

Tee off at the Blackberry Farm Golf Course

Sports Center
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Golf fans are in for a real treat here. The nine-hole Blackberry Farm Golf Course lies along the bank of Stevens Creek and features narrow tree-lined fairways and small greens drenched in California sunshine from May to September. It’s a great place to hone your skills, and for non-golfers, the farm itself features picnic sites, an on-site cafe, a playground, swimming pools with a water slide and various sports courts.

Try horse riding at Garrod Farms

Park
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David and Sophia Garrod emigrated with their children from England in 1892 and established Garrod Farms a year later. The ranch has remained in the family ever since; it has 120 acres (47ha) of stables, pastures and vineyards and access to 23mi (37km) of riding trails – horse riding is available for all ages and abilities. Ride in the beautiful Saratoga Hills with views of the Bay Area on an hour-long trail ride with a stop-off for wine tasting.

Go hiking in Stevens Creek County Park

Park
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Stevens Creek Reservoir, Santa Clara county, San Francisco bay area, California
© Sundry Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
Escape the busy streets of Santa Clara County and retreat to Stevens Creek County Park. With more than 1,000 acres (405ha) of woodland, it’s a favorite with locals who enjoy its leafy hiking trails and fishing at the reservoir. Stock up on picnic provisions at Erik’s DeliCafe on Stevens Creek Boulevard and find a sun-dappled patch of grass. The park is open year-round from 8am to sunset.

Sip wine at Ridge Vineyards

Winery
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In 1885, Osea Perrone bought 180 acres (73ha) of land, after which he terraced the slopes and planted vineyards. To this day, Ridge Vineyards produces some of the best single-estate wines in the region and specializes in cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel and chardonnay. Visit its Monto Bello site in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a 25-minute drive from downtown Cupertino. Wine tasting is by appointment only, so make a reservation.

Spot wildlife at McClellan Ranch Preserve

Natural Feature, Park
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Back in the 1930s, the 18-acre (7ha) McClellan Ranch Preserve was a horse ranch. Today, it features a nature museum and a community garden. Kids will love the wildlife here, including deer, coyotes, owls and alpacas; book a guided hike to learn more about the animals. Afterward, stroll through the original ranch house and milk barn, preserved to look like they did nearly 100 years ago.

Sucheta Shahane contributed additional reporting to this article.

These recommendations were updated on August 4, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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