Local Area

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Local Area


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2 College Freshman

Local Area: Aside from 5-6 off campus eating options, there isn't much within walking distance. It's pretty necessary to have a car or know somebody who does.

2 Recent Alumnus

Local Area: El Camino Real might be the ugliest street in America. It is a disgusting highway filled with transients, hookers, and strip malls.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Local Area: There are large shopping areas nearby, the niners stadium and the warriors stadium not too far away, and tons of outdoor landscapes to venture through. The only problem is that SCU doesn't allow freshmen to have cars on campus so it's difficult to get to these areas if you don't have a car.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Local Area: The local area is very expensive to live in but the neighborhoods are very nice and there are many jobs available locally.

3 College Freshman

Local Area: Santa Clara is okay, but San Francisco is better.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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While situated in the vibrant and fast-paced Silicon Valley, Santa Clara remains a pretty lackluster town, consisting mostly of strip malls and small neighborhoods. Because Santa Clara is not considered a "college town," students usually have to venture outside of its limits to find fun things to do. While nearby Franklin Mall has three restaurants and two bars, its limited options motivate students to head to other towns like Palo Alto and Los Gatos for more variety. For shopping and dining outside of Santa Clara, few students choose to brave downtown's famously confusing layout, instead opting for Santana Row, the "Rodeo Drive of San Jose." While most of its stores tend to fall outside of the average student's price range, Santana Row has a wide variety of fun restaurants popular among SCU students, ranging from sushi to Indian food.

Because there's so little to do in Santa Clara and San Jose, many students find having a car imperative for escaping the "Santa Clara bubble" and exploring the more exciting activities the Bay Area has to offer. Hiking trails, beaches, and downtown Palo Alto and Los Gatos are only 20- to 35-minute drives away, and are popular destinations for students looking to blow off some steam on the weekends. While a car is necessary to access most outdoor activities, students can easily take the Caltrain to San Francisco and smaller cities in the Valley. The train stops across the street from campus and runs hourly, making it a popular way for students to explore the city's vibrant culture. Popular activities include Giants games, concerts, shopping, and dining out. A one-way ticket to San Francisco costs between $7 and $8, which is worth avoiding the price of gas and the stress of navigating city traffic.  

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. Santa Clara was founded in 1777.
  2. Santa Clara is located in the center of Silicon Valley.
  3. Intel is the top private employer of Santa Clara.
Notable Natives
Brandi Chastain - Olympic soccer player
Points of Interest
  • AT&T Park
  • Ghirardelli Square (San Francisco)
  • Legion of Honor Museum (San Francisco)
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium (San Jose)
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
  • Santa Cruz boardwalk
  • Wine country
Shopping Centers
  • Santana Row
  • Stanford Shopping Center
  • Westfield Valley Fair Mall
Movie Theaters
AMC Mercado 20
3111 Mission College Blvd.
Santa Clara
(888) AMC-4FUN
Movie Theaters
CinéArts @ Santana Row
3088 Olsen Dr.
San Jose/Santana Row
(408) 554-7010
Major Sports Teams
  • Oakland Athletics: MLB
  • Oakland Raiders: NFL
  • San Francisco 49ers: NFL
  • San Francisco Giants: MLB
  • San Jose Sharks: NHL
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Los Angeles: : 5 to 7 hours (depending on traffic)
  • San Francisco: : 45 minutes
  • San Jose, Calif.: : 10 minutes

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 80 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 81 responses

  • 17% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.
  • 16% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 16% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 46% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 5% Painfully remote.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 82 responses

  • 24% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.
  • 67% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 9% There aren't any nearby schools.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 81 responses

  • 35% Totally.
  • 54% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 11% No way.


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