To really understand something you should know it’s history. On my recent exploration through Santa Clara I came across a few opportunities to learn the city’s history.
The first one is the Stroll Into The Past, a seven station, self-guided tour behind City Hall. The stations start with the Ohlone, and move to the Mission and to the settlers that came, to being the center of the tech evolution. There is a good overview, and a lot of reading.
If you prefer a more visual approach, stroll over to City Hall and check out the photographs that are displayed in the hallway. Here, I learned that Santa Clara was once the home of one of the largest tanneries in the world.
To complete the historic overview I recommend the walking tour of historic buildings. The city of Santa Clara put out a map: (http://missioncity.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapTour/index.html?appid=c3261a39356546e38ec3445f953fbe1b) , it has a lot of information about the houses and their architecture. On rare occasions, the Santa Clara Historic Home Tour is offered and gives you a glimpse into the houses.
Finally you can arrange a visit to the Harris-Lass House Museum, the last farm site in Santa Clara, and number 11 on your walking tour. This place is only open by appointment (408-249-7905, leave a message).
Where do you stroll into the past?