Founded in 1777 and incorporated in 1852, Santa Clara is one of California’s oldest cities and the namesake of Santa Clara County. It built up around Mission Santa Clara–now Santa Clara University, the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of California. Today, it is also one of the most-central parts of Silicon Valley’s tech industry and home to the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers’ Levi Stadium. Once an agricultural community like the rest of the valley, the beginning of the semiconductor industry in the early 1960s sparked the beginning of a new era for Santa Clara, and little of its rural past remains. The city owns and operates its own electric utility, Silicon Valley Power, that provides considerably cheaper electricity to its residents.
Santa Clara is also the headquarters of hundreds of global high-tech companies. Santa Clara offers both notable educational opportunities through its public and private school systems, and through athletics. In addition to the 49ers, Santa Clara is home to the San Jose Earthquakes, Division I NCAA athletic programs at the university, nationally competitive swimming and synchronized swimming teams and the Santa Clara Vanguard, a competitive marching music organization. It also hosts one of Silicon Valley’s largest event and meeting venues, the Santa Clara Convention Center, and California’s Great America.