The surge in online searches for Super Bowl appetizers, Beyoncé’s halftime show and excuses to miss work on Monday can only mean one thing: The Super Bowl is right around the corner. This year’s historic showdown is heading west to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Sure, Super Bowl parties make for the ultimate Sunday Funday. And this year there won’t be any place better than Santa Clara to celebrate the big game. But this Super Bowl host city has so much more than football. Whether you’re in the Bay Area or you make a post-season trip to California, here are 11 things to do in Santa Clara that’ll make anyone’s weekend a touchdown.

1. Lick Observatory: Move over Griffith, there’s a new observatory in town. Lick Observatory is actually more than 100 years old, but doesn’t get near the amount of hype it deserves. Pack a picnic and enjoy a sweeping 4,000-foot-high view of Santa Clara Valley. (Photo via Laurie Hatch/Lick Observatory)

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2. The Mountain Winery – Come for the wine, stay for the views. (If that’s not their slogan, it should be.) The historic ivy-covered Winery Building is as breathtaking as the manicured gardens and surrounding redwood groves. (Photo via The Mountain Winery)

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3. Chapparal Ranch: Drive 30 minutes north of Santa Clara, then ditch your wheels for some horses’ hooves. You’ll be channeling your inner Annie Oakley after a day of horseback riding through one of three trails. (Photo via Chapparal Bay Area Horseback Riding)

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4. San Jose Earthquakes: Trade in one game of football for another… of the European persuasion, that is. This Major League Soccer (MLS) club kicks off its season with preseason matches in February. (Photo via @sjearthquakes)

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5. California’s Great America: Whoever said theme parks are for kids only was sorely mistaken. When rides have names like “The Grizzly” and “Tiki Twirl” — and they aren’t referring to our Saturday-night alter egos — we’re in. (Photo via Great America)


6. Intel Museum: Put your learning cap on, because you’re about to get schooled. You’ll get an inside look at the technology that’s connected to our home, work and play while you’re exploring 10,000 square feet of interactive fun. (Photo via Corofloat)

7. Butter and Zeus: This is a restaurant that makes sandwiches and uses waffles as buns. We repeat: waffles as buns. Need we say more? (Photo via Butter and Zeus)

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8. Triton Museum of Art: Looking for more inspiration than halftime commercials can deliver? The Triton highlights artists of the Greater Bay Area, as well as visiting regional and national artists. (Photo via @tritonmuseum)

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9. Bellano Coffee: It doesn’t matter what city you’re in; you’re going to need your AM caffeine boost. Swing by local-favorite Bellano Coffee for a specialty latte with homemade almond milk and a delicious fresh-baked pastry. (Photo via @bellanocoffee)


10. Santa Clara University: Pretend you’re in college all over again with a stroll through the campus of Santa Clara University. Beautiful views, gardens and local dining options will you have seriously considering a second degree. (Photo via Forbes)


11. Rabbit’s Foot Meadery: Trips are all about trying new things, right? So fermented honey and water should sound delicious, no? Well at Rabbit’s Foot, it is. Their award-winning meads, braggots and ciders are aged to perfection and always come with a story. (Photo via Rabbit’s Foot Meadery)

Have you visited Santa Clara and know about a nearby gem? Tweet us your fave spots to @BritandCo!