Where is Silicon Valley? Silicon Valley is not a perfectly defined area, but the heart of it is Santa Clara County or Santa Clara Valley, which was once known as “The Valley of Heart’s Delight“. Silicon Valley also overlaps a little into the adjoining counties of the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area . Most of Silicon Valley is about an hour south of San Francisco and about a half a hour from the beach at Santa Cruz. (Click here to view Google map.) Most of it is in “northern California”, but Scotts Valley, just over the hill from Los Gatos in Santa Cruz County, is considered to be the central coast area of California.
At the center of Silicon Valley is San Jose, a city of just under 1 million people, boasting much cultural diversity, high levels of education, and low crime. The climate here is sub-tropical and palm trees, while not indigenous, thrive alongside beautiful oaks and redwoods.
Cities and Towns of Santa Clara County together have about 1.8 million people. The centerpoint of Silicon Valley, then is Santa Clara County, which includes San Jose (with its many districts and neighborhoods, such as Almaden Valley, Cambrian Park, Blossom Valley and others) but this sprawling city does not constitute the whole county. Other towns and cities are Saratoga , Monte Sereno, Campbell, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Milpitas, plus, in the south county, Morgan Hill, and Gilroy.
In addition to these places in Santa Clara County, Silicon Valley edges up into Alameda County (Fremont and Hayward), San Mateo County (notably Menlo Park and Redwood City/Redwood Shores), Santa Cruz County (Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz), and Monterey County (Salinas). This list is not exclusive, but is intended to give you a sense of the general region which has come to be known as Silicon Valley. If you put San Jose at the center of a map, it’s likely that the area would radiate out from there 30-45 minutes by car in all directions.