Community Profile

Gilroy is centrally located within a short driving distance of Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz, the San Joaquin Valley, and the San Francisco Bay Area. View City of Gilroy regional attractions online.

About Gilroy

General Description

Gilroy is best known as the Garlic Capital of the World, and home of the annual Garlic Festival in July. But the city is also known for its peaceful residential environment, its award-winning parks, golf course and recreation programs, and for its urban forest, for which the city has won Tree City USA awards annually since 1979.

Community Resources

A variety of superior community facilities and resources have placed Gilroy high in recent surveys which have attempted to measure the quality of life in Bay Area cities. Major community facilities unveiled in the last decade include St. Louise Regional Hospital along U.S. 101, Wheeler Manor (senior residence) and an expanded Senior Center complex at Sixth and Hanna streets. The Gilroy library is also newly refurbished and computerized. Gavilan Community College in Gilroy is known for the beauty of its campus, set in the foothills which surround the city.

Downtown, new vitality and a healthy respect for history make for a lively and interesting town center. Mature neighborhoods blend with newer homes to create an ambient atmosphere for residential areas, served by nearby schools, parks and churches, and just the right combination of rural and suburban amenities.

Average home costs in the area are in the $658,500 range.

Street Plan

Gilroy is situated in South Santa Clara County at the crossing of U.S. Highway 101 and State Highway 152. The 1.5 square mile rectangle known as The Old Quad, was laid out in the mid-1800's, and served as the city's original city limits from its incorporation in 1870 until the first annexation in 1948. The system of numbered streets was used for east-west streets, with First Street / Hecker Pass Highway at the north, and 11th Street at the south. East-west streets added in modern times have not been numbered, but have been named after trees, birds, presidents, historic Gilroy names, and old Spanish or early American names.

Sixth Street was once the central road, with perpendicular streets being labeled, for example, North Hanna to the north of 6th, and South Hanna to the south. The addressing scheme changed in 1969. Now Gilroy and Morgan Hill share a common numbering pattern for Monterey Road. East-West streets are labeled East and West as they cross Monterey.


Gilroy is a growing community with a population of about 48,821 (2010 U.S. Census), representing over 2.7% of Santa Clara County. Gilroy serves as the center of a rural area of about 50,000. Projections have shown a potential population growth of over 10% in the next 5 years. The 2010 ethnic breakdown of the city's population is 31.4% Caucasian, 57.8% Hispanic, 6.7% Asian, 1.5% Black, .4% American Indian, and .2% other.


Gilroy, a charter city, is a center of government activity for the region. The Gilroy City Council is made up of seven members with four-year terms, including a separately elected mayor, who can serve any number of terms.


Gilroy's climate strikes a pleasant balance between hot and cold, wet and dry, making it perfect for agriculture and recreation. Nestled between the Diablo and Santa Cruz mountains in the Santa Clara Valley, Gilroy residents enjoy mild temperatures, while missing most of the coastal fog. A state climatology report says up to 70% of Gilroy's days are sunny, with average rainfall of about 19.11 inches.

The proximity of the Pacific Ocean keeps temperatures uniform. The average annual temperature is 62.8 degrees, although it is not unusual for summer readings to top 100. The average July high temperature is near 90. Winter temperatures drop to an average of 57 degrees in January. All-time winter lows have plunged into the 20s, with the first freeze usually coming in November. The average date of the last freeze is around March 1.

The agricultural growing season ranges from 300 to 350 days a year. The average relative humidity readings reach 90% or more at night during the winter, but drop to around 60% during the day. In the summer and fall, humidity reaches 70% at night and 40% during the day. Winds out of the northwest are usually light to moderate, up to 20 miles an hour.

Earthquake activity is not uncommon, as Gilroy sits between 2 active faults. The Calaveras Fault runs through the eastern foothills, and the Sargent Fault runs along the western edge of the valley. The Loma Prieta quake in October 1989 was centered 15 miles northwest of Gilroy, registering 7 on the Richter Scale. A 6.2 quake hit Morgan Hill in April 1984.

Industry & Economy

Historically, Gilroy's economy has been based in agricultural products and processing. Over the years, prunes, tomatoes, flowers, onions and, of course, garlic, have contributed to the economic health of the agricultural industries. Food processing centers have also established themselves in Gilroy, and government centers also employ many local residents. The Outlets at Gilroy, a five-phase retail complex, draws shoppers from all over the Bay Area and Central Coast regions.

The modem era has also seen an increase in interest in Gilroy as a site for expansion of Silicon Valley. About a thousand acres remain available for industrial growth.


There are 15 public schools in the Gilroy Unified School District. Enrollment in the district is about 11,400 students. The School Board, which sets policy, adopts the budget and hires personnel, is made up of seven members elected to 4-year terms. The district has about 1,100 employees.

Five private schools serve an additional 400 students, and approximately 4,500 students attend Gavilan College.


Gilroy has 12 parks, from 1/8 to 125 acres in size. Gilroy has won more park design awards from the California Park and Recreation Society than any other city in California, including awards for Christmas Hill Park (home of the Garlic Festival), Las Animas Park, San Ysidro Park, and El Roble Park. New facilities include 2 neighborhood parks adjacent to Luigi Aprea School and Rod Kelley School.

A recent addition to the city's park system is the Uvas Creek Park Preserve. When complete, this 125-acre creek restoration project will enhance the city's quality of life with a beautiful natural riparian corridor, nature trails, and an interpretive center. Planning for this project began in the 1970s, and restoration of the Uvas Creek, formerly the site of a sand and gravel mining operation, began in 1995. The project was given a boost in the 1980s with a $1 million bequest to the city by former councilman and developer Dennis DeBell.