Follow your nose to one of Central California’s beloved annual celebrations.
Vampires take note: You’ll probably want to avoid being anywhere near Gilroy, the rural community south of San Francisco, at the end of July. That’s when the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival celebrates the “stinking rose,” which is grown and harvested in surrounding farmlands. Look for garlicky cook-offs, booths, entertainment, and the Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival beauty contest. You can sample an astounding array of garlic-infused foods—stir-fried shrimp and chicken, butter-slathered breads, and addictive garlic fries—as well as more adventurous offerings, like garlic ice cream. Can’t make the festival? Gilroy never forgets its favorite bulb. Anytime of year, you’ll find garlic products, presses, and souvenirs at shops in and around town.