Morgan Hill offers a relaxing getaway a 30-minute drive from San Jose with wineries, farms, and good times. Read on for our guide to 2 days in Morgan Hill.
Until recently, I had never heard of Morgan Hill, California. That surprised me because I graduated from high school in San Jose, just a 30-minute drive away. So, when I was invited to visit the former “mushroom capital of the world,” I couldn’t resist.
Morgan Hill didn’t disappoint. The city’s mushroom farms have disappeared, but it still has an agricultural focus with award-winning wineries. Morgan Hill is a fun weekend getaway whether you’re driving in from the Bay Area or visiting from across the country. This ultimate guide to 2 days in Morgan Hill will help you make the most of your visit.
Wineries in Morgan Hill
Since 1802, when Mission Santa Clara poured its first wines, the Santa Clara Valley AVA has produced outstanding wines. Today, you can sample some of those wines at Morgan Hill wineries.
The Guglielmo family began making fine wines in Morgan Hill nearly 100 years ago. Operated by the third generation now, the winery is known for its reds like the award-winning nebbiolo. Guglielmo Winery also pours barbera, cab Franc, cabernet sauvignon, other reds, and a handful of white wines. (My favorite is the nebbiolo.)
You can visit the onsite tasting room any day except Tuesday from 11 am to 5 pm. Check the winery’s online calendar for information on summer concerts, special events, and wine slushies during the summer.
Don’t let this tasting room’s location in an industrial park fool you. It has a cozy feel inside, with a large wooden bar, several tables, and couches. The wines are fabulous, too. French winemaker Christian Roguenant and co-winemaker Sofia Fedotova’s wines run the gamut from sparkling and chardonnay to bold reds like Mila Grenache and cabernet sauvignon.
Unless there’s something specific you want to try, order a set flight of five whites, reds, or a mix of the two. Lightpost Winery is open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm. The winery occasionally hosts live music on the weekends.
This downtown Morgan Hill gem combines founder Janu Goelz’s love of fashion with her wine passion. Each bottle features an illustrated model on the label that captures the wine’s personality. Even though I’m not much into fashion, I loved the concept and the tasting room’s chic décor.
Unlike the other Santa Clara Valley wineries I visited, Alara Cellars produces more white wines than red. Don’t be surprised by the winery’s offerings. While a chardonnay and two pinot noirs are available, the lineup skews towards lesser-known varietals like grenache blanc, negrette, sangiovese, viognier, and alberiño. The tasting room is open daily from 12 to 6 p.m.
Agricultural Sights in Morgan Hill
There may be fewer farms today, but farming still plays a vital role in Morgan Hill. During the summer and fall, roadside signs advertise cherries and peaches. The farmers’ market sells mushrooms, tomatoes, and other fresh produce, and specialty stores stock gourmet jams and honey. Here are a few places to consider visiting.
Initially limited to apricots and prunes, Andy’s Orchard today also sells cherries, peaches, nectarines, and plums. Special events allow visitors to tour the orchards, participate in tastings, and pick their own fruit. (Check the calendar and purchase tickets early, as these events sell out.)
You can also visit the onsite store and purchase fruit, dried fruit, nuts, sweet treats, and other goodies. The store is open daily from May 15 through December 31. Midweek hours are 10 am to 6 pm. You can visit from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Operated by third-generation farmers who used to grow mushrooms, Koophaus Apiaries produces Good Food award-winning honey minutes from downtown Morgan Hill. You can’t visit the farm, but the family intends to open a roadside stand in the future and possibly educational programs.
You can now purchase honey at local retailers like Andy’s Orchard. You can also order the Koophaus honey online.
Morgan Hill Farmers Market
Held in the parking lot next to Railroad Park on Depot Street, the Morgan Hill Farmers Market showcases local produce from the surrounding area, including Gilroy and Hollister. In addition to mushrooms, look for berries, fresh meat, bread, and flowers. There’s also a kids’ craft area and the occasional busker.
The farmers market takes place every Saturday, year-round, from 9 am to 1 pm. Come hungry and sample foods at the market. Or head across the street to MOHI Farm for coffee drinks, fresh pressed juices, baked goods, and simple, farm-fresh breakfasts.
The “garlic capital of the world” is a short drive from Morgan Hill and worth a visit. Although the city no longer hosts the infamous Gilroy Garlic Festival—it has been put on hold indefinitely due to increased insurance costs and other restrictions—you can attend smaller events throughout the year. Check the Gilroy Garlic Festival Association’s website for upcoming events.
You can also drive the Road to Garlic through Gilroy. The map highlights stores selling garlic, related products, and gifts. Restaurants featuring garlic dishes and parlors scooping up garlic ice cream make the list, too.
More to Do in Morgan Hill
Need to burn some calories between food samplings and wine tastings? Morgan Hill has over a dozen parks and protected spaces, many with outdoor trails. You can stroll downtown for a more urban experience and maybe even pick up a souvenir or two.
Rancho Cañada del Oro
Located in the foothills of Santa Cruz Mountain, this open space preserve has multi-use trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Choose Llagas Creek Loop for a shorter experience, or follow the Mayfair Ranch Trail to the Longwall Canyon, Bald Peaks, and Catamount trails for a longer loop through the park.
Don’t be surprised to see cows on the trail. Local ranchers can graze their cattle in the area to remove invasive grasses. If you see a cow, keep a respectful distance. Watch for deer, bobcats, mountain lions, and other wildlife as you hike.
Downtown Morgan Hill
The city’s downtown district stretches primarily from Main Avenue to Dunne Avenue, between Monterey Highway and Depot Street. You’ll find great restaurants like Odeum and Ladera Grill here. The highly rated vegan restaurant Craft Roots is also downtown, along with several breweries, like Kelly Brewing Company.
Between meals, stretch your legs as you window shop. Along the way, you’ll see interesting architecture, such as the old Granada Theatre (now the MOHI Social). The downtown area also has public art installations. Drop by the Third Street Garage to the city’s most famous public art, the 16-foot tarantula climbing the side of the garage towards the roof.
How to Explore Morgan Hill
The nearest airport to Morgan Hill is San Jose Mineta International Airport (SJC). Given the distance from the airport and Morgan Hill (approximately 25 miles) and to area attractions, you will want to rent a car at the airport.
Having a car allows you to use Morgan Hill as a base to explore more of the Bay Area if you have more than two days. In San Jose and the Silicon Valley, marvel at the Winchester Mystery House or trace the evolution of computers at the Computer History Museum.
San Francisco is another doable road trip from Morgan Hill. Although it’s 75 miles northwest, you could leave early, spend the day exploring Fisherman’s Wharf, and return in time for a quiet, more reasonably priced dinner in Morgan Hill.
The city has a moderate climate. Highs in the winter hover around 60 degrees Fahrenheit while summer temps max out in the mid-80s. If you want a quieter getaway, pack a light jacket and plan your trip for those winter months. If you want to savor the area’s fresh produce, plan your visit during the summer, but prepare for more crowds.
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When You Visit Morgan Hill
While there is much to do in the area, I recommend looking at Morgan Hill as an opportunity to slow down and decompress. Stroll downtown, sip wines at the wineries, and hike in the Santa Cruz Mountains’ foothills. This ultimate guide to 2 days in Morgan Hill will help you ensure you hit the highlights of what there is to see and do here. Let Wander With Wonder be your guide for more to explore in California and more of our favorite winery experiences. We also have more weekend getaway suggestions in our 2 Days Ultimate Guides.