Top tourist attractions, local favorites in Santa Clara

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ABC7 News reporter David Louie took to the streets to find out what is there to see, eat and do if you're visiting Santa Clara. (KGO-TV)

South Bay cities may not have NFL-sanctioned events before the Super Bowl, other than the game itself, but that is not stopping them from putting out the welcome mat.

Opening ceremonies were underway Friday for a special park attraction called Winterfest at Plaza de Cesar Chavez. They have lots of comfortable adirondack chairs to sit in, food trucks, live jazz and light displays -- all meant to give visitors and locals more to see and do.

Santa Clara residents say they have a lot as well for visitors to discover.

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George Slavich has lived in Santa Clara for 64 years and says, "It's a secret that a lot of people haven't found yet."

He and fellow members of the Lawn Bowling Club hope Super Bowl visitors will take time and explore their city. They would be happy to teach tourists how to play this game.

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Or people can check out the statue of St. Clare -- the city's patron saint -- and take a photo. It's No. 33 on the Convention & Visitors Bureau list of things to do in Santa Clara.

So is checking out the 85' tall statue of the Universal Child, whose shape represents the missile and space era of the 60's.

Resident Roseann Zimbauer, who has lived in Santa Clara since 1970, says she is proud of the city's diverse restaurants.

"This is like a little world. We have all the ethnicities, so you can eat whatever you want and feel like you're where ever you want," Zimbauer said.

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We ran into Larry Owens of Silicon Valley Power -- the city-owned utility - and asked him if he's been to some of the historic sites, such as the Santa Clara Women's Adobe. He laughed and admitted it was a piece of Santa Clara history he didn't know about. We told him it happens to be California historical landmark No. 249.

When we ran into Margie & Jill Mangewang they said the best kept secret in Santa Clara is Stan's Donuts on Homestead Road. Yep, they were right. We were lucky we got right in to grab a fresh glazed donut. Normally, there are really long lines.

Other South Bay cities are also hoping to attract visitors. Milpitas businesses are also getting into the game, offering an opportunity to win two Super Bowl tickets if you take a selfie in front a sign for a local business and post that photo on social media.

And how can you resist taking a selfie with the bronze bronco, mascot at Santa Clara University, unless you're a panthers fan.

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