Silicon Valley Local-Speak: A Guide to Understanding Folks in the South Bay

Every area has its linguistic quirks, and the San Jose – Silicon Valley – Santa Clara County region is no exception. Some of it is in the words we use, some of it’s the way we pronounce things, and some of it is just the way we think.


The Hill – refers to the Santa Cruz Mountains. Going “over the hill” means going to Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz, or somewhere along the coast.

The City – means San Francisco, even though it’s smaller in population than San Jose.

South County – areas such as Gilroy, Morgan Hill, San Martin and Coyote Valley (and outlying areas)

The Bay – is the San Francisco Bay, not the Monterey Bay.

The Airplane Park – this is Oak Meadow Park in the Town of Los Gatos

Paul Masson Winery – is now known as the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, but long time locals and natives may call it by its old name

Northern California or NorCal – starts somewhere around this area and goes north from here

Central California or Central Coast – Santa Cruz is really part of the Central Coast, but we tend to think of it as NorCal territory

LA – is Los Angeles, not our own Los Altos

The Mountains – normally this means the Santa Cruz Mountains, the coastal range (unless you’re discussing skiing)