Los Altos / Los Altos Hills

50 things to do in Los Altos / Los Altos Hills

Street sign to Los Altos Main St. with 50 things to do in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills added.

To make this a doable challenge, I decided to bundle Los Altos (LA) and Los Altos Hills (LAH). Los Altos Hills main attraction is the Foothill College. Los Altos with its charming downtown is great for gift shopping and hosts lots of festivals. 

    Parks and Gardens

  1. Bamboo Garden Foothill College
  2. Bamboo at the bamboo garden at Foothill College

    Whenever someone asks me about the most interesting thing I discovered so far I mention the Bamboo Garden at Foothill College. It really is a hidden gem; with over 70 different varieties, it is also the largest bamboo garden in the U.S.! (http://www.bamboogarden.org/, 12345 El Monte Rd, LAH)


    [Also see: Be bamboozled]

  3. Old Orchard at the Los Altos City Hall
  4. Apricots at the Los Altos City Hall orchard.

    J. Gilbert Smith planted the apricot orchard surrounding Los Altos City Hall in the1900s. Apricots bloom early March. (1 N San Antonio Rd, LA)
    [Also see: Smell the blossoms in the Valley of Heart’s Delight]

    Places for Kids

  5. The Physics Show
  6. The Physics Show logo
    *official logo for The Physics Show courtesy of The Physics Show

    An amazing show geared towards 5th graders, but grown ups will learn a lot too in this hands-on demonstration and show by Foothill College physics professors. (http://www.thephysicsshow.com/, 12345 El Monte Rd, LAH)
    [Also see: Learn that physics is fun]

  7. Santa Home visits
  8. Have Santa come to your house, if you have children under 12 (https://www.losaltosca.gov/recreation/page/santa-home-visits)

  9. Hidden Villa
  10. Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills

    An educational farm in the middle of Silicon Valley. Opening hours are Tuesday – Sunday from 9 am to dusk. Parking is $10 and can be purchased on the web site or bring cash on your visit.  (https://www.hiddenvilla.org/, 26870 Moody Road, LAH) [Also see: Uncover a hidden villa]

  11. Area 151 Arcade
  12. A family friendly arcade in the heart of downtown. This arcade is a mixture of old style ticket redemption entertainment and side-by-side competition games. (http://www.area151arcade.com/, 359 State St., LA) 

    Sport

  13. Path run 
  14. Path marker in Los Altos Hills.

    or just walk a path. Every year in May, the Path Run is a fun event for the whole family. But these paths are open year round for everyone to enjoy. A comprehensive map of the path is available for $4 at the Los Altos Hills Town Hall. (http://www.losaltoshills.ca.gov/206/Pathway-System, https://lahpathwaysrun.org/) [Also see: Find the path to run]

  15. Archery
  16. You can have an archery party at the Redwood Grove in Los Altos. (https://www.losaltosca.gov/recreation/page/archery-party-redwood-grove, 482 University Ave, LA)

  17. Westwind Community Barn
  18. Westwind community barn in Los Altos Hills.

    You can board your horse here. Westwind also offers 4-H therapeutic riding to improve balance and coordination for special needs children. (https://www.losaltoshills.ca.gov/208/Westwind-Community-Barn, 27210 Altamont Rd, LAH)

  19. GreenTown bike rides 
  20. GreenTown Los Altos offers solstice bike rides twice a year and historical bike rides. The solstice bike ride is a night bike ride. All rides are a family friendly events. Check out their calendar. (https://greentownlosaltos.org/events/)

  21. San Jose Spiders
  22. San Jose Spiders in action - photographed by Brendan Yee.
    Photographed by Brendan Yee

    Root for the San Jose Spiders, the local ultimate frisbee team. Their home stadium is at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills. The season runs from April to July with six home games a year.(http://sjspiders.com/tickets.php, 12345 El Monte Rd, LAH)

    Short Hikes

  23. Hidden Villa 
  24. Bunny Creek Trail at Hidden Villa, Los Altos

    There are multiple hiking trails for every level of experience. (https://www.hiddenvilla.org/visit/hiking-trails/, 26870 Moody Rd, LAH)

  25. Redwood Grove Nature Preserve 
  26. This 6-acre Redwood grove has a boardwalk that intertwines with Adobe Creek. (482 University Ave, LA)
    [Also see: Where the secret giants are and Take a forest bath]

  27. Los Trancos Open Space 
  28. Los Trancos Open Space Preserve

    The Los Trancos Open Space Preserve is split in half by the San Andreas Fault and therefore makes it ideal to learn about earthquake terminology. The Earthquake trail is a 1.5 mile long hike. A self-guided earthquake tour: San_Andreas_Fault_Trail.pdf

     (https://www.openspace.org/preserves/los-trancos, Page Mill Rd, LAH)
    [Also see: Earthquake trilogy]

    Museums / Galleries

  29. Los Altos History Museum 
  30. Los Altos History Museum

    Twice yearly new exhibits and on the upper floor a brief history of the Los Altos area. Current exhibits are: Silicon Valley Eats! And Gadget Galore, until September 2019. 

    Open Thursday – Sunday noon – 4 pm, admission is free. (https://www.losaltoshistory.org/, 51 S. San Antonio Rd, LA)
    [Also see: Get some old recipes, Foodies reunite in this exhibit]

  31. KCI Gallery, Foothill College 
  32. KCI Gallery, Foothill College

    A small exhibit space is part of the Krause Center of Innovation. (https://krauseinnovationcenter.org/about/gallery/, 12345 El Monte Rd, LAH) [Also see: Get a glimpse of the Cuban School of Ballet]

  33. Little Museum at the Los Altos Town Crier 
  34. Typewriter at the Los Altos Town Crier

    You can see the bell collection from the street. If you go in, there are some old school artefacts used by previous writing professionals. (https://www.losaltosonline.com/ , 138 Main Street, LA) [Also see: Visit a tiny museum]

  35. Gallery 9 and Viewpoints Art Gallery
  36. Gallery 9, Los Altos

    Downtown Los Altos art galleries. Gallery 9, 143 Main St., Viewpoints Art Gallery, 315 State St. [Also see: Shop for some gifts]

    Historic Places

  37. Los Altos Historic Walking Tour
  38. Print out the PDF and enjoy a self-guided walking tour of downtown Los Altos. (Historicwalkingtourbrochure.pdf

  39. J. Gilbert Smith House 
  40. J. Gilbert Smith House, Los Altos

    Probably the most famous historic house in Los Altos right next to the Los Altos History Museum. Designated as a California State Point of Historical Interest in 1987. (https://www.losaltoshistory.org/exhibits/j-gilbert-smith-house/, 51 S San Antonio Rd, LA)  [Also see: Get some old recipes]

    Architecture

  41. The Neutra House
  42. Neutra House, Los Altos

    The Neutra House was designed by Richard Neutra in 1935, and completed in 1959. It is a great example of mid-century modernism.

     (https://neutrahouse.org/, 181 Hillview Avenue, LA)

  43. Spagnoli Tank House
  44. Spagnoli Tank House, Los Altos

    Build in 1915, this tank house was threatened by demolition to make room for a senior housing. It was saved by the community and moved adjacent to the J. Gilbert Smith House.   (Historical commission meeting.pdf, 51 S. Antonio Rd, LA)

    Public Art

  45. Los Altos Sculptures
  46. Guardian by Karen Cauvin Eustis, Los Altos

     With a self guided walking tour Los Altos invites you to see the public art around town. (Sculpture_map.pdf)

  47. Artistic Bicycle Racks 
  48. Owl bicycle rack, Los Altos

    In 2013, Los Altos adopted the artistic bicycle rack policy. Property and business owners are now allowed to install interesting bike racks downtown. In 2015 and 2016 the city had a bike rack design competition. Try to find them all! (https://greentownlosaltos.org/2016/06/parking-your-bike-in-town-never-looked-so-good/, https://www.losaltosca.gov/publicartscommission/page/artistic-bicycle-racks) [Also see: Park your bike]

    Theater

  49. Bus Barn Theater 
  50. Bus Barn Theater, Los Altos

    A neighborhood playhouse brings the community together with musicals, dramas and comedies. Book one of the 99 seats to view the show! (http://losaltosstage.org, 97 Hillview Ave, LA)

  51. Los Altos Youth Theatre
  52. Bring the kids for a show at the Los Altos Youth Theatre. They produce three shows per year at the Bus Barn Theater. (https://www.losaltosca.gov/recreation/page/los-altos-youth-theatre, 97 Hillview Ave, LA)

    Bookstores

  53. Friends of Los Altos Library Ongoing Book Sale
  54. Friends of the Los Altos library book sale.

    Get a bargain at the Friends of Los Altos Library ongoing book sale inside the library. They also hold book sales at the Los Altos Youth Center. Next sales are: November 1-3, 2019, February 7-9, 2020, May 1-3, 2020

    (https://losaltoslibraryfriends.org/, 13 S San Antonio Rd, LA)

  55. Linden Tree Books
  56. Front of Linden Tree Books, Los Altos

    An award winning independent bookstore that served the community for 40 years. It might only survive one more year.

    (https://www.lindentreebooks.com/, 265 State St, LA)

  57. Foothill College Bookstore
  58. Notebooks at the Foothill College Bookstore, Los Altos Hills.

    Are you in need of textbooks? You can find books written by faculty, or get your own merchandise. 

    (http://books.foothill.edu/home.aspx, 12345 El Monte Rd, LAH)

    Shopping

  59. The Immaculate Heart Monastery of the Poor Clare Colettines
  60. One of two businesses in LAH (the other is Foothill College Bookstore) – the gift shop at the monastery might be your starting point to tranquility.

    (https://www.poorclareslosaltos.org/our-monastery/, 28210 Notoma Rd, LAH)

  61. Farmers Market
  62. Woman at Oaxacan Kitchen Markets pressing tortillas at the Los Altos Farmers Market.

    Shop local produce at the farmers market, May – September, 4 pm – 8 pm. They also have kids entertainment and food trucks. (https://downtownlosaltos.org/event/farmers-market-opens/, State St between 2nd and 4th, LA) [Also see: Buy local produce]

  63. Summer Sidewalk Sale 
  64. Ten days in August Los Altos downtown bring their stores outside. The sidewalk sales (August 2-11, 2019) throughout Downtown Los Altos. (https://downtownlosaltos.org/event/summer-sidewalk-sale-2/)

    Lunch

  65. Bumble
  66. Bumble's front door, Los Altos.

    Organic and locally sourced meals with an outdoor sandbox and a playroom for the little ones. (http://www.bumblelosaltos.com/, 145 First St. LA)

  67. Ditmer’s 
  68. A German butcher, everything from sausage to sauerbraten, and all the German treats that go with it, like Sauerkraut and Rotkohl. They also serve meaty sandwiches.

    (https://www.dittmers.com/, 4540 El Camino Real, LA)

  69. Tin Pot creamery
  70. Tin Pot Creamery front door, Los Altos.

    Technically not lunch, but why not eat dessert first? (https://tinpotcreamery.com/, 201 First St. LA)

  71. Lisa’s Tea Treasures
  72. Lisa's Tea Treasures sign, Los Altos.

    A more festive affair surrounded by antiques (http://lisastealosaltos.com/, 167 Main St. LA)

    Nerdy Fun

  73. Steve Jobs Garage
  74. Steve Jobs garage in Los Altos.

    Maybe it was the bedroom where the first Apple 1 got built, but the garage is the most famous part of the house. Please be respectful of the people living there. (https://allaboutstevejobs.com/pics/pics_places/garage, 2066 Crist Drive, LA)

  75. Foothill College Observatory 
  76. Roof of the Foothill College Observartory, Los Altos Hills.

    Every clear Friday you can view the stars from 9 pm -11 pm.

    (https://foothill.edu/astronomy/observatory.html, 12345 El Monte Rd, LAH)

  77. Maker Space at the Foothill College
  78. Makerspace this way sign, Los Altos Hills

    Discover your inner maker at a community makerspace located at the Krause Center of Innovation, Foothill College. After completing the introductory course, use all the tools, machines and electronics. Fees apply. (https://krauseinnovationcenter.org/makerspace/, 12345 El Monte Rd, LAH)

  79. KFJC radio station operated from Foothill College 
  80. KFJC 89.7FM sticker

    Turn your radio to the local college station 89.7 celebrating 60 years of on-the-air. (https://thesixfifty.com/flesh-peeling-noise-foothill-colleges-kfjc-radio-station-celebrates-60-years-of-outsider-audio-bd24d9edc55a)

    Must-show-to-visitors places

  81. Los Altos Nursery
  82. Buddha at the Los Altos Nursery.

    There is quite some history in this neighborhood based nursery. The Furuichi family returned to their land from internment and opened the nursery in 1947.(http://losaltosnursery.com/, 245 Hawthorne Ave, LA)  [Also see: Go plant shopping]

  83. Pop up park downtown Los Altos
  84. Thiid St Green

    Every summer since 2013 a pop up park is a welcome addition to downtown Los Altos. (https://www.losaltosca.gov/recreation/page/downtown-green, 3rd St, LA) [Also see: Pop into a park]

    Festivals / Events

  85. Fine Art in the Park, May 
  86. Fine Art in the Park, Los Altos

    Over 160 artists exhibit in mid May in Lincoln Park. All profits from the Rotary Fine Arts show are donated to local and other chosen causes. The annual Kiwian Pet Parade (http://www.losaltoskiwanis.org/Page/21428, Lincoln Park, LA) proceeds the art show. 

    [Also see: Art in the park] (http://rotaryartshow.com/)

  87. Summer concert series at Grant and Rosita Park, June – August 
  88. A fun filled concert awaits every summer Thursday in either Grant or Rosita Park.

    (https://www.losaltosca.gov/recreation/page/summer-concert-series-14)

  89. Art and Wine Festival, July 13 and 14, 2019 
  90. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Arts and Wine Festival. On the second weekend of July, downtown Los Altos holds the largest two-day, mid-summer event in the Bay Area.

    (https://downtownlosaltos.org/event/40th-los-altos-arts-wine-festival/, downtown LA)

  91. Corvette Spectacular, 22nd September, 2019  
  92. More than 165 Corvettes will take over Main Street in downtown Los Altos for one of the biggest Corvette cars shows in Northern California. (https://downtownlosaltos.org/event/2019-corvette-spectacular/, downtown LA)

  93. Beer Stroll, 29th September, 2019
  94. On Friday, September 29th, 2019, between 6 pm and 9 pm, you can stroll downtown Los Altos and taste some brews. (https://downtownlosaltos.org/event/2019-downtown-los-altos-beer-stroll/, downtown LA)

  95. Gingerbread House Exhibit, late Nov – early Dec
  96. Get in the Christmas spirit with the annual Gingerbread House Exhibit at the Hillview Community Center. Created by Los Altos residents young and old, this long standing tradition produces creative and festive examples of edible architecture. (https://www.losaltosca.gov/recreation/page/gingerbread-house-exhibit, 1575 Holt Ave, LA)

  97. Festival of Lights Parade, Dec 1st, 2019 
  98. Train decorated with lights at the Festival of Lights Parade, Los Altos.
    Image courtesy of Festival of Lights Parade

    A holiday tradition, a parade with floats and marching bands lights up downtown, weather permitted, the Sunday after Thanksgiving. (https://www.losaltosparade.org/, downtown LA)

  99. Holiday barn lighting, early Dec 2nd, 2019 
  100. The Westwind community barn’s holiday event with hot cider, petting zoo and Santa. (https://victoriadyeequestrian.com/programs/#otherevents, 27210 Altamont Ave, LAH)

I welcome your comments and suggestions, either in the comment section below, or you can contact me. Everything can change from URLs to opening hours, please verify before you go.

As always no affiliations with the mentioned businesses unless otherwise noted. Dates are for 2019. Please let me know of any changes or mistakes. All images are mine, unless otherwise credited. Please don’t use without permission. Copyright 2019.





One thought on “Los Altos / Los Altos Hills

  • August 22, 2019 at 8:01 pm
    Permalink

    Thanks for including the Los Altos History Museum! Great list.

    Reply

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