Los Gatos is an affluent small town located in the San Francisco Bay Area. With its broad, tree-lined sidewalks, upscale boutiques, art galleries, antique shops and many fine restaurants, downtown Los Gatos is a very popular place for pedestrians. Just outside of the downtown core, area residents and visitors can explore the beautiful parks, fishing spots and hiking trails.
You Do Not Need a Fortune to Have Fun in Los Gatos
While it is nice to have a pocket full of money, if you do not have the budget of a millionaire, you can still find plenty of fun things to do in and around Los Gatos
Have a Picnic in Oak Meadow Park
Oak Meadow Park is 12 beautiful acres of open green space that can be enjoyed by the whole family. The park features a large, grassy field and a great playground area for the kids. There are picnic tables and barbecue pits scattered around the park. Admission is free for area residents. Visitors, from outside of Los Gatos, are required to pay a small $6 parking fee. Enjoy walking along the trails by the creek. Take a ride on the carousel or hop on board the historic train for a relaxing tour of the grounds.
Tennis at Blossom Hill Park
Another gem in this beautiful part of the Bay Area is Blossom Hill Park. The well-kept neighborhood park features six lighted tennis courts and a baseball field. Bring your racket and practice your serve. Pack up a cooler with hot dogs and hamburgers and have a barbecue lunch with your family and friends. Picnic tables are available on a first come basis, so get to the park early, especially on a crowded weekend.
Fishing at the Lexington Reservoir
A large lake was created when the J. Lenihan Dam was built to provide a reliable source of water for Los Gatos and the other towns in the region. Water flows into and out of the 450 acre man-made lake from Los Gatos Creek. Open year round, the lake is stocked with black bass, trout and bluegill, and is a favorite fishing spot of the locals. Bring your fishing rod and cast your line into the cool waters of the Lexington reservoir.
History Museum of Los Gatos
Back toward the center of town, you can spend a few hours tracing the humble beginnings of Los Gatos as a mill town in the 1850s. The original flour mill is gone, but, the museum is housed in the historic Forbes Mill Annex, where the ground flour was stored.
Historic artifacts and displays tell the story of Los Gatos from its earliest years, up to today. Admission is free except for special events.
Art Museum of Los Gatos
Right by the History Museum is the Art Museum. Take a look at the work of a number of talented contemporary artists from both the local Bay Area as well as other more distant locations. Exhibits change regularly, so you might see a collection of portraits one week and modern sculpture or photography the next week. Admission is free except when special exhibitions or events are held.
Vineyards and Wineries
Blessed by the rich soil and perfect climate, the Santa Cruz Mountain region of California is known world-wide for its numerous vineyards and wineries. Within a twenty-mile radius of downtown Los Gatos are dozens of vineyards that grow the grapes and produce some of the finest wines anywhere. A trip through wine country is a chance to see some of the most beautiful natural scenery in all of California. Marvel at the majestic redwoods and immerse yourself in an experience you won’t soon forget. If you would like to visit a real working winery and sample a Chardonnay or Cabernet, take a wine tasting tour at one of these local wineries.
- Testarossa Winery
- Sonnet Wine Cellars
- Burrell School Vineyards & Winery
- Byington Winery
- Loma Prieta Winery
- Muccigrosso Vineyards
- Generosa Winery
Sample the Local Produce at the Farmer’s Market
Every Sunday, tents go up in the Town Plaza Park in downtown Los Gatos. Local growers bring the freshest fruit, vegetables and cut flowers to sell to the community. This is the same produce used to prepare the finest meals in many of the best restaurants in Los Gatos. You can always find something you like. Don’t be afraid to try something new. All of the vendors will be happy to give you a free taste. The Farmer’s Market is open year round, on Sundays, from 8:00 in the morning to 1:00 in the afternoon.
Someplace Simple for Breakfast, cheap and affordable
Before starting out your day, head over to Los Gatos Cafe for a delicious and very satisfying breakfast. Locals love this place because of the great food and great service. Everyone is treated like family and the prices are quite reasonable. Order a piping hot cup of coffee and try one of their specialties like the homemade Apricot French Toast. Bring cash because they do not take credit cards.
Someplace Nice for Lunch, not expensive
Andalé is a great choice if you are looking for authentic Mexican cuisine with a local touch. The chef will prepare your favorite Mexican dishes using freshly grown produce from the local area. Every day, you can enjoy a different entrée along with a fresh bowl of flavorful soup. You can try the burrito of the day, fresh seafood, or go for the vegetarian plate. Prices are moderate and the food is always delicious. This is an excellent choice for a special lunch.
Someplace Special for Dinner, good price for families
Nick’s on Main consistently ranks as one of the top fine dining restaurants in Los Gatos and the entire Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area. An innovative chef serves up perfectly prepared French and Californian cuisine with his own special twist. While a dinner for two can easily exceed $100, the experience is well worth the price. Whether you like seafood, steak, salads or soup, you will be impressed by the blend of spices, sauces and tremendous flavor of the food. Nick’s on Main is a small place and always crowded. Call several days in advance to make a reservation. When you want the best food in Los Gatos, this is the place to go.
Antique Shopping Free
If you love to browse and shop for antiques, Los Gatos and the surrounding area has close to 30 stores that specialize in old, used and valuable things. Maybe you are looking for a set of antique silver candlesticks or an old quill pen and inkwell. Whether you buy something, or just have fun looking, antique shopping is a great way to spend a few hours in Los Gatos.
Shopping for Toys – Sierra Toy Soldier Company inexpensive
You won’t find another toy and collectibles store quite like this family owned retail store anywhere else in the world. History buffs will be in heaven when they see the huge collection of finely crafted military figures from the different periods of history. Soldiers from the Civil War, WWII and even ancient Rome and the Medieval Age are well represented. Check out the many military aircraft models and other authentic military toys. Veterans, historians and kids of all ages will have a great time when they visit the Sierra Toy Soldier Company.
Studio 42 Gallery – Shopping for Art and Crafts
Located on N. Santa Cruz Avenue, this eclectic gallery features contemporary art and crafts produced by talented local artists. A fun place to shop for unique, one-of-a-kind gifts, you can find everything from oil paintings and sculptures to hand-crafted furniture and stained glass. Studio 42 Gallery also has a wide selection of unique fountains that can create a calming atmosphere in your home or office.
See a Movie at the Los Gatos Cinema in 2013, families Affordable
Why not take in a first-run movie at Camera Cinema’s fully restored art deco movie theater? Five years ago, the lobby and interior was given a complete makeover to restore and reflect the style of the great theater lobbies of yesteryear. When you walk through the doors, you will feel like you are stepping back in time. While the decor is from the past, the movies are presented with the latest audio and visual technology. The Los Gatos Cinema is located on North Santa Cruz Boulevard and shows family friendly movies and some selections more suitable for the over 18 crowd.
Los Gatos is a small town with more fun things to do than many big cities. Great outdoor spaces and a pedestrian-friendly downtown, makes Los Gatos a great place to come for lunch, shop, take a tour of a winery or go fishing. While you can come to Los Gatos and buy a Ferrari, you can also come for a bike ride along one of the scenic trails.
- Los Gatos Travel Guide: Small Town, Big Living (mountainviewfun.com)