The community at the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains has become one of the region’s most coveted zip codes.
The historic Los Gatos Theatre downtown
In Los Gatos (losgatoschamber.com), life is good. Situated at the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains—and just 18 miles from the Pacific Ocean—Los Gatos is all things Bay Area wrapped into one laid-back yet lavish town. Home to some 33,000 residents in 14 square miles, Los Gatos is unlike any other urban area within Santa Clara County.
“Los Gatos is a place where Silicon Valley folks who live outside of the area are choosing to move—for the scenery and the easygoing lifestyle,” says local real estate expert Daniela Haaland. “My clients appreciate that the homes in Los Gatos are generous in size and well spaced apart from one another. Homeowners say they feel that they can breathe and have room to grow in their homes.”
Architecturally, Los Gatos blends historical character with modern aesthetics. Who calls Los Gatos home? Culinary superstars, including David Kinch and Jeff Fitzgerald; high-tech legend Steve Wozniak; athletes from local professional teams, the 49ers and Sharks; a skateboarding industry maverick, farming advocates, artists, writers and tastemakers.
Residents of the town are committed to getting their outdoor fix—and so are visitors. Vast areas of open space, including Vasona Lake County Park, Lexington County Park and trails, Castle Rock State Park and Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve, provide a setting for picnicking walkers to hardcore mountaineers and rock-climbing pros.
The connection to nature can be seen around town as residents are as likely to travel through the streets via skateboards, scooters and bicycles. Cycling trails wrap around the downtown area and take users along the Los Gatos Creek trail.
Hotel Los Gatos is popular for staycations and special events.
The breezy vibe of the downtown creates a sought-aft er location for weekend getaways. Hotel Los Gatos (hotellosgatos.com) anchors the downtown and offers luxe accommodations in a historically significant building. For a more contemporary option, Toll House Hotel (tollhousehotel.com) is equally well situated near local attractions.
Long-loved local boutiques and specialty shops span out along the walkable downtown. Discover linens from The Maid’s Quarters (themaidsquarters.com) and one-of-a-kind pieces from Harvest Home (shopharvest.com). The new and instantly popular Home by Ling Interiors (linginteriors.com) will have visitors bringing the feeling of Los Gatos home with them.
With everything from laid-back beach attire to haute couture, Los Gatos will delight style mavens. A few must-shop spots include Palapa Lounge Beachwear (@palapaloungebeachwear), Bella Rosa (bellarosaboutique.com), Kismet Boutique (kismetlg.com) and Franco Masoma Bespoke (francomasoma.com), where Italian sartorial style meets California flair. Another treasured spot is Bunches Los Gatos (buncheslosgatos.com) florist. Nestled in a perfectly placed breezeway, Bunches entices clients in with its artful floral creations, fragrant air and feathered mascot, Pete the Duck.
Wine and Dine
Exploring the wineries will take visitors above the clouds to spots like Testarossa Winery (testarossa.com), La Rusticana d’Orsa (larusticanadorsa.com), Byington Vineyard & Winery (byington.com) and Tasting House (tastinghouse.com)—all offering mountain-top tasting rooms with incredible views. Bonus: Guests will likely meet the winemakers.
The town offers plenty of downtown dining and shopping options.
Tasting rooms in the downtown area are ideal for a walking tour of the local offerings. Tasting House (tastinghouse.com), Gali Vineyards (galivineyards.com) and Saison Winery Tasting Room (saisoncellar.com) all pour wines in their in-town outlets. Wine bars Rootstock (rootstockwinebar.com) and We Olive & Wine Bar (weolive.com) also feature several local wineries and are worth a stop for oenophiles.
The town is a virtual constellation of Michelin stars, with Manresa (manresarestaurant.com), The Bywater (thebywaterca.com), Asa Restaurant (asarestaurants.com) and Dio Deka (diodeka.com) earning the renowned distinction. Th is array of fine dining has established an environment where food exploration is encouraged and where local chefs feel free to innovate.
Telefèric Barcelona (telefericbarcelona.com) will transport diners to Spain. The siblings who own the tapas restaurant nail Spanish authenticity by modeling the place after their mother’s restaurant in Spain’s Catalonia region. Chez Philippe (chezphilippelosgatos.com) brings Paris to Los Gatos—escargot and all. Cafe tables are aligned for people-watching, and patrons enjoy Champagne by the glass as coq au vin slow-cooks in the kitchen, making the resto a spectacular spot for first dates and a night out with friends. Another favorite among gourmands is Enoteca La Storia (enotecalastoria.com), which operates as a traditional Italian wine market while also serving up outstanding food in a relaxed setting.
Icing on the Cake (icingonthecakebakery.com) has devotees of its baked goods throughout Silicon Valley, as customers drive for miles to pick up items such as the banana birthday cake. During the holiday months, the bakery’s cornbread stuffing—plus pecan, apple, pumpkin and other seasonal pies—create big demand and should be ordered in advance.
Look for outstanding fare at spots like The Bywater.
Food ingenuity outside of the traditional model is welcome in Los Gatos. Grocer + Goddess (grocerandgoddess.com) founder Yvonne Khananis brings artisanal items and curated meals to her customers. The food emporium has an exceptional array of food, catered meals and gift s. Startup Locale (shoplocale.com) is quickly redefining food delivery by empowering local farmers and purveyors. Founded by Los Gatos High School graduates who returned to the area aft er college, Locale brings the bounty of the Bay Area to customers’ front door. While food box delivery has steadily grown in popularity recently, Locale is like no other company in this space. Its commitment to highlighting local products—especially during the upcoming holidays—sets the company apart.
Los Gatos has a rich history of public art. The Los Gatos Art Association (lgaa.org) was founded in 1948 and continues to weave art into public spaces within the community. The expansive Main Street Bridge mural depicts the earliest inhabitants, the Ohlone. Artist Carol Huboi-Werry worked with more than 80 volunteers to create the Ohlone village scene, which tells a story of the lives of Indigenous people.
Fall recreational options abound in Los Gatos.
The New Museum Los Gatos (numulosgatos.org), which was opened under the name Los Gatos Museum Association in 1965, houses work from around the globe but maintains an emphasis on engaging local artists and honoring the ancestral lands of the Ohlone. Th is fall, don’t miss Terra Firma (Oct. 21 to March 19, 2023), a group art exhibition guest curated by Marianne K. McGrath, where artists will explore our relationship with the land and present unique interpretations of meaning and connection through diverse media. Reclamation: Art and Culture of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribal Council (Nov. 4 to May 7, 2023) features photography by tribal photographer Kike Arnal. The project will promote deeper understanding of local Indigenous art, culture, history and contemporary issues in Los Gatos and the greater Bay Area.
Bunches Los Gatos is a local favorite for anything floral.
The town’s connection to the arts includes writers like John Steinbeck, who lived in Los Gatos when he wrote The Grapes of Wrath. That home is now on the National Register of Historic Places in Santa Clara County.
Photography by: COURTESY OF THE LOS GATOS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE; LING INTERIORS; BRUCE CHAPMAN/UNSPLASH; MICHEILE DOT/UNSPLASH