Located in the San Francisco Bay area, Los Gatos, CA, is a town of 33,529 people. The city was first established during the mid-1860s when a flour mill was brought to operate within its limits. Originally the town was named after the mill but was later changed after a Spanish land grant.
Currently, Los Gatos is a part of silicon valley. As a result, many tech companies, including Netflix, have called this town home and have invested in the town’s development.
With the help of tech companies and the surrounding area, the town has been able to invest in its infrastructure, which has allowed it to develop attractions that tourists would find entertaining.
1. Just take a break at the Castle Rock State Park
Unlike most of California, its northern edge is well known for its hills and mountain-like terrain, and you can find no other place that showcases that terrain than Castle Rock State Park. Sometimes the best way to start a vacation is to have a moment of peace and quiet before you make your way into the chaos.
This park is surrounded by hills and trails that make it all the better if you are into exercising and hiking. It’s easy to get lost in the park’s beauty with the wide assortment of flowers common for that area or large trees that tower over you.
However, even if you are not a hiker, this place is beautiful if you love the environment. There is no shortage of things to look at and fall in love with at this park. Get mesmerized by the beauty of the green trails or grab a backpack with the family and go up the tallest hill.
2. One of a kind event at Byington Vineyard and Winery
Now it’s only appropriate after a long day out in the hills that it’s time to go to the local winery. Byington Vineyard and Winery look to make your experience sipping wine the most delectable experience you could ever have.
This facility is 95 acres and gives you the perfect view of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Monterey Bay, and the Pinot Noir Vineyard, all while sipping on award-winning wine crafted in its 18,000 square foot facility in the background of this beauty.
Their tasting room is only open Friday – Sunday, with their tours also only taking place on Saturday and Sunday.
3. Have fun at Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad
Every town often has a good-natured company whose only intention is to spread awareness and happiness, and that is what you will find at Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad.
Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad is not just simply a railroad. Still, it is also a non-profit organization with the sole intent of continuing the legacy of Billy Jones and spreading entertainment to all those to come through. It currently operates a one-third railroad home to both a steam and locomotive, but you can also find a fully restored carousel that is just as fun and over 100 years old.
This railroad and carousel are a piece of history. It can be a fun experience and a learning experience as you will have the ability to step back into the world of the early 1900s when the railroad was the only natural way to get around. It’s an experience that will be hard to forget.
4. Lean some history at the New Museum of Los Gatos
Speaking of history, if you wanted to learn more about Los Gatos and what makes it so unique, this would be the museum to visit. For a town to transition from mainly an industrial town to now being the hotbed for big tech companies, it must have a story. Here you will find artifacts, documents, and photos specifically unique to Los Gatos, giving you an inside look into the foundation and progression of the city.
They also have different sections that stir away from history and focus more on the present, like their artist studio, where you can find art pieces from the past and present-day people. They also offer services for children like arts and crafts, so maybe one day they could have their paintings or art pieces up on the walls of this museum.
It will be an excellent experience for the family and will leave an impression on you and the family because once you get to know the history of a town, it begins to feel less like a foreign land and more like home.
5. Enjoy luxury dining at Dio Deka
Food can often be one of the best experiences of going to a new area, where Dio Deka comes into play. The very essence of fine dining in this luxurious restaurant. This greek-themed restaurant focuses on one thing to make sure its customers always feel welcomed, “floxenia,” a Greek word meaning hospitality, and they do not disappoint. With the comfortable environment, they sought to create comforting food. It is all but a guarantee it will feel like you were in Greek and having the time of your life.
It is genuinely a nice place to spend a quiet night, dress up, feel elegant and maybe have the Greek experience without paying the travel fee of going to Greece.
6. Visit the Testarossa Winery
Los Gatos is filled with wineries, and Testarossa is another one worth mentioning. Built in 1993, this winery started small in the owner’s Rob and Diana Jensen’s garage, but it wasn’t long before it expanded to one of the city’s most famous wineries. It would be the perfect way to end a vacation. It is located in the novitiate winery, which in and of itself possesses significant history dating back to 1888, and the building still holds to its 1800 roots.
This winery offers some of the most exquisite wines. It will make you feel like you have never had natural wine before today. With over 1300 reviews of 90 and above, this winery emphasizes customer service and ensures that everyone who walks in the door has an experience worth remembering.
7. Visit the Los Gatos Creek Trail for hiking and biking
Los Gatos Creek Trail is a popular recreational destination located in the heart of Silicon Valley. The trail stretches for approximately 11 miles, from Lexington Reservoir in Los Gatos to Meridian Avenue in San Jose. It is a multi-use trail that is open to hikers, joggers, cyclists, and dog walkers. The trail winds through lush vegetation and offers stunning views of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
The trail is relatively flat, with only a few slight inclines and declines along the way. It typically takes 2-3 hours to complete the entire trail, depending on your pace and the number of stops you make.
8. Explore the historic Forbes Mill Museum
Forbes Mill Museum is a historic landmark located in downtown Los Gatos, California. The museum is housed in the original Forbes Mill building, which was constructed in 1854 and served as a flour mill until the 1880s. Today, the museum offers visitors a unique glimpse into the rich history of the region, with exhibits showcasing artifacts and photographs from the mill’s heyday.
One of the highlights of the Forbes Mill Museum is the exhibit showcasing the life of James Alexander Forbes, the man who built the mill. Forbes was a Scottish immigrant who came to California during the Gold Rush and played a significant role in the development of the region. The exhibit includes personal items and photographs from Forbes’ life, providing a fascinating look into the man behind the mill.
The museum’s location in downtown Los Gatos also makes it an excellent stop for visitors exploring the charming downtown area, with its boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants.
9. Take a dip at the Watercourse Way Bath House Spa
Spending a day at the spa is a perfect way to unwind and escape the stresses of daily life. The atmosphere at Watercourse Way is serene and tranquil, with natural materials and a Zen-inspired aesthetic that creates a calming and soothing ambiance.
When you arrive at Watercourse Way, you’ll be greeted by friendly and attentive staff who will help you choose the best treatments for your needs. The spa offers a range of services, including massages, body treatments, facials, and acupuncture. One of the most popular treatments is the private hot tub experience, where you can soak in a luxurious tub filled with warm, mineral-rich water, surrounded by lush plants and soft lighting.
It’s recommended to book your treatments in advance to ensure availability, as the spa can be quite busy, especially on weekends. Prices vary depending on the treatments you choose, but overall, Watercourse Way is considered a mid-range to high-end spa. However, the high-quality services, serene atmosphere, and attentive staff make it well worth the investment.
10. Relax with a coffee at Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company
Founded in 1982, Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company is a popular coffee shop and roastery located in Los Gatos, California and has since become a beloved fixture of the local community.
The company prides itself on roasting high-quality coffee beans from all over the world, using traditional methods and state-of-the-art equipment to bring out the unique flavors and aromas of each batch. They offer a wide range of blends and single-origin coffees, as well as teas, pastries, and other snacks. You should definitely add this place to your list if you enjoy good roasted coffee flavors.
11. Take a yoga class at Yoga Source Los Gatos
If you’re a tourist looking for a way to unwind and recharge while visiting Los Gatos, I highly recommend spending a day at Yoga Source. Located in the heart of downtown, this yoga studio offers a variety of classes for all levels, as well as workshops and special events throughout the year.
Start your day off right by attending a morning yoga class. The studio has several different styles to choose from, including vinyasa, Hatha, and restorative yoga. No matter which class you choose, you’re sure to leave feeling relaxed and energized.
After your yoga class, head over to the studio’s boutique to browse their selection of yoga clothes, props, and accessories. You’ll find everything from comfortable leggings to eco-friendly yoga mats, all designed to enhance your practice and support your well-being.
12. Check out the art installations at the Montalvo Arts Center
The Montalvo Arts Center is a cultural oasis located in the scenic hills of Los Gatos. It’s a historic villa that has been transformed into a multidisciplinary arts center, offering a diverse array of programs and events throughout the year.
There are several reasons why a tourist should visit Montalvo Arts Center. Firstly, the center hosts a wide range of performances, exhibitions, and events featuring both local and international artists. Whether you’re interested in music, theater, dance, or visual arts, you’re sure to find something that appeals to you at Montalvo.
Additionally, the villa and its gardens are simply stunning. You can take a leisurely stroll through the grounds, which feature terraced gardens, sculptures, and fountains, all set against a backdrop of sweeping views of Silicon Valley. The historic villa itself is a marvel of Mediterranean Revival architecture, and it’s a delight to explore both inside and out.
13. Take a stroll through the beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden
The garden was first opened in 1965 and has since become one of the most popular attractions in the area. The garden is home to a wide variety of plants, including Japanese maples, cherry trees, and bamboo, as well as a koi pond and several traditional Japanese structures, such as a tea house and pagoda.
The garden’s design is based on the traditional Japanese “strolling garden” style, which encourages visitors to take a leisurely walk through the space and appreciate its many features from different angles.
If you want to experience the peace and serenity that the space provides then this is the right place for you. Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to meditate, a peaceful spot to read a book, or simply a beautiful place to take a stroll, the garden offers a tranquil and rejuvenating atmosphere that is perfect for relaxation and reflection.
14. Go on a hot air balloon ride with California Balloon Rides
This is a truly unique and unforgettable experience. As you float high above the scenic landscapes of the Santa Clara Valley, you’ll be treated to stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, vineyards, and forests.
The hot air balloon ride typically lasts about an hour, during which time you’ll soar up to 2,000 feet above the ground. The ride is completely smooth and quiet, with no turbulence or sudden movements, allowing you to fully relax and take in the incredible views.
One of the main benefits of a hot air balloon ride is the unique perspective it offers on the natural beauty of the Santa Clara Valley. From high above, you’ll be able to see the region’s rolling hills, lush vineyards, and picturesque orchards in a way that simply can’t be matched by any other mode of transportation.
15. Take a scenic drive on Highway 9
The drive from Los Gatos to Highway 9 takes around 10-15 minutes, depending on traffic and your starting location in Los Gatos. Once you reach Highway 9, you can head in either direction, but many visitors choose to follow the road to the west, towards the coastal town of Santa Cruz.
Highway 9 is a winding, scenic road that takes you through the lush redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains. As you drive along, you’ll be treated to stunning views of towering trees, rushing streams, and rocky cliffs. The road is relatively narrow and winding, so be sure to take it slow and enjoy the journey.
One of the main reasons to take this road is to experience the natural beauty of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The area is home to several state parks and nature preserves, including Big Basin Redwoods State Park and Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. These parks offer miles of hiking trails, scenic drives, and other outdoor activities, making them a great destination for nature lovers.
In conclusion, Los Gatos, CA is a charming and welcoming destination that should not be missed by any traveler looking for a unique and memorable experience. From its picturesque downtown with a wide variety of shops and restaurants to its beautiful parks and trails, Los Gatos has something to offer everyone.
Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or simply looking to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Northern California, Los Gatos has it all. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and come explore all that this wonderful town has to offer. You won’t be disappointed!