A resource for folks living in or moving to Los Gatos, by Mary Pope-Handy

San Jose

Help me to sell my home!

Computer_MouseWant or need to sell your Los Gatos home, or a nearby property?  Please fill out the form below and I will call or email you to set up an appointment for a no-obligation consultation- or we can chat by phone if you are not quite ready to meet in person.

If you are not really interested in selling at this time, but would like an approximate range of the likely market value of your home based on MLS comps only, please fill in the form at this link instead. This will give you an “auto comp” value.

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I help people to sell homes in Silicon Valley, particularly in Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Campbell, San Jose and nearby areas of Santa Clara County.   (If you need help outside of Silicon Valley, I’m very happy to help you to find a great Realtor in your own area.)

Silicon Valley Open Studios: Los Gatos Artists Share Their Work

svos_logoThe Silicon Valley Open Studios will take place May 7 & 8 from 11am to 5pm in Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga and San Jose.  This is the 30th annual “open studios” event in Silicon Valley (and more areas are covered the 2 weekends after this one too). It is a free event and a wonderful opportunity to meet the artists in their studios, see a diversity of art types and purchase some pieces too.

Directories for the event are found at a variety of places, the closest to Los Gatos being University Art, 456 Meridian Ave., San Jose and Triton Museum, 1505 Warburton, Santa Clara, although the website suggests that directories may be found at many libraries as well, so check the Los Gatos and Saratoga public libraries.

For more information, please see the Open Studios website:   http://www.svos.org/

Holiday events in San Jose, Campbell, Los Gatos, and nearby

Below please find a lengthy – but still not fully comprehensive – list of fun holiday things to do in Santa Clara County between now and Dec 12th, listed in chronological order plus a list of ongoing events.  Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and happy holidays to one and all!

 

Date Time Event Address City Cost More info: Contact
Tue, Dec-1 5pm-7pm Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce Holiday Happy Hour and Open House Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce
10 Station Way
Los Gatos, CA 95030
Los Gatos Free Website
Tue, Dec-1 6-9pm Learn to Paint with VinoPaint “Holiday Ornaments” Tessora’s Barra di Vino
234 E Campbell Ave
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $35 Website
Wed, Dec-2 12:00pm and 12:30pm Holiday Tea and Tours at Ainsley House Ainsley House
300 Grant St
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $35/$40 RSVP Required Website Laura: 408-460-7048 or email laura@campbellshowroom.com
Wed, Dec-2 6-8pm Christmas in the Park Movie Night: The Santa Clause Christmas in the Park
Plaza De Cesar Chavez Park
101 West Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113
San Jose Free Website info@christmasinthepark.com
(408) 297-XMAS (9627)
Thu, Dec-3 12:00pm and 12:30pm Holiday Tea and Tours at Ainsley House Ainsley House
300 Grant St
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $35/$40 RSVP Required Website Laura: 408-460-7048 or email laura@campbellshowroom.com
Thu, Dec-3 6:30-8:30pm Los Gatos Museum Gallery Holiday Reception NUMU – New Museums of Los Gatos
106 E. Main Street
Los Gatos, CA 95030
Los Gatos Website 408.354.2646
Fri, Dec-4 12:00pm and 12:30pm Holiday Tea and Tours at Ainsley House Ainsley House
300 Grant St
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $35/$40 RSVP Required Website Laura: 408-460-7048 or email laura@campbellshowroom.com
Fri, Dec-4 5-9pm Kick Off Ice Rink & Tree Lighting Santa Clara Central Park
969 Kiely Blvd
Santa Clara, CA
Santa Clara Website Santa Clara Senior Center at 408-615-3170
Fri, Dec-4 5-7pm Pottery Painting Plate Pizza Party: Owl on a Winter Branch The Art Beat
68 E Campbell Ave
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $40 Website
Fri, Dec-4 5pm-7pm 43rd Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony Town Plaza Park
Los Gatos, 95030
Los Gatos Free Website Jackie Rose at 354-6853
Fri, Dec-4 6-8:30pm Christmas Cozies Kids Workshop The Art Beat
68 E Campbell Ave
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $45 Website
Fri, Dec-4 7:30pm Festival of Lights: Santa Clara University Concert Choir and Chamber Singers Mission Santa Clara de Asís
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
Santa Clara $5-$15 Website
Fri, Dec-4 7:30pm San Jose Dance Theater presents their 50th production of The Nutcracker San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
255 Almaden Boulevard, San Jose
San Jose Prices vary Website (408) 286-9905
Fri, Dec-4 7:30pm Los Gatos Ballet presents ‘The Nutcracker’ Flint Center of the Performing Arts                               21250 Stevens Creek Blvd
Cupertino, CA 95014
Cupertino $20-$52 Website
Sat, Dec-5 10am-3pm Girl Scouts’ Winterfest 2015 Santa Clara County Fairgounds
344 Tully Rd.
San Jose, CA 95111
San Jose $15, $10 early bird Website
Sat, Dec-5 10am-2pm Northside December to Remember Northside Branch Library
695 Moreland Wy.
Santa Clara, California 95054
Santa Clara Website
Sat, Dec-5 10am-4pm Holiday Craft Faire 2015
Presented by Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends
Santa Clara City Library
2635 Homestead Road –                              Redwood and Margie Edinger Rooms
Santa Clara, California 95051
Santa Clara Free Website 1-408-615-2988 or holidaycraftfaire@yahoo.com
Sat, Dec-5 10am-6pm Holiday Gift Fair with a special Triton Free Friday performance by Charged Particles Triton Museum of Art
1505 Warburton Ave.
Santa Clara, CA 95050
Santa Clara Website
Sat, Dec-5 11am The 59th Annual Los Gatos Children’s Christmas/Holidays Parade Downtown Los Gatos Los Gatos FREE Website
Sat, Dec-5 11am-3pm Hands on History Days: Children’s Holiday Festival History Park, Kelley Park
635 Phelan Avenue
San Jose $5, Members and children 2 and under free Website
Sat, Dec-5 11am-3pm Dog Day presented by Unleashed by Petco Christmas in the Park
Plaza De Cesar Chavez Park
101 West Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113
San Jose FREE Website
Sat, Dec-5 12:00pm and 12:30pm Holiday Tea and Tours at Ainsley House Ainsley House
300 Grant St
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $35/$40 RSVP Required Website Laura: 408-460-7048 or email laura@campbellshowroom.com
Sat, Dec-5 2pm San Jose Dance Theater presents their 50th production of The Nutcracker San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
255 Almaden Boulevard San Jose
San Jose Prices vary Website (408) 286-9905
Sat, Dec-5 2pm & 7:30pm Los Gatos Ballet presents ‘The Nutcracker’ Flint Center of the Performing Arts 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd
Cupertino, CA 95014
Cupertino $20-$52 Website
Sat, Dec-5 2-3:30pm Children’s Holiday Cake and Cookie Decorating Workshop! NUMU – New Museums of Los Gatos
106 E. Main Street
Los Gatos, CA 95030
Los Gatos $35 Website 408.354.2646
Sat, Dec-5 4-9pm 17th Annual Festival of Lights 3rd Annual Walk-thru Night! Vasona Lake County Park
333 Blossom Hill Rd • Los Gatos
Los Gatos $6/Children 3 & under free -PREPAY ONLY Website
Sat, Dec-5 5-8pm 30th Annual Carol of Lights Celebration Downtown Campbell
E Campbell Ave and N 1st St
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell Free Website
Sat, Dec-5 6pm, 7:30pm Nova Vista Symphony & San Jose Symphonic Choir present Holiday Magic 6 Church of the Ascension
12033 Miller Ave
Saratoga, CA
Saratoga $25/$15, under 12 free Website 408-624-1492
Sat, Dec-5 7:30pm San Jose Dance Theater presents their 50th production of The Nutcracker San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
255 Almaden Boulevard San Jose
San Jose Prices vary Website (408) 286-9905
Sun, Dec-6 11am-2pm, registration 10:30am Santa Paws Benefiting Humane Society Silicon Valley Park Valencia, Santana Row
377 Santana Row
San Jose, CA 95128
San Jose $20 Website
Sun, Dec-6 12pm-5pm Horray for Hanukkah Childrens Discovery Museum of San Jose
180 Woz Way
San Jose, CA 95110
San Jose $13/$12 Infants under 1 free, $1 off with canned food donation Website Rabbi James Greene, rabbijames@apjcc.org or 408.357.7413
Sun, Dec-6 12:00pm and 12:30pm Holiday Tea and Tours at Ainsley House Ainsley House
300 Grant St
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $35/$40 RSVP Required Website Laura: 408-460-7048 or email laura@campbellshowroom.com
Sun, Dec-6 1pm San Jose Dance Theater presents their 50th production of The Nutcracker San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
255 Almaden Boulevard San Jose
San Jose Prices vary Website (408) 286-9905
Sun, Dec-6 2pm Los Gatos Ballet presents ‘The Nutcracker’ Flint Center of the Performing Arts 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, CA 95014 Cupertino $20-$52 Website
Sun, Dec-6 7pm Cantabile’s 11th annual Holidays with Cantabille concert California Theatre
345 S. 1st St.
San Jose, CA 95113
San Jose $25-$60 Website
Mon, Dec-7 7:30pm You-Sing-It Messiah – San Jose Symphonic Choir California Theatre
345 S. 1st St.
San Jose, CA 95113
San Jose $20/$15 Website 408-286-2600 x. 23 or emailbmchenry@symphonysiliconvalley.org
Tue, Dec-8 10am-12pm Mommy & Me Free Kids Club, Celebrate the Season Santana Row, CinéArts Santana Row
3088 Olsen Dr
San Jose, CA 95128
San Jose FREE, optional One Warm Coat donation Website  408.551.4611
Tue, Dec-8 6-9pm Holiday Open House + Wine Stroll, benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank Santana Row
377 Santana Row
San Jose, CA 95128
San Jose $40, get $5 off with a canned food donation Website
Tue, Dec-8 6:30-6:59pm Northside Puppet Company Presents. The Grunch Who Stole Christmas Northside Branch Library
695 Moreland Wy.
Santa Clara, California 95054
Santa Clara Website
Wed, Dec-9 12:00pm and 12:30pm Holiday Tea and Tours at Ainsley House Ainsley House
300 Grant St
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $35/$40 RSVP Required Website Laura: 408-460-7048 or email laura@campbellshowroom.com
Wed, Dec-9 6-8pm Christmas in the Park Movie Night: ELF Christmas in the Park
Plaza De Cesar Chavez Park
101 West Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113
San Jose Free Website info@christmasinthepark.com
(408) 297-XMAS (9627)
Thu, Dec-10 12:00pm and 12:30pm Holiday Tea and Tours at Ainsley House Ainsley House
300 Grant St
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $35/$40 RSVP Required Website Laura: 408-460-7048 or email laura@campbellshowroom.com
Thu, Dec-10 6:30pm-9pm, five 30min performances nightly Bethlehem: Experience the Birth Santa Clara First Baptist Church
3111 Benton Street, Santa Clara
Phone: (408) 241-7635
Santa Clara Free admission & hot drinks Website 408-241-7635
Thu, Dec-10 7pm Mix 106.5’s Very Merry Mixxer 2015 City National Civic
135 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, CA 95113
San Jose $15-$20 Website
Thu, Dec-10 8:00pm Heritage Theatre presents A Classic Rock Christmas Campbell Heritage Theatre
1 West Campbell Ave
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $44 Website 408-866-2700
Fri, Dec-11 12:00pm and 12:30pm Holiday Tea and Tours at Ainsley House Ainsley House
300 Grant St
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $35/$40 RSVP Required Website Laura: 408-460-7048 or email laura@campbellshowroom.com
Fri, Dec-11 6:30pm-9pm, five 30min performances nightly Bethlehem: Experience the Birth Santa Clara First Baptist Church
3111 Benton Street, Santa Clara
Phone: (408) 241-7635
Santa Clara Free admission & hot drinks Website 408-241-7635
Sat, Dec-12 8am-5pm “Super Saturday” Toys for Tots “Stuff the Bus” Christmas in the Park
Plaza De Cesar Chavez Park
101 West Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113
San Jose Donation Website 1 Website 2
Sat, Dec-12 9-11:30am Annual Breakfast with Santa The Fairmont San Jose
172 S Market St
San Jose, CA 95113
San Jose $20/$30 SOLD OUT Website
Sat, Dec-12 11am, 2pm Heritage Holiday Champagne Tea hosted by History San José Renzel Room at the Pacific Hotel
1650 Senter Road
San Jose, 95112
San Jose $45/$40 ’til 11/20, then $50/$45 Website Juanita Lara (jlara@historysanjose.org) or call 408.918.1045 for tickets. 408.287.2290
Sat, Dec-12 12:00pm and 12:30pm Holiday Tea and Tours at Ainsley House Ainsley House
300 Grant St
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $35/$40 RSVP Required Website Laura: 408-460-7048 or email laura@campbellshowroom.com
Sat, Dec-12 1-3pm Holiday Lights Drop-in Workshop NUMU – New Museums of Los Gatos
106 E. Main Street
Los Gatos, CA 95030
Los Gatos $15 Website
Sat, Dec-12 1-3pm DIY Art: Festive Family Fun San Jose Museum of Art
110 South Market Street
San Jose, California 95113
San Jose Free with Museum Admission Website
Sat, Dec-12 2pm, 7pm Santa Clara Ballet performs its 42nd annual Nutcracker Santa Clara Convention Center Theater
5001 Great America Parkway
Santa Clara, CA 95051
Santa Clara Ticket Prices Vary Website 408-247-3754 or info@santaclaraballet.com
Sat, Dec-12 6:30pm-9pm, five 30min performances nightly Bethlehem: Experience the Birth Santa Clara First Baptist Church
3111 Benton Street, Santa Clara
Phone: (408) 241-7635
Santa Clara Free admission & hot drinks Website 408-241-7635
Sat, Dec-12 7pm Carols in the California California Theatre
345 S. 1st St.
San Jose, CA 95113
San Jose $26-$36 Website
Sat, Dec-12 7pm A Winter Wonderland by the Academy of Classical Ballet Campbell Heritage Theatre
1 West Campbell Ave
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $20 Website tickets: 408.866.2700, info: 408.355.3767

Is Radon a worry in Los Gatos?

California EPA Map of RadonThe Environmental Protection Agency has dubbed January “National Radon Protection Month“.  Radon is usually off the radar in Silicon Valley, but should it be?  As it turns out, Santa Clara County is a an area with moderate radon levels.

The only real way to know if radon is a problem for your indoor air quality is to test it.  The County of Santa Clara has a page on its site regarding radon, the state’s health and safety code regarding radon, a list of service providers and qualified labs, and more.   Click here to go to the Indoor Air Quality page for the county.

Recently in an “advertorial” piece in the San Jose Mercury News, I saw that there are home testing kits for radon available online.   The county doesn’t mention these so not sure if it’s omission because the kits are new or an exclusion because it’s a job better left to testers.  I’ll let my readers do more research, but wanted to mention it in passing as another option to investigate.

Who maintains the sidewalks in Los Gatos – the home owner, or the town?

Good sidewalks and curbsSidewalks, and the little strip of land between them and the street (where the land exists) are something of a no-man’s land. Homeowners don’t actually own the sidewalk, or the sidewalk strip, but in many municipalities they are required to take care of both. In San Jose, that is the case.

In Los Gatos, however, historically the town has maintained the sidewalks, curbs, and gutters as well as the streets adjacent to them. The town’s website has information on streets, sidewalks etc., and also information on how to submit a request for repair:

http://www.losgatosca.gov/103/Streets-Trees

The San Jose Mercury News had a piece in the Action Line column about street trees and sidewalks which asserted that it’s California state law that makes the sidewalks the property owner’s responsibility. So Los Gatans – we are fortunate to be in a community where the town will take care of this. Just another reason to love living in Los Gatos!

What does a million dollars buy you in Los Gatos 95030, Los Gatos 95032, and nearby areas: Saratoga, Almaden, Cambrian, Campbell, Cupertino?

How far does your money go in Los Gatos, whether 95030 or 95032, and how does that compare to our nearby neighbors of Saratoga, Almaden, Cambrian, Campbell, Cupertino or San Jose, generally? Today I am snagging a chart from my Altos Research Reports which give a good sense of what a million dollars (or other amounts) can get for you in these areas. These charts use LIST PRICES, and remember, the sales prices are often different (frequently more!). Let’s have a look.

Los Gatos 95030

This is the more central part of town, the area closest to downtown Los Gatos and most of it is “in the schools”. Here a million dollars is unlikely to get you a house at all, though it could be something small that needs a lot of work if not in the downtown area…maybe….

Los Gatos 95030 profile of homes by price quartile

 

Los Gatos 95032

Conversely, although about 1/3 of this area is in the Los Gatos Union School District, most of it is not, and this area is usually (though not always) further out so less expensive for both reasons. Interestingly, the high end prices aren’t so far apart between 95030 and 95032 from this vantage, but the gap widens a lot at the bottom quartile. In 95032 a million will get you a small house, most likely in east Los Gatos (west is a little more expensive, usually) – and it will probably need work. Something to note is that all of the elementary and middle schools in Los Gatos, no matter which school district, are high scoring, high performing institutions. The scores do change at the high school level pretty noticeably. But the improving schools in the further out areas of LG, especially in east Los Gatos, is causing the pricing gap to shrink somewhat.

Los Gatos 95032 profile of homes by price quartile

So in Los Gatos, $1 million is unlikely to get you a house, though it may if it is small and not too close in to downtown (or if you are buying land value).

Continue reading

Where are the high voltage power lines in Los Gatos?

Power lines and tower behind residential neighborhood in Los GatosA few years ago I made a study of Google maps, looking at the “earth view” or satellite photographs to locate the high voltage power lines in the west valley and Los Gatos.

There’s an embedded google map below, but for those who would prefer a narrative, here’s a summary of the trail of these lines (deemed reliable but not guaranteed, and not every street is mentioned, this is only a very general description):

These towers and electric lines are fairly parallel to Highway 85 on the west and north side of town, adjacent to Pollard and Wedgewood (near the Rio Rinconada neighborhood) and following both the highway and train tracks immediately.

Heading south, the power line trail courses through the Wimbleton townhousecomplex, moves across Winchester Boulevard near Lark Avenue, and then continues its distancing from the freeway by cutting in further just north of the Vasona Dam (between there and Lark Avenue).

From there, the lines are seen over the the Live Oak Manor Park & play ground, and makes its way down the middle of Blackwell Drive, emerging near Mission Oaks Hospital (a campus of Good Samaritan Hospital nearby), then across Los Gatos Almaden and the Los Gatos Village townhome community.

Now the meandering path will straighten out and lie between the backyard fences of residential streets, such as between Coronet and Blossom Valley Drive in the Alta Vista neighborhood, behind Anne Way (the Strathmore neighborhood) and into the Drysdale tract in San Jose’s Cambrian area, moving toward Camden Avenue and behind the Oak Canyon neighborhood at the beginning of Almaden Valley.

The trail of the high voltage lines somehow gripped me so much that I ended up tracing it all the way from the hills in Cupertino into Saratoga before Los Gatos, then on through our town and into Cambrian, Almaden, Blossom Valley and Santa Teresa (areas of San Jose for any newcomers). Just to be complete, I tracked them all the way to the substation in Coyote Valley and then up into the Santa Cruz Mountains near Montevina Rd and through the Lexington area. (You can see all of this on my Valley of Hearts Delight blog.)

Below is the embedded map. If for any reason it’s not working, you can see the same info by clicking on this link.


View High Voltage Power Lines in Los Gatos and the West Valley in a larger map

Good Samaritan Hospital On Los Gatos Border Does Not Rank Well in Recent US News Report

April 08, 2011

US News & World Report issued the results of a nationwide survey of nearly 5000 hospitals, survival rates, patient safety and several other categories; Good Samaritan Hospital of San Jose did not come up high in their rankings. Disturbingly, there were several areas in which survival rates in certain areas were either “worse than expected” (cancer at Good Samaritan) or “much worse than expected” (kidney disease at Good Sam).  (No mention of El Camino in Los Gatos by that name or its former name, Los Gatos Community Hospital. Perhaps it is too small or was closed during the evaluation?)

Sometimes lower rankings can be the result of taking on higher risk patients.  There’s no way for the reader to see if that is the reason for the scary grading at our local hospital.   And it raises lots of questions about every facet of the care there: Is it poor management? Are doctors affiliated with this hospital of a lesser quality than those of higher ranked medical facilities? Is Good Sam badly understaffed? 

I had my 2 kids there, some surgeries there for medical problems and worked as a volunteer chaplain there in the early 90s and this report stuns me to no end. Did it get worse or why are these rankings so awful?  And I wonder if this will negatively impact the health-related businesses in Los Gatos which are close to and dependent upon Good Sam in many ways. Many local physicians, nurses and others live in Los Gatos or in the nearby San Jose area of Cambrian.

Back to the report – To see the rankings, first click on the hospital’s name and then check the particular specialty.

Good Samaritan Hospital

Silicon Valley hospitals that scored top honors for the area for various specialties include O’Connor Hospital, Valley Medical Center, Regional Medical Center and Kaiser. The pinnacle of the list is, not surprisingly, Stanford Hospital, and it was the only one which made the national ranking for top 25% in 16 specialties or more.

 

Silicon Valley Short Sale Listings

September 25, 2010

How many short sale listings are there in Silicon Valley right now?  Silicon Valley is primarily covered by Santa Clara County with a bit in Alameda, Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties. Today we’ll just focus on Santa Clara County, which is a large area covering about 1.8 million people and includes San Jose as its biggest city with about 1 million residents. 

Distressed Sales in Santa Clara County
as of Sept 25, 2010:
30% of Inventory is Short Sale or Bank Owned Homes
Available homes for sale in Santa Clara County 4800
Homes listed on the MLS as “Short Sales” 1266
Homes listed as Bank Owned Properties (REOs) 478

As of Sept 25, 2010, there are exactly 4800 houses, duet homes, condominiums and townhouses for sale (but not yet under contract, not sale pending) which are listed on the MLS as available. Of those, 1266 are short sales and 478 are bank owned properties or REOs, so a total of 1444 are “distressed sales”, and that’s 30% exactly of the available inventory.  This does not count those who are for sale with a missed payment or who have a notice of default filed but do have enough equity in their properties to close escrow without asking the bank to get shorted in the process. The true number of distressed sales is a bit higher than 30%.

What’s It Like to Live in Los Gatos?

Los Gatos - aerial view from over Lexington Reservoir

Los Gatos – aerial view from over Lexington Reservoir

What’s it like to live in Los Gatos?  The answer to that depends on who you are, where you live, and what you love to do.  Generally speaking, people who live in Los Gatos have a sense of belonging both to this great town and also to nearby areas such as San Jose & the greater Silicon Valley or “South Bay” communities or the mountain communities if they are in the hills over town in places like Redwood Estates, Chemeketa Park, etc.  The town is very much self-contained, but not insular.

At the core, Los Gatos is a scenic, historic, vibrant community with great affection for culture, entertainment, parks and schools. In many ways, it feels a bit European.  Los Gatos has an artistic flare.  It is not “sleepy”. The town gets 300 sunny days a year and the townsfolk love to be outdoors.  There’s a lot of community involvement and volunteerism.  If you want to help out, there are loads of ways you can do that and get to know your neighbors.

The town enjoys two main commercial areas: the historic downtown area of Los Gatos (Main Street, University Avenue, North Santa Cruz and Los Gatos-Saratoga Road area) and The Boulevard (Los Gatos Blvd, which is what Main Street turns into as it heads north past Blossom Hill Road and Los Gatos Almaden Road).  If you live here, the odds are that you’ll have occassion to visit both fairly often. We’re a place which values history but also embraces high tech.  Netflix calls Los Gatos home, and so does Cryptic Studios (video game company).  There are plenty of grocery stores, including Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Nob Hill and Lunardi’s, plus several small corner markets too. The Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce provides a fabulous community calendar and runs several excellent events during the year, including horse drawn carriage rides during the holidays.

Residential areas span the town’s 10 square miles with some charming historic homes in historic districts, but most properties do not have 100+ year old houses. Most neighborhoods are tidy and fairly scenic. The town has some modest condominiums and townhomes as well as smaller single family homes and ranges up to large luxury estates with huge acreage or spectacular views.  Prices run from under $1 to about $5,000,000 for most houses, but once in awhile we find more expensive properties, and as of this writing there have only been 2 over $10 million.

Los Gatos holiday parade

Los Gatos holiday parade

We know how to have fun as a community and enjoy events year round.  In summer, Los Gatos comes together to appreciate 3 free musical concert series, , Fiesta de Artes, and so much more. September brings us Screen on the Green. In winter there are holiday happenings with the light festival at Vasona Park, a tree-lighting ceremony the first Friday in December and a huge holiday parade the next day. Year-round, visiting the Farmer’s Market is as much fun as it is serious shopping (every Sunday morning in front of the post office).

Need some down time? Los Gatos can help you there, as well, as we are brimming with salons and places for pampering and massage.  Or shop yourself happy at our many many stores.  Love expensive cars?We’ve got that too.  We have restaurants ranging world class dining to 50s style hot dog and hambuger joints and everything in between.  We have wine bars and tasting rooms – right in town but also in the Santa Cruz Mountains and neighboring San Jose and Saratoga.   Los Gatos is a wonderful place to spend a quiet weekend for R & R.

Just want to be somewhere that looks unique?  We understand.  So often, you go to Anytown USA and it looks just like everywhere else (especially when you shop).  First, our town, once called the Gem City, is snuggled into the Santa Cruz Mountains – so there’s a gorgeous backdrop.  Second, we care about preserving our historic features, so you will find classic architecture of several kinds in homes and commercial buildings both.  Our scenery is both natural and architectural!

No shortage of cultural things to do in town either. In addition to the music and art & wine festival, we also have two museums combined into one, the NuMu (New Museum) – one for art, one for history.  And maybe the brightest star in the sky for culture right now is our newest project: a great new library for which was recently completed. (The library and history museum have a fantastic project on Los Gatos history, too.)  If you cross the pedestrian bridge between Forbes Mill and Old Town, you’ll find that kids have been encouraged to get artistic (they have painted the walls along that bridge).  Beautiful, professional murals can be found throughout the town.

 

Los Gatos High School, facing Main Street

Los Gatos High School, facing Main Street

The public schools are a very big priority for many people in Los Gatos. The town and the Los Gatos Mountain areas have a few different school districts, with scores ranging from good to great.  There are no bad schools in Los Gatos.  Parents are very involved and care about their kids’ success.  Not every child is in public schools, though: interestingly, about 1/3 of the children in Los Gatos attend private schools either here in town or in a neighboring community.

Los Gatos is a very “fit” place overall – if you like to hike, bike, jog, walk, swim you’ll have ample opportunities, alone or in groups.  Parks & Rec is also vibrant in Los Gatos.  There aren’t many communities where you can have your kids attend a camp and learn to sail, but you can do that here!  There are all kinds of community classes and camps.  Additionally, the town includes many private businesses for fitness (swimming, tennis, weights, yoga, pilates, classes, and more) and the gorgeous Los Gatos Creek Trail beckons.  Horseback riding can be found too – all within Los Gatos. Whether you want to find a personal trainer, work out at the fabulous new JCC complex, sail at Vasona or walk in Belgatos Park or along the creek trail, there are almost infinite options for exercise here, many of those options in scenic places.

Spirituality and religion are also a part of life in Los Gatos for many residents.  The town is home to many faith communities (about a half dozen of which do interfaith activities each Thanksgiving and sometimes more often than that). Many of them have outreach to the community with assistance for the homeless, bereaved, jobless, and many other needs.

Los Gatos is very kid friendly, very seniors friendly, and very dog friendly.  The first two might not surprise you as we have so many events and in many places it’s a “walkable” town which has amazingly good weather.

Kids and Los Gatos

The parks, schools, and myriad of free and low-cost events make Los Gatos a fabulous place for young people. The big town in Silicon Valley, San Jose, was recently named as one of the top 100 cities (ranking # 39 – Fremont, btw, was # 5) in the country to raise kids.

Dogs in the Town of Cats

The dog thing surprises many since the town is Los Gatos, meaning The Cats, and you will see cat logos every
where.  But visit downtown and you’ll find an awful lot of shops and restaurants have places for dogs to be tethered or watered.  At Halloween there’s always a pet parade which benefits the Los Gatos – Monte Sereno Police K9 unit.  And Los Gatos shares a dog park with our neighboring city of Campbell.

Seniors in Los Gatos

Housing:  There are a couple of condo complexes in town which are specifically for seniors.  They are more affordable than “regular” housing.  One is on West Parr Avenue and the other off Alberto Way (The Commons of Los Gatos).

Additionally, there are other types of senior housing too, including independent living (rental), assisted living and nursing. (I wrote a lenghy post on downsizing and retiring in Los Gatos which you might find helpful.)

Entertainment:  Los Gatos has a very active Seniors Center and our Parks & Rec Center features many offerings at low cost too. Many restaurants in town offer special pricing for early bird or senior suppers, so there are plenty of excuses to get out!  If you visit Oak Meadow Park on a Saturday morning, you may be able to watch some older gentleman playing a little Bocce Ball.  They are regular fixtures there!

What are the people like in Los Gatos?

Old and young, area (Silicon Valley) natives, replanted Americans and immigrants all make this place home.  (Many of the newcomers are in high tech, just like the rest of the valley.) Demographics sites like can give you the breakdown by zip code on income, education, etc., but because this is a pricey area, it does tend to attract those who are very well educated and who have professional jobs. Please just google that to find the most current demographics site – my old favorite, ZipSkinny.com, has disappeared.

Some of the well-to-do in town can be identified as such by their cars, clothes and jewelry, but just as often, it’s more like “the millionaire next door”.  Some of the best paid (or best at saving) don’t drive the newest luxury vehicle or wear the biggest diamonds.  So don’t be fooled – the guy in the Honda minivan or the woman in the old Toyota may just be anti-status symbol. (And it can run the other way too: some of those with expensive vehicles, clothes or jewelry may put all their eggs into the appearances basket.)

Several famous people have chosen to make Los Gatos their home. They blend in just like everyone else. You may bump into them at Whole Foods, FedEx Office, the car wash, a community event, the Chocolate Dream Box or anywhere in town.  I’m not going to list them here – most probably prefer to be left alone unless contacted through their websites, and I’m happy to not contribute to their being hounded by star crazy people.   (Los Gatos has been home to many other famous people, and had famous visitors too, in the past.)

Los Gatos is not just for the wealthy – there are many middle class and some economically disadvantaged people here too.

There is not one “Los Gatos Lifestyle”. Some residents may focus their activities on sports, others on wine or coffee bars, still others on a school, church, synagogue or even the town government.   We see a lot of different hobbies and interests, whether it’s volunteerism, art, history, government, business, or sports (to name just a few!).  The beach is only a half an hour away too, so that is also part of the fabric of the community.

To learn more about life in Los Gatos, please read other posts on this blog, view the photos and if you want personalized information, please contact me!

Relocating to Silicon Valley? Consider Los Gatos!

Relocating to Los Gatos?

View more slideshows of Los Gatos & nearby areas

 

Mary Pope-Handy

Realtor
ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at) PopeHandy.com
License# 01153805


Selling homes in
Silicon Valley, with
special focus on
Los Gatos

and nearby areas,
including
Monte Sereno,
Saratoga,
Campbell,
and the San Jose areas of
Cambrian and Almaden Valley

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