Los Gatos is a Great Place for a Weekend Away, a Family Reunion or Romantic Date

July 30, 2010

Old Town Shopping Center in Los Gatos on University AvenueLos Gatos is a wonderful place to live, but also it is a great place to visit for a retreat, a weekend getaway or a family reunion – especially in summer! Whether you are travelling alone, with one special person or thirty of your closest relatives, there’s a lot to do and to enjoy in Los Gatos.  

Why vacation in Los Gatos?

There’s lots to do and to enjoy in the town of LosGatos for people of all ages! 

  1. Free music  Los Gatos has a number of free musical concerts outdoors (Jazz on the Plazz on Wednesdays, Vasona Vibrations on Saturdays and Music in the Park on Sundays) throughout the summer
  2. Plays under the stars  Enjoy Shakespeare and other plays at scenic Oak Meadow Park in July in August (it is really worthwhile to time your visit to be here for these performances!)
  3. Awesome parks  Our parks can’t be beat!  Huge Vasona Lake County Park is a great place to picnic, throw around a frisbee, do some sailing or take a paddle boat ride.  There’s also an historic wooden carousel and a great small guage railroad train running through Oak Meadow and Vasona Parks (which are adjacent to one another.)
  4. Wine tasting  We have tasting rooms both in town (Testarossa and Fleming Jenkins) and in the hills above Los Gatos. Napa and Sonoma are lovely, but you do not need to go that far!  Have a look at the website for the Wineries of the Santa Cruz Mountains and be amazed at the selection! 
  5. Amazing restaurants  Los Gatos offers all kinds of foods and menus for all kinds of budgets, ranging from simple and affordable to world-class and pricey.  Many restaurants are also “kid friendly” – And, there are loads of places which offer outdoor dining too. Several restaurants downtown can package food to go so you can enjoy the live music while eating at the park.
  6. Spas and massages  There are a number of places for experiencing a relaxing massage, so go ahead…be pampered!  (The Spa of Los Gatos is my favorite but I understand that the Hotel Los Gatos also has great massages too, and I know there are others.)
  7. Hiking galore  The Los Gatos Creek Trail is perhaps the best known of many places to “go take a hike”, but Los Gatos is crawling with scenic places to hike or go mountain biking.
  8. Shopping This is no all-indoor mall area!  Scenic Los Gatos offers unique shops as well as a few chain stores. Shop away!
  9. Scenic strolling If hiking the Los Gatos Creek Trail is not for you, don’t fear! You can walk through downtown Los Gatos and meander off the main roads to stroll among beautifully well preserved neighborhoods full of Victorian homes in the Edelen, Broadway, and Almond Grove neighborhoods…. Or walk up a flight of stairs and take in the Fairview Plaza area.  What could be prettier than the “painted ladies” of yesteryear? Prefer the downtown area? That works too.  The Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce provides an historic walking map of downtown Los Gatos with the most interesting spots highlighted.
  10. Museums  Los Gatos is home to both an hisoric museum (at Forbes Mill) and an art museum (at the old fire station). Check out the current offerings at their shared website, MuseumsOfLosGatos.org.
  11. Movies  Los Gatos boasts a classic movie theater that is right in the heart of downtown.
  12. Petroglyph  Paint and fire up some ceramics and make memories that you can take home with you! Great for all ages….
  13. Ongoing events The Los Gatos Chamber has a great calender of Los Gatos events which you should check out – there’s loads going on all the time in Los Gatos
  14. Sunset Concert Series at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in late winter, early spring.
  15. Farmer’s Market every Sunday morning next to Town Plaza Park – great food, flowers and more often then not, entertainment too
  16. Bocce Ball – can be played at Campo di Bocce restaurant or at Oak Meadow Park
  17. Dog friendly – the town is a very dog-friendly place, and there’s a dog park that Los Gatos shares with the neighboring city, Campbell.
  18. Romantic  Los Gatos and the nearby areas are full of wonderfully romantic places, both restaurants and otherwise. Please see my post, Great Places to Kiss (in LG)

La Campagna Building in Los Gatos at the corner of Main Street and Santa Cruz AvenuesAnd…there’s even more nearby!!  Go just a little further and you can enjoy several fabulous things in neighboring Saratoga, too: horseback riding (at Garrod Stables), concerts at Montalvo and at The Mountain Winery, and more shops, restaurants and spas in downtown Saratoga too. 

Got more than a couple of days? Spread out and see a bit of Silicon Valley, including the Winchester Mystery House, Great America Theme Park, The Tech Museum of Innovation or the Children’s Museum in San Jose.  Or go “over the hill” to the beach & boardwalk at Santa Cruz – it’s only about 25 minutes away in regular traffic.  You’re just scratching the surface!  But make Los Gatos your “home base”.

Children will love many things about Los Gatos & nearby areas

  • Vasona & Oak Meadow Parks: the carousel, the train, the paddle boats, the playground (esp the real airplane!), the 100+ acres of lawn, the lake, the ducks & swans
  • Eating at The Diner of Los Gatos, where burgers come in large paper “cars” with 50s styling
  • Outdoor music (where you don’t have to be too formal or too neat)
  • Making ceramic items at Petroglyph 
  • Bocce Ball
  • Movies
  • Nearby: the Children’s Discovery Museum (San Jose), Great America Theme Park (Santa Clara), the Beach & Boardwal
    k (Santa Cruz), horseback rid
    ing at Garrod Stables (Saratoga)

What about accomodations in Los Gatos?

Hotels: There are a number of wonderful hotels in Los Gatos, including the Hotel Los Gatos, the Toll House Hotel and The Garden Inn (where Marilyn Monroe and  Joe DiMaggio spent part of their honeymoon). Unfortunately, Los Gatos does not have any & Bs. (I don’t know why not – the downtown area strikes me as perfect for a & B!)  Some residents do rent out their homes for vacation rentals, though. Check Craigslist.com for that!

Clothing optional resort: There are other types of accomodations, too.  Up in the hills a little bit you’ll find the Lupin Lodge, a clothing optional resort.  (I can’t say much on it because I’ve never been…the idea terrifies me, frankly.)

Religious (Catholic) Retreats:  There are religious retreat centers nearby, too (that is more up my alley!).  The Holy Names Sisters have  a retreat place close to downtown [Los Gatos at 82 Prospect Avenue, Los Gatos 95030 tel (408) 354-2312].  I made a retreat there in the early 80s and it was very, very nice.  Not too far away, the Presentation Sisters have a retreat grounds also [19480 Bear Creek Road Los Gatos CA 95030 (408) 354-2346].  I have not yet visited but understand that they have done some “green building” there.

Whether you want a quiet day or two or more by yourself, a romantic weekend with the one you love or  to organize a reunion of family & friends, there’s plenty to do in Los Gatos. Summer is a particularly good time to vacation here because of the many free music concerts and the fabulous plays.  But year-round, there’s always something to do and enjoy, so come visit.  You may like it enough that you’ll want to stay!