Saturday September 21st and Sunday September 22nd mark the return of the Fiesta de Artes Los Gatos, Art & Wine Festival, the only Art & Wine Festival in town all year! It will be located at the Civic Center lawn, and the hours are 10 am to 6 pm both days. (This year it was moved from August to September – hopefully there will be far less “beach traffic” with this timing, which seems like a great idea to me.)
What happens at the Fiesta de Artes?
Think food & drink, art & shopping, dancing & socializing! Once again, there will be more than 150 vendors with a huge variety of artists and vendors displaying and selling their artwork, plus booths with food and wine and of course loads of music throughout both days. Please check out the musical lineup here: Fiesta de Artes music lineup
Where is the Fiesta de Artes held?
Fiesta de Artes will be at the Civic Center lawn across the street from Los Gatos High School.
In Los Gatos, it may be possible to dine out of doors year round, but it is always a particularly popular option between March and October in the scenic town once referred to as “the gem city of the foothills.” And this year, it might be your only option for a while!
I originally wrote this post back in April of 2019, but barely a year later and it’s more relevant than ever. Restaurants who have had their doors closed since mid-March are finally opening – to the outdoors. Today I want to highlight these establishments for diners and give a nod to a number of the Los Gatos restaurants which offer dining al fresco; we are lucky to have so many choices!
Changes are happening quickly, so this is not a 100% comprehensive directory of Los Gatos eateries that are open with patio dining. Many restaurants not formerly offering patio dining have begun to offer outdoor seating to accommodate guests during the pandemic. Similarly, some establishments that regularly offer patio seating have decided not to offer it at this time. The charts below are mostly thanks to the excellent list provided by the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce, in addition to a few Google searches, to update my previous list of restaurants.
Some of the restaurants that were on my 2019 list include Forbes Mill Steakhouse and Lexington House. These are all still open offering either pickup, delivery, or both at this time, and they may open for patio dining in the future. Unfortunately, a few restaurants have shuttered their doors for good. Both I Gatti and Chicago Steak & Fish are permanently closed.
Accommodations vary from permanent to temporary outdoor dining and space may be limited. I am not able to confirm all of the locations on these lists, and many have not updated their information online. Last Sunday I drove through Downtown and saw everything from spacious concrete patios dining with colorful shade installations to folding chairs under pop-up canopies. The Chamber of Commerce announced on their Facebook page that the k-rails and parklets are temporary installations to provide outdoor seating and will be replaced with more appealing planter barricades soon.
Remember that California currently requires face masks in all public places, and establishments may have their own rules for diners, so check ahead of time and come prepared.
Finally, I should mention that these restaurants with outdoor seating offer varied selection and pricing, from super casual (Happy Hound, Classic Burgers and Los Gatos Meats are all low key) to much more costly and formal. (And if you want a unique experience, one is at the local nudist resort – Lupin Lodge!) Not every one of these businesses is in downtown Los Gatos either. Links are provided where available so you can check them out yourself.
Did I miss one that should be mentioned? Feel free to email me any updates!
The Los Gatos Commons is a popular senior condominium community off of Alberto Way in Los Gatos, very close to the downtown shopping and dining district (see map, below). This complex was developed in 1978, so is 42 years old as of this writing in 2020. There are 110 condo units, ranging from 1 to 3 bedrooms. Most units have carports, but there are a few with 1 car garages available. A plus for many residents is that it is gated – a rarely found amenity in Silicon Valley.
Like other senior communities, of which there are very few in Santa Clara County, properties are more affordable here than what you might find in non age-restricted condominiums nearby.
Homes share a clubhouse, pool, spa, and fitness room, as well as beautifully maintained landscaping. Units have covered parking.
Nearby amenities include easy access to highways 9 and 17, a close proximity to downtown shopping, dining, and entertainment, such as the public library and parks. The location is hard to beat!
What do HOA Dues cost at The Commons?
The Los Gatos Commons home owner association dues start at about $450 and are more for larger units. Two recent 2 bed sales have had $507 monthly fees, and one had a $520 monthly fee. The fee covers things like common area maintenance, cable/dish services, and water.
What senior services are included?
This is an independent living community, not assisted living, which means that there are no additional senior services, such as shuttle, cleaning, or meal plans, available to residents outside of the normal HOA features such as landscaping and exterior maintenance. That being said, the HOA does organize outings and events for those in the community who wish to participate.
Positives and Negatives
Well known positives for The Los Gatos Commons are the wonderful location, beautifully kept grounds, security features, easy lifestyle and low maintenance, the use of the pool and spa, tennis court, workout room, clubhouse, and the senior community. While not inexpensive, the cost of buying a condo at the Commons is less than it might be for a comparable condominium that would not be in a seniors community – and that is a significant plus, too.
Potential negatives may be the relatively expensive HOA cost, road noise & other issues from Highway 17, not having an attached garage (for the majority of units), having 40 + year old construction, and and upcoming construction at Alberto Way and Los Gatos-Saratoga Road. And “beach traffic” in summer, too.
Virtual Jazz on the Plazz in 2020! This season itwill be Jazz OFF the Plazz for the 2020 season. Enjoy live streaming on Wednesday evenings, no cost to the public (there’s a tip jar online for the musicians). The first concert is tomorrow night, Wed., June 3rd, starting at 6 p.m. and the series runs every Wednesday through August 26th.
Where to take in the virtual Jazz On the Plazz concerts
This series appears to be the lone survivor in the usual summer lineup of free musical concerts in Los Gatos – Vasona Vibrations and Music in the Park are skipping the 2020 season and plan to be back next summer.
One of the more confusing areas in Los Gatos may the Alberto Way. There are a number of HOA communities and for those new to the area, they may all blur together.
Los Gatos Commons
The largest complex along Alberto Way in Los Gatos is the The Los Gatos Commons, a senior complex with 110 units. (To read more about senior housing in the area, please see my post on it here.)
As with most senior housing, the units at The Commons are more affordable than the majority of Los Gatos condos. The Commons was built in 1978 and requires that at least one resident be 55 years of age or more. As of 2020, you may be able to purchase a a unit there between $500,000 and $700,000.
Pueblo de Los Gatos
A smaller condo community just a little closer to Los Gatos-Saratoga Road, and on the opposite side of Alberto Way, is Pueblo de Los Gatos. These homes are a little further away from Highway 17, are a little quieter, and are not senior housing. They tend to sell for a little more than the homes across the way. There seems to be about a 5% to 10% difference in price, most of which may be attributable to freeway noise, but part of it to the “senior community” status. This property was developed in 1970, so is actually a little older than the Commons.
Pueblo de Los Gatos consists of 53 units. Of these 53 condo units, 1 of them is a 3 bedroom (unit # 1, which also has a large 2 car garage), 44 are 2 bedroom units, and 8 are 1 bedroom units. Except for unit # 1, the rest of the homes in this community have carports. For many home buyers, these properties offer a more affordable way to get into the Los Gatos Union School District than might otherwise be possible.
Bella Vista Village
Next to and behind Pueblo de Los Gatos is the much newer and more expensive Bella Vista Village, which was built in 1997 and 1998 and includes 47 townhomes. Click on the link to see some photos and learn about it!
Additionally, there is a small townhouse complex built in 1979 with 18 units on the same side of the street as the Los Gatos Commons, Las Casitas. Something unusual is that all of them appear to have the same floor plan – all have 1448 square feet.
What is the fastest way to tell them apart? The easiest way, without even clicking on a link, is to spot the address. If there’s a letter as part of the unit number (as in A100 or B202), it’s part of The Commons. Also, if the price looks low for the area – it’s probably the Commons. If there’s no letter, as in #7, it’s part of one of the other communities. Or just check the map – The Commons is tucked back at the far left side of the cul de sac (beyond it are office buildings with a private driveway).
All of these are in close-to-downtown Los Gatos locations. If you’re in the market for Los Gatos real estate and would like to live close in, this is a great street to check out.
All Alberto Way area homes for sale, pending, or sold over the last year – including The Commons
This includes properties on Alberto Way as well as Maggi Court and the other Bella Vista Village homes.
I’m sad to share that the Chocolate Dream Box closing will take place tomorrow, another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic. The shop is open from 12 noon to 4:30 p.m. today and tomorrow. Holly, the owner, is letting people in, 2 at a time to keep social distance, to enjoy one last chance to buy her delectable treats.
15557 Union Ave. at Los Gatos-Almaden Rd., Los Gatos (in the Downing Center, corner with Union Avenue).
See related post on this site from a few years back
Los Gatos is highly regarded for its excellent dine in restaurants. It is not known for food trucks, takeout food, or meals delivered to your home, but during the current Shelter in Place period, it’s a way for consumers to enjoy some of their favorite meals and support local businesses. In some cases, we can buy groceries at these eateries, too.
The Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce has put together a comprehensive list of Los Gatos restaurants, wine bars, coffee shops, and our one fabulous brew pub which feature to-go menu items. Please check it out!
Finally, I have never used a delivery service, but if you cannot get out, you might want to investigate Grubhub, DoorDash, UberEats, or Postmates.