Live in Los Gatos

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

Cat’s Hill Classic Bicycle Race in Los Gatos

Cats Hill ClassicIf you took Driver’s Ed in Saratoga or Los Gatos, you were probably made to park on the steepest hill around – Nicholson Avenue with its 23 degree grade. Positively frightening! But local bicycle enthusiasts take on Nicholson not with motor vehicles, but on their bikes in a race that has become a Los Gatos classic – the Cat’s Hill Classic, which runs through the Almond Grove, Glenridge and Bachman Park neighborhoods of Los Gatos Saturday, April 27th, 2019. There’s even a kid set too.

Please get the full scoop here on the organization’s website.

http://catshill.org/

Spring into Green in Los Gatos

Each spring, Los Gatos hosts a “Spring into Green” event. The next one will be at the Town Plaza Park on Sunday, April 14, 2019 from 10am to 1pm.

Spring into Green Los Gatos 2019

The town’s website states “Join us in celebrating Earth Day, Keep Los Gatos Beautiful Month and environmental awareness. The festivities will include a tree planting ceremony, the weekly Los Gatos Farmer’s Market, family-friendly activities, live music and more.”

There will be kid friendly events as well as interesting and fun things to do for people of all ages.

Full details on the town’s website:

https://www.losgatosca.gov/2225/Spring-into-Green

 

Los Gatos Spring Wine Walk

Los Gatos spring wine walk May 4 2019The Los Gatos Spring Wine Walk will take place on Saturday, May 4 2019 from 1:00 to 5:00pm. Stroll through downtown Los Gatos and enjoy wine tasting, free music, shopping, and the ambiance of our Gem City. Sponsored by the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce, this popular event is $45 in advance (available to the first 300 ticket purchases) and $50 general admission online, plus processing fee. If there are tickets remaining they will go up for sale on the day of the event for $55 at the door IF it’s not sold out, so get your tickets today!

For more details and info on how to register, please see the Los Gatos Chamber’s website. Cheers!

Los Gatos: a town that loves dogs

Pizza My Heart dog tie ups in Los GatosThe irony is not lost on the locals that our town is named for cats (Los Gatos is Spanish for The Cats) and yet the townsfolk and the area’s businesses seem to cater to dogs and their human friends and family.  Much  of Silicon Valley is dog-friendly, but Los Gatos seems to be especially supportive to dogs.

If you are new to Los Gatos, and you have a canine companion in your home, you may be delighted to learn that there are many places where Fido will be welcome (even if left outside).

  • A stroll down North Santa Cruz Avenue or nearby streets reveals that this is a dog-friendly community. You can’t miss the number of dog water bowls available!
  • A few places, like Wells Fargo Bank and Pizza My Heart, have leash holders.
  • Los Gatos even shares a dog park with our neighbor to the north, the City of Campbell. (Here’s a list of a number of local dog parks, not just the Los Gatos & Campbell one.)
  • Patio dining is easy to find in Los Gatos. I believe that most or all of the restaurants, cafes, wine bars,  etc. permit dogs in the outdoor areas. I’m a little surprised that the chain restaurant, Lazy Dog, has not found a way to open a restaurant in Los Gatos. As far as I know, the nearest one is in Cupertino.
  • Periodically, there are doggie events, such as the Paws & Pedals fundraiser (or in the past, the Howling Halloween dog costume party – which sadly has been discontinued).

Due to health code reasons, the Los Gatos Sunday Farmer’s Market is not one of the happenings which can welcome pets. Luckily, if you bring along a friend, it is easy enough to spend time with your pooch at the adjacent Town Park Plaza and to have someone else visit the food stalls and make your purchases for you. The same is true for grocery stores or inside eating establishments. While service dogs or other animals are welcome, pets are not, again due to health codes.

Taba Taba Chinese Bistro

Taba Taba Chinese Bistro in Los Gatos - entryToday my husband and I enjoyed an early lunch at Taba Taba Chinese Bistro in Los Gatos. It’s situated at the former location for Jasmine’s Chinese in the Lyndon Plaza complex at S. Santa Cruz and W. Main, where they opened last November.

Taba Taba’s menu is quite extensive, both for the regular dishes and for the lunch specials, with about 3 dozen mid-day options provided.  There seemed to be something for everyone: vegetarian meals, light meals, seafood and shellfish, as well as meat dishes.

The food was amazingly good from start to finish. We each ordered rice plate lunch specials (and shared). Jim had the eggplant with Kung Pao sauce and I tried the fish filet with black bean sauce.  We each received some hot and sour soup first, and it was delicious! They were not too hot, which is always a worry when I see the little hot pepper symbol next to a menu item. The flavors could not be beat.  We requested hot tea and our server was great about making sure we had enough and that it was still warm.

The ambiance is fine, not overdone, not bare bones. It was chilly when we got there, which was early at 11:45 or so, and I needed to wear my light coat to be comfortable. (I suspect that when it fills up, it may be too warm, hence the cool temperature?) The grasscloth wallpapered walls and also the ceiling have been painted a light green, which brightens the place up over the darker colors that were there previously. Artwork of various kinds adorns the walls. There are two comfy booths and mostly tables with cushioned chairs.

Taba Taba interior

Our server’s attentiveness was noteworthy, but we were even more surprised when the owner, Ming, stopped by to see if everything was ok. She was so warm and friendly! We had noticed throughout our time there how many people coming in seemed to be regulars, and that there was great affection between the staff, and Ming, with the customers.

Food prices were not bad for downtown Los Gatos. With our lunch plates and tea, the pre-tip total was around $26.

We both want to go back and bring our adult kids. Next time, I’d like to taste some of the meat dishes, and especially the Chinese chicken salad. On a scale of 1 – 5 stars, Taba Taba gets at least a 6 or 7 in my book.

Parking:

Parking was easy at 11:45 on this rainy Friday morning – we snagged a spot on the street just steps from the restaurant!  Lyndon Plaza does offer Valet Parking, so if you come later, don’t let the parking situation keep you away. On a Friday, it’s nearly always a good idea to aim for an early lunch to make parking easy (if possible).

Taba Taba Chinese Bistro
20 S Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos in Lyndon Plaza (Taba Taba faces West Main Street)

Loma Serena neighborhood

The Loma Serena neighborhood in Monte Sereno is semi-rural, and it enjoys the distinct advantage of being an equestrian community. This community offers horse trails and a stable which can be rented by home owners in the community. This is a wonderful plus, as many equestrian areas feature homes that are perhaps a little more rural, on larger lots, and which feel less like a neighborhood. Loma Serena enjoys both the neighborhood feel and the community trail and stables. It’s the best of both worlds.

Loma Serena neighborhood in Monte Sereno

Loma Serena neighborhood in Monte Sereno

Where is the Loma Serena neighborhood?

The Loma Serena subdivision is located partially along and just off of Daves Avenue in Monte Sereno as well as on and near Vineland. It is adjacent to the Twin Creeks neighborhood to the west and is just south of the English Oaks neighborhood (in Los Gatos). Loma Serena is within the Los Gatos Union School District (most of Monte Sereno is, but part is within the boundaries of the Campbell School District).

Map of the Loma Serena neighborhood in Monte Sereno

Map of the Loma Serena neighborhood in Monte Sereno

Loma Serena neighborhood streets include:
Daves
Equestrian Way
Via Encantado
Via Palomino (off Vineland)
Via Caballero
Via Pinto
Via Vaquero
Vineland
Plus  one home on Alma Jo Ct, and one home on Twin Creeks

Loma Serena equestrian area

Loma Serena equestrian area

What are the homes like in the Loma Serena area of Monte Sereno?

There are 89 parcels (one vacant parcel, the other 88 with a house built), and 85 of them are part of tract number 3393, for those of you interested in doing some research yourself.

 Loma Serena house in Monte Sereno

Loma Serena house in Monte Sereno

Most houses were built between 1964 and 1975 (the marjority in the 60s) as ranch style homes. The living space ranged in square footage from 2100 or 2300 up to about 3200 SF. Many have since been either rebuilt or enlarged and remodeled extensively and may not look like ranch or ramblers today, but driving through the area, it’s predominantly still single story, larger, unpretentious ranch style houses. Today, a few properties have more than 5,000 SF and the average home size is 3286 square feet. Most have 4 or 5 bedrooms, but some have as few as 3 bedrooms, and a handful have 6 bedrooms.

In addition to a more typical ranch style house, in this area you will also find some striking modern and contemporary 2 story homes.

Loma Serena cul-de-sac house

Loma Serena cul-de-sac house

Lot sizes average about a half acre – most homes sit on parcels of 20,000 to 25,000 SF, but a few are bigger. The average, by my calculation, is 25,550 SF.

Loma Serena neighborhood real estate info

What does it cost to buy a home in this scenic community? Like most of Monte Sereno, real estate prices are high here.  For most properties, values will run between $3 and $4 million, but larger estate like homes which are rebuilt or extensively remodeled and expanded could fetch more than $4 million. A small, “all original” home needing a lot of work might possibly go for less than $3 million, depending on many factors.

This is a small pocket, and turnover is low!

See also the Altos Research weekly real estate market report for Monte Sereno (updates automatically).

Below, I tried to map the neighborhood on the program which allows to to display listed, pending, and sold properties here. My map may not be 100% correct, but the homes showing will give you a general idea of the real estate pricing in Loma Serena.

 

  • List View
  • Map View
  • Grid View

See all Loma Serena.
(all data current as of 4/20/2019)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

 
 
Loma Serena common area

Loma Serena common area

Doña Maria Mexican Restaurant at Kings Court

Looking for a casual, quick meal spot offering “fresh Mex” food? You might try Doña Maria Mexican Restaurant at Kings Court Shopping Center in Los Gatos.  My husband and I ate there today, and we’ll go back.

2019-03-01 Doña Maria Mexican Restaurant at Kings Court

Tucked back in the corner of the shopping center, Doña Maria has a modest appearance outside. Inside, it’s not too big, but is clean, newer feeling, and very comfortable. The restaurant has counter service for take out, but you will be seated to order if dining in. There are booths along the walls (comfortable ones!) with tables in the middle of the eatery.

2019-03-01 Doña Maria Mexican Restaurant in Los Gatos MenuThe Doña Maria menu can be seen online; there’s a nice mix of a la carte meal items as well as the far larger platters. Meals feature breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Food prices are pretty good for anything in Los Gatos!  My husband had a Sope ($5.65) while I opted for the more expensive Taco Salad ($9.25) and a Diet Coke (too expensive at $3.25).  The back page of the menu showed prices for wine and beer, and I noted that wine is $7.25 per glass, also a little pricey for a restaurant that is quasi fast food. The entrees and a la carte food items, though, are well priced in my experience.

Doña Maria’s menu covers a lot of bases with burritos, salads & tostadaas, quesadillas, enchiladas, fajitas, tacos, tamales, and many other popular favorites. It’s kind of incredible how much food is offered for a restaurant of this size.

The service was great in terms of ordering and amazingly fast in terms of the time between when we ordered and when the food came to our table. We were both impressed by that! Less good was the time it took to get the check.  The bill was brought to us on a tray, which usually means that the server will return to take the credit card. But after a long wait, we took the bill to the cash register – we gave up on waiting. (By this time, it was after 1 pm and the restaurant was not busy at all compared to 20 minutes prior.) Not sure what happened there.

The food itself was pretty good. My husband’s Sope was delicious and my Taco Salad was fine, though not great. There were some hot sauces on the table, and they were tasty, but a better fit for me was the salsa that had come with our chips. This restaurant, unlike Chipotle across the street or Una Mas a half mile away, does not have a salsa bar. I don’t think there’s room for one, but it would be great if they offered that at some point.

Doña Maria has two locations that aren’t too far apart:

790 Blossom Hill Rd, Los Gatos, CA 95032, tel (408) 356-5677 (King’s Court Shopping Center at Blossom Hill and Los Gatos Blvd) and 2 miles away at 3974 S Bascom Ave, San Jose, CA 95124, tel (408) 559-1768. (For non locals: Bascom is the same road at Los Gatos Blvd. Both of them used to be known as Los Gatos – San Jose Road way back when.)

Where is Los Gatos California?

If you are new to Silicon Valley, you may be wondering “where is Los Gatos California?”  I’ll give you a quick answer and some visual cues via a map on the town’s location:

  1. In the 9 county San Francisco Bay Area, Los Gatos is located within Santa Clara County, which is considered the “South Bay” region
  2. Santa Clara County’s largest city is San Jose (a city of about 1 million people, in the county of about 1.9 million residents), which Los Gatos borders on the southwest side (San Jose touches the bay at Alviso). Los Gatos is small by comparison, with about 30,000 inhabitants.
  3. Los Gatos is nestled into the base of the coastal foothills, also known as the Santa Cruz Mountains. With the backdrop of the hills, it’s quite scenic.
  4. In town, the zip codes are 95030 and 95032, both of which are shared with the city of Monte Sereno. The Los Gatos Mountains area is unincorporated and is the 95033 zip code (not shown on the map below).
  5. Los Gatos California includes about 10 square miles for the incorporated area  (and many, many more if you are talking about the mountains and zip code 95033). Where is Los Gatos California? Really depends on what you mean, in town, or in the mountains!
  6. Downtown Los Gatos is about 30 minutes from the beach at Santa Cruz, depending on traffic.

The Civic Center for the town of Los Gatos is marked in the map below with the white star in the red circle:

Where is Los Gatos? Map of Los Gatos in relation to San Jose, Palo Alto, and Milpitas

Obviously, the town encompasses far more than the Civic Center location! Here’s a map of Los Gatos by region – sweeping generalizations intended only to provide an overall sense of where to find what.

Regions of Los Gatos: East, West , North, Civic Center, Historic

Downtown Los Gatos runs primarily along Main Street, N Santa Cruz Avenue, and University Avenue, but also part of Los Gatos-Saratoga Road (Highway 9).

Within the town, there are a number of districts and neighborhoods, many of which also have businesses, though they are largely residential.

Town of Los Gatos Historic Districts MapIn the downtown area, there are a number of historic districts in Los Gatos.

East Los Gatos & West Los Gatos: East Los Gatos is generally considered the area east of Los Gatos Boulevard, though some people attest that anything east of Highway 17 would be the east end of town. There are many popular neighborhoods within that area, including Blossom Manor, Vista Del Monte, the Alta Vista Area, Strathmore, and Belwood – Belgatos – Surmont, among others. Please navigate through the menu under “neighborhoods” to explore these and many other areas.

West Los Gatos is generally closer to the Campbell and Saratoga borders and includes Rinconada Hills, the Old Adobe Road area, Los Gatos Woods (townhouse community near Pollard Road) and many others.

North Los Gatos is not as well defined as other area, but generally is close to Lark Avenue.

The Los Gatos Mountains are an unincorporated place in Santa Clara County with a Los Gatos mailing address. This can be a bit confusing, especially since some of this region is over Saratoga or on the far side of the summit and in Santa Cruz County.

Rainy day things to do in and near Los Gatos

RainBy all standards, winter in Los Gatos is mild, and any rain we get is overdue and welcomed with gratitude.  Even so, the colder and wetter temps can tend to keep us from some of our beloved outdoor activities – at least for a little bit.

Where do you like to go on a rainy day, or one which is unusually chilly?  Here are a few suggestions:

  1. The Los Gatos Public Library is stunning, filled with natural light, includes WiFi and even has a little cafe on the first floor.  One thing it doesn’t have is a whole lot of quiet, though (and this is before the high school let out, so no finger pointing at teens).  Twice recently I’ve been in the quiet zone areas and had a variety of loud noises – mostly people talking on cell phones, but not only that. So go – but bring headphones or ear buds so you can listen to your own music and not someone crinkling bags or catching up by phone.
  2. Right next to the new public library… The Museums of Los Gatos recently combined and are now in the location where the old Los Gatos Library used to be – on the Civic Center campus.  What could be better than a museum on a wet day?  Check out the NUMU site and plan your trip – come rain or come shine!
  3. There aren’t many sports which you can play indoors in Los Gatos but Bocce Ball is one of them!  How about lunch or dinner at Campo di Bocce, which has both indoors and outdoors courts?  The ambiance and food are great, and it’s a super atmosphere for a family get-together or company party.
  4. How about a movie? The Los Gatos Theater has been renovated recently and is stunning!  If you haven’t had a chance to visit there since it reopened, the inclement weather is your perfect excuse!
  5. Visit Petroglyph in downtown Los Gatos and make something beautiful!

There are lots of options in and around San Jose, too.

Do you love video games?  Check out the AFK Video Game Lounge in downtown San Jose.

A rainy winter may just be the very best time to finally see all the local Silicon Valley museums you’ve been putting off seeing since the weather was just too good to be indoors:

Have fun, and please email me if I’m missing anything that should be added to this list!

Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district

There are many factors impacting the Los Gatos real estate market, including the price point and the elementary or high school district. This post is updated every month or two. Today we’ll look at the Los Gatos realty market by pricing tiers and high school district using the months of inventory as a data point. The months of inventory, or MOI, is the currently active (for sale, no contract or pending sale) homes for sale divided by the number of homes using the same criteria which have closed escrow in the last 30 days.

These numbers were run today using MLSListings.com and it’s possible that a few more homes will be recorded as closed sales or new homes added to the market after I ran these numbers. One other disclaimer: sometimes the number of closed sales is very low or is at 0. This can be for many reasons. In some cases, there are a few which are sale pending and simply haven’t closed recently. In other cases, the market might actually be empty in those tiers, indicating a possible lack of demand or inventory. That being said, what do the numbers say?

Los Gatos real estate months of inventory in 95030 and 95032 combined

The overall MOI for the town as a whole with 95030 and 95032 zip codes shows a slightly weakening market, likely in what is a typical seasonal pattern. It is a bit of a mixed market when looking at the town as a whole, but less so when viewed by high school district or price point. February is often a time when markets heat up considerably.  We’ll see when the month is over, but already in many parts of Santa Clara County, the real estate market is returning to seasonal patterns with some very hot pockets.

2019-2-12 Los Gatos Months of Inventory 1 - 95030 95032

Same info for last November – the overall absorption rate isn’t much different now, but there are a lot few sales happening.

Los Gatos 95030 and 95032

From mid-late June:

Los Gatos 95030 95032 months of inventory June 20 2018

And from April, when the market was red hot:

2a - Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district

The real estate market for homes with the Los Gatos – Saratoga Joint Union High School District only

Now let’s view just the homes which are in the Los Gatos – Saratoga Joint Union High School District (or homes “in the schools” as locals say).Houses for sale with Los Gatos schools tend to be more pricey than those in neighboring school districts. This isn’t just the schools, but is also a function of being closer to downtown Los Gatos. The lowest priced homes in this area are seldom listed for less than $1 million.

 

2019-2-12 Los Gatos Months of Inventory 2 - LGSUHSD

From last November, again, not a ton different between then and now:

Los Gatos 95030 95032 LG Schools

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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

Helping Nice Folks to
Buy & Sell Homes
in Silicon Valley
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