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

July 30, 2010

Sign for 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 at any time of the year! 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?

Whether you’re on a vacation or a staycation, there’s lots to do and to enjoy in the Town of Los Gatos for people of all ages!

  1. Free music  Los Gatos has a variety of free musical concerts outdoors throughout the summer, as well as special holiday performances throughout the year.
  2. Awesome parks  Our parks can’t be beat! Oak Meadow park, with it’s historic carousel and small gague railroad, and the adjacent (and expansive) Vasona Lake County Park are a great place to picnic, throw around a frisbee, bird watch, let off steam at various playgrounds, do some sailing or take a paddle boat ride. And a discussion about Los Gatos parks would be incomplete without mentioning…
  3. 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. Among the foothills and the Santa Cruz Mountains are a plethora of hiking trails which branch out into expansive open space wilderness.
  4. Wine tasting  Napa and Sonoma are lovely, but you do not need to go that far to find excellent wines! We have tasting rooms both in town (Testarossa and Gali Vineyards as well as wine bars like Rootstock) and in the hills above Los Gatos. Have a look at the website for the Wineries of the Santa Cruz Mountains and be amazed at the selection so close to Town!
  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 more restaurants than ever now offer outdoor dining. Several restaurants downtown can package food to go so you can picnic at the park. If you’re just passing through, it’s a great place to pick up a quality cup of locally roasted coffee or a sweet treat (I recommend Dolce Spazio’s gelato!)
  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. Shopping The charming downtown area is full of all kinds of shops! But even away from the main streets, this is no indoor-mall kind of town. Scenic Los Gatos offers unique shopping experiences at outdoor malls, standalone mom-and-pop shopsm as well as a few chain stores. Shop away!
  8. Scenic neighborhood strolling If hiking the Los Gatos Creek Trail is not for you, don’t fear! You can stroll or roll through downtown Los Gatos and still enjoy the view. Meander off the main roads among beautifully well preserved neighborhoods full of Victorian homes in the Edelen, Broadway, and Almond Grove neighborhoods. Or follow a flight of stairs up to 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 tour of downtown Los Gatos through a free downloadable app.
  9. Museums  Los Gatos is home to a history and art museum. Check out the current offerings online at NUMUlosgatos.org.
  10. Movies  Los Gatos boasts a classic movie theater, recently rennovated for a more luxurious viewing experience, that is right in the heart of downtown.
  11. Petroglyph  Paint and fire up some ceramics and make memories that you can take home with you! Great for all ages.
  12. 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!
  13. Farmer’s Market every Sunday morning next to Town Plaza Park – great food, flowers and more often then not, live entertainment.
  14. Bocce Ball  can be played at Campo di Bocce restaurant over a glass of wine and a slice of pizza or under the trees at Oak Meadow Park
  15. Dog friendly  despite it’s namesake the town is a very dog-friendly place! There’s a dog park that Los Gatos shares with the neighboring city, Campbell.
  16. 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? Make Los Gatos your “home base” and 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!

Children will love many things about Los Gatos & nearby areas

  • Vasona & Oak Meadow Parks: the carousel, the train, the paddle boats, the playgrounds (esp the firetruck and real airplane!), the 100+ acres of lawn, the lake, the ducks and swans, and more!
  • Eating at The Diner of Los Gatos, where burgers come in large paper “cars” with 50s styling (and milkshakes are generously portioned)
  • Outdoor music (where you don’t have to be too formal or too neat)
  • Decorating ceramics at Petroglyph
  • Bocce Ball
  • Movies
  • Shopping at Affordable Treasures and the Wooden Horse
  • Nearby: the Children’s Discovery Museum (San Jose), Great America Theme Park (Santa Clara), the Beach & Boardwalk (Santa Cruz), horseback riding 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 bed and breakfasts. (I don’t know why not – the downtown area strikes me as perfect for a B&B!)  Some residents do rent out their homes for vacation rentals, though, and you can find them listed on sites like AirBnB.

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 (not my thing and the idea terrifies me, frankly).

Religious Retreats:  There are religious retreat centers nearby, too.  The Holy Names Sisters (Catholic) 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. There have been other similar retreat centers in the area, but I’m not sure which are still around as of 2022.

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!

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Vasona Park’s Fantasy of Lights (Light Festival)

2021 Fantasy of Lights in Los GatosThe 23rd annual Fantasy of Lights show at Vasona Lake County Park begins soon! Occasionally people call me to ask about it – please note that I do not run the event – I am only posting information about it. Full info can be found on the county’s park website, linked below.

23rd annual Fantasy of Lights: get your tickets now, they sell out fast! Entry with prepaid tickets only!

When: The Fantasy of Lights

Walk-thru Weekend Dec 4 & 5, 2021 from 4 to 9 pm

Drive-thru Nights Dec 7 – 30, 2021

As always, the Fantasy of Lights is closed on Christmas Day (Dec 25).

Where: Vasona Lake County Park, 333 Blossom Hill Road (near University Avenue) Los Gatos, CA

How much: Tickets must be purchased in advance available online through EventBrite.

Walk through cost is $10 for ages 13 and up, $5 for ages 4 – 12, and free for 3 and under

Drive through cost is $20 – per vehicle. One household per vehicle!

More details:

Please visit the Santa Clara County Parks page for the Fantasy of Lights to get more information and updates on this event.

Please check the county’s page for this event (bring a mask!).

More questions? PLEASE do NOT call me about this event. Please contact the SCC Parks Dept and check out their website for the Fantasy of Lights! The Vasona phone number is (408) 355-2201.

Please visit Live in Los Gatos for year round events, neighborhood information, photos around the town, interesting real estate market data, haunted places and the occasional historical tidbit.

 

Los Gatos is a wonderful place to visit during the holidays, but it’s also a great place to live year round! If you are interested in buying a home in Los Gatos (or selling one), please contact me, Mary Pope-Handy. I’m both a Realtor in town and a resident myself, working full time in helping nice folks to buy & sell homes here and throughout the west valley.

If you aren’t familiar with the area, here are a few things to know!
Buy a home in Los Gatos (info on neighborhoods, school districts, homes for sale to browse online, links to important local sites & info)
Relocating and buying a house in Los Gatos
Los Gatos real estate on Facebook
Los Gatos real estate market statistics & trends for houses
Los Gatos realty trends and stats for condos & townhouses

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Interfaith Service in Los Gatos

Cornucopia - Thanksgiving Interfaith ServiceThe annual Thanksgiving Interfaith Service is a longstanding holiday tradition here in Los Gatos, and this year it’s going virtual. Join in on Zoom by registering online to attend the celebration on Tuesday, November 24th from 7pm – 9pm. The organization under which this happens is the Los Gatos Interfaith Clergy Association. All are welcome!

Each year, an ecumenical service is held at a different house of worship with the theme of Thanksgiving. This year, it’s being held at all of them! The first ever Los Gatos Virtual Interfaith Thanksgiving will be hosted on Zoom and streaming directly from the many sanctuaries of our community.

A big highlight of the event, which often draws about 350 attendees, is the joint choir, which is also going virtual for this event. This year’s event also features a sermon from Rabbi Aron of Congregation Shir Hadash.

Attendance is free and attendees must register online to receive the Zoom link to join this virtual celebration. No in-person celebration or reception will be held this year.

Thanksgiving Interfaith Service sponsors from recent years have included:

Congregation Shir Hadash
Faith Lutheran Church (ELCA)
Los Gatos United Methodist Church
St. Luke’s Ediviscopal Church
St. Mary’s Catholic Church
The Baha’i Faith of Los Gatos
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Los Gatos Ward
The Presbyterian Church of Los Gatos
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Los Gatos

 

In the past, this also included chaplains from Good Samaritan Hospital, the Terraces and Stanford Health Care.

In past celebrations, those attending the Thanksgiving Interfaith Service were encouraged to bring canned food to donate to West Valley Community Services and St. Luke’s Lunch Program, and cash donations to other charities were encouraged. If you are able, consider donating food, items, money, or your time to a local charity to help the South Bay community during this difficult holiday season. Here are the names of a few:

 

I wish each and every one of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

 

The Holiday Season in Los Gatos: So Much To Do!

Christmas tree and packages with a greeting of Happy Holidays on a bannerDecember is almost upon us, and with it comes all kinds of holiday events and activities in beautiful Los Gatos.

Keeping up is half the battle with so much happening this December! To make your season a little less stressful and a little more jolly, I have organized a list of holiday events and activities going on in Los Gatos. Below you will find two lists – one with unique events you might only have a day or two to enjoy, and a separate list of ongoing events you can join in all December long. These lists do not include religious services, so please check your preferred place of prayer for those schedules.

So get ready for carriage rides, the Fantasy of Lights, the tree lighting ceremony, the Los Gatos holiday parade, crafting, caroling, cookies and more!

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Los Gatos Downtown Holiday Shopping Stroll

December 05, 2017

Downtown Los Gatos has much to offer, particularly during the holidays, but now we can add one more thing for which to be grateful – downtown Los Gatos is working to bring the holiday joy into your shopping experience!

This Sunday, December 10, from 11am – 4pm Los Gatos encourages you to shop local for the holidays at the 2nd Annual Holiday Stroll. In addition to the seasonal decor, there will be carolers, hot chocolate sales, a visit from ol’ Saint Nick, and plenty of kids activities for revelers and shoppers alike. Additionally, there’s free valet parking!

 

More details on the Stroll at the event page.

For valet parking, check out the flier.

 

 

 

Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony Friday Dec 6, 2013 in Downtown Los Gatos

November 29, 2013

Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in Los Gatos, CAThe Los Gatos Community Foundation and the Town of Los Gatos sponsor the annual holiday tree lighting ceremony on Friday, December 6th, 2032, beginning at 5pm at the Los Gatos Town Plaza. The late afternoon to early evening festivities will include music, the tree lighting at 6pm and a visit from Santa at 6:01pm. For Los Gatos, this officially marks the beginning of the holiday (Christmas) season.   Please stop by!

And for those new to the area, the next morning is the annual holiday parade, too. The parade always takes place on the first Saturday in December, and the tree lighting is always the night before. Mark your calendars!

For more information on this annual event, please visit the Los Gatos Community Foundation’s page:
http://www.losgatoscommunityfoundation.org/tree.php

Many thanks to all of the volunteers who make this annual event happen!

Holiday Celebration at Testarossa

December 05, 2011

Testarossa Winery is hosting a holiday celebration at its tasting room in Los Gatos this Sunday, December 11th, from 12 noon to 4pm. The event includes music and an expanded pour. Reservations are not required. The wine tasting room is located at 300-A College Avenue, Los Gatos.

Learn more about this event on the Testarossa Winery website. Find directions on the same site as well.