Founded in the 1850s, Los Gatos is a charming small city with a population of around 30,000. However, it has a rich history and plenty of attractions, such as hiking, biking, wine tasting, yoga and more, making it an excellent place to visit, whether it be just for the day or a lengthier stay.
At the 150-acre (61ha) Vasona Lake County Park, you can bike, hike, fish, picnic and walk your dog (on a leash). The park has public and reservable picnic tables and 45 acres (18ha) dedicated to outdoor activities, such as soccer. Spring through fall, paddleboats and rowboats are available to rent, and every Saturday in June and July, there is a free concert known as Vasona Vibrations. Oak Meadow Park lies within Vasona Lake County Park and is home to a carousel, more picnic areas and green space plus two playgrounds, one of which has a real airplane for children to clamber on. On Saturdays and Sundays, there is also the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad, a miniature train ride. Vasona also offers an animated holiday light show in December called Fantasy of Lights.
In the center of the city is the Los Gatos Farmers’ Market. The Sunday market has fresh produce, live music and a small park area next door for children to play in, making it an excellent spot at which to stop and have breakfast or an early lunch. The market supports local farmers and offers a variety of food, from crêpes and Mexican food to vegetable rolls. You can also purchase fresh fish and flowers.
The 10mi (16km) Los Gatos Creek Trail starts in Campbell and works its way through San Jose, Vasona Lake County Park and Los Gatos. Along the path, you’ll see people walking, jogging, cycling and skateboarding, and there’s also a dog park. It has both flat and hilly terrain, and while it’s busy, it’s not so crowded that you’ll constantly have to manoeuvre around people.
If you have some spare time in Los Gatos, take a walk along North Santa Cruz Avenue. Along with amenities such as banks, there are also plenty of stores for shopping, tasty eateries, salons and a movie theater, plus it’s a great place for people-watching. Visiting Los Gatos wouldn’t be complete without a stroll down this avenue for some window-shopping.
In proximity to the city is Castle Rock State Park, an excellent place for long hikes. It features several different trails – also good for mountain biking and running – of varying difficulty. At the top of the Castle Rock Falls trail is a waterfall, and several hikes, such as those that lead to Goat Rock, offer fantastic views. Just watch out for poison oak.
In downtown Los Gatos, Testarossa Winery is housed in an old novitiate where Jesuits would make wine to be served during Mass, along with various dessert wines. Although the original building is still intact and in full use, expansions over the years now hide it. In 1997, Testarossa moved into the building, producing only 4,000 cases in its first year – it now creates approximately 30,000 annually. The original building, though, is a major highlight, and there is also a large outdoor area and another tasting room where you can eat and listen to music.
Founded in 1965 as the Museums of Los Gatos, the New Museum Los Gatos (Numu) opened in 2015, merging the Art Museum of Los Gatos and the History Museum at Forbes Mill and moving into an old, but now renovated, library to create a modern museum. Within its 6,000sqft (557sqkm) space, Numu hosts permanent and rotating exhibitions, along with various workshops. It also has a gallery dedicated to local artists whose work is available for purchase.
YogaSource first opened in Palo Alto in 1994, making it one of the first certified yoga studios in Northern California, and in 2002, it expanded to Los Gatos. Its programs include gentle, hot, flow and specialty yoga. In 2014, the company partnered with the Stanford Cancer Supportive Care Program to produce a free Cancer Care Movement & Meditation yoga program for cancer patients and their loved ones. YogaSource also provides a boutique Balinese-style spa that uses organic products and a lounge where you can purchase tea, yoga books, accessories and more.
The Los Gatos Library has quiet study areas, computers, free wifi, self-checkout and plenty of outlets. There are plenty of different genres available, and if they don’t have the book you’re looking for, the librarians can order it. It hosts reading programs and story time for children, too.