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The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Los Gatos

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Los Gatos

Learn about the best that visiting Los Gatos has to offer visitors to this radiant city. Team


5 min read

May 23, 2023

With a name that means “The Cats,” Los Gatos is a large town in the Bay Area that was established in 1887 and lies just outside of the city of San Jose. Perched in the Santa Clara Valley, the town got its unusual name from the fact that the area was once home to mountain lions and bobcats. Like many of California’s towns and cities, Los Gatos started life as a fairly small Spanish mission before California was annexed by the United States. 

By the 1920s, Los Gatos had flourished into a bustling farming town famous for its stately Victorian-era homes and juicy apricots, prunes, and grapes. Things have changed a lot, however, in the past century, and the town is today a major suburb of the much larger San Jose to the northeast and is home to the richest zip codes in America. Los Gatos is also quite a nice place to visit in the summer, thanks to its beautifully restored downtown, great hotels, pristine parks and hiking trails, and fresh farmer’s markets. Whether you’re just stopping by or you plan to stay for a while, you’ll find plenty to do in this quaint town in the bay area.   

Los Gatos, Downtown

Los Gatos’ vibrant downtown core is home to countless retailers and gourmet restaurants.

Los Gatos, California today is one of the Golden State’s major boomtowns, and that’s especially apparent from its happening downtown district. Downtown Los Gatos is the scenic walkable core of this storied town. It is home to a range of delectable gourmet restaurants, high-end fashion retailers, independent boutiques, and plenty of charming districts to explore. Downtown Los Gatos, CA is full of free parking areas, so you can easily drive in the park, and explore the town’s wide avenues and delightful Victorian architecture. 

In addition to countless retail options and some great eateries, downtown Los Gatos, CA is also home to several key cultural institutions, including the Art Museum of Los Gatos, the History Museum of Los Gatos, and the Los Gatos Cinema. Another must-visit spot not far from this happening South Bay town is Oak Meadow Park. This is a great place to spend some time in the sunny outdoors, and kids will love the vintage Billy Jones WIld Cat Railroad and Carousel. 

Dining Options

Los Gatos, CA is home to a healthy variety of great dining options, including French-style bistros, Italian delis, Michelin Star holders, and plenty of Asian-inspired eateries as well. Indeed, this delicious quality is what makes Los Gatos one of the most desirable places to live in the Golden State.  

Enjoy the best in Thai cuisine at Coup de Thai, a local Los Gatos favorite.

Southern Kitchen Los Gatos

You might never guess that one of the best Southern restaurants would be in a Northern California town, but that’s exactly what Southern Kitchen Los Gatos is. Opening in the 1980s, this restaurant has quickly made a name for itself in Los Gatos, CA, and beyond for being the best place to enjoy Southern-style comfort food short of catching a plane to Nashville. 

In addition to offering the best in classic Southern hospitality, Southern Kitchen Los Gatos keeps things fresh and interesting by giving each of its classic meals a West Coast twist. For example, you’ve probably had eggs benedict, but you’ve certainly never had it with sliced avocado and an English muffin sandwich with bacon and a grilled tomato garnished with hollandaise sauce, but you can enjoy exactly that if you order Southern Kitchen’s savory “California Benedict.”  

Campo di Bocce

It’s not every day that you find an Italian restaurant quite like this one. This Los Gatos, CA establishment is a multi-generation family-owned Italian restaurant that doubles as a fully-fledged Bocce club. The restaurant is affiliated with the US Bocce Federation and regularly hosts local Bocce league tournaments for this distinctly Italian game that dates back to the 18th century. 

Come here for a charming outdoor dining experience in a gorgeous Mediterranean setting, and stay for a round or two of bowling’s Italian cousin. Campo di Bocce offers nearly every classic Italian dish imaginable, but we can’t recommend their classic creamy Spaghetti Bolognese enough. If you’re into seafood, you’ll find their Frutti di Mare section to have no shortage of luxuriant options, including sumptuous grilled salmon and Cioppino, a hearty seafood stew in a spicy garlic tomato broth. 

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Coup de Thai

Thai cuisine is all the rage in the Golden State these days and Los Gatos, CA is certainly no exception to the trend. Coup de Thai is one of the latest smash hits on this burgeoning scene, featuring a wonderful modernist interior that is pleasing to the eye and provides an amazing hangout spot for friends and family alike. 

Of course, the main attraction at any Thai restaurant is the food, and indeed Coup de Thai does not fall short there either. One of Coup de Thai’s main attractions is their Legendary Calamari, a dish of crispy stir-fried shrimp with flavorful Thai herbs, jalapenos, and a splendid Thai dipping sauce made from a pinch of shallots, a dollop of lime juice, plenty of hot chilies, and of course a generous pinch of garlic. When it all comes together, this meal is a veritable symphony of flavor.  

Los Gatos Farmers’ Market 

The Los Gatos Farmers’ Market is held every Sunday and attracts over forty vendors from all over the region.

With over forty merchants coming from all over Santa Clara County, the year-round Los Gatos Farmer’s Market is the prime spot to find fresh seasonal produce, homemade honey, free-range eggs, organic meat products, and so much more. Shopping at the Los Gatos Farmer’s Market is the best way to get the authentic regional experience since it's where you can find the best in fresh seasonal products straight from the source. California is well-known as America’s farming center, and its proud farm-to-fork tradition is well on display at the Los Gatos Farmer’s Market. The market is hosted in the gorgeous tree-covered Town Park Plaza in Los Gatos, downtown every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

The Great Outdoors

From the north to the south, the Golden State is renowned for its amazing natural landscape and its outdoorsy lifestyle. Any well-rounded California destination would therefore be incomplete without a good range of outdoor recreational activities, and fortunately, Los Gatos, CA does not disappoint in this respect. For a relatively small town, it is a true all-rounder, and that’s especially true when it comes to Los Gatos’s hiking trails and parks.  

Los Gatos Creek Dog Park

This verdant park just outside the Silicon Valley city of Los Gatos, CA is the go-to spot for local dog owners, and a must-visit if you’ve brought your doggo along for the ride. The park is well maintained and offers spacious separate play areas for puppies and larger dogs so that every pup can have fun and do zoomies without worry. The play areas at the park are fenced in and carpeted so that Fido doesn’t run astray or burn her paws on a hot day. The park also has plenty of cozy sitting areas where dog owners can relax and take in the sun. This Los Gatos park also has plenty of winding trails for you to take your doggie on walkies. 

Take your adorable doggo for a stroll through nature on the Los Gatos Creek Trail.

Los Gatos Hiking Trails

One of the main Los Gatos hiking trails is the 10-mile Los Gatos Creek Trail which goes by the park of the same name. Walk or cycle north on this trail for a scenic trip towards downtown San Jose, or head south on the trail for a journey through the rural areas of the foothills and towards scenic Chemetka Park. For an alternative Los Gatos park not far from downtown, we recommend Vasona Lake County Park, a cozy green space that just a few miles south of Los Gatos Creek Park that offers more trails to explore. For the ultimate trip, you can even cycle from Los Gatos Creek Park to Vasona, and then back to Los Gatos.

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