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The Best Los Altos Service Providers | Los Altos, California

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About Palo Alto

Nicknamed “The Jewel of the Peninsula” in the early 20th century, this peaceful city with quiet tree-lined streets still retains much of the air of a small town. It was incorporated in 1952, a move partially designed to ward off excessive development. Even the downtown area can seem like a village as residents get together for Friday movie nights and other community events. Neighbors also mingle at outdoor festivals held throughout the year in Los Altos. Many high-powered high-tech types can be seen mingling with the neighbors at events such as the Arts & Wine Festival, First Fridays in Downtown Los Altos, or the Festival of Lights that kicks off the holiday season. Sometimes it's hard to believe that you're in the heart of Silicon Valley, but it was in this quiet city that Los Altos' most famous resident, Steve Jobs, started Apple in the garage of the family home on Crist Drive.

City Facts
Census Facts1
Population (2011 estimate)29,431
Median household income (2007-2011)$151,856
Households (2007-2011)10,710
Interesting Facts
  • In Spanish, “Los Altos” means “the heights.” In the early 20th century, Los Altos was nicknamed “The Jewel of the Peninsula.”
  • Los Altos and the farmland around it were famous in the early 20th century for orchards of apricots, cherries, pears and other fruit.
  • Los Altos is not far from the San Andreas Fault and suffered considerable damage in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
Shopping

Downtown Los Altos
Saunter through the tree-lined streets of downtown Los Altos and browse more than 150 art galleries, stores and boutiques. When you get tired, take the weight off at one of the many coffee shops and restaurants to be found among the stores. On Thursday evenings, the Downtown Los Altos Farmers' Market offers a great selection of organic vegetable and fruits from the local area

Additional Shopping Options
Rancho Shopping Center: At the corner of Foothill Expressway and Springer Road, this is an intimate shopping mall with a small-town neighborhood atmosphere. Rancho Shopping Center is also a community gathering spot where locals meet up at the restaurants, coffee shop or wine bar.

What's Happening

Restaurants
Bumble: If you're looking for a family-friendly place to eat, head straight to Bumble. This is a “farm-to-table” restaurant, presenting American food with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients. Bumble has a staffed playroom for kids that's open till 8 p.m., so parents can linger over breakfast, lunch or dinner while the younger generation takes part in creative play. (There is a charge for using the playroom, and a three-hour maximum time limit). Reservations for Bumble aren't accepted and it can get busy at lunchtimes.

Los Altos Grill: For fine dining in an elegant atmosphere, the Los Altos Grill is a favorite with locals in the Bay Area. It's deservedly popular, so reservations (via Urbanspoon) are highly recommended and there's a grace period of 15 minutes to be seated at busy times. The wine list is comprehensive and the food is American with a Western twist. Regulars recommend the smoked salmon, prime rib, and tuna in particular.

Sumika: Another choice for fine dining is Sumika, which provides delicious Japanese food in a casual setting. Reservations are recommended. Try the oyako don or monkfish liver and follow up with the black sesame panna cotta.

Pompeii: For Italian food in downtown Los Altos, Pompeii is the hidden gem to which the locals flock. The flavorful dishes are set off nicely by the bright, airy dining room (there's a small outdoor seating area too). Service is friendly, prices are reasonable and the portions are large, so pack your appetite.

Chef Chu's: A favorite for fans of Chinese food on the Peninsula, Chef Chu's is a comfortable, unpretentious place. As you sample the menu, keep your eye out for celebrities who have been known to stop by, either to dine or to pick up some of the mouthwatering dishes to go.

Events

First Fridays: These community events are a favorite with the townsfolk. In the evenings on the first Friday of the month in Downtown Los Altos, merchants & galleries are open, many offering First Friday discounts. You’ll be serenaded by music on the street, and there are many restaurants from which to choose before or after you stroll.

Fine Art in the Park: In May, Los Altos residents and visitors flock to Lincoln Park for one of the best open-air art shows in the Bay Area. Sponsored by the Rotary Club, the festival assembles the work of some 200 juried artists, as well as live entertainment. Proceeds benefit a variety of good causes.

Los Altos Arts and Wine Festival: A large-scale festival in the second weekend of July, the Arts and Wine Festival is a delightful event that brings artists, craftspeople, local wineries, concerts and family entertainment together in downtown Los Altos.

Fall Festival: Held in early October, the Fall Festival on State Street and Edith Street assembles 150 arts and crafts booths, a classic car show, live entertainment and children's games for an exciting weekend of outdoor activity and culture.

Los Altos Holiday Stroll: Held in the second week of November, the popular Holiday Stroll offers the chance to celebrate the holiday season in Downtown Los Altos. Strolling carolers parade on streets newly illuminated with holiday tree lights, and roasted chestnuts and beverages are on offer at over shops. Free carriage rides are available at this fun and festive event.

Festival of Lights: On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the Festival of Lights makes its way down Main and State Streets. Storybook characters, marching bands and dazzling floats delight the local residents packing the audience as this colorful parade marks the official beginning of the holiday season in Los Altos.

Events at Linden Tree Children’s Books: This Los Altos store is a must-do destination for parents in the Silicon Valley Area. In addition to their great stock of books, there’s a year-round series of author talks and other book-based events for kids at the store.

Landmarks

Los Altos History Museum: The Los Altos History Museum on San Antonio Road has an extensive collection of artifacts and engrossing displays (including some interactive exhibits) about the history of the area. Admission is free, as is the audio tour. Wander around the exhibits by yourself or wait for a tour from a docent, who will be happy to answer any questions you may have. The museum's gardens are open to the public even when the museum and the J. Gilbert Smith House nearby are closed, and visitors can shelter from the sun at picnic tables underneath the heritage oaks on the property.

J. Gilbert Smith House: This charming shingle farmhouse was built in 1905 and is set in one of the few remaining active apricot orchards in the Santa Clara Valley. The house is decorated in Depression-era style with period furnishings, and the pantry is well stocked with apricot preserves and jams from the orchard. Admission is free, but you need to wait for a tour from one of the docents who will give you a comprehensive picture of what life was like for local Californians in the early part of the 20th century.

Hillview Community Center and Park: The Los Altos History Museum and J. Gilbert Smith House stand within Hillview Park, a six-acre site that also includes a baseball diamond, soccer field, the Bus Barn Theater and a community center that offers a wide variety of fitness and activity programs. Hillview Park is also a great place to just sit and relax while the kids blow off steam in the playground.

Redwood Grove: This six-acre nature preserve and park features, as its name suggests, magnificent redwood trees. The preserve features many native plant species. It includes a trail that follows Adobe Creek, the 1920s Spanish-revival style Halsey House, and a nature center that is the home to the Fava Indian Artifact Collection. Redwood Grove is a popular spot for picnics and birthday parties and boasts a summer day camp program that is much enjoyed by the children who attend it.

The Jobs' Family Garage at 2066 Crist Drive: Many fans of technology and computer history have made the pilgrimage to the house at 2066 Crist Drive in Los Altos where the Jobs family lived. In 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniack began building Apple computers in a bedroom of the Jobs home, and when the operation outgrew that room it moved into the family garage. Jobs enlisted additional help from his sister and a college friend to build 50 computers that were needed to fill an order from the Byte Shop computer store in nearby Mountain View, Apple's first big customer. The house was designated as a “historic resource” by the Los Altos Historical Commission in 2013.

Activity

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