It’s not nearly as tech-oriented as neighboring cities like Mountain View and Palo Alto, but what Los Altos lacks in the tech sector it makes up for in charm. Its harmony of homey character and easy accessibility is largely what lures many Silicon Valley elite to make this affluent community their residence.
Los Altos, whose name translates to “The Heights” in Spanish, was once a hamlet of orchards, vineyards, ranches, and summer cottages. In 1906, land belonging to rifle heiress Sarah Winchester was annexed to help expand and develop the area into a commuter town between Palo Alto and Los Gatos. Now, well over a century later, the tranquil garden community has emerged as a thriving suburb to Silicon Valley powerhouses, and is often ranked among the most expensive cities in America.
Commercial zones in Los Altos are strictly limited to the six-block downtown area and a handful of small plazas and office parks lining Foothill Expressway and El Camino Real. This zoning ensures the city maintains its relaxed, bucolic environment that is so enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. Though no major companies have offices within city limits, top-tier corporations and institutions like Stanford University are easily accessible by commuters.
Leisure & Recreation
Because of limited commercial zoning, the triangular downtown area comprises much of the city’s social hub. Frequent annual festivals and parades, a weekly Farmers Market (hosted from May through September), and outdoor movie events in the summertime all take place in Downtown Los Altos. Additionally, a myriad of boutiques, stores, cafés, and fine restaurants allow year-round leisure and enjoyment. Nearby, residents can unwind in Shoup Park and Redwood Grove Nature Preserve, or drive across town to dine and golf at the elite Los Altos Golf & Country Club.
Though several different neighborhoods occupy the city’s seven square miles, all echo an underlying note of casual sophistication. Homes in Los Altos often reside on lots of one-quarter acre or larger—substantially larger than Palo Alto’s average lot size—giving the entire city an airy, retreat-like feel enhanced by the area’s wide streets and leafy natural surroundings. An added distinction is the Los Altos School District, which is very highly regarded, and several prominent private schools are located nearby.
Whether a new resident or a long-time neighbor, there is no shortage of enjoyment to be had in Los Altos. The intimate ambience of this family-centered community couples with its easy commuting distance, high-performing schools, and vibrant downtown to make it one of Silicon Valley’s most prized amenities.
Notable Residents—Past and Present
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google
Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple
Alan Cranston, former US Senator
Charles Geschke, co-founder of Adobe Systems
Andrew Grove, co-founder and former CEO of Intel
Juli Inkster, LPGA golfer
Janet Lewis, author and poet
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google
John Warnock, co-founder of Adobe Systems
Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and CEO of 23andMe
Randi Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media
Explore our neighborhoods – Los Altos
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The public schools are among the best in the nation. Graduates from the local high schools attend the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country, with a much larger than average number admitted to neighboring Stanford. Abundant bike paths make it easy for most students to bike to their local schools, giving them a sense of independence that is valued by parents and children alike.