Los Altos is in Santa Clara County, in the South Bay region of the San FranciscoBay Area in California. The city means “The Heights” or “Foothills” in Spanish. It is mostly residential, but it does have several areas which could be considered ‘business districts’.
- Not to be confused with Los Altos Hills.
If driving on El Camino Real, drive south on San Antonio Road, south on Los Altos Avenue, or south on Grant Road. If taking public transportation, VTA bus lines 40 and 52 go near downtown Los Altos. Interstate 280 provides easy access to Los Altos. If coming in from the north (San Francisco), then use 280 South. There is no method of entry from the west with the exception of Page Mill Road and Moody Road. If coming in from the south, use 87 North with connections to 280 North. If coming from the east, then 280 North is a simple method of entry.
Los Altos is a small enough town that there is no real “mass transit” option such as train, or light rail. Due to the residential nature of Los Altos, almost every single person uses cars. There is the occasional VTA bus, but it has never been the true method of transit. Los Altos hotspots such as Whole Foods are the greater majority of all bus transit.
Los Altos is mostly residential but there are some hotspots such as Loyola Corners, Downtown Los Altos, and the various borders between Los Altos and other close-by cities. Although not necessarily in the city, Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve (Rancho OSP) is a major distinction to see the mountains. The park is open daily from sunrise to sundown.
Bicycling is popular, especially on the NE/SW route of Foothill Expressway. Peet’s Coffee on State Street is a popular stop for bicyclists. A bicycle route from Los Altos Avenue to Arastradero road is a popular route to Stanford University that avoids much automobile traffic. During evenings in the summer, the Downtown Triangle shows a movie every evening, free of charge.
Los Altos has four main shopping areas, listed in order of size:
- the south side of El Camino Real
- the Downtown Triangle bordered on the Southwest by Foothill Expressway, on the North by Edith Drive, and on the East by San Antonio Road near its Southern terminus. This area is very suitable for walking and is much more peaceful and than similar downtowns in nearby Palo Alto and Mountain View, but still has plenty of foot traffic.
- Rancho Shopping Center at the intersection of Springer Road and Foothill, primarily Andronico’s grocery store
- Loyola Corners at the Southern end of Miramonte Road has a variety of shops including a very popular high-end bicycle shop.
In the El Camino Corridor:
- Whole Foods Market. has some indoor seating
- Armadillo Willy’s. Lunch and Dinner, American food
- Chef Chu’s. Chinese take-out and dinner
- Esther’s German Bakery. European bread and pastries
- A Good Morning. American Breakfast
- Oregano’s. Italian American
- The Pasta Market. Italian American
- Go Go Gyro. Greek
- Dittmer’s Meats. German meats
- Peet’s Coffee and Tea. Coffee, and pastries
In the Downtown Triangle:
- Los Altos Grill. American; formerly Bandera’s
- Sumo Sushi, 355 State St, ☎+1 650 941-9898. Japanese
- Bella Vita. for Italian dinner
- Los Altos Village Pantry.
- Bumble. Light lunches
- Forest on First. Lunch
- Safeway. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner with outdoor seating
- Original Pancake House. Pancakes, waffles, and other breakfast items
In the Rancho Shopping Center:
- Andronico’s Market. has limited seating
- Rancho Pizza. Take and bake pizza
- Los Altos Bakery & Cafe. Breakfast and Lunch
- Brian’s Restaurant. For breakfast and lunch
- Main Street Bagel. For bagels and lunch sandwiches
- Starbucks. Coffee, scones, bagels
In Loyola Corners:
- Tom’s Depot. for breakfast and lunch
- Cafe Vitale. For upper-scale lunch/dinner