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So, what to name a town that is snuggled against the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, where bobcats and cougars reign supreme? Los Gatos, naturally. From a thriving lumber town to an important agricultural center and art colony to a suburb of San Jose with its own claim to tech fame, Los Gatos is worth getting to know.

Los Gatos quick facts

  • The town takes up slightly more than 11 miles of Santa Clara County land.
  • Los Gatos is located nearly 10.5 miles southwest of San Jose, 51.5 miles southeast of San Francisco and slightly more than 49 miles southeast of Oakland.
  • At the last census, Los Gatos had a population of 30,391.
  • Los Gatos is the 33rd wealthiest city in the United States.
  • Lost Gatos began municipal life as a settlement, established in the 1860s. It incorporated into a town in 1887.
  • John Steinbeck wrote Grapes of Wrath in Los Gatos.

Los Gatos schools

Several highly-ranked school districts serve the public school students who live in Los Gatos:

  • Lakeside Joint School District – Serving slightly more than 90 students with five teachers, the district is highly ranked — 34th of 865 California public school districts.
  • Loma Prieta Joint Union Elementary School District – Loma Prieta is also highly regarded, ranked 39th of 865 California public school districts. The district serves nearly 500 students in grades Kindergarten through 8.
  • Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District – Ranked 11th of 865 California public school districts, Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District serves nearly 3,300 students in grades 9 through 12.
  • Los Gatos Union School District – serves about 3,300 students in grades Kindergarten through 8. This district is ranked 32nd of all of California’s public school districts.

Private schools in the area include

  • Fusion Academy – An accredited private middle and high school for grades 6 through 12.
  • Hillbrook School – An independent, accredited, co-educational day school serving preschool through 8th-grade students.
  • Los Gatos Christian School – Serves students in Pre-school through 8th
  • Mulberry School – Serves preschool through middle school students.
  • Rainbow of Knowledge – A private elementary school.
  • Mary of the Immaculate Conception – A Catholic school serving students in grades Kindergarten through 8.
  • Stratford School – Serves children in preschool through grade 5.
  • Yavneh Day School – An independent Jewish day school, it serves children in Kindergarten through 8th

Getting around in Los Gatos

Los Gatos is bisected by State Route 17, which runs through the town from south to north, connecting to State Route 85 and, further north, the 280.

Los Gatos commuters who prefer public transportation have access to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) busses and, from Campbell, VTA light-rail. They can also access Caltrain from nearby Santa Clara.

Business and industry in Los Gatos

Once a mere rest stop between Missions Santa Cruz and Santa Clara, the hills above Los Gatos became a major lumber center in the late 1830s. As the trees were stripped away, however, the lumber industry moved on and agriculture became king in Los Gatos.

Today, Los Gatos is an important tech center, and home to giants such as Netflix, Roku, Inc., Smashwords, and others. In fact, Netflix is the area’s largest employer, with 1,530 employees.

Healthcare is also an important industry in Los Gatos with Columbia Health Care/Mission Oaks Hospital and El Camino Hospital employing, among them, about 2,700 employees.

Los Gatos arts, entertainment and events

The New Museum (NUMU) offers a variety of programs and exhibitions that draw in excess of 12,000 visitors every year. Past exhibits have included “Abstracts From Life: Bay Area Figurative Past and Present,” “Los Gatos Arts Association’s Greater Bay Area Open Exhibition” and “Back From Extinction: Muwekma Ohlone’s Heritage, History, and Legacy.” In the permanent collection, you can enjoy “works of art and historical artifacts” relevant to the Bay Area and Los Gatos in particular.

Annual events in Los Gatos include:

  • 4th of July Symphony in the Park
  • Jazz on the Plazz
  • Los Gatos Music in the Park
  • Red, White, & Blue Block Party
  • Screen on the Green
  • Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival
  • Spring into Green

Getting outdoors in Los Gatos

Outdoor enthusiasts have many choices to make when deciding how to spend their leisure time. But if it’s biking and hiking, choose the area’s county park or open space preserves.

Castle Rock State Park is a well-known hiker’s paradise but it’s also popular with rock climbers. The trail system offers spectacular views, whether you’re on foot or horseback.

The Los Gatos Creek Trail is popular with joggers, bicyclists, skaters and dog walkers. In fact, there is an area set aside just for the four-legged.

The more than 150-acre Vasona Lake County Park acts as a magnet to residents from across Santa Clara County and beyond. The park features 45 acres of grassy area that folks use to play Frisbee, soccer and other field sports. In the summer, the lake gets plenty of use with boats for rent and fish to catch.

Adjacent to Vasona is Oak Meadow Park which offers a picnic area, playground, miniature train rides and even a carousel.

Homes in Los Gatos

Los Gatos is famous for its vintage-home neighborhoods that include 2,500 that are official- designated historic homes, built prior to 1940. From Victorians to Craftsman bungalows and Eichlers, it’s an eclectic and charming mix.

In all, Los Gatos is home to more than 13,000 homes, 63 percent of which are owner-occupied. Nearly 60 percent of these homes are of the single-family, detached variety, many built in the 1960s and 1970s. Nearly 95 percent of the homes in Los Gatos is valued between $500,000 and more than $1 million. Typically, an entry-level single-family home for sale in Los Gatos will fetch around $1.8 million.

Of course prices change so contact us if you’d like to be kept abreast of the current Los Gatos real estate market and new listings of homes for sale in Los Gatos. We’re happy to help.

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