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Los Altos History Museum

Travel back to the days when Los Altos was a pioneer settlement and discover how it developed into the high-tech hub it is today.

The Los Altos History Museum traces the city’s journey from a sleepy orchard town into the high-tech Silicon Valley of today. Occupying a three-story complex in one of the Bay Area’s few remaining apricot orchards, the ground level is given over to rotating exhibits, while upstairs you’ll find the museum’s permanent collection.

The permanent collection details the lives of early Californians and the region’s economic, social and political development. Wander the gallery to see how Mexican landholders, early orchard owners, Ohlone Indians and other settlers interacted in an area once known as the “Valley of Heart’s Delight.” Kids will love the replica of downtown Los Altos in the 1930s complete with railroad and hands-on activities.

Before you plan your visit check the website for details about the current rotating exhibit. Changing up to four times a year, past exhibits have covered topics as diverse as grizzly bears in California to water use in the Santa Clara Valley. If you’re lucky you might even be in town for one of the museum’s special events. In the past these have featured fashion shows, Hawaiian luaus and entire days dedicated to trains.

Head downstairs and across the museum courtyard to the J. Gilbert Smith House. Here, all the sights, textures and smells of early American farm life are recreated amid the immaculately restored rooms of a 1905 shingled farmhouse. Outside you’ll find a working apricot orchard, towering oak trees and vintage farm equipment. Stroll the gardens and relax under the trees. Visitors are free to use the grounds even when the house and museum are closed.

The Los Altos History Museum is located in central Los Altos, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) northwest from San Jose. It’s open Sunday to Thursday, and closed on public holidays. Parking and entry to the museum is free, but note that the J. Gilbert Smith House can only be entered with a guide.


Guide to Exploring around Los Altos History Museum


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Lodging Near Los Altos History Museum

See all 380 Properties near Los Altos History Museum
Enchanté Boutique Hotel
Enchanté Boutique Hotel

Enchanté Boutique Hotel

1 Main St, Los Altos
     
    4.8
    of 5, from 64 reviews
    4.0 out of 5.0

    Situated in Los Altos, this hotel is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Los Altos History Museum and within 3 mi (5 km) of San Antonio Shopping Center and Foothill College. Rengstorff Park and Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts are also within 3 mi (5 km).

    Mountain View Inn $107
    Mountain View Inn

    Mountain View Inn

    2300 W El Camino Real, Mountain View
       
      3.7
      of 5, from 518 reviews
      2.5 out of 5.0

      Appealing to families and business travelers, this hotel is two miles from Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems, four miles from Stanford, and eight from Great America.

      Los Altos Luxury Home in the Heart Silicon Valley - Walk to Down Town!
      Los Altos Luxury Home in the Heart Silicon Valley - Walk to Down Town!

      Los Altos Luxury Home in the Heart Silicon Valley - Walk to Down Town!

      , Los Altos
         
        0.0 out of 5.0

        Located in the heart of Los Altos, this vacation home is 0.5 mi (0.8 km) from Los Altos History Museum and within 3 mi (5 km) of San Antonio Shopping Center and Foothill College. Rengstorff Park and Tesla Motors are also within 3 mi (5 km).

        The Hotel Aria
        The Hotel Aria

        The Hotel Aria

        2700 W El Camino Real, Mountain View
           
          3.4
          of 5, from 882 reviews
          3.0 out of 5.0

          The Hotel Aria is near the HQs of Google and Facebook in Silicon Valley. Guests can reach Shoreline Park in 15 minutes on foot, and walk 7 minutes to San Antonio Shopping Center. Downtown Palo Alto is 2 miles (3.2 km) away, and the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts is within easy reach.

          Comfort Inn Palo Alto Stanford University $94
          Comfort Inn Palo Alto Stanford University

          Comfort Inn Palo Alto Stanford University

          3945 El Camino Real, Palo Alto
             
            3.8
            of 5, from 1,229 reviews
            2.5 out of 5.0

            Located in the heart of Palo Alto, this motel is within 3 mi (5 km) of San Antonio Shopping Center, Stanford University, and Stanford Shopping Center. Stanford Stadium and Stanford Maples Pavillion are also within 3 mi (5 km).

            Country Inn Motel $139
            Country Inn Motel

            Country Inn Motel

            4345 El Camino Real, Palo Alto
               
              4.5
              of 5, from 99 reviews
              2.5 out of 5.0

              Situated in Palo Alto, this motel is within 2 mi (3 km) of San Antonio Shopping Center, Rengstorff Park, and Los Altos History Museum. Tesla Motors and Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts are also within 3 mi (5 km).

              Creekside Inn - A Greystone Hotel $103
              Creekside Inn - A Greystone Hotel

              Creekside Inn - A Greystone Hotel

              3400 El Camino Real, Palo Alto
                 
                4.3
                of 5, from 1,721 reviews
                3.5 out of 5.0

                Matadero Creek meanders through this hotel's 3-plus verdant acres, within 2 miles of Stanford Business Park, downtown Palo Alto, and Stanford University and 2 blocks from a commuter-train station.

                Super 8 by Wyndham Mountain View
                Super 8 by Wyndham Mountain View

                Super 8 by Wyndham Mountain View

                1665 W El Camino Real, Mountain View
                   
                  3.5
                  of 5, from 254 reviews
                  2.0 out of 5.0

                  Situated in the business district, this motel is 0.8 mi (1.3 km) from Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts and 2.4 mi (3.9 km) from Computer History Museum. Rengstorff Park and Los Altos History Museum are also within 2 mi (3 km).