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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 463 Properties near Los Altos History Museum
Enchanté Boutique Hotel $245
Enchanté Boutique Hotel

Enchanté Boutique Hotel

1 Main St, Los Altos
     
    4.8
    of 5, from 79 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).

    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).

      Mountain View Inn $107
      Mountain View Inn

      Mountain View Inn

      2300 W El Camino Real, Mountain View
         
        3.7
        of 5, from 563 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.

        Global Luxury Suites at Mountain View
        Global Luxury Suites at Mountain View

        Global Luxury Suites at Mountain View

        1720 El Camino Real, Mountain View
           
          4.2
          of 5, from 64 reviews
          4.0 out of 5.0

          Situated in Mountain View, this apartment building is 0.9 mi (1.4 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). Mountain View Station is 27 minutes by foot.

          Super 8 by Wyndham Mountain View $110
          Super 8 by Wyndham Mountain View

          Super 8 by Wyndham Mountain View

          1665 W El Camino Real, Mountain View
             
            3.5
            of 5, from 269 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). Mountain View Station is 27 minutes by foot.

            Holiday Inn Express Mountain View - S Palo Alto $129
            Holiday Inn Express Mountain View - S Palo Alto

            Holiday Inn Express Mountain View - S Palo Alto

            1561 West El Camino Real, Mountain View
               
              4.4
              of 5, from 131 reviews
              2.5 out of 5.0

              Located in the heart of Mountain View, this hotel is 0.7 mi (1.2 km) from Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts and 2.3 mi (3.7 km) from Computer History Museum. Rengstorff Park and Los Altos History Museum are also within 2 mi (3 km). Mountain View Station is 26 minutes by foot.

              Dinah's Garden Hotel $139
              Dinah's Garden Hotel

              Dinah's Garden Hotel

              4261 El Camino Real, Palo Alto
                 
                4.5
                of 5, from 1,508 reviews
                3.5 out of 5.0

                Surrounded by tropical lagoons and landscaped gardens, this Bay Area hotel is 3 miles from downtown Palo Alto, Stanford University, and the Stanford Shopping Center.

                Residence Inn Marriott Palo Alto Los Altos $110
                Residence Inn Marriott Palo Alto Los Altos

                Residence Inn Marriott Palo Alto Los Altos

                4460 El Camino Real, Los Altos
                   
                  4.4
                  of 5, from 119 reviews
                  3.0 out of 5.0

                  Situated in Los Altos, this hotel 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). Mountain View San Antonio Station is 18 minutes by foot.