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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 529 Properties near Los Altos History Museum
Enchanté Boutique Hotel $260
Enchanté Boutique Hotel

Enchanté Boutique Hotel

1 Main St, Los Altos
     
    4.8
    of 5, from 91 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
         
        3.6
        of 5, from 594 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.

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

        Dinah's Garden Hotel

        4261 El Camino Real, Palo Alto
           
          4.5
          of 5, from 1,532 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 by Marriott Palo Alto Mountain View $129
          Residence Inn by Marriott Palo Alto Mountain View

          Residence Inn by Marriott Palo Alto Mountain View

          1854 W El Camino Real, Mountain View
             
            4.4
            of 5, from 380 reviews
            3.0 out of 5.0

            Situated in the business district, this hotel is 0.9 mi (1.5 km) from Rengstorff Park and 2.6 mi (4.1 km) from Computer History Museum. Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts and San Antonio Shopping Center are also within 2 mi (3 km). Mountain View San Antonio Station is 28 minutes by foot.

            Newly Remodeled Home Tucked in the Heart of Silicon Valley
            Newly Remodeled Home Tucked in the Heart of Silicon Valley

            Newly Remodeled Home Tucked in the Heart of Silicon Valley

            , Los Altos Hills
               
              0.0 out of 5.0

              This vacation home is located in Los Altos (Los Altos Hills), close to Los Altos History Museum, Tesla Motors, and San Antonio Shopping Center. Local attractions also include Foothill College and Rengstorff Park.

              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 69 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 $67
                Super 8 by Wyndham Mountain View

                Super 8 by Wyndham Mountain View

                1665 W El Camino Real, Mountain View
                   
                  3.5
                  of 5, from 285 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.