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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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Best Lodging Options Near Los Altos History Museum

See all 936 Properties near Los Altos History Museum
Enchanté Boutique Hotel $229
Enchanté Boutique Hotel

Enchanté Boutique Hotel

1 Main St, Los Altos, CA
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in North 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, CA
       
      0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in North 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 Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts are also within 3 mi (5 km).

      Hyatt Centric Mountain View $99
      Hyatt Centric Mountain View

      Hyatt Centric Mountain View

      409 San Antonio Rd, Mountain View, CA
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated in Mountain View, this hotel is 0.2 mi (0.3 km) from San Antonio Shopping Center and within 3 mi (5 km) of Googleplex and Computer History Museum. Shoreline Amphitheatre is 3 mi (4.9 km) away. San Antonio Station is 6 minutes by foot.

        Mountain View Inn $93
        Mountain View Inn

        Mountain View Inn

        2300 W El Camino Real, Mountain View, CA
           
          2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in North Los Altos, this motel is 0.6 mi (1 km) from San Antonio Shopping Center and within 3 mi (5 km) of Googleplex and Computer History Museum. Rengstorff Park and Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts are also within 2 mi (3 km). San Antonio Station is 16 minutes by foot.

          Residence Inn by Marriott Palo Alto Mountain View $119
          Residence Inn by Marriott Palo Alto Mountain View

          Residence Inn by Marriott Palo Alto Mountain View

          1854 W El Camino Real, Mountain View, CA
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Shoreline West, this hotel is 0.9 mi (1.5 km) from Rengstorff Park and within 3 mi (5 km) of Computer History Museum and Googleplex. Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts and San Antonio Shopping Center are also within 2 mi (3 km). San Antonio Station is 28 minutes by foot and Mountain View Station is 29 minutes.

            Super 8 by Wyndham Mountain View $79
            Super 8 by Wyndham Mountain View

            Super 8 by Wyndham Mountain View

            1665 W El Camino Real, Mountain View, CA
               
              2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Shoreline West, this motel is 0.8 mi (1.4 km) from Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts and 2.4 mi (3.8 km) from Computer History Museum. Rengstorff Park and San Antonio Shopping Center are also within 2 mi (3 km). Mountain View Station is 25 minutes by foot.

              Hotel Vue $99
              Hotel Vue

              Hotel Vue

              64 W El Camino Real, Mountain View, CA
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Cuesta Park, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts and El Camino Hospital. Computer History Museum and Googleplex are also within 6 mi (10 km). Mountain View Station is 24 minutes by foot.

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

                Global Luxury Suites at Mountain View

                1720 El Camino Real, Mountain View, CA
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Shoreline West, 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 San Antonio Shopping Center are also within 2 mi (3 km). Mountain View Station is 26 minutes by foot.