23 Things To Do For First-Timers In Mountain View, California, USA

23 Things To Do For First-Timers In Mountain View, California, USA
| 4 min read

Mountain View, a city situated on the southern end of the San Francisco Bay Area in the USA’s state of California, is known as home to some of the largest technology companies in the United States. Included on the roster of the city’s big-time tech giants are Google, Mozilla Foundation, Symantec, and Intuit. However, these are not the only things that make Mountain View such an interesting place to visit. From the Shoreline Amphitheater to the various Indian Restaurants in the area, Mountain View offers so much for travelers. There are also parks and trails for outdoor enthusiasts, while museums and exhibits provide insights into the city’s rich history. To learn more about this city, here’s a list of the things to do for first-timers in Mountain View, California, USA. And since this is your first time in Mountain View, why not make these memories last longer by staying in one of many Airbnb vacation rentals.

1. Have a family get-together at Historic Adobe Building

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bobak Ha'Eri used under CC BY 3.0

Historic Adobe Building, also known as the Mountain View Adobe, is a building that has been around since 1934. Built by local laborers during the Great Depression, this 87-year-old establishment was a Civil Works Administration project led by New Deal. After World War II, it served as a hospitality house for veterans. In 2002, this building was classified as a historic building by the National Register of Historic Places. Known for its Spanish architecture and spacious rooms with high ceilings, it is great for family get-togethers, weddings, and other intimate affairs.

Historic Adobe Building

Address: 157 Moffett Blvd, Mountain View, CA 94043, United States

Website: Historic Adobe Building

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2. Take a tour of Rengstorff House

Rengstorff House at Shoreline Park
Source: Photo by Flickr user Don DeBold used under CC BY 2.0

Did you know that Rengstorff House was one of the first houses to be built in Mountain View, California, in 1867? This famous house, which is set on a 750-ac (303 ha) recreation area, was built by a local businessman named Henry Rengstorff. With Italianate Victorian architecture style and Eastlake furniture, this historical museum is definitely worth visiting. Tours like this are present all throughout Mountain View and nearby San Jose.

Rengstorff House

Address: 3070 N Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View, CA 94043, United States

Website: Rengstorff House

Opening hours: Sun: 11am - 5pm; Tue - Wed: 11am - 5pm (closed on Mon, Thu - Sat)

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3. Enjoy a picnic with family at Shoreline Lake Park

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Shoreline Park & Lake on Friday, July 31, 2020

Shoreline Lake Park is a former landfill that was converted into a gorgeous waterfront park in 1983. In case you’re vacationing with family, you can take them to this park to have a picnic, unwind on a sunny afternoon or participate in watersports. Given its vast outdoor area, anyone can try out sailing, windsurfing, and standup paddling. They also offer weekend camp programs for kids and teens.

Shoreline Lake Park

Address: 3160 N Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View, CA 94043, United States

Website: Shoreline Lake Park

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 11am - 5pm; Sat - Sun: 10am - 5pm

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4. Enjoy some outdoor fun at Pioneer Memorial Park

Pioneer Memorial Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Steven Baltakatei... used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Pioneer Memorial Park is a beautiful, serene, and lush green park in the heart of the city. While this park may be small, there is so much you can do here. You can go for a stroll with your better half, take your kids to enjoy a game of catch, have a picnic with your family, or spend some time reconnecting with nature. Since it’s peaceful and quiet here, invite your friends to a session of yoga or meditation.

Pioneer Memorial Park

Address: 1146 Church St, Mountain View, CA 94041, United States

Website: Pioneer Memorial Park

Opening hours: 6am - 9pm (daily)

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5. Admire the enormous Berlin Wall Section

A portion of the Berlin Wall In Mountian View, California
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Victorgrigas used under CC0

Serving as a reminder of the Cold War’s end, Berlin Wall Section was donated to Mountain View by the Golzen family. In 2013, these enormous solid slabs were put on display in front of the public library for all the locals and tourists to see and admire. The wall is basically covered in graffiti, with words saying “Wir lieben dich” or “We love you.” Since these slabs are located right in the heart of downtown Mountain View, you can always swing by and check them out.

Berlin Wall Section

Address: 585 Franklin St., Mountain View, CA

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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6. Check out the unique Jehning Lock Museum

Jehning Lock Museum
Source: Photo by Flickr user Marcin Wichary used under CC BY 2.0

Jehning Lock Museum takes pride in its huge array of locks, keys, safes, and escutcheon. Right in the heart of Silicon Valley, this tiny museum is a breath of fresh air from the typical touristy spots. Apart from the impressive collection they have here, the staff is also very enthusiastic about sharing with visitors the story behind each item. So if you want to step back in time, despite being surrounded by high-end shops and restaurants, then do check out Jehning Lock Museum.

Jehning Lock Museum

Address: 175 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041, United States

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7. Try your hand at kayaking at Shoreline Lake Boathouse

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Shoreline's "Fun in the Sun" newsletter went out earlier. Although there's a new mask mandate, given Shoreline Lake's...

Posted by Shoreline Park & Lake on Thursday, August 5, 2021

Shoreline Lake Boathouse is a great place for outdoor recreational activities. From kayaking to sailing, you can try a lot of watersports and other water-related activities at Shoreline Lake Boathouse. Popular among kids and adults alike, it is highly recommended that you visit this gorgeous boathouse for some family fun in the sun. Ps, there is also an American bistro at Shoreline Lake Boathouse which serves some amazing food.

Shoreline Lake Boathouse

Address: 3160 N Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View, CA 94043, United States

Website: Shoreline Lake Boathouse

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 11am - 5pm; Sat - Sun: 10am - 5pm

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8. Go for a walk along Permanente Creek Trail

Permanente Creek Trail
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jarrett M used under CC BY 2.0

Permanente Creek Trail is a paved path that starts at Shoreline at Mountain View, goes south to Rock Street, and finally ends at Middlefield Road. A scenic trail with a lot to see, this trail is highly recommended for everyone regardless of experience. Just make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes, carry water, and a fully charged phone to take photographs.

Permanente Creek Trail

Address: Permanente Creek Trail

Website: Permanente Creek Trail

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9. Enjoy a lovely evening at Cascal

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Cascal is a local Spanish restaurant that serves amazing food. With bright decor and a great ambiance, Cascal is definitely worth the visit, especially for dinner. This restaurant is known for its authentic tapas, mouthwatering entrees, and delicious cocktails. On your first visit, you must try their banana leaf chicken, sizzling shrimp, seafood paella, and potato gratin. So come hungry, and leave with a tummy full of good food!


Address: 400 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041, United States

Website: Cascal

Opening hours: Wed - Fri: 4pm - 7:30pm; Sat - Sun: 11:30am - 7:30pm (closed on Mon & Tue)

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10. Have a comfort meal at Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant is an American restaurant and gastropub that is the place to go when you’re stressing out and want some comfort meal. It features an outdoor beer garden perfect for when you and your friends just want to bond over some craft brews or delicious cocktails. When it comes to food, ordering the fried chicken, chicken, waffles, and Steins burger is a must. The chicken strips and the pulled pork sliders are pretty good too.

Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant

Address: 895 Villa St, Mountain View, CA 94041, United States

Website: Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant

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11. Watch a concert at Shoreline Amphitheater

Source: Photo by user Travis Wise used under CC BY 2.0

The best entertainment events in Mountain View happen at Shoreline Amphitheater. It has a capacity of 22,500 people, where 6,500 are reserved seats and 16,000 are for general admission in the lawn area. Some of the artists who have performed here since it was established in 1986 include the Bee Gees, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, and the Dave Matthews Band. The amphitheater also hosts international productions, as well as music festivals like Harmony By the Bay Festival, Lollapalooza, Mayhem Festival, and Vans Warped Tour.

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12. Learn about the history of computers

Computer History Museum
Source: Photo by Flickr user Anton Chiang used under CC BY 2.0

The Computer History Museum is an ideal destination for technology enthusiasts, whether kids or kids at heart. It features multimedia exhibitions where everyone can learn about the story of game-changers in the history of computers. Guests can also play computer games, including Spacewar, which was popular in the 1960s. Over 1,100 technology-related artifacts are stored in the museum, some dating back to the 1940s and 1950s. They accept guests from Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is 15 USD per person. Children 12 years old and younger can enter for free. Tours are also available.

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13. Go cycling or jogging at Stevens Creek Trail

On the trail to Microsoft
Source: Photo by Flickr user Selena N. B. H. used under CC BY 2.0

Stevens Creek Trail is a multi-purpose trail offering various outdoor recreational opportunities for both locals and tourists. It runs through marshlands and riparian habitats (the area where land and water meets), providing a glimpse of the rich Californian wildlife. Some of the animals you might encounter during your visit are opossums, raccoons, hawks, and swallows. Meanwhile, popular activities at the trail include cycling, birdwatching, jogging, and skateboarding. It is an automobile-free route, making it a safer and quieter place where you can freely commune with nature.

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14. Take a photo with the Google Android Lawn Statues

Android Jelly Bean Lawn Statue
Source: Photo by user Atomic Taco used under CC BY-SA 2.0

One of the best things to do in the area, Mountain View is home to Googleplex, the headquarters of the American technology company Google. Although it is not open for the public to visit, guests can view the Android Lawn Statues, located at the 1981 Landings Drive. These images are based on the icons of Google’s Android mobile operating system, named after desserts and sweets like lollipop and jelly bean. Kids will surely love this photo opportunity!

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15. Check out fresh produce at the Farmers Market

Mountain View farmer's market
Source: Photo by user Selena N. B. H. used under CC BY 2.0

Every Sunday, Mountain View Farmers Market features food products sourced from over 80 local farmers and suppliers. It is considered the third-largest market in California, which also gained recognition when it landed in fifth place during voting for the American Farmland Trusts’ Favorite Farmers’ Market Contest. Most of the items sold here are organic produce and baked goods, but there are also non-edible items like fresh flowers

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16. Experience an aircraft simulator

Moffett Field, Mountain View, California
Source: Photo by user U.S. Army CCDC used under CC BY 2.0

Learn about the rich history of aviation and national defense when you drop by the Moffett Field Historical Society Museum, located at Severyns Ave. Exhibits include world-famous hangars, items from the World War II period, and modern spacecrafts. For kids, the museum offers hands-on activities like flight simulators. Meanwhile, the adults can join the tours, which provide more information about, and insights into, the world of aviation. The museum also has a resource library and a gift shop. It is open from Wednesday to Saturday, from 10 am to 3 pm. The admission fee is 8 USD for adults and 3 USD for youths aged 13 to 17 years old. Children 12 and under can enter for free.

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17. See a lunar rock at the NASA Ames Visitor Center

NASA Ames Visitor Center Moon Rock Exhibition
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Oleg Alexandrov used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Everyone is welcome to unleash their inner geek at the NASA Ames Visitor Center, a key facility used in various missions and projects of the government agency. It is where the “moon rock” is kept, a part of the lunar rock samples gathered in 1971 by the Apollo 15 mission. Another popular exhibit at the center is the Mercury-Redstone 1A capsule, a spacecraft launched in the 1960s. Other interesting things you will find here include a mock-up of a space station, an exhibit about the Kepler Mission, and a high-resolution immersive theater.

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18. Enjoy a show by the TheatreWorks Silicon Valley

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley on Friday, March 11, 2022

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley is a professional theater company founded in 1970. Aiming for artistic excellence, they have a year-round season of shows like musicals, comedies, and dramas held in two venues: the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts and the Lucie Stern Theater. During summer they conduct an event called TheatreWorks’ New Works Festival, where new plays and musicals are put into the spotlight. It is a must-experience for all theater and performing arts enthusiasts!

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Nearby things to do

19. Sample some delicious brews at Off The Rails Brewing Co.

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Off The Rails Brewing Co. is one of the best breweries in the area! Serving delicious beer right from the tap and a variety of locally made beer, Off The Rails Brewing Co. caters to everyone’s taste buds. The food here is pretty good too, from authentic tacos to delicious hot wings. Ps, try to visit Off The Rails Brewing Co. during the happy hours for great deals.

Off The Rails Brewing Co.

Address: 111 S Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086, United States

Website: Off The Rails Brewing Co.

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 11am - 10pm (closed on Sun)

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20. Learn about the city's past at Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum

Murphy House, Sunnyvale
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Yngvadottir used under CC BY-SA 4.0

When you’re in Mountain View, you should include Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum in your itinerary. It’s a unique museum that is the exact replica of the original Martin Murphy family home. For those of you who might not know, the Martin Murphy family was the founder of the City of Sunnyvale. Inside, you will see exhibits that aim to spark curiosity and educate visitors on the city’s past. To plan a visit or to know about the upcoming events or exhibitions at Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum, visit the website.

Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum

Address: 570 E Remington Dr, Sunnyvale, CA 94087, United States

Website: Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum

Opening hours:Tue: 12pm - 4pm; Thu: 12pm - 4pm; Sun: 12pm - 4pm (closed on Mon, Wed, Fri & Sat)

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21. Spend some time at The Lace Museum

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

What a clever mix of design, color and techniques in this drawstring bag! There are four pie-shaped panels of blue silk...

Posted by The Lace Museum on Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The Lace Museum on Murphy Avenue is all about laces and lacemaking. This museum has hundreds of laces on display, from beautiful tablecloths to intricate dresses. Besides the amazing displays, this modest museum also offers guests classes in beginner crochet, lacy knitting, bobbin lace, and Hardanger. The best part of it all is the online shop and gift shop where you can buy lace bookmarks, books about lacemaking, lace cases, vintage lace, and embroidered hankies.

The Lace Museum

Address: 552 S Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086, United States

Website: The Lace Museum

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 4pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

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22. Stroll along Historic Murphy Avenue

Historic Murphy Avenue (music festival), downtown Sunnyvale.
Source: Photo by Flickr user Scott Schiller used under CC BY 2.0

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Historic Murphy Avenue with blue skies above and tables ready for you! Background music tonight too! ? Thanks for supporting our downtown businesses! #sunnyvaledowntown #sunnyvalestrong #supportsunnyvale

Posted by Sunnyvale Downtown on Thursday, September 17, 2020

Historic Murphy Avenue is a beautiful street that has many restaurants, cafes, shops, boutiques, and more. It’s a great place to go with your family and friends if you just want to spend the entire day indulging in good food or going on a shopping spree. With a lot of things to do here, make sure that Historic Murphy Avenue is on your list to visit in this city.

Historic Murphy Avenue

Address: Murphy Square, Sunnyvale, CA 94086, United States

Website: Historic Murphy Avenue

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23. Check out Libby's Water Tower

Water Tower
Source: Photo by Flickr user John Loo used under CC BY 2.0

Libby’s Water Tower is a historic site as well as a popular tourist attraction in the city. It was the primary source of water for an old cannery that belonged to a local business called Libby’s. That’s why this water tower was painted to make it look like a can of Libby’s fruit and it would often be repainted and updated to resemble the new packaging of Libby’s products. A really bright and unique fruit-themed tower, Libby’s Water Tower is worth a visit.

Libby's Water Tower

Address: 490 W California Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086, United States

Website: Libby’s Water Tower

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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Planning a trip to Mountain View

Mountain View is accessible from three Bay Area airports: San Francisco International Airport, San José International Airport, and Oakland International Airport. It is also possible to reach the city by train from San Francisco and San José. Meanwhile, for getting around the city, buses remain the most popular mode of transportation.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Rica is a young freelance worker from the Philippines. She writes for a living, but more importantly, she lives to write. Travel is one of her favorite writing topics, alongside love and...Read more

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