Top 10 Activities (Not All Involving Cats) In Los Gatos, California - Updated 2021

things to do in los gatos california

Los Gatos might not be on your holiday list but it is a perfect short break destination, on the boundary of San Jose, there is plenty to see and do. Los Gatos is popular due to its small town ‘feel’, unique architecture (some of which are featured on our list), and gorgeous view points. So, help us sway you with ten reasons why you should visit Los Gatos.

1. Tour Byington Vineyard and Winery

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Not able to make it to wine county on your holiday? Fear not because Byington Winery brings Napa to your front door in Los Gatos. Specializing in Pinot Noir over 8 acres (3 hectares) of land, their wine tasting experience is a fantastic way to spend a few hours. You never know you may even treat yourself to a nice new bottle of wine, it’s worth mentioning that there is an extensive array of wines to choose from.

Byington Vineyard and Winery

Address: 21850 Bear Creek Road, Los Gatos, California 95033

Tasting Experience Price: 12 USD

Website: Byington Vineyard and Winery

2. Pamper yourself with a day pass at The Spa

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon, be sure to check out their full array of services. They have everything that you would expect from your local day spa including: facials, body wraps and waxing. What we love though is that they have created services especially for men that include deep tissue rejuvenation and facials. If you still can’t decide what to do then you could always grab a package option and try out a few of their services. We won’t tell!

The Spa

Address: 100 S Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, CA 95030-6702

Website: The Spa

3. Discover art and history at the New Museum

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

With a variety of ever changing exhibitions this is one place that you’ll be able to revisit in Los Gatos without the fear of déjà vu. If you have children be sure to check out their arts and crafts workshops that happen every few days, they’re are perfect for different fun activities such as paper weaving, paper mache balloons and much more. There may be a small cost for the workshops to cover materials.

New Museum

Address: 106 E Main St, Los Gatos, CA 95030

Website: New Museum

4. See the waterfalls at Castle Rock Falls

Sign at Castle Rock State Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Tomwsulcer used under CC0

This seems to have been dubbed locally as “the pretty little hike” and we think we have to agree. This 1.3 mile (2 km) hike is easy enough to go at a strolling place and relax once you reach the waterfall. It is worth noting that the best time to see the waterfall is during the winter months, after the rain, otherwise it may be just a little bit more than a stream! You could also extend your walk and go the full 4.6 mile (7 km) loop. Either way, the views are beautiful.

Castle Rock Falls

Address: Castle Rock Falls, California 95033

Website: Castle Rock Falls

5. Take a ride on a real-life steam engine

Billy Jones Railroad
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Don DeBold used under CC BY 2.0

Whilst in Los Gatos if you have young children we really recommend taking them on the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad, a real steam engine that goes through beautiful Oak Meadow and Vasona Parks. This ten minute journey then leads them to a 106 year old carousel which kids will just love, and at a great price your purse will be happy too.

Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad

Address: 233 Blossom Hill Rd, 95032 Los Gatos, California

Price: 5 USD

Website: Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad

6. Visit Charles Erskine Scott Wood's home and artist retreat

Charles Erskine Scott Wood 1910
Source: Photo by user Colmer, Montagu, ... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Charles Erskine Scott Wood was a man of many things; an American author, civil liberties advocate, artist, soldier and even an attorney. At the minute we’re wondering where he found all the time! From his home in Los Gatos he spent many hours painting the faces of Native Americans, his home offers up beautiful views of Los Gatos and we can almost imagine him working on his pieces. With 35 acres (14 hectares), now extended to 75 acres (30 hectares) of land some of the most famous highlights include the Gate House, the main house, the courtyard and the amphitheater, as well as, of course the two giant stone cats which guard the property. Next door is The Cats Restaurant and Tavern which had a previous life as a speakesy but today is a perfect rest point.

Charles Erskine Scott Wood's home

Address: 17533 Santa Cruz Highway, Los Gatos, California 95033

Website: Charles Erskine Scott Wood’s home

7. Check out the "Submarine House"

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

In 1973, Harry Neal bought a grain silo, which once stored hops for beer and turned it into his house, no easy feat we imagine! Inside features circular rooms and is surrounded by a pond, hot tub and studio for his bronze sculptures. The house, along Mountain Charlie Road, is not open to viewers and the owner is a private person so if you do decide to stroll by to see the property please be mindful of his wishes and respect the place. In fact there has only ever been one interview with Harry Neal, which was done by Los Gatos Weekly.

Submarine House

Address: Mountain Charlie Road, Los Gatos, California, 95033 United States

8. Los Gatos Farmers Market

Los Gatos farmer's market - 01
Source: Photo by Flickr user Rie H used under CC BY 2.0

If you’re in Los Gatos on a Sunday be sure not to miss the Farmers Market, believe us, you’ll regret it! With over 40 vendors offering you fresh and local fruit, vegetables and meat all from Santa Clara county, it’s the perfect place to pick up your weekly groceries.

Los Gatos Farmers Market

Address: Downtown Los Gatos, Town Park Plaza on Main Street & N. Santa Cruz Avenue, CA

Website: Los Gatos Farmers Market

9. Rent a paddle boat at Vasona Lake Park

Vasona park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mike24 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Vasona Lake Park sits in 152 acres (61 hectares), and every summer the park hosts a weekly music gig over June and July. If that isn’t enough reason then surely spending a lovely sunny afternoon on the lake is? Paddle boating on Vasona Lake is available through Spring and Fall, or if you’re feeling more adventurous you can kayak across the lake and spot all the different fish types that call the lake home. Rental is difficult to do in advance so just head there during the day and sign up at the boathouse.

Vasona Lake Park

Address: 333 Blossom Hill Rd, Los Gatos, CA 95032

Website: Vasona Lake Park

10. Visit the 'new' Mt Umunhum Cube

Mt. Umunhum, CA
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Wizz4prep used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Mount Umunhum is the fourth-highest peak in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains and sitting atop is an abandoned cold-war radio building, otherwise know as the ‘Mt Umunhum Cube’ locally. The building was constructed in the 1960s and was used to watch the skies for enemy attacks on the West Coast. The Cube was abandoned in 1980, which doesn’t really sound that long ago to us, but now it has been lovingly restored and is planned to reopen in September 2017. Five miles (8 km) of walking trails which will lead to and from the Cube, encouraging visitors to appreciate this silent mountain top guardian.

Mt Umunhum Cube

Address: Mt Umunhum, California 95120

Website: Mt Umunhum Conservancy

Did it work, did we sway you?

View of CA 87 freeway from downtown Los Gatos
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ramkumar Menon used under CC BY-SA 4.0

We hope that having read our top ten list on Los Gatos, you’ll be happy to give it a try for a short break, or even a day trip from San Jose! There are plenty of interesting things to see and did, this is just our top ten list so we wonder what other hidden gems you might be able to find during your stay. If you have recommendations, please post them below we’d love to hear them!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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A full-time global wanderer and volunteer. Strong compass leading to random and remote pockets of Earth; exploring jungles, abandoned villages and the open seas. Passionate about documenting on my...Read more

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