Our family travel series continues with Valley-based boy mom and lifestyle contributor Nadine Bubeck (aka Mama B.). Every month, Nadine will showcase a fabulous destination- providing five reasons to visit the hot spot: where to stay, where to play and beyond.
This month, we’re visiting Silicon Valley, sharing insight on why you should visit the South Bay of California.
While many people flock to SoCal, there’s a whole other world up north. Nestled an hour south of San Francisco, lies a hidden gem: Los Gatos, a lovely little town nestled among the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Here’s why you should visit the sweet NorCal escape.
Where to stay:
Located in the heart of downtown Los Gatos, The Toll House Hotel is a small, quaint property perfect for families or romantic escapes. Offering contemporary comfort and A-list service, this property is perfect for visitors as it’s walkable to everything you can imagine. Exit the hotel, and you’ll be among the town square, where you can peruse the Sunday morning Farmer’s Market or summertime series, “Jazz in the Plazz.” You can also walk to restaurants, shops and beauty salons (Tangles tops the list!), as well as coffee spots like the iconic Coffee Roasting Company.
The hotel is comfortable, boasting oversized rooms, balconies and more. Grab a gooey chocolate chip cookie among check-in and a night-cap at the property’s lively bar (often featuring live music).
Where to play:
Hungry? Choose from a variety of restaurants. Love to shop? Plenty of boutiques. Walk the backstreets of downtown to the local’s favorite Bachman Park, featuring a playground and large lawn that will entertain your kids for hours (pack a picnic!).
It’s also worth it to rent a car and drive 30 minutes “over the hill” to Santa Cruz. (That’s the NorCal beach.) The whole family will enjoy a day at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (rides galore!) or simply sunbathing at the beach.
- Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose
- Happy Hollow Park & Zoo
- San Francisco(Alcatraz, Pier 39, AT&T Park)
Where to feast:
Honing in on downtown Los Gatos, eateries are endless. Here are my top three picks.
For something cheap, fast, easy and delicious- grab a slice of pizza from Pizza My Heart. You’ll beg for seconds. (The pesto is the best!)
The Wine Cellar or Steamer’s Grillhouse, both located in the “Old Town” area, are great for a long lunch or splurge-worthy dinner. Both are unique in atmosphere and offerings, flaunting delicious seafood ensembles.
Dolce Spazio… only the best gelato EVER! Craving something sweet? Get a scoop of their “oreogasmic” gelato. Thank me later.
What to bring:
Averaging in the 80s during summer, Los Gatos and surrounding areas can still be chilly at night. Bring your swimsuit and sweater, and plan for just about anything.
And make sure to pack hiking gear! There’s a great family-friendly “reservoir walk/hike” in the downtown area. (Any local will point you in the right direction.)
Make sure to check the local calendar. The town of Los Gatos showcases many seasonal offerings like Music in the Park (summer) and carriage rides (winter). You’ll love feeling immersed in the home town feel!
Written by: Nadine Bubeck
Nadine Bubeck is a TV Personality, author, lifestyle blogger, and fashion designer, having founded Mama B. Designs: boutique apparel that benefits March of Dimes. The Valley-based parenting contributor is a blessed boy mom times three. (nadinebubeck.com)