Mountain View is a relatively small city of about 80,000 people, situated in the Silicon Valley region of Santa Clara Country, California. As its name suggests, stunning views of the Santa Cruz Mountains are enjoyed by those lucky to live there – and anyone passing through.
The region is known for its pleasant weather throughout the year. While Mountain View definitely has an urban feel, it’s easy to escape the hustle and bustle and slip into the oasis of one of the many green spaces found around the city.
The downtown area – in particular, Castro Street – is where you’ll find many of the city’s restaurants, cafes, and boutique shops.
There are also shopping hubs in other areas, including San Antonio Center, Bailey Park Plaza Shopping Center, and Mountain View Shopping Center.
Throughout the year in Mountain View, many events take place, including the annual Mountain View Art and Wine Festival, a weekly farmers market, and Thursday Night Live, which happens once a week during the summer months and features music and car shows.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in Mountain View, California.
1. Explore the Shoreline at Mountain View Park
The Shoreline at Mountain View Park is an extensive 750-acre natural area that’s the perfect setting for many recreational activities.
With wide-open spaces and peaceful surroundings, it’s also the perfect place to get away from the urban area and retreat to a tranquil sanctuary surrounded by plants, wildlife, and stunning views of San Francisco Bay and the nearby mountains.
If hiking is your thing, this park has about ten miles of paved and dirt trails, some of which pass tidal marshes and salt ponds. Other activities you can participate in include biking and kite-flying. Shoreline Lake is an excellent spot for sailing, windsurfing, and kayaking.
There’s even a wildlife sanctuary on-site, and you can grab a bite to eat at the Lakeside Cafe.
2. Eat Like a Londoner at Oxford Kitchen and Gastropub
In London, street markets are a big thing. Just like one of these vibrant markets, Oxford Kitchen and Gastropub serves a wide variety of food and drinks representing cultures from all over the world.
The menu offers a wide selection of appetizers and main courses, including Middle Eastern, Asian, and Indian dishes made with local ingredients. Butternut Squash Ravioli, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Spicy Jamaican Goat Curry are just some of the options available. There’s a bar on site serving cocktails, wine, and beer.
3. Learn About the History of Computers at the Computer History Museum
Whether you’re a computer enthusiast or someone who only uses one to check your email once in a while, you’ll appreciate the massive amount of history stored at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.
The museum is home to the largest collection of artifacts and equipment related to the history of computers, spanning many decades.
As you make your way through the exhibits across 20 galleries, you’ll see stacks of items, including some of the largest computers ever built, palmtops, self-driven vehicles, phones, calculators, and a 1969 Neiman Marcus Kitchen Computer.
Learn about the history of famous companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Google and the influence computers have on the world.
A cafe serving snacks and beverages is found on-site, and souvenirs can be purchased at the museum gift shop.
4. Hike Along Stevens Creek Trail
Combine nature viewing, fresh air, and fitness with a hike along Stevens Creek Trail in Mountain View. As you make your way along this scenic trail, you’ll pass tidal marshlands and various natural habitats.
You may even spot wildlife, such as possums, raccoons, and a variety of birds. This multi-use trail is also suitable for biking.
5. Book a Tee Time at Shoreline Golf Links
Looking for a golf experience that combines championship-level play, beautiful scenery, and state-of-the-art facilities? Shoreline Golf Links has all this and more.
This 18-hole, expertly-manicured golf course looks over San Francisco Bay and the nearby mountains. There are a number of par 3s and water hazards, so you can be sure of a fun and challenging day on the greens.
Private lessons are available, and the practice facilities include a practice bunker, putting green, and practice range. Also on site is a golf shop and a cafe featuring an extensive menu and full bar.
6. Eat, Drink and Unwind at Eureka
Situated in a beautiful historic building in downtown Mountain View, Eureka serves traditional American cuisine with a contemporary twist. You’ll also find top-quality craft beer and bourbon served in a friendly and comfortable atmosphere.
There’s a wide variety of appetizers, soups, salads, gourmet burgers, and desserts on the menu. Some of the restaurant’s signature main courses include the Napa chicken sandwich and hand-breaded fried chicken tenders.
The full bar serves the widest selection of craft beer and bourbon in the city, and the cocktails are made with natural, fresh ingredients.
7. Moffett Field Historical Society Museum
Moffett Field is known for its contributions to science and technology and for playing a huge part in national security through the years; it’s a significant piece of California’s history. Moffett Field Historical Society Museum is devoted to protecting this historic site through exhibits that recount its story.
As you make your way through the museum and grounds, learn about airplanes and aviation throughout history. Tours are available, and there’s a gift shop on site.
8. Visit Google Headquarters
If you’re like most people today, you’ve likely used the Google search engine – and maybe even some of its related products, but did you know that the Google headquarters is located in Mountain View? You can visit the campus grounds and get a taste of the well-known company’s culture right here.
Start your self-guided tour by driving around the vast complex. Find a place to park and wander around on your own. Don’t worry; Google is known for welcoming visitors to the property. Make sure to grab some selfies in front of the Google Android Lawn Statues, giant foam statues of a cupcake, donut, honeycomb, and others.
9. Learn About Space Projects at the NASA Ames Visitor Center
The NASA Ames Research Center plays a significant part in many of NASA’s projects. It is home to the NASA Ames Visitor Center, which is open to visitors who wish to learn more about the center’s work.
A number of interesting exhibits are on display, highlighting various projects past and present. Science on a Sphere and Real Moon Rock are just a couple of the exhibits you’ll see as you make your way through this fascinating place.
Also on site is a theatre showing videos of Mars missions and simulated flights through space.
10. Browse Local Products at the Mountain View Farmers Market
If you’re looking for an enjoyable way to spend a morning, why not head to the Mountain View Farmers Market. This prize-winning market takes place once a week throughout the year and is the biggest in the San Francisco Bay area.
Fresh produce, homemade sweets, handcrafted souvenirs, honey, and flowers are just some of the items you’ll find across more than 80 vendors.
11. Take in a Show at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts
Situated in the center of downtown, The Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts is where you can see renowned live performances.
Whether it be dance, music, or theatre you wish to indulge in, the center hosts various events throughout the year and features world-class performers from all over.
There are three stages, and high-tech equipment is used to ensure each performance goes off without a hitch. From time to time, the center also hosts films and lectures.
12. Search for Aliens at The Allen Telescope Array
Since the 1960s, a group of scientists has been searching for intelligent life on other planets, and they’re doing that with help from the state-of-the-art Allen Telescope Array.
This series of telescopes – also known as ATA – is situated outside of Mountain View and has a partnership with the SETI Institute, which is dedicated to this decades-long search.
Visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour at the Hat Creek Radio Observatory. As you wander the complex, you’ll see four exhibits and a video with information about the property and what they do. You’ll also be able to view inside the signal processing room.
The telescopes consist of 42 radio dishes that survey the sky and gather information about the universe.
13. Doppio Zero
When hunger strikes, you can’t go wrong with delicious Italian fare; Doppio Zero in downtown Mountain View is where you’ll find some of the best Italian food around.
This cozy, friendly eatery serves lunch and dinner each day and features a wide variety of traditional Southern Italian dishes made with fresh local ingredients. Pasta dishes, seafood specialties, wood-fired pizzas, and desserts are just some of the items available.
14. Taste and Learn About Coffee at Red Rock Coffee
Kick back in a relaxed atmosphere surrounded by local art while you indulge in quality coffee from around the world.
Coffee tastings are offered during certain times, and each session comes with a wealth of information about different coffee beans from places like Ethiopia, Kenya, and Central America.
Complimentary Wi-Fi service is available, and various events such as open mic evenings are held throughout the week.
15. Take a Tour of The Rengstorff House
The Rengstorff House was constructed in 1897 and is the oldest home in the city. The fully-restored property was once owned by a well-known businessman and is open to visitors who wish to view the Victorian-era decor.
The exterior of the property features classic Victorian architecture and beautiful lawns and gardens.