What to Know About Living in Los Gatos, CA

What to know about living in Los Gatos

You can find Los Gatos tucked away to the south of San Jose, but this city used to have the name Forbes Mill. After a Spanish land grant, the town got its new name. La Rinconada de Los Gatos, or The Corner of Cats was an ode to the mountain lion population. The town’s official logo still has two mountain lions on either side, flanking an illustration of the sunny and fertile land.

The incorporated town of Los Gatos has roughly 33,500 residents, all enjoying its many perks. The downtown area is gorgeous and full of dining, shopping, or entertainment for your free time. Los Gatos is also fully supported by excellent schools and nearby healthcare facilities.

And then, there’s all of that nature at your front doorstep (or the backyard). There are green spaces all over Los Gatos, in nearby towns, and the mountain ranges that flank the Bay Area.

   Los Gatos Street

A Los Gatos street with a slightly rustic feel - via rammenon 

Where is Los Gatos, CA?

Los Gatos is pressed up against the Santa Cruz Mountains, extending up the hillside and into the forest. If you drive directly south from Central San Jose, it takes about 15 minutes to travel the 10 or so miles. 

Monte Sereno is the neighboring city to the west of Los Gatos, while Almaden Valley is the eastern neighbor. Directly north are Cambrian and Campbell

To drive over to Santa Cruz and soak up the Pacific sun or see the boardwalk, it’s a trivial 30-minute drive. 

Driving to Los Angeles takes less than 6 hours, where you’ll find Disneyland and Santa Monica Beach. 

Is Los Gatos Growing?

The short answer is that, no, Los Gatos is not seeing population growth at the moment. 

Between 2020 and 2024, the population seems to have decreased slightly. Population data can fluctuate, but the data seems to show a slight decrease, starting from the most recent census.

Los Gatos got most of its population growth after the 1950s. From about 5,000 residents, it took just thirty years to increase almost six-fold to 28,600.

Important Things to Know About Los Gatos

Living in Los Gatos is impossible to sum up in a few sentences because its area is quite large. The town is approximately 11.2 square miles large, containing dozens of differently-styled neighborhoods. 

Los Gatos in 1930-1940

A 1930-1940 print of Los Gatos from the Boston Libary

Los Gatos has become quite an affluent nook of ‌Santa Clara County. Large and often luxurious homes are well-served by shopping and amenities of matching standards. These days, ‌residents are usually high-income and middle-aged. Over 60% of locals own their homes.

Here are some important things to know about living in Los Gatos:

The weather is pleasant in Los Gatos, with dry heat in the summer and mild moist winters. Snow is extremely rare. The whole area, and not just Los Gatos, is known for Mediterranean heat, typically between 40-60°F.

Crime is significantly below national averages in many categories. The data shows ‌that Los Gatos ‌has over half as many assaults and eight-and-a-half times fewer robberies.

More than a third of residents have a Master’s degree or higher, while almost 40% have a Bachelor’s.

The largest Los Gatos age demographic is 65+ years old, making up 20% of the population. Second is the 45-54 years old age bracket, with 17%. The median age is 47.2 years old, much higher than the California median of 36.5. 

What is the Los Gatos Cost of Living?

Los Gatos is not a town that offers a rock-bottom cost of living. In fact, it’s 136% higher than the national average. It ranked as the 26th most expensive Californian city, although most residents have more income than the average American. 

  • The cost of utilities is closer to the national average, at just 9% higher. Median energy bills are around $190 per month. 
  • The cost of groceries is 43% higher than the national average. 
  • The cost of transportation is 24% higher than the national average.
  • The cost of healthcare is 33% higher than the national average. A doctor's visit should cost an average of $166. 

Downtown Los Gatos

Downtown Los Gatos - via Craig Howell

What’s the Los Gatos Job Market Like?

Los Gatos is an active participant in the economy of Silicon Valley and California. One of the biggest names there is Netflix, with headquarters near the Vasona Reservoir and the Los Gatos Creek. There are also medical facilities in Los Gatos that employ a large number of people.

Other industries in Los Gatos:

  • Professional, Scientific, & Technical Services
  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Retail

There’s growth on the horizon, with a projected 33.60% average for Los Gatos, compared to 30.54% average growth projected for the US. That being said, Los Gatos (and the US) both experienced reduced job growth ‌this past year.

The average income for Los Gatos is $104,035, while the average household income is $166,642.

Many Los Gatos residents will travel around San Jose to their employers. There are delays during rush hour, this can be tricky, but that can be avoided sometimes. 

What’s the Los Gatos Real Estate Market Like?

Our best Los Gatos listings are multi-million dollar properties, usually with expansive back and front yards. Listings have a median of $1,404,000 as of February 2024, though several sources list medians closer to $2,000,000. Always check with professionals when you start browsing the market.

The Los Gatos real estate market follows the same seasonal trends that California does. We see low sales volume around January and New Year, with a huge uptick starting around February. 

Sandy Jamison, a successful Santa Clara realtor says that the best time to buy is the summer if you want to browse more homes, but the best prices happen around winter. 

Typical Los Gatos Home

A typical Los Gatos home - David Sawyer

Desirable areas like Los Gatos become more or less competitive at different times of the year. The most homes are usually sold from February to May. The Los Gatos real estate market is usually in a slight slumber from December, January, and sometimes early February. 

What are the Best Places to Live in Los Gatos?

Using the neighborhoods in this section, you’ll have a starting point. These Los Gatos communities are definitely worth a look.

  • The Blossom Manor
  • Almond Grove
  • Creffield Heights
  • Rinconada Hills
  • Stonybrook
  • Shannon

What is There to Do in Los Gatos?

Eating and Wine Tasting: There are several award-winning wineries near and inside Los Gatos, like Testarossa Winery. This historic property is one of the best places to book a tasting and soak up the scenery in peace. It’s not the only one on the list and residents will have plenty more to discover. Within Los Gatos, North Santa Cruz Avenue is a good place to get rid of hunger pangs, with Italian, French, Asian, and American cuisine. 

Entertainment: Los Gatos has always been regarded as an artsy area of Silicon Valley. You’ll see that reflected in the town, especially in the New Museum, or NUMU. The restored and renovated Cinelux Theater has the same charm, dating back to 1915. In the summer months, there’s Music in the Park every Sunday, showcasing lots of genres for local families.

The Los Gatos Cinema

The Los Gatos Cinema - via delta_avi_delta

Exercise and Nature: Like most Silicon Valley neighborhoods, living in Los Gatos brings you much closer to nature. Despite being such a high-tech area, Los Gatos and Silicon Valley are just as well-known for its scenery and environment. Vasona Lake is one of the most beautiful places around, where you can test your fishing ability, or just paddle around. There are many others, like Castle Rock, plus the Santa Cruz mountains to the south.

View of Castle Rock

A stupendous view, courtesy of Castle Rock - via Justin Dolske

Shopping: North Santa Cruz Avenue is the place to find boutique shops, whether you need clothing, home decor, or a bite to eat. This is where you’ll find the Los Gatos Farmer’s Market, USPS, and the Lyndon Plaza. A similar destination is the Los Gatos Shopping Center, further north down the road. New Town Shopping Center and Cornerstone of Los Gatos are two other spots to satisfy shoppers.

What is Near Los Gatos?

You might wonder what is near Los Gatos and whether you can get to places easily from Los Gatos. 

In the north part of Los Gatos, two important roadways merge, giving locals direct routes to many important places. The Norman Y Mineta (85) runs all the way to the San Francisco Bay, down to Santa Teresa in the south. Highway 17 runs south and north, which can take locals into central San Jose, or through the mountains to Santa Cruz by the Pacific Ocean. 

  • Downtown San Jose is about ‌20 minutes away.
  • Downtown San Francisco is about an hour away.
  • ‌Santa Cruz beach is about 35 minutes away.
  • Los Angeles is about 5-and-a-half hours away.

Education options are scattered across Los Gatos, with high schools, elementary schools, and nearby access to Silicon Valley’s finest universities. 

Some of the bordering areas around Los Gatos are Monte Sereno, Campbell, Cambrian, and Almaden Valley. Each one has different amenities, shopping, golf courses, and other services. 

If you aren’t completely set on Los Gatos yet, some of these San Jose zip codes might be worth researching.

Living in Los Gatos, CA

Factoring in the cost of living, Los Gatos is both demanding and rewarding at the same time. If you’ve browsed Los Gatos listings already, evaluate at a deeper level. Visit the neighborhood, check out the shopping situation, and consult a realtor. They’ll walk you through the same neighborhood from a realtor’s perspective. That means hearing about property value trends, praise and complaints from locals, and other tidbits that Google can’t provide.

We’re available online, over the phone, or speak to a realtor at our offices, just ten minutes drive from Los Gatos.

More Questions? Follow-up With Us!

If you have more questions about what to expect from the markets around the Bay Area, don’t be afraid to reach out to us today. Our experts are experienced in all property types and the entire San Francisco Bay Area, and we can help you to find what you need to know today.

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