Los Altos has many parks where residents can enjoy a peaceful, tree sheltered picnic area, a round of tennis, or playground for the kids. There are 11 parks in Los Altos and the Redwood Grove Nature Preserve. In addition, may residents use the local schools as destinations for exercise and recreation. In fact, nearly all local sporting events (soccer, baseball, etc) are held at one of the schools. The guide below outlines what services are available at each park along with pictures to give you an idea of what is there. You can check with the city to find out if there are any special events happening at any park on a particular day.
North Los Altos Parks
Hillview Park - Located at 97 Hillview Avenue
This is a massive park with lots of space for major events but it's not the typical park. It is host to many soccer tournaments, concerts, and other special events throughout the year. While the perfect venue for such activites, it doesn't have benches, tables, or BBQ pits like other Los Altos parks. If you want to play sports, this is the ideal park for you. This park also offers a playground, baseball diamond, and rental facilities at the nearby Hillview Community Center. It is conveniently located within walking distance of downtown Los Altos and adjacent to the the Bus Barn Theater and the Los Altos Public Library Main Branch.
SERVICES: Large grassy space, plenty of parking, restrooms
Village Park - Located at the corner of San Antonio and Edith
This is a small park effectively in downtown with a bit of grassy open space and benches to rest and watch the people go by. It's really more of just an open space area to add to the ambiance found throughout Los Altos. While technically a park, it's not a destination for any activities and is used primarily by immediately local residents.
Central Los Altos Parks
Covington Mini Park - Located at the end of Rosita Avenue
This small park is being replaced by the Rosita Park and is currently under construction. This section will be updated once the work is done. The old park offered tennis courts, a play structure, benches, paths, and a small parcourse. These will be retained and improved in the new park. An update to this article will include photos and more descriptions.
Rosita Park - Located at the end of Rosita Avenue
This small park is located where an old church used to exist. All it had was a baseball diamond and some open space for soccer and other sports. It is undergoing a major renovation along with the Covington Mini Park. This section will be updated once the work is done.
McKenzie Park - Located at 707 Fremont Avenue
There are two separate sections to this park, a small section that faces Fremont Avenue and another larger space at the end of Clinton Road. The Fremont section of the park includes tennis courts, a play structure, open space, and a picnic area with benches and a table. The Clinton Road section offers more play structures, lots of open space that is used for recreation department activities, walk paths, and lots of large trees to provide ample shade. Big, old trees that provide lots of shade is a common element to Los Altos parks, especially McKenzie Park.
SERVICES: Large space, tennis, public restrooms, picnic area, benches, walk-paths, playground
Heritage Oaks Park - Located at the corner of Portland and McKenzie Avenues
This large, creekside park is a popular destination because it offers a perfect combination of oak-shaded play areas, large grassy area, picnic spaces, and playground. I would consider it one of the best parks in Los Altos because of it's features and ample parking. Interestingly enough, it's within walking distance of McKenzie Park. The picnic area has bult-in BBQ pits and there are plenty of tables with benches to host many groups. On a busy weekend, this is a popular park. You'll also see a number of sports events held here because there is enough space for a soccer field. The creekside setting also makes for a nice walk.
SERVICES: Large space, picnic area, BBQ pits, benches, walk-paths, playground, restrooms
Old Los Altos Parks
Lincoln Park - Located at Lincoln Avenue and Main Street
One of the regular events in Los Altos, "Art In The Park", is held here every year in the section between Burke Road and West Fremont. It has an old-fashioned open air gazebo as well as many park benches and long, wide open space to play around on. It's not a destination for sports events because it's too narrow and runs along Foothill Expressway. However, it does play host to special events, neighbors who like to walk their dogs, and residents who want to spend a little time with their families on the grass. There is a smaller portion of the park on the other side of the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce that has a small picnic area and more grassy, open space.
SERVICES: Large space, gazebo, benches, picnic area
Shoup Park - Located at 400 University Avenue
Quiet, well-shaded parks are a theme in Los Altos, Shoup Park being another good example. While parking can be a bit of an issue with a limited number of spots, it offers two distinct zones - a quiet area with picnic space and BBQ grills plus a large grassy area with walk-ways and a playground. While not large enough to major sports events, it is big enough to throw a frisbee or play catch. It's also a top destination for residents of Old Los Altos (off University Avenue) and the inner parts of Los Altos Hills.
Shoup is also home to the Los Altos Garden Center which has "The Underground" - a safe, fun destination for young teens.
SERVICES: Large space, benches, picnic areas, BBQ pits, bathrooms, walking paths, playground
Redwood Grove Nature Preserve - Located on University Avenue
This is popular destination for summer camps with a long trail that runs along Adobe Creek and a picnic area. It's literally around the corner from Shoup Park and with no parking, it's a lot less busy. During the summer, kids are brought in to enjoy the nature with tall redwood trees everywhere.
SERVICES: Picnic area, walking paths
South Los Altos
Marymeade Park - Located at Fremont Avenue just before Grant Road
I used to play a lot of tennis at this park. The courts are well lit for night play and in top condition, even a pro would be happy to play here. The playground and grassy area are a bit small but plenty big enough for a good number of groups. It's got picnic space with benches and tables as well as BBQ pits. There's a nice gap between the tennis courts and the rest of the park so neither distracts the other. There's a little parking lot at the park or street parking along Fremont Avenue.
SERVICES: Grassy space, benches, picnic area, BBQ pits, playground, tennis courts (3)
Grant Park - Located at 1570 Holt Avenue
This little gem is tucked right in the middle of a South Los Altos neighborhood. It has the added advantage of a basketball court in excellent condition and plenty of space for soccer games or other sports. There's also plenty of parking with a dedicated lot and street parking, although residents are the primary users. While not as shady as other parks (not as many trees), it still has enough cover in the picnic area to keep cool on a hot summer day.
SERVICES: Large space, benches, picnic tables, BBQ pits, bathrooms, basketball court, playground
Montclaire Park - Located ON St. Joseph Avenue at Montclaire Elementary School
This park is attached to Montclaire Elementary School and offers tennis courts, picnic area, BBQ pits and a playground. The big draw is really the tennis courts and the playground. If you want to play sports, the field at Montclaire Elementary School is the way to go but make sure there aren't events happening. This park is often the site of baseball, soccer, and special events that take up all the available parking. Plan in advance and make sure you check the Los Altos Recreation Department website for any events.
SERVICES: Benches, pinic tables, BBQ pits, bathrooms, playground, tennis courts (2)
The definitive guide to Los Altos, California parks
Copyright 2011 by Bryan Robertson