Los Altos, California 94022
Phone: 650/948-9427 x12
We'd love it if you would mention that you found Los Altos History Museum on the Here Comes The Guide website.
Why We Like This Place
Not so very long ago, apricot orchards, vineyards, and walnut groves cloaked the fertile plains of the Peninsula, and dairy farms and greenhouses dotted the hillsides. The transition from pristine agricultural paradise to Silicon Valley hub is skillfully realized at the Los Altos History Museum, where the past comes alive right before your very eyes. We thought this place was so interesting and so lovely that we would come here even if we weren't planning a special event. But make no mistake—there's plenty here to entice party-givers of all types.
In a model of team spirit, a group of Los Altos go-getters banded together to create this local museum, a captivating window in time set among acres of delightful parks and gardens. Open since spring 2001, the History Museum resides in a folksy, wood-plank building. The vaulted entryway and the indoor balcony, which encircles the three-story space, generate an open, welcoming look and feel. Most of the main floor is taken up by the Changing Exhibits Gallery, which features visiting collections, some on loan from notable institutions like the Smithsonian. Up a winding staircase to the permanent exhibit you'll find engaging interactive displays of Los Altos area history. There's more history just across the landscaped courtyard in the landmark J. Gilbert Smith History House. This adorable Craftsman-style shingled farmhouse from 1905 sets a nostalgic tone for your outdoor wedding or special event.
Surrounding both buildings, the pretty museum gardens offer several spots to enjoy the inspiring beauty of flowers in bloom, treetops swaying in the breeze, and squirrels scampering about their natural habitat. Why not exchange marriage vows under the dappled shade of oak trees? The front yard of the History House is a darling scene for memorable photos, the newlyweds framed by an archway wrapped in wild roses, or the wedding party posed on the broad porch steps in an old-fashioned tableau. In fair weather, you may want to hold your reception outdoors too, skillfully arranged by the museum's expert event coordinator.
A more formal outdoor ceremony and reception site is the spacious red-brick courtyard between the main Museum and the quaint façade of the History House. Your walk down the aisle is accented by antique-style verdigris lamps, potted blooms and delicate saplings, and a redwood pergola lets you say your vows while facing the lush garden. Afterwards, you can dine outdoors and even have your first dance under the stars.
Then the party moves through sliding glass doors into the Changing Exhibits Gallery, where polished blond wood floors and historic or art exhibits lend an air of distinction to your celebration. Here, the cake is served and guests can dance the night away. Those who prefer quieter pursuits might meander upstairs to enjoy the interactive displays, artifacts and vintage clothing, or step outside for a stroll along the moonlit garden lanes. This is the way museums should be—hands-on, fun, and fascinating. To further enhance your event, arrange a guided tour of the History House. The quaintly furnished rooms replicate in amazing detail the lifestyle of a 1930s farm family. You'll feel like you stepped through a time tunnel into the simple, wholesome world of a bygone era.
The Los Altos History Museum is more than just a peek into the past; it's also a vision of the future, a future that embraces family, community, and traditional values, while honoring a connection to the land. When you hold your special celebration here, you'll become part of this ideal tomorrow, because the proceeds from your event go towards supporting the museum and its grounds for generations to come.
- Max. Seated Indoors: 60
- Max. Seated Outdoors: 200
- Max. Seated Indoors: 60
- Max. Seated Outdoors: 200
- Max. Standing/Cocktails Indoors: 150
- Max. Standing/Cocktails Outdoors: 200
- Max. Seated: 60
CEREMONY CAPACITY: The Garden seats 200 guests, and the Changing Exhibits Gallery seats 60.
EVENT/RECEPTION CAPACITY: The Garden accommodates 200 seated or standing, and the Changing Exhibits Gallery 60 seated or 150 standing.
MEETING CAPACITY: The Gallery seats 60 theater-style or classroom-style.
Cost: Prices, Deposits, Etc.
The entire rental fee, along with a $1,350 security and rentals deposit and an $825 application fee, is required to reserve your date. The rental fee starts at $5,400. Liability insurance and an alcohol permit fee are also required.
Special Events, Parties
Services/AmenitiesCatering: select from preferred list
Kitchen Facilities: moderate
Tables & Chairs: provided; extra fee
Linens, Silver, etc.: through caterer
Restrooms: wheelchair accessible
Dance Floor: hardwood floor or brick patio
Bride's & Groom's Dressing Areas: yes
AV/Meeting Equipment: provided, extra fee
Parking: large complimentary lot
Accommodations: no guest rooms
Outdoor Night Lighting: yes
Outdoor Cooking Facilities: through caterer
Cleanup: through caterer
View: garden courtyard, Peninsula coastal hills and landscaped grounds
Other: coordination, docent-led tours
Venue ViewsForest/Wooded Area
Venue TypeBanquet Hall/Events Facility
RestrictionsAlcohol: BYO, licensed and insured server
Smoking: not allowed
Music: amplified OK indoors and outdoors until 8pm with volume restrictions
Wheelchair Access: yes
Insurance: extra liability required
Other: no rice, birdseed, confetti or glitter