Free Things in Los Altos
& Los Altos Hills, California
STROLLING DOWN Main Street in old Los Altos is a delightful free activity in itself--take time to admire the historic murals and the extraordinary profusion of beauty salons--but for other greenback-exempt activities in this upscale village, it is necessary to look a little harder.
1. Flea to Be You and Me
Foothill College Flea Market and Electronics Flea Market
12345 El Monte Rd., Los Altos Hills; Flea Market third Sat of each month; Electronics Flea Market; second Sat of each month, Mar-Oct; 650.948.6417
Goods of all sorts find their way to the no-admission flea market at Foothill College, and the proceeds from their sale benefit Foothill's Theater Guild. The Electronics Flea Market is an engineer's dream; if you are that dreaming engineer and you need to get rid of some stuff, you can rent a space for yourself.
2. Be Wild at Heart
26870 Moody Rd., Los Altos; Tue-Sun 9am-dusk; 650.949.8644, www.hiddenvilla.org
When the Duveneck family left their 1,600 acres of farm and wilderness to a partnership with the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, it was a watershed event (ha!). Today, the preserve continues its mission to educate kids and offer wilderness retreats to adults. Hike the Adobe Creek woodland, volunteer to do organic gardening or visit the working farm that preserves breeds of farm animals that are in danger of extinction. There are facilities, such as a cabin, that you can rent, a summer camp for kids and events such as stargazing parties (some of these events are not free).
3. Apricot Jam
Los Altos History Museum
51 S. San Antonio Rd., Los Altos; Thu-Sun noon-4pm; 650.948.9427
Located on one of the last active apricot orchards in the Santa Clara Valley, the Los Altos Museum complex incorporates a historically accurate 1905 Craftsman residence, a 1915 tank house and gorgeous gardens that are publicly accessible even when the museum itself is closed. Inside the house, visitors can take a gander at what life was like at the early part of the 20th century. In the museum itself, free rotating exhibits include fine art and antique shows.
4. Swingers Unite
Los Altos Tennis Club
Although yearly dues are $30 a person ($45 a couple), drop-in rates at this friendly club start as low as $1--and watching a tournament is free! The club organizes matches on tennis courts throughout the Los Altos area; see the website for a schedule.
5. All Downhill
Sunday Casual Road Ride
Bicycle Outfitter, 963 Fremont Ave., Los Altos; Sun 10:30am; 650.948.8092
Bicycle riders of all levels hit the road every Sunday for either a 20- or 30-mile loop, unless it rains. Helmets are required. The Bicycle Outfitter store is also a great resource for mountain bike outings and free bicycle repair workshops.
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