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CITY PROFILE: MOUNTAIN VIEW

 

This bustling high-tech hub is best known for playing host to the likes of Google, Symantec and AOL, but don’t think Mountain View is full of pocket protector-wearing geeks who prefer Second Life to real life. On the contrary—this dynamic city, situated just south of Palo Alto, draws a youthful, ethnically diverse population whose tastes are as sophisticated as they are wide-ranging.

Mountain View’s lifeblood pulses through the city’s main artery, Castro Street, whose six-block span boasts the culinary cachet of a major city. With a host of restaurants serving a kaleidoscope of cuisines, from Spanish tapas to Chinese-Indian fusion, your taste buds will never get jaded. And neither will your inner party animal—there are enough pubs, dance clubs and lounges to keep you entertained well after sunset.

Castro Street is also home to the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, whose year-round entertainment schedule ranges from plays performed by Palo Alto’s widely acclaimed TheatreWorks to dance performances by the Smuin Ballet and musical programs by an eclectic mix of national and local groups.

Fans of outdoor concerts gravitate to Mountain View’s Shoreline Amphitheatre, just east of Highway 101, where big-name acts take the stage in the late spring and summer. Outdoor enthusiasts also flock to the park during daylight hours to hike and enjoy scenic views of San Francisco Bay.

Although there's more to Mountain View than just science and technology, that doesn’t mean left-brained folks are left out of the fun. The Computer History Museum traces the evolution of computing, while the NASA Ames Visitor Center offers an out-of-this-world experience, with its cutting-edge aerospace exhibitions and interactive displays covering past and current space missions.