Mountain View is a city located in Santa Clara County, California, United States. It is named for its views of the Santa Cruz Mountains. From its origins as a stagecoach stop, it grew to a large suburb with a pedestrian-friendly downtown, free wi-fi, and a population of 74,066. The city borders Palo Alto and the San Francisco Bay to the north and Los Altos and Moffett Federal Airfield and Sunnyvale to the south.
Mountain View has a pedestrian-friendly downtown centered on Castro Street. The downtown area consists of the seven blocks of Castro Street from the Downtown Mountain View Station transit center in the north to the intersection with El Camino Real in the south. The transit center links the Caltrain commuter rail and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail and bus systems.
Four blocks with a concentration of restaurants, cafes, and shops extend south from the downtown station. Chez TJ, one of the few restaurants rated by the Michelin Guide in the Bay Area, is located a block from Castro Street on Villa Street. Tied House, located next door, was one of the first brewpubs in the Bay Area, and is a popular stop in downtown.
The core of downtown is the plaza shared by City Hall, the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts (MVCPA) and the Mountain View Public Library. The plaza is used for many community gatherings and events, and features a collection of public art. Peninsula Youth Theatre and TheatreWorks are among the home companies of the MVCPA. The City Hall and MVCPA complex, designed by William Turnbull of San Francisco, opened in 1991. Behind those buildings is Pioneer Park, formerly the site of Mountain View's first cemetery.
Since 1971, the city has held the annual Mountain View Art & Wine Festival on Castro Street by closing down the street to traffic for two days. There is a farmer's market in the Caltrain parking lot every Sunday morning. Every summer, once a month, the city celebrates Thursday Night Live by closing off Castro street to cars and providing live music events and car shows on Castro Street. The entire length of El Camino in Mountain View is a low-density commercial area.