California : Safety by City
- Chino Hills
- Chula Vista
- Costa Mesa
- Daly City
- El Cajon
- El Monte
- Garden Grove
- Huntington Beach
- Lake Forest
- Long Beach
- Los Angeles
- Mission Viejo
- Moreno Valley
- Mountain View
- Newport Beach
- Palm Springs
- Rancho Cucamonga
- Redondo Beach
- Redwood City
- San Bernardino
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- San Leandro
- San Luis Obispo
- San Mateo
- Santa Ana
- Santa Barbara
- Santa Clara
- Santa Clarita
- Santa Cruz
- Santa Monica
- Santa Rosa
- Simi Valley
- South Gate
- Thousand Oaks
- Union City
- West Covina
I bet you won’t have a hard time Googling this city.
Mountain View, California is home to Google.
It gets its name from the beautiful view of the Santa Cruz mountains.
Here you can enjoy a day on the water or tour tech sites.
You can learn about the advent of the computer industry by visiting the Computer History Museum.
Your kids will be baffled at how big those computers used to be.
Another option is to stroll around the Google campus.
It’s not just Google that set up shop here.
Microsoft, LinkedIn, 23andMe, and Symantec are other big tech industries here.
If you’re a computer genius, you’ll love the Hacker Dojo space set up here and you most likely know all about it already.
If you’re not, that would be a very boring place to visit, so I won’t elaborate.
If visiting business parks isn’t your idea of a good time, there’s a bayside park where you can hike or bike.
There are plenty of nearby outdoor activities where you can see redwoods so big it blows your mind.
Warnings & Dangers in Mountain View
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Silicon Valley is surprisingly safe from my research, and Mountain View falls in line with that trend. It's a low risk with some areas of focus we'll go through.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
There's a fantastic free shuttle to get you around Mountain View without worrying about paying for parking. The Valley Transit Authority (VTA) offers rides around all of Silicon Valley for a small cost. Taxis and rideshares are also available. All of those options are low-risk. One thing to note, Mountain View does not have a connection to the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART). There are plans to expand to Silicon Valley.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
Crime statistics show theft has been on the rise over the past decade in Mountain View. While it's still a low risk with no pickpockets or purse snatching reported in 2020, it's worth noting that in 2019 there were 50 of those incidents.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here and I'll explain why. This city warns on its website, "The City of Mountain View is exposed to a wide variety of hazards, both natural and man-made. Earthquakes, severe storms, power outages are just some of the potential emergencies we may encounter." The good news is, there are plans in place and guides you can review to make sure you're ready for everything from an earthquake, to a controlled power outage, to a terror attack.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There's a low risk of being mugged. This is a residential area that supports local business parks. Only a few situations arise, like a concert at Shoreline Lake, where you'll need to plan to make your purse or wallet extra secure in the crowds.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here. I'd bet terrorists would love to take out Google. There is a military presence in this area and NASA Ames Center is another target as well. Homeland Security knows this and takes a lot of steps to keep the area safe.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
While many scams here target locals, a tourist could be impacted too. One scam involves a call from what looks like Google asking for the IP address and other personal information. Then the scammer gets into your computer and can access all your information. Never give this information out unless you have initiated a call to a tech company. There's a low risk this will happen to you, but it's happening enough in Mountain View that I thought you should be aware of it.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women are safe to travel here with low risk. The crime statistics show nothing that makes a woman more vulnerable.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The water here is safe to drink and meets all necessary standards, so there's a low risk. The only caution the water utility gives is that if you see cloudy water that just means there are extra air bubbles in it.
Safest Places to Visit in Mountain View
Shoreline Park is a popular spot for locals and tourists.
It’s right on the cool water of San Francisco Bay.
This isn’t your average city park.
There are miles of trails to walk around, but you can also rent a sailboat or do yoga on a standup paddleboard (SUP).
Kayak rentals are popular here too.
While you’re there, visit the oldest home in Mountain View.
Rengstorff House is a Victorian-style home with docent-led tours available.
To get away from it all, visit Portola Redwoods State Park.
It’s less than an hour’s drive and it winds through the beautiful Santa Cruz mountains.
Back in Mountain View, you can wander around Google’s campus and talk with Googlers.
Take some time in the Computer History Museum to see how computers went from filling a room to fitting in your hand.
There’s a Caltrain station near Moffet and the Central Expressway and this area is filled with restaurants.
Parking can be tough, so give extra time if you have a reservation.
If you want a Michelin star-rated restaurant, check out Chez TJ.
The restaurant is in a Victorian-style building and offers a tasting menu starting at $225 per person.
Be sure to go a little further south to Castro Street for another walk through a charming retail area.
Places to Avoid in Mountain View
If you go to Google’s campus, you can’t go into the buildings.
Those are for employees only.
There are no formal tours of the campus (unless you know a Googler who can hook you up.)
The overall sense from various Reddit communities punctuates “You can’t go wrong” with any neighborhood in Mountain View.
The biggest complaints come from neighborhoods near a public transportation line or near the freeway just due to the noise.
Crime maps show the area just south of Highway 101 has the highest crime rates, but in a low-crime city, that’s not really saying much.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Mountain View
- You should check before your visit to see if there are new pockets of crime popping up. Mountain View Police are part of a crime-mapping option that allows residents and visitors to search certain areas for crimes.
- There’s a good chance, especially if you rent a house during your visit, that you won’t have air conditioning. The weather here is pretty mild year-round and it’s not a necessity, but it might come as a surprise to people from warmer locations. Ask before you book if that’s important to you.
- Due to a growing homeless problem, you cannot park an RV on a street in Mountain View overnight. The city is really cracking down on this and you could get a ticket or be towed if you are traveling by RV.
- This is a very bike-friendly city and you’ll see a lot of cyclists on the streets. Be sure to give them space in the bike lane and err on the side of caution when you see a group of cyclists.
- You should be aware of the new rules that went into effect in 2019 for the safety of riders and drivers. If you are going to use a bicycle to get around while you’re here, you can’t wear earbuds in both ears while riding and some sidewalks are off-limits to riders, like on Castro Street.
- There is no cell phone reception in Portola Redwoods State Park. So it’s best to bring a car here, as you won’t be able to call for a rideshare service.
- Mountain View has License Plate Readers throughout the city. These record the numbers of all license plates driving in and around the main streets. The recordings are used after a crime occurs; a stolen car, for example, so police can better track down criminals.
- For exploring the greater San Francisco Bay Area, check out the CalTrans website. This gives real-time traffic updates, accident reports, and live cameras of certain areas.
- Santa Clara County has a notification system called AlertSCC you can sign up for to get emergency information. There are times when the utility company will shut off power in advance of a storm. These are called Public Safety Power Shutoffs. People who live here are used to them, but it is very inconvenient. It’s good practice to always keep your devices charged and if a storm is approaching with high winds, prepare for a blackout.
- Read up on the parking information for the city before you go. There is a lot of free parking in Mountain View, but there are also areas where you’ll quickly get towed. Parking in a lot is generally the safest ticket-free option, as long as you don’t park overnight.
So... How Safe Is Mountain View Really?
I thought this was a great social media comment from someone giving advice on visiting or living in Mountain View:
“Just think of Mountain View as the most idyllic 1960’s postcard with Google plopped right down in the middle.
We have super quaint parades down Main Street and you can get your picture taken sitting in the fire truck.
Don’t be self-conscious, we all do it.”
It’s a residential area surrounding some of the biggest names in the tech world.
The average home here costs $1.4 million and the average income is $140,000.
These are people who live happy, safe lives and want to keep it that way.
By the numbers, violent crimes are lower than the national average.
Property crimes are about average, but it’s not surprising with all the affluence in this community.
One person even commented that it seems like there are 3 officers for every person in town because so many police cars show up when a person gets pulled over.
They were being sarcastic, of course, but it gives you the sense of the police presence in this town.
(Because I love crunching numbers, the real officer to resident ratio was 1 officer for every 832 people.)
According to the Mountain View Police Department annual report, the average response time to an emergency call was four minutes for 63% of calls.
This is a city of 82,000 people, but it’s going to feel much bigger when you get there because of all the people who work at the big tech companies commuting in.
So, while it might be a smaller town, it’s got a lot of people packed in during the day.
Night becomes much quieter.
How Does Mountain View Compare?
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- Visas - All Visas get handled at the airport. Once they sign off on your entrance into the U.S. there, you are safe to enter Mountain View with no additional ID needed.
- Currency - This city uses the U.S. Dollar as its main form of currency. Some businesses also use cryptocurrency, and there are ATMs where you can turn bitcoin into real dollars.
- Weather - The lowest temperature you'll get here is in the low 40s. Winters are in the upper 50s and go through the 60s for highs in fall and spring. Summers top out at the upper-70s for highs and 50s for lows. You'll need a jacket and jeans/pants due to the chill in the air, but overall it's very mild. It doesn't rain a lot here, so rain gear is just optional.
- Airports - San Jose International Airport is the closest option, at just 15 minutes away. San Francisco is a land-locked trip 30 minutes north. You can also use Oakland's International Airport and get a great view by driving over a bridge. I Google Mapped it and the fog seen on the drive is enough to remind me how terrified I am of bridges, but if you want to go to Oakland, you're going to have to cross water or get ready for a long drive around the bay.
- Travel Insurance - You'll need travel insurance for your trip to Mountain View. That fog I just mentioned? It can shut down the airport or delay flights.
Mountain View Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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