Los Altos ( (listen)) is a city in Santa Clara County, California, in northern Silicon Valley, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Los Altos means "the heights" in Spanish. The population was 28,976 according to the 2010 census.
Most of the city's growth occurred between 1950 and 1980. Originally an agricultural town with many summer cottages and apricot orchards, Los Altos is now an affluent bedroom community on the western edge of Silicon Valley, and serves as a major source of commuters to other parts of Silicon Valley. Los Altos strictly limits commercial zones to the downtown area and small shopping and office parks lining Foothill Expressway and El Camino Real.
The area was originally called Banks and Braes.Paul Shoup, an executive of the Southern Pacific Railroad, and his colleagues formed the Altos Land Company in 1906 and started the development of Los Altos. The company acquired 140 acres of land from Sarah Winchester. Shoup wanted to link Palo Alto and Los Gatos by making Los Altos a commuter town. It continued a train-a-day operation to and from San Francisco.