Situated in the southernmost part of San Francisco Bay, the city of Mountain View, California, is located in the heart of Silicon Valley. It lies in in Santa Clara County and as of estimates taken in July 2008, it was home to a population of more than 71,000. Mountain View lies about 15 miles north of San Jose and about 40 miles south of San Francisco, and it gets it name because of the views it offers of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Residents tend to be quite wealthy, and as a result Mountain View homes are quite expensive. In 2008, the estimated median household income was more than $92,500. Likewise, the median value of Mountain View real estate was more than $755,000.
The city was formed after the former ranch of Don Mariano Castro split. The south became the city of Sunnyvale, and the north became Mountain View, and the two cities are still closely linked today. Mountain View is probably now most popularly known in America as the home to Google, the Internet giant, and its Googleplex headquarters. Other high-tech companies that call the city home include Intuit, Jajah, LinkedIn, Meebo, Synopsys and Actel. Mountain View was the first city in America to be completely covered by free wireless Internet access, provided by Google. Twelve public and eight private schools operate here, including private schools where both English and either Chinese or German are taught. The two largest private schools are St. Francis High School and the Mountain View Academy.
The NASA Ames Research Center is not far from the city, and El Camino Hospital and Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Mountain View, provide medical services. Mountain View's recent unemployment has fared much better than the state as a whole; in October 2009, Mountain View's unemployment rate was 8.9%, much lower than California's 12.3% average. Along the area's waterfront area, residents can find the Shoreline Golf Links and the Shoreline Amphitheater, which can hold up to 25,000 people. There are at least 10 shopping centers and as many city-run parks.
A Center for Performing Arts and the 70,000-square-foot Mountain View Public Library are operated here. Public transportation options include the Caltrain rail system, which runs from San Francisco to Gilroy, and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, which runs bus lines and the Mountain View-Winchester light rail line. Weekly farmers markets and annual events like the Arts and Wine Festival, the A La Carte & Art festival, and the city’s summer concert series are held throughout the city. Those looking to learn more about the community's history can visit the Jehning Family Lock Museum, or for a more modern look into the history of the area, the Computer History Museum.
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