The birthplace of Silicon Valley, Mountain View is a thriving city that continues to ripen with opportunity. Ambitious new arrivals from around the country and abroad continue to flock to the area.

Perfectly situated, Mountain View boasts gorgeous views of San Francisco Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains. The city is just a few minutes away from vibrant San Jose and an hour's drive from bohemian San Francisco. With its tall trees that have stood for centuries and its breathtaking lake and ocean views, Mountain View is a living, breathing testament to the power and beauty of nature.

Cost of living in Mountain View

While new arrivals may be eager to find their slice of paradise in Mountain View, they should be cautioned that the city is far from cheap. The price of accommodation is the main culprit behind the high cost of living, as housing here can be up to five times the national average.

Essentials such as groceries, healthcare, and transportation are also pricey. Overall, Mountain View's cost of living is roughly double the US average. 

On the plus side, salaries in Mountain View tend to be generous, making the area more affordable for those who work there. California's income tax is also significantly lower than the national average.

For pricing in nearby California cities, see Cost of Living in San Jose and San Francisco.

Getting around in Mountain View

Most people in Mountain View drive to get around, with an average car ownership of two per household. Driving is the most common way to get to work, with an average commute of just over 20 minutes from home to the workplace. About 20 percent of Mountain View employees don't commute, as they work remotely from home.

Mountain View has good cycling infrastructure, including plenty of bike lanes. Public transport includes the bus and light rail service, operated by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), and the Caltrain, which runs through Mountain View and connects to San Jose and San Francisco. 

MVgo provides a free shuttle service connecting commuters with the Mountain View Transit Center, where they can catch a train or bus to continue their journey. The shuttle also links various locations within Mountain View during peak morning and afternoon rush hours on weekdays.

Find out more about transportation in and around the area by reading Getting Around in San Jose.

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Healthcare in Mountain View

Excellent healthcare is available in Mountain View, but new arrivals should ensure they have sufficient insurance coverage. More than 95 percent of Mountain View residents have health insurance, with 70 percent covered by employee plans, so those moving here for work can expect similar benefits.

El Camino Health – Mountain View is a prestigious general hospital in the area, earning numerous awards and accolades. Its facilities include Urgent Care Mountain View and Mother-Baby Healthcare at Orchard Pavilion. Other medical facilities in the area include Satellite Healthcare, the Pacific Women's Health Clinic, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Sutter Health Mountain View Center, and Mountain View Healthcare Center.

Learn more about the American healthcare system in Understanding Health Insurance in the USA.

Schools in Mountain View

There's a good mix of public and private schools in Mountain View and the surrounds. With several highly ranked schools in the area, parents moving to Mountain View will have plenty of worthwhile options to consider. 

Notable schools nearby include Castilleja School, an all-girls private school in Palo Alto, and Silicone Valley International School, which offers numerous bilingual programmes and teaches the International Baccalaureate.

The public school system is run by the Mountain View Whisman School District (K–8) and the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District (9–12).

For more school recommendations, see International Schools in San Francisco.

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Weather in Mountain View

Overall, Mountain View's climate is mild and pleasant year-round. The sun shines for more than two-thirds of the year, particularly during the summer months of June through August. Occasional fog occurs in summer. Winter is from December to February, bringing a few rain showers but no snow. 

Mountain View's temperatures don't usually climb too high or dip too low, making for a comfortable environment. As a result, outdoor activities in the area's picturesque surroundings can be enjoyed at any time of year.

Working in Mountain View

As the birthplace of Silicon Valley, Mountain View is brimming with tech industry opportunities. Companies such as Google and Intuit were founded in Mountain View, growing from humble offices to sprawling campuses throughout the city. Other major tech companies in the area include Microsoft and LinkedIn.

Apart from technology, other major industries in Mountain View include management, finance, architecture, engineering, sales, administration, and education. 

The work culture in Mountain View tends to be progressive. The workplace is diverse, and new arrivals should expect to encounter a mix of nationalities, as more than 40 percent of the city's population was born outside the US. 

Learn more about Silicon Valley's work culture and job opportunities by reading Working in San Jose.

Accommodation in Mountain View

While pricey, accommodation in Mountain View is of a high quality. New arrivals will be best off working with an estate agent who knows the area. From luxury apartments to well-appointed single-family homes, the Mountain View property market has something for everyone – as long as they have ample room in their budget.

It's best to book a stay in short-term accommodation and take some time to explore the area before searching for the perfect home. This also allows prospective residents to visit properties in person. Having found somewhere suitable, future tenants can make their lease application. They will then be vetted by the landlord and asked to provide references and undergo credit checks. 

Successful applicants should read leases thoroughly before signing to ensure they understand the terms of the agreement. The first month's rent and a deposit are paid upfront. Utilities are usually an extra cost on top of rent.

For more on house hunting in the area, see Accommodation in San Jose.

Lifestyle in Mountain View

Mountain View's lifestyle is undoubtedly one of the highlights of living here. There are ample opportunities to shop, dine and enjoy the great outdoors. 

Tech lovers will be in seventh heaven in the birthplace of Silicon Valley. Highlights include the Google Headquarters, the NASA Ames Research Centre, and the Computer History Museum. 

Meanwhile, artsy types should check upcoming schedules at the Shoreline Amphitheatre and the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. Two movie theatres also provide a great chance to relax after work or on the weekends. The Mountain View Public Library is a pleasant visit right in the downtown area, surrounded by tall trees and lush grass.

New arrivals craving a cup of coffee, looking for a bite to eat or planning on having a drink with friends should head to Castro Street. A range of bars, restaurants, cafés, coffee shops, and pubs can be found here with something to suit any palate. Exotic eateries can be found throughout the area, serving up fare from all over the world, though Asian food is particularly well represented in Castro Street. A weekly farmers' market is also held here on Sundays.

With so much to offer residents, Mountain View is ripe for adventure. Working and living in the city promises a laid-back, enjoyable California lifestyle.

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