I have lived in the Bay Area for two-thirds of my adult life and lived in Mountain View, CA for two of these. It is one of the nicest parts of Silicon Valley and has very good suburbs to grow up and raise a family in. Mountain View has the best of both worlds: safe, tree-lined suburbs with good schools and a downtown with great restaurants and stores that stay open later than most others in the surrounding communities. Mountain View is north of San Jose, which calls itself the heart of Silicon Valley, south of San Francisco, and less than an hour's drive to each. Mountain View itself is the home of Google's headquarters, and recently the benefits of Google have extended passed the Google campus with Google providing a free shuttle-bus that transports people around Mountain View. The one drawback to living in Mountain View is the high cost of living. Rents are normally high and the medium price of a home is now over a million dollars.
The downtown area in Mountain View is great. Castro Street is the main downtown street which is a very long street that has a variety of great restaurants, as well as live music offerings and theater. One of the best coffee shops to hang out in on Castro Street is the Red Rock Cafe. The coffee is excellent and it has a big upstairs area with tables and chairs to do computer work or study in. The cafe also has free wifi. The cafe supports local artists and musicians with art displays and live music some nights as well as an open mic night. One of the best things to do on a Saturday night in Mountain View is to listen to great flamenco jazz guitar music at Cascal Restaurant. Cascal Restaurant has a friendly and sophisticated bar area and wonderful food. The atmosphere is comfortable yet classy, and it is a terrific place to spend a Saturday night and listen to great music.