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Posted: Friday, November 9, 2007 10:00 pm

Destination: Mountain View

Overall rating: ****

Rating for kids: ***

Rating for seniors: ****

What's the attraction? Historic Bay Area town that encompasses shopping and dining.

What to do: Located along Castro Street is the Old Mountain View district, where you can shop for new and used items or eat inside quaint restaurants or at the dining areas lining the sidewalks. The Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, annual festivals and unique stores are making downtown Mountain View one of Silicon Valley's premier scenes.

Books, books and more books. In downtown Mountain View alone, there are five independent bookstores. You won't find any chain bookstores, but these independent shops have new books and plenty of interesting used books and eclectic finds. Book Buyers Used Books and Media, 317 Castro St., prides itself on having 500,000 titles and say the Mountain View store has the biggest and best selection on the Peninsula.

One thing people agree with is that Mountain View offers a vast array of restaurants. For French food, try Chez TJ, 938 Villa St. In the mood for a little lumpia? Sit down at Tina's Kusina and enjoy Filipino cuisine. There are various coffee, tea and juice shops along Castro and its side streets. But also be adventurous with Indian food from the Amber Cafe, 600 W. El Camino Real or try one of five Mediterranean restaurants like Flying Falafel, 257 W. Evelyn Ave., or Zucca, 186 Castro St. And there are many other specialty restaurants.

Cost: Spending money

Directions: To get to downtown Mountain View from Lodi, take Interstate 5 south to Interstate 205 west. Continue on to Interstate 680 south. Take the Mission Boulevard exit onto Mission Boulevard (CA-262 west) toward Mission Boulevard west/Warm Springs District. Take the left ramp onto Interstate 880 south. Then, take 237 west until you get to Highway 101, where you will go north. Exit and turn left on Meffett Boulevard.

Contact reporter Lauren Nelson at laurenn@lodinews.com.

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