Villa Montalvo is an arts center and the former home of California Senator James Phelan. It centers on Phelan's villa-style home, but the summer concerts are held outdoors in the Lilian Fontaine Garden Theatre.
Villa Montalvo's summer concert series runs from late May through September and features a variety of performers, including the likes of Hugh Laurie, Dave Koz, and Chris Botti as well as stand-up comedians and other entertainers.
Villa Montalvo also offers pre-concert dining (which must be reserved in advance).
Likes and Dislikes
A few excerpts from reviews at Yelp: "Definitely a date place,"HOOKED at the beautiful scenery and spacious grounds" and from Tripadvisor: "nice venue, nice staff. Acoustics could have been a little better, but it was very intimate,"The acts are stellar, the acoustics perfection and the intimacy of the venue a definite plus."
Stark Inside says: "It’s hard to forget. The pre-show dining. The Wine. The gorgeous setting. Yes, storybook California… it can sometimes spoil us."
Our Take on Villa Montalvo's Summer Concerts
Villa Montalvo is a pleasant spot to enjoy a summer concert, in pretty surroundings. It's a good way to break up a busy week and could be a fun addition to a trip to Silicon Valley, but it's probably not worth planning a trip around.
Concerts are held a bit earlier than at other venues, and the pre-show dinner is convenient, but sadly, the price to quality ratio is far too high, and we'd be unlikely to try it again even at half the current price.
Instead, bring a picnic or plan your dining in Los Gatos or Saratoga before or after the show.
If your favorite performer is on the Villa Montalvo schedule, but the date isn't convenient, many of the performers who appear at Villa Montalvo may also show up at other area venues, especially the Mountain Winery, which is only a few miles away.
The Villa Montalvo Venue
The Summer Concert Series is held in the Lilian Fontaine Garden Theatre, located behind the main Villa on a sloping hill surrounded by trees.
The 1,200-seat amphitheater is often filled to capacity.
Tips for Enjoying Villa Montalvo
- Gates open one hour prior to showtime.
- Allow plenty of time for getting to Villa Montalvo from the parking areas, which are located at West Valley College.
- Food is available for sale, or you can bring a picnic to enjoy on the grounds before the show. No outside alcohol is allowed, and coolers aren't allowed inside the Garden Theatre
- If you're taking the shuttle from West Valley College, the parking lot number varies by event. If you forget to check for the lot number when reserving your tickets, you'll find plenty of signs to show you the way once you get close
- Insects were an issue at the concert we attended, so persistent that they distracted the performer for a few minutes. A light wrap or a spray of insect repellent might keep you more comfortable.
Tickets and Reservations for Villa Montalvo
Buy your tickets online through Ticketmaster.
If seats are available near the performance date, you may find them at a discount on Goldstar. Here's how to find out.
Orchestra (rows A - H) and Mezzanine (rows J - HH) are stadium-style seating.
General Admission is on wide concrete steps with grass seating space. There is no back support, and blankets are encouraged. No lawn chairs are allowed, but something soft to sit on may make you more comfortable.
More Events at Villa Montalvo
The rest of the year, you can enjoy indoor concerts in the Carriage House or attend their Chamber Music Series. Those details are at the Villa Montalvo website.
15400 Montalvo Road
- Held in summer
- Villa Montalvo Summer Concert Series Website
- On site parking (expensive) opens 90 minutes before the show
- Free shuttle from West Valley College (14000 Fruitvale Ave) begins 1 hour 45 minutes before the show
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary admission for the purpose of reviewing Villa Montalvo concerts.
She has also attended performances at her own expense. While it has not influenced this review, Tripsavvy.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.