Santa Cruz,California

The Nine Restaurants on the Santa Cruz Wharf

The Nine Restaurants on the Santa Cruz WharfOne of the most popular places to hang out in Santa Cruz is the Santa Cruz wharf. The Santa Cruz wharf stretches over half a mile and is known as the longest timber pier in the United States. This is a popular area to take a leisurely stroll while enjoying the sights of the water and other beachgoers. If you stay long enough you may even catch a whale or a dolphin out in the water. It is also prime territory to watch surfers in Santa Cruz.

In addition to hanging out near the water, you can also grab a bite to eat at one of the nine restaurants along the Santa Cruz wharf. Read further to get more information on each of the Santa Cruz wharf restaurants.

Santa Cruz Wharf Restaurants

 The Dolphin

The Dolphin offers a classic diner atmosphere at the end of the Santa Cruz wharf. This restaurant serves breakfast lunch and dinner just a half mile offshore in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The Dolphin has long been a favorite of Santa Cruz locals and as such has become popular with visitors as well. They have indoor seating as well as outdoor seating on what some call the best patio on the wharf. There's even a walk-up window to easily order without leaving the beach. The Dolphin is open seven days a week 8 AM until they decide to close.

Gilda's Family Restaurant

Gilda's has been in Santa Cruz for more than 50 years. They are located centrally in the wharf area just across from the famous boardwalk. Some of the favorite foods include classic fresh fish entrées, plates of pasta, and comfort food favorites that they...

The Best Places to Grab Coffee in Santa Cruz

The Best Places to Grab Coffee in Santa CruzSanta Cruz is home to many of the best things in California, including some great coffee shops. Most Santa Cruz coffee shops can be found along the San Lorenzo River and the Westside. Some say that strolling along the river will bring you to Downtown Santa Cruz's bursting coffee scene that gives a sort of European sidewalk cafe atmosphere. On the Westside you may find more of a modern coffee house with a minimalistic design aesthetic. 

Here is a List of Some of the Most Popular Coffee Spots in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting

This has been a Santa Cruz fixture since 1978, even before fancy lattes were a thing. You can find Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting along the river downtown. They are loved for their fair trade coffee responsibly sourced and their brew bar of hand-poured coffees made in small batches. 

Verve Coffee Roasters

There is more than one Verve Coffee in Santa Cruz, there are four to be exact. You can find them at Pleasure Point, Pacific Avenue, and the Westside. Verve is known for its seasonal coffee flavors serving up just what you are in the mood for at the perfect time. Everything is locally roasted and purchased directly from the farm. Some of Verve's regulars suggest trying the cappuccino. 

11th Hour Coffee

11th Hour Coffee brings a unique experience to Santa Cruz. Come in for some coffee, hang out for a bit and enjoy a waffle, and before you leave purchase a new plant to take home. This local shop prides itself on being grassroots...

Fun Santa Cruz Fall Activity: Take a Lost Boys Movie Tour

Fun Santa Cruz Fall Activity: Take a Lost Boys Movie TourA favorite fall activity of many people is to settle in at home as the skies turn dark at an earlier hour and the weather turns a bit colder and watch a spooky movie. A great movie to watch on your fall fun movie nights with a cup of warm apple cider and some popcorn is The Lost Boys. Much of the movie was filmed in Santa Cruz.

About the Film The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys was released in 1987. The name is inspired by Peter Pan and his group of friends who call themselves the lost boys. It is meant to show that Vampires never age. The story is about two boys moving to a fictional town in California with their mom. They move in with their eccentric grandpa after their mother's divorce.

The boys decide to hang out at the town's boardwalk (the iconic Santa Cruz boardwalk) which they find is wallpapered with posters of missing persons. As Micheal becomes intrigued by a girl he sees on the boardwalk dating a leader of a local gang, Sam the younger brother, meets two vampire hunters in the local comic book store. 

Micheal the older brother ends up hanging out with the members of the gang and gets involved in vampire activity without realizing it. Sam soon discovers Michael's plight as he begins the transition after trying to attack his little brother. Sam then begins to look for ways to help his brother reverse the transition into a vampire. 

When You are Done Watching the Movie Take a Lost Boys Tour in Santa Cruz

It is fun to discover all of the places the movie was actually filmed and walk through them and recognize them...

Explore the Redwood Forests of Santa Cruz on a Unique Steam Train Ride

Explore the Redwood Forests of Santa Cruz on a Unique Steam Train RideIf you are looking for something unique to the Santa Cruz area to experience, checking out Roaring Camp Railroads train rides through the redwood forest is a great option.

Riding a train through the redwood forest in the Santa Cruz mountains gives you a whole different perspective on this beautiful outdoor area. The train tracks were built in the 19th century and the 19th-century logging steam train was originally used to haul giant redwood logs down from the mountains. This is a fun experience that anyone at any age will enjoy from the youngest toddler to the wisest and most experienced of us all.

Daily Train Rides

The historic steam train will take you on a tour up Bear Mountain while the conductor tells the story of the roaring camp railroads' history. They will share how Graham settled in the area in the 1830s and his settlement became known as Roaring Camp. They will share the tale of establishing a sawmill, the first one west of the Mississippi. Come hear the interesting and rich history in greater detail and learn about the amazing historic trains that traveled along the gorgeous tracks up to Bear Mountain.

Upcoming Events

Labor Day Weekend Fun

September 3-5 spend Labor Day weekend in the town of Roaring Camp for family-friendly activities and live music. You can take a train ride into the town either from the redwood forest steam train or the Santa Cruz beach train. Activities include tug-of-war, a three-legged race, corn hole, kids club activities, and a balloon toss.

Moonlight Dinner Parties

Enjoy four...

Exploring the Santa Cruz Farmers Markets

Exploring the Santa Cruz Farmers MarketsThere's so much to love about the city of Santa Cruz and one of the favorites is the five different farmers' markets around Santa Cruz County. These markets have the best produce from all around the region as well as several other amazing locally made goods. In addition to being able to purchase the best items in the area, some markets offer live entertainment and freshly made entrees to come grab a meal. 

Here's some more information about each of Santa Cruz's farmer's markets

Downtown

The downtown Santa Cruz farmers market may be the most recognized farmers market in Santa Cruz. It takes place year-round on Wednesdays from 1 to 6 in May through October and from 1 to 5 PM in November through April. It is Santa Cruz's largest and longest-running market located in the heart of downtown Santa Cruz just one block off of Pacific Avenue.

This farmers market has been in business for a very long time and showcases many of the farms in the area that are staples for organic and ecological farming in the area. It is an excellent source of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables as well as pastured meats and local fresh flowers.

The downtown market is also said to be one of the best places to enjoy a diverse selection of ethnic foods. You can find authentic dishes from Naan and Curry to traditional Italian cookies and El Salvadorian pupusas.

Felton

The Felton farmers market runs through a portion of the year from May to October from 1 to 6 PM on Tuesdays at 120 Russell Ave. This is a highly anticipated weekly event during the spring, summer, and early fall that has been running for over 30 years. Some of the local residents of Santa Cruz make sure that they come out to the market...

Beat the Heat with Homemade Ice Cream in Santa Cruz at the Penny Ice

Beat the Heat with Homemade Ice Cream in Santa Cruz at the Penny Ice

There are so many amazing and fun things to do in Santa Cruz and one of the best ways to spend a summer afternoon is to take a trip down to the Penny Ice Creamery. You will find ice cream like no other in this unique locally owned ice cream shop. It is one of the favorite places to grab a cold treat on a hot summer day in Santa Cruz.

About the Penny Ice Creamery in Santa Cruz

Everything served at Penny Ice in Santa Cruz is made from scratch. All of the ingredients are local seasonal and organic. Penny Ice uses fresh local ingredients combined in small batches to create some of the most unique Artisanal ice cream flavors you have never tried before. Penny Ice is one of the smallest dairy manufacturing plants in the state using all organic dairy and sustainably grown ingredients. You can watch them make the ice cream right inside the shop.

Penny Ice was founded by Chef Kendra L Baker with her business partner Zachary E Davis. They enjoy being open with the entire process of their clean ingredients and artisan ice creams. They take pride in showing the public and each customer exactly what is going into their ice cream. They take a lot of care in sourcing every single ingredient in their products so that they can say that everything is 100% from scratch.

This is the only ice cream shop in Santa Cruz that is a licensed pasteurizer therefore they do not have to purchase premixed ice cream for their base but can make it right on site for the most amazing flavorful ice cream.

Their Products

The Penny Ice offers seasonal flavors that rotate throughout the year dependent upon what local ingredients are readily available to combine...

Summer in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz has many fun activities to keep you and your little ones entertained all summer long. Besides the apparent beach-going and water activities, there are many other things to explore.

The Museum of Art and History, located conveniently in the heart of downtown, features a variety of activities and attractions during the summer months. Exhibits are fun for the whole family and change every few weeks.

Best things to do in Summer in Santa Cruz

The Santa Cruz skating rink is located in midtown. You can bring your kids for a few hours of skating or reserve the whole space for birthday parties and special events.

Seymour Marine Discovery Center

The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is dedicated to raising awareness about how to care for the world’s oceans. You can take your family on a tour of a real marine research facility. You can pet sharks, see moon jellies, and admire a life-size sculpture of a gray whale.

You can also jump aboard a 60-foot luxury charter boat and get ready to look for sea creatures in style. From May to November, look out for humpback whales, which make Monterey Bay their feeding ground. December through April, be prepared to see gray whales. The tours last three to four hours and are narrated by the ship crew.

 Santa Cruz Derby Girls...

12 of the Best Beaches in Santa Cruz

Best Beaches in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz County is home to some of the best beaches on the West Coast. There are miles of uninterrupted sand with beautiful sunsets. Santa Cruz beaches have something for everyone. Some are favorites with tourists due to proximity to hotels and shopping while others tend to be local favorites. Here are some of the best Santa Cruz beaches to visit.12 of the Best Beaches in Santa Cruz

MAIN/COWELL’S BEACH
Main Beach is the beach in front of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Cowell’s Beach is Main Beach’s neighbor to the north, just on the opposite side of the wharf.

ITS BEACH (DOG BEACH)
Often referred to as Dog Beach, Its Beach does technically allow dogs, but they’re supposed to be on leashes and only on the beach at certain hours.

NATURAL BRIDGES BEACH
Natural Bridges is home to picturesque views, photo ops, and tide-pooling., Natural Bridges State Park is best known for playing host to thousands of Monarch Butterflies who migrate here each fall.

AÑO NUEVO STATE PARK
The beach at Año Nuevo State Park is located in the picturesque town of Pescadero, the beach is most known for its protected colony of elephant seals that migrate specifically to this spot each year.

...

Why Should You Move to Santa Cruz?

Considering a Move to Santa Cruz?

GREAT! Here's why!

Why Should You Move to Santa Cruz

There are very few places where you can surf world-class waves before breakfast, hike among giant redwoods in the morning, enjoy a gourmet organic lunch, and work on your Ph.D. Santa Cruz, CA is one of those rare places. This city has about 62,000 people on the Pacific coast of northern California and enjoys 250 days of sunshine annually to enjoy one of the world’s great surfing beaches. It’s also nestled next to the Santa Cruz Mountains, where spectacular hiking trails afford sweeping views of the ocean.

There’s the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Whale watching. The longest wooden wharf in the country. A delightful boardwalk complete with a roller coaster. A vibrant downtown with historic architecture, a thriving culinary scene, and an arts community.

Given the presence of UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz scored unsurprisingly high as an educational community. A highly rated public school system includes nationally recognized public and charter high schools such as Pacific Collegiate, one of the nation’s top schools. Secondary school students can pursue a degree right at home, either at UCSC, which offers 65 undergraduate majors and 41 grad programs, or the well-respected Cabrillo College.

Santa Cruz’s health care also received high marks, which Collins credits significantly to an emphasis on preventive health and wellness options.

Housing, which also ranked high among Santa Cruz’s strengths, offers varied options but tends to be expensive. The...

Places To Eat In Santa Cruz

Places To Eat In Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is known for its natural beauty, world class. The sleepy Northern California town also has some of the most delicious restaurants along the Monterey Bay coastline. You can find yourself at peace on a cliff overlooking the ocean. You can get the heart pumping while climbing up and down the Aptos hills or biking around town working up an appetite, then you can stroll along the streets downtown and indulge in a tasty meal or dessert.

Santa Cruz has something for everyone, and when it comes to the best Santa Cruz restaurants. in fact, the hard part is deciding where to eat in Santa Cruz. It should be no surprise that the food options in Santa Cruz will include vegan, vegetarian, and other earth-conscious food. California is generally known for its progressivism, particularly in the environmental and health movements of the US, and Santa Cruz especially so!

Places To Eat In Santa Cruz

#1-You will find Asian-fusion food, street food style at Charlie Hong Kong’s. They offer vegan and gluten-free options, plus they make sustainability a part of their everyday business practices.

Places To Eat In Santa Cruz

#2-The lovely ...

Museum of Natural History in Santa Cruz

The Museum of Natural history in Santa Cruz is the first museum dating back to 1904 with the founding collection of Santa Cruz lighthouse keeper and naturalist, Laura Hecox. The Museum features educational, hands-on exhibits for children, families, and adults who are curious about the world they live in and the natural history of one of the most scenic locations on the California coast.Museum of Natural History in Santa Cruz

The Museum traces its beginnings to the late 1800s and the collection of naturalist Laura Hecox. Miss Hecox was born in Santa Cruz in 1854 and from childhood had a keen interest in the natural sciences. Her parents, Adna and Margaret Hecox traveled overland from Illinois to California in 1846 and settled in Santa Cruz the following year. In 1869 Mr. Hecox was appointed keeper of the original Santa Cruz Lighthouse and took up residence there with his wife and family.

The museum opened on August 21, 1905. There were displays of dried sea stars and crustaceans, Indian baskets and mortars, Eskimo artifacts, minerals, agates, gems, petrified woods, coral, bird nests and eggs, turtle and tortoise carapaces, and several cases of shells, including two hundred local species. The Hecox collection remained at the library until about 1917 when it was moved to the new Santa Cruz High School. The Crafts House, home of the Museum from 1930 to 1954, was located behind the present Museum where there is now an amphitheater.

In 1984 the Museum built outdoor exhibit kiosks on the Santa Cruz Wharf featuring marine life, fishing, and wharf history. In 1986 the Surfing Museum was established as a satellite facility at the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse. The fascinating displays of old surfboards and historical photographs attract 70,000 visitors each year.

...

What Does $1,000,000 Get You in Santa Cruz?

$1 million might not go as far as it used to but that's not so much a surprise in the California market. People are moving out of the big cities such as LA, San Diego, and San Francisco into smaller suburbs, especially those looking for a more laid-back lifestyle, specifically along the water. This is why places like Santa Cruz, Davenport, Live Oak and Rio Del Mar becoming so popular.What Does $1,000,000 Get You in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz spreads out along the coastline to places like Pleasure Point, Opal Cliffs, and Capitola, all offering similar real estate markets and homes. Here's which are likely to get for $1 million in the Santa Cruz real estate market.

$965,000

Townhouse in Santa Cruz – almost 1500 ft.², two-bedroom and 2 1/2 bath, updated, and one of only 10 townhouses in this convenient and private corner of downtown. It was built in 1990 Tennessee multiple upgrades. This move-in-ready home also has homeowner association dues of about $358. When looking at a townhouse, you do have those HOA fees which will cover common area maintenance, building maintenance, management, and possible amenities. HOA fees may also cover certain utilities.

$1,025,000

Four $1,025,000...

What Is The Crime Rate In Santa Cruz

What Is The Crime Rate In Santa Cruz

A fairly common and important fact to research when considering a new place to live is the crime rate. This is especially important if you are moving with a family that has little ones and you want to ensure they are growing up in a safe neighborhood. No need to sugar coat it; you want to know and here's the truth.

Santa Cruz has a slightly higher crime rate than the average US city. This only applies to the proper boundaries. The rate of crime is 39 per 1,000 residents in one year. The northern part of Santa Cruz is considered to be the safest.

Your chance of being a victim of a crime is 1 in 13 in the northwest neighborhoods or as low as 1 in 40 in the north part of the city. You can determine this information by looking at a crime map. When you are looking at a crime map you want to remember that the rate of crime may appear inflated due to people visiting the area during the day. This is all dependent on the retail establishments and how busy the central part of a city is. If a city includes airports, parks, or schools, there is almost always a higher crime rate, especially if it is in a more metropolitan or lower-income area.

Crimes that are commonly seen in Santa Cruz are assault and robbery when it comes to violence crimes. You can also note that there is theft, vehicle theft, and burglary. In 2020, the crime rate in Santa Cruz fell from the previous year and this trend seems to be showing positive growth in that area.

The decrease in these crimes was mainly in the more violent crimes. The Santa Cruz Police Chief has said it is important...

What Is Unique About The Mission In Santa Cruz?

The Santa Cruz Mission is formerly a Spanish mission located in Santa Cruz, CA. This mission was the 12th mission out of the 21 California Missions. It is the only mission not named after a person. Santa Crux means Sacred Cross, which is an important symbol in the Roman Catholic Church.What Is Unique About The Mission In Santa Cruz?

The mission was founded on August 28, 1791, and is named for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross of Christianity. It is in the bluff in the city of Santa Cruz near the San Lorenzo River. Where it is located is now called the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park.  It features a structure with a water fountain and park grounds. This is located in a large residential area.

The mission is actually the second mission built because the first one was flooded and forced Father Lasuen to relocate to higher ground. The new mission became known as the Hard Luck Mission because the disease had swept through the area that wiped out about half of the population in the area. We often view missions as peaceful and tranquil grounds, but oftentimes we don't know the historical past of the grounds. 

There is a garden behind the mission and the original hand-carved baptismal front that was once located in the sanctuary is in the garden. The garden produces goods such as wheat, barley, corn, beans, peas, lentils. There is also an oil painting of the Virgen de Guadalupe that is from 1797.  The chapel is smaller and inviting for baptisms and small weddings.

One of the popular viewing points is through the gothic arches at the front. The...

What is famous about Santa Cruz?

Known for its beautiful and expansive beaches along with its surf and laid-back culture, Santa Cruz is a dream place to settle down and a vacation destination. The land and area known as Santa Cruz was founded in 1769 by Spanish explorer Don Gaspar. He called the area Santa Cruz which means holy cross. The famous mission at Santa Cruz was established in 1791 and was founded by the Spanish as one of the civil settlements or pueblos in California.What is Famous About Santa Cruz?

Santa Cruz is known as a beach town with one of the most touristy spots as the boardwalk and fishing pier. Besides the seaside scenery, there is so much more to this beautiful area. There is a historical mission and a quaint downtown. It is close to Monterey Bay and also boasts of ocean views. There is a huge marine environment to view as they play in the deep blue waters.

Surfers can often catch a glimpse of marine life. Santa Cruz is known for its outdoor activities with coastal hiking trails. You can find hiking trails in most places, but not coastal hiking trails. The best are found in Wilder Ranch State Park. This park is known for its beautiful hummingbirds and access to the Santa Cruz Arboretum and Botanical Garden.

The cultural lifestyle is what attracts many to Santa Cruz.

There are Shakespeare performances, surfing museums, and the historical mission that you can visit and attend. The boardwalk activities include all the summertime fun you can imagine such as rides, games, attractions, bike riding, painting, and fishing. What you probably didn't know about Santa Cruz is that it is the birthplace of mainland surfing. This is where they used surfing boards that were made from redwood planks. Santa Cruz is also home to California's oldest...

Most Popular Neighborhoods to Buy a Home in Santa Cruz

boardwalk propertyinsantacruz.comKnown for its boardwalk, stunning beaches, and natural forests, Santa Cruz truly offers something for everyone. Although the population is growing, the city is not yet overcrowded like Santa Monica or San Diego, making it a great choice for those interested in a more laid back beach town life. Here are some of the most popular neighborhoods to buy a home in Santa Cruz.

 Beach Hill

Those drawn to Victorian homes and the exciting admission-free Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk may want to consider Beach Hill. Beach Hill isn’t the priciest of neighborhoods, but it has become quite popular over the years. The Boardwalk has been operating for more than a century, and the homes retain their historic charm while offering all the latest modern upgrades.  

 Seabright

If you’re looking for traditional bungalows tucked away in a hip neighborhood, consider Seabright. The neighborhood is known for its locally owned cafes and shops, along with a healthy nightlife scene, and Seabright Beach is just across the road. 

Woods Cove

The Woods Cove neighborhood of Santa Cruz is also known as Scotts Valley South. Homes are rather pricey in this community, but it’s highly sought...

Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in Santa Cruz Is a Viable Option

If you've lived in your home in Santa Cruz for many years, you may be concerned about real estate market trends and other rising costs in the area. Once you retire, you will be receiving a fixed income and might not be able to keep up with increasing costs. Also, your children might not be able to afford to stay in the area once they leave home, and so they may have to move to a different locality. These are genuine concerns for some, and local officials and politicians are actively considering various ways and means to help alleviate the financial burdens some will face when electing to age in place in their current homes.

Recently, the publication LIFE everything Aptos, Capitola & Soquel detailed ongoing efforts to help people find affordable housing in this article by Zach Friend, a Santa Cruz County Supervisor. According to Friend, the county of Santa Cruz has published an interactive toolkit which allows homeowners to design an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), acquire a permit and begin construction. The Board of Supervisors has also recently reduced permit fees and created a forgivable loan program to defray some of the upfront costs. In essence, it is now easier and cheaper to build an ADU in the unincorporated area of Santa Cruz County.

Friend said that ADUs, or companion units, are an easy and fast way to gain more affordable housing. This will help older residents who want to age in place at their existing locations by building an ADU for themselves while leaving the main house for their family, or who want other family members to stay in the ADU. For people who need extra income, building and renting an ADU is a good option. The Board of Supervisors has put rules in place to prevent these ADUs from becoming short-term rentals.

The new toolkit is available at www.sccoplanning.com/ADU. It includes a summary of regulations, a cost estimator, design guides and FAQs about design, financing, construction and other items. There is also a mapping tool for homeowners...

Current Homes for Sale
Santa Cruz County
City # Price Range
Aptos Homes 67 $399k - $6.0m
Capitola Homes 32 $220k - $3.3m
Rio Del Mar / Seascape Homes 39 $399k - $4.3m
Santa Cruz Events 166 $155k - $30.0m
Santa Cruz Homes 166 $155k - $30.0m
Santa Cruz Real Estate 166 $155k - $30.0m
Monterey County
City # Price Range
$0-$300000 193 $28k - $28.5m
Alta Mesa-Monterey 193 $28k - $28.5m
Big Sur Homes 5 $2.8m - $35.0m
Carmel Homes 120 $250k - $40.0m
Fishermans Flats 193 $28k - $28.5m
Glenwood Circle Monterey 193 $28k - $28.5m
Monterey Homes For Sale 193 $28k - $28.5m
Oak Grove Monterey 193 $28k - $28.5m
Old Town Monterey 193 $28k - $28.5m
Pebble Beach Homes 35 $1.1m - $33.5m
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