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Things to do in Santa Cruz

34 contributors

The top 17 attractions in Santa Cruz

Historical Monuments in Santa Cruz
Mission Santa Cruz
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The mission is a place of great historical interest in the city of Santa Cruz. Situated on a small hill, and accessible by car ( via Emmet Street) or by a staircase leading up from the North Pacific Avenue (just past the restaurant "Los Pinos"), the building itself, at first, doesn't seem very extraordinary. But once inside, you will be transported to the eighteenth century, to the time when the Franciscans founded the mission on the coast. Today, the building is located inside a park, which unfortunately is only open Thursday through Saturday. It's a great place to walk and to see something of Santa Cruz from above. At the bottom of the street is the Plaza School Street Mission, a church rebuilt in the nineteenth century, following the same design of the old building. The cleanliness of the building, green grass and blue sky (weather dependent!) make this a truly wonderful place to visit!
Beaches in Santa Cruz
Lighthouse Field State Beach
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California and the Beach Boys - this is a materialized "cliché" image of the area: surf! The most famous area for surfing in Santa Cruz, and it has the best waves. Lighthouse Beach / Park is on the West Cliff and is a local favourite for surfing. Access is somewhat difficult since it's down a cliff, but the spot is quite frequented. The lighthouse, now a small surfing museum (with a rather narrow schedule, so I could not visit), and the statue, prove that surfing is part of the local culture!
Beaches in Santa Cruz
Natural Bridges State Beach
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The Natural Bridges State Park, which is maintained by the State of California, encompasses not only a beach that locals highly recommend, but also a large picnic area with tables and benches, grills and a toilet, from where you can take a stroll in the forest. The beach, deemed important for the rocks that for decades formed natural bridges, is comprehensive and is suitable for bathing (with life guard). Behind the sand are the tables and grills, sheltered by trees, perfect in summer. The park also has the monarch butterflies, ve come during migration to rest and have fun ;) If you are lucky you may, after a very short walk down the access path that they have provided, admire some of these amazing insects!
Gardens in Santa Cruz
San Lorenzo Park
The small San Lorenzo park borders the San Lorenzo River, and in fact, you can go through the park to cross the river to get to the town's centre. The park isn't very big, but it has several playgrounds and enough lawn space for those who want a rest or to have a picnic.
Amusement Parks in Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
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The unmistakable star of the beach of Santa Cruz, The Boardwalk holds over a century of history. Founded in 1907, is the oldest amusement park in the state of California. You can find everything from historic rides to modern shoot 'em up video games, but the main attraction of the park is the Giant Dipper rollercoaster. Dating back to 1924, this wooden, red and white ride has been restored but virtually unchanged. It is a short ride, but fun even by today's standards. A ticket to ride the fifth oldest roller coaster in the country, costs $4.50.
Beaches in Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz Beach
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Santa Cruz is a small town on the California coast that reminds me of all the the movies that take place in California. This is the city were surfing was born as there are several great spots for the sport! With the Baywatch stands, roller-coasters right in the sand, fine beaches and wonderful summer temperature, this city is the envy of all the the other cities around. It's a great place with positive vibes!
Streets in Santa Cruz
Pacific Avenue
Marking the center of the pretty little town of Santa Cruz, a few miles south of San Francisco along the beautiful Highway 1, Pacific Avenue is a particularly pleasant street to go for a walk. We love the small square at one end, but also its many shops, often run by hippies, and of course the surf shops, inevitable in this town!
Cliffs in Santa Cruz
West Cliff Drive
Located at the foot of the lighthouse in Santa Cruz, the West Cliffs are among the most beautiful cliffs in the area and are truly unmissable during your visit to the city. They are particularly beautiful at sunset, when the light reflecting off the water gives them a special charm. Nature lovers, check them out!
Museums in Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz Surfing Museum
Located on the street called West Cliffs Drive, overlooking the granite and limestone cliffs and housed in the old lighthouse, the Surfing Museum is a small museum dedicated to surfing and its history. Open at very specific times (9-12 and 14-16), it is nevertheless worth a quick visit. You can learn all about the evolution of surfing and other water sports, and enjoy the lovely views over the bay.
Harbors in Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz Harbor
The Santa Cruz Harbor is situated in the city of Santa Cruz, California. It acts as a multipurpose harbor for research and leisure etc. Many boats and kayaking trips start here. I took my sailing trip for the sunset from here. Overall, the harbor is a pretty cool place to explore and take a look at all kinds of yachts and sail boats. If you are taking a cycling trip around Santa Cruz, drop by this place because it is right beside the beach and gateway to the Pacific Ocean!
Of Touristic Interest in Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz Sky Glider
The Santa Cruz Main Beach is a popular spot for tourists during the summer. But why not go on one of the rides at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk called the "Glider" which gives you an bird's eye view of the surrounding. From the ride, you can look out to the Wharf, East Cliff and West Cliff. Those views are pretty fantastic. The ride is slow so you get to enjoy the view on top. If you are scared of heights, just don't look down and concentrate on the awesome views instead.
Of Touristic Interest in Santa Cruz
Chardonnay Sailing Charters
If you are in Santa Cruz area, try the Chardonnay Sail out to the Pacific Ocean. The sail trip starts off from Santa Cruz Harbor and takes around 90 minutes. It goes around the ocean around Santa Cruz, up until West Cliff and back to the Harbor. It will give you some views of Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk from the ocean. You can also see some seals resting on the marine rocks around the area. Overall, it is a good experience.
Markets in Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz Farmers' Market
If you are in Santa Cruz, California on a Wednesday afternoon, you've got to check out this market located along Lincoln Street and Cedar Street. It's only open from 1.30pm to 6.30pm, so go early if you want more choices. Here you will get a taste of local produce at friendly prices. There are many organic fruits and the atmosphere is really cool. Skip your trip to Safeway or Walmart and go to the farmers' market instead!
Nature Reserves in Santa Cruz
Wilder Ranch State Park
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Fantastic walk in the park, enjoying the beautiful weather, fabulous views and an amazing weather. Enjoy CA! A walk in the park and the beautiful weather of California. A breathtaking experience.
Of Cultural Interest in Santa Cruz
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Harbors in Santa Cruz
Cinemas in Santa Cruz

The best things to do in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is known as one of the surfing capitals of the United States thanks to its beaches whose waves have become famous worldwide. One of the most important places to visit in Santa Cruz is the Surfing Museum. This museum is located next to the city's lighthouse and features original items from well-known surfers such as Harry Mayo.

Remember that there is more to Santa Cruz activities than surfing. Be sure to visit the Monterey Bay
Marine Reserve, where you
can see marine animals such as whales, otters, seals, and sea lions, or the Aquarium of
Monterey
Bay, where you can see and learn about seaweed, reefs, full-sized sharks, penguins, octopus, and jellyfish. It's truly one of the
most spectacular
things to do in Santa Cruz. Another one of the many attractions in Santa Cruz is the
Natural Bridges
State Park. It's famous for its natural bridge of rock from which you can contemplate the vastness of the ocean.

As for more stuff to do in Santa Cruz, you can attend the Shakespeare festival, which takes place on the campus of the University of California where works by the English author are presented. You can also visit the Beach Boardwalk amusement park, one of the most important things to see in Santa Cruz. There are also lots of sports you can play if you're still looking for what to do in Santa Cruz. Look for more Santa Cruz attractions and activities today and expand
your expectations! You can read all about it on minube.