Welcome to Santa Cruz
A prominent coastal city surrounded by redwood forests and world-class beaches that have helped to cultivate a renowned surfing community
The friendly, urban city of Santa Cruz is the county seat and largest city in Santa Cruz County. A prominent coastal city, residents appreciate access to the beautiful Pacific Ocean, which has helped foster one of the world’s most famous surf communities. Besides the water, Santa Cruz is surrounded by lush redwood forests and boasts a near-perfect Mediterranean climate year-round.
Santa Cruz hosts some of the best schools in the state, including the University of California, Santa Cruz is a premier research and educational institution that has helped the surrounding area transform into a lively college town with several exemplary public schools. Additionally, the rich farmland and natural beauty have helped foster an organic agricultural movement that locals enjoy at the bevy of acclaimed local restaurants. With pristine beaches, parks, hiking trails, and easy access to the nearby mountains, Santa Cruz offers an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities.
What to Love
- Perfect weather year-round with 250 days of sunlight each year
- No shortage of outdoor activities, home to a huge surfing community
- Dozens of beautiful beaches, parks, and trails
People & Lifestyle
While best-known and cherished for its incredible surf community and world-class beaches, Santa Cruz has plenty to offer. The ocean is easily accessible, as are the well-maintained parks, the creative and artistic community, and the redwood forests. Study at some of the best local schools or watch the sunset from one of the many impressive rivers, canyons, or cliffs.
Each year, Santa Cruz has almost 250 days of sunshine, making it a year-round playground for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The community is active, welcoming, and enthusiastic with plenty of chances for fresh air. Plus, the beach boardwalk is the only seaside amusement park on the west coast and an essential part of the city’s heritage. When it comes to the locals, there are a lot of families, young professionals, and retirees living here.
Dining, Shopping, & Entertainment
- Zoccoli’s Delicatessen – Neighborhood deli where you can get gourmet sandwiches, pasta, and salads.
- Soif – Dine on fresh California cuisine at this casual, cozy restaurant downtown and then shop for wines at the attached retail store.
- Alderwood – Restaurant with a seasonally-driven menu and wood-fired cuisine with French undertones.
- Stagnaro Bros – This seaside eatery plates classic seafood dishes like chowder and fish ‘n’ chips while you enjoy views of the water.
Things to Do
- Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk – This free amusement park known for its vintage rides and entertainment is a city landmark and the only major seaside amusement park on the West Coast.
- Natural Bridges State Beach – Spreading across 65 acres, this state park gets its name from the natural bridge that formed across a section of the beach. It also offers an exceptional vantage point to view shorebirds, migratory whales, and the occasional seal.
- Santa Cruz Surf Museum – Tucked near the renowned surfing hotspot Steamer Lane, this fascinating museum documents the history of surfing.
- Roaring Camp Railroads – Popular tourist attraction that allows guests to explore the ancient redwoods from a vintage train.
- Woodies on the Wharf – Fun annual event to celebrate the local chapter of the national Woodies Club, allowing people to show off their automobiles in an idyllic location. There is usually a raffle, cruise, and parade!
Santa Cruz is home to many excellent schools, public and private, along with top-notch universities like UC Santa Cruz, Cabrillo College, and Five Branches University.