Santa Cruz is a unique city known for its diversity, free spirit, and community.
It has a relaxed small town feel, yet is bustling with activity. As a vacation spot, world class surfing destination, hippy mecca, and home to the University of California, Santa Cruz, it attracts people of all walks of life. There is a focus on healthy living, respect for the environment and enjoying life. The art and music scenes are thriving and there is an abundance of locally owned shops and restaurants. The kelp forests and deep canyons of the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary attract an extensive variety of wildlife. With the mild climate, people enjoy the outdoors year round. Walking, biking, skating boarding, or riding the waves to your destination is just the way of life.
Located west of downtown, the Westside is full of activity. Mission Street runs through the community and is packed with restaurants, shops, and businesses. UCSC, located on the Upper Westside, offers an outstanding education and unique campus with spectacular views of the Monterey Bay, meadows and redwood forests. In 2012, the university ranked 7th among the world's best universities less than 50 years old and topped the list in the category of research. Each year there are numerous cultural events on campus, including the Arts Dean's Lecture Series which features renowned speakers. The Swift Street Courtyard, a converted factory, is found south of Mission and offers locally owned retail, dining, and drinking venues. Natural Bridges State Park is an ideal spot to view wildlife including whales, seals, otters and birds. It is also a prime location to view the hundreds of thousands of monarch butterflies which migrate through Santa Cruz from late fall to winter. West Cliff Drive offers miles of a walking or biking along the scenic coastal bluffs, with many beaches below. Steamers Lane, adjacent to the historic Santa Cruz Lighthouse, is a renowned surf spot for its consistent and powerful waves.
The busy city center is a destination on its own. Pacific Avenue is full of shops, restaurants, galleries and live music venues. There are plenty of cultural attractions including the Museum of Art & History, Santa Cruz Symphony, and Del Mar Theater. As you wander the neighborhood, street performers and public art add to the creative atmosphere. There are numerous spots to enjoy the thriving music scene including Kuumbwa Jazz, the Civic Auditorium, and various local eateries or drinking establishments. Kaiser Permanente Arena, a professional basketball arena, is located on Front Street and is home to the Santa Cruz Warriors. A short walk toward the water and you will find the Beach Boardwalk, which opened in 1907 and is one of the last classic seaside amusement parks in the country. The Boardwalk features an assortment of events throughout the year including the well known "Woodies on the Wharf." During the summer months, visitors and locals enjoy the Movies on the Beach or Friday Night Bands on the Beach.
Located between East Cliff Drive and the Harbor, Seabright is a relaxed neighborhood offering a nice mix of residential and commercial. The area is home to local restaurants and shops, the Museum of Natural History, and of course Seabright Beach. Residents in this neighborhood have a strong sense of community.
Located north of Seabright between Water Street and Highway 1, the Banana Belt gets its name because it is almost always sunny. The neighborhood itself offers residential streets, however it is easily walkable to shops and restaurants. De Laveaga Golf Course is also close by, located just on the other side of Highway 1.
Vibrant feel / great energy
Variety of neighborhoods
Easy access to highway 17
Sense of community
Focus on local
Focus on healthy living
World class surf spots
Gorgeous ocean views
Beach walking/ biking path
Local shops & restaurants
Farm to table restaurants