7 Local Secrets
to Visiting Santa Cruz, California
Written by guest blogger, Ross Campbell
The Best Beaches Aren’t Crowded - Though there is plenty of coastline to go around in Santa Cruz, many tourists and visitors flock to the most crowded beaches, usually one of the beaches near the popular Boardwalk amusement park.
Those beaches are popular for a reason and locals do visit them, but some of the best beaches are the secluded coves and bits of coastline just off the beaten path. Beaches on the Westside of town tend to be a little less bustling, as do those that follow along East Cliff Dr. between Santa Cruz and Capitola.
Events & Festivals Galore - For a relatively small town, Santa Cruz has a constant stream of events and festivals that include art, food, sports, cars, and culture, among other things. Surf fans will want to catch the O’Neill Coldwater Classic in the fall; for disc golfers, there’s the Steady Ed Memorial Master’s Cup in the spring.
Other popular events are the Open Studios Art Tour, the Greek Food Festival, Woodies on the Wharf, and the Santa Cruz Film Festival. You can find more information about local events at www.thingstodoinsantacruz.com
There’s A Good Music Scene - You’ll find anything from open mic nights to headliners you’re familiar with playing music in Santa Cruz. Popular venues like the Kuumbwa Jazz Center, the Rio Theater, the Catalyst, and Moe’s Alley regularly draw big name talent to the area from many different genres of music.
If you’re just looking to enjoy a pint and hear some live music, there’s plenty of options around town for that too. Breweries that often have free live music to along with good beer include the New Bohemia Brewing Co., the West End Tap & Kitchen, and 99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall.
It’s Quietly Becoming A Basketball Town - It’s not surprising that Santa Cruz would reflect some of the excitement around the recent success of the nearby Golden State Warriors. The fervor started to build when the Warriors Development League team moved to Santa Cruz in 2012 and the team has enjoyed tremendous popularity and attendance ever since. The popularity of the local team shows no signs of slowing down and they remain one of the favorite entertainment options for locals.
First Fridays - First Friday is one of the best recurring events in Santa Cruz, featuring art and performances at locations throughout town. Many include live music, food, drinks, and in most cases, a healthy gathering of locals and visitors to soak up the buzz.
The event is free to attend and helps to promote local artists while giving the community an opportunity to take a glimpse of or participate in the local flavor.
Craft Brewery Explosion - In a city that was more known for its dive bars than its local IPA’s just a few years ago, there are now several local spots to enjoy a good craft beer in Santa Cruz.
The scene has emerged with such enthusiasm that another local business, The Brew Cruz, has grown out of its popularity. The Brew Cruz chauffeurs patrons around town to visit the local breweries, offering a chance to sample several of the most popular destinations.
There’s Always Something To Do Outside - With great weather comes the chance to get out and enjoy it and locals definitely take advantage of that in Santa Cruz. You can find hiking, biking, surfing, swimming, beach volleyball, golfing, rock climbing, and just about any other outdoor activity happening somewhere in Santa Cruz.