DOWNTOWN SANTA CRUZ
Downtown Santa Cruz is a haven for culture and the arts. With numerous galleries, museums, theaters and music venues, there's plenty to do during your stay. Take a stroll or ride the guest bicycles free of charge down Pacific Avenue where you can catch all the action. Enjoy the local coffee houses, fresh cuisine, local wines, book stores, live music, and great theaters including movies and plays. There's so many places we'd like to recommend, here are a handful located within blocks of the inn.
The Santa Cruz County Actors' Theatre
1001 Center St # 12, Santa Cruz, CA • (831)425.7529
The Santa Cruz County Actors' Theatre presents a variety of contemporary plays, voices and views of relevance and of interest. Get your tickets now and enjoy award-winning local theatre in downtown Santa Cruz!
Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History
705 Front Street, Santa Cruz, CA • (831)429.1964
This quaint little museum in downtown Santa Cruz focuses on contemporary and historical visual culture with a series of rotating exhibitions. The permanent collection displays historical artifacts that illustrate the unique history of Santa Cruz. The museum also offers docent-led tours of the historic Octagon building, the Evergreen Historic Cemetery and the Davenport Jail Museum.
Santa Cruz City Museum of Natural History
1305 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz CA • (831)420.6115
Tour the many habitats of Santa Cruz simply with a stroll through the exhibit area; visit woodlands, chaparrel, grasslands, and a variety of marine environments. Pound acorns the Ohlone way, excavate sand dollars, tickle a sea star, or get up close and personal with a living bee hive. Great for all ages, although the children particularly enjoy climbing on the cement whale which is located on the front lawn.
Cultural Council of Santa Cruz
2400 Chanticleer Ave # G, Santa Cruz, CA • (831) 475-9600
The Cultural Council is proud to support and advance the arts and culture of Santa Cruz County through
three major programs: Arts Learning, Grants to Artists and Arts Organizations, and the Open Studios Art Tour. We also partner with many other agencies, foundations, and groups on initiatives that keep
local arts strong and vital.
Santa Cruz Film Festival
312 Seabright Ave, Santa Cruz, CA • (831) 459-7676
The Santa Cruz Film Festival is a growing international festival that fosters cross cultural exchange by screening independent films and producing multi-disciplined art events throughout the year. Since the inaugural year (honored by The Downtown Business Assoc. as the Cultural Event of the Year) our programming has championed voices and stories that are often left out of mainstream cinema. We have presented films from 5 continents.The Festival will present over 100 independent films this year.
Santa Cruz Institute Of Contemporary Arts
1040 River Street, Santa Cruz, CA
In February of 2004 a group of Artists, Patrons and Business partners united to launch the Santa Cruz Institute of Contemporary Art . The purpose of founding an ICA in Santa Cruz , CA is to provide both, creative and educational opportunities in the area of Contemporary Arts for this community, rich with creative resources and intellectual diversity. By forming an ICA in Santa Cruz, CA the SCICA has joined a distinctive group of ICAs in communities around the world who have devoted resources to the pursuit of encouraging the relationship of Contemporary arts in the areas of Film, Dance, Theater, Visual and Performing Arts to the community in which they reside.
For those seeking adventure, fun and thrills, Santa Cruz has an abundance of activities. The Beach Boardwalk, Wharf and Harbor offer numerous family activites. Surfing, kayaking and paddle boarding are available at most beaches. The Wharf offers water front dinning and sea lion viewing. The harbor offers charter boats for wine tasting, whale watching, or a sunset cruise. Rock climbing and Sailing are available at the harbor in the beautiful Seabright area. See California's towering redwood forests from two historic railroads or enjoy the nightlife at a local music venue.
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
400 Beach St., Santa Cruz, CA • (831)423.5590
California's oldest amusement park is about as original--and memorable--as boardwalks come. The only major seaside amusement park on the Pacific Coast, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk blends old-time nostalgia with modern thrills. You can buy a bag of salt-water taffy, get your fortune told in the old-style arcade, take a road rage-releasing ride on the bumper cars, or test your mettle on the giant wood-framed roller coaster, The Giant Dipper, whose unforgettable dips rival any extreme adventure in new theme parks. The Santa Cruz Boardwalk features a carousel and little cars and airplanes for the kiddies as well. Bring a swimsuit and a towel, as you'll be steps from a sandy, swimmable Santa Cruz beach. The Boardwalk is open daily Memorial Day through Labor Day, weekends fall through spring.
Roaring Camp Railroad
Felton, California • (831) 335-4484
The Roaring Camp steam train through the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains is a classic California experience! This historic train ride through a preserved old growth forest of coastal redwoods harkens back to the steam locomotive days of the 1880s, when these Santa Cruz forests were part of an active logging region, and the steam railroad cars were used to haul trees to the mills. The Roaring Camp steam train ride passes through towering redwood groves and up a winding narrow-gauge grade to the summit of Bear Mountain.
790 Mariner Park Way, Dock FF, Santa Cruz, CA • (831)423.1213
Chardonnay II is a 70 foot luxury sailing yacht designed for speed on the open ocean with all of the comforts necessary to accomodate its passengers. The combination of elegance and speed give Chardonnay II a unique quality that will make your cruise an unforgettable experience. So whether you're joining one of our themed sails or chartering the boat for your own special event, your time aboard Chardonnay II will be a memorable occasion.
Santa Cruz Whale Watching
32 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 • (831) 427-0230
The Stagnaro family has been Serving the Santa Cruz area for over a century when Italian Patriarch Cottardo Stagnaro settled in Santa Cruz in 1879. This historical landmark business is still providing Ocean Adventures to thousands of people each year. There is something for everyone; Calm Water Sanctuary Scenic Cruises, Whale, Dolphin & Sea Life Excursions, Sunset Cruises and Private Group outings for any occasion. All trips are fully narrated and provide fascinating and educational insight by your knowledgeable crew.
The Mystery Spot
465 Mystery Spot Rd., off Branciforte Dr., Santa Cruz, CA • (831)423.8897
The Mystery Spot might be the manifest source of Santa Cruz's weirdness. Practically unchanged since its opening in 1939, the promotional literature still says things like, "It's Unusual, It's Amazing, It's Wholesome, Interesting Entertainment." This campy spot is open every single day of the year and draws visitors from all over the world. A couple years ago, a professor from Berkeley took it upon himself to debunk the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot, claiming it all to be nothing more than clever optical illusion. Whatever. According to Randall, a tour guide at the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz and the kind of guy who likes wagon wheels lying around in the front yard, the place "is testimony to the power of belief."
Surf City Billiards
931 Pacific Avenue Santa Cruz, CA 95060 • (831)-423-POOL
Besides pool, Surf City also features shuffleboards, professional dart boards, happy hour with a bar and restaurant, and a televised trivia game that pits your knowledge against that of players across North America. The game room is encircled by counters and tall stools. A pentagon-shaped bank of televisions, reminiscent of center court at an NBA game, is suspended over a sea of 15 immaculate blue-felted pool tables. Whether you're inclined to kick back in the circle of leather sofas, enjoy a quick bite to start your night, or get into the game, Surf City Billiards and Cafe is a sure shot.
THE COAST AND PARKS
Santa Cruz is surrounded by beautiful scenery and seascapes, most parks are within cycling and walking distances and all have hiking trails or bike trails. A few blocks from the Inn is West Cliff Drive which is your gateway to Natural Bridges State Park where the Monarch butterflies come to mate between October and February, Wilder Ranch and Seymour Long Marine Discovery Lab. East Cliff will take you to Cowell's where surfing lessons are available. Venturing out you will find serenity of the parks.
West Cliff Drive
West Cliff Drive, located about 10 blocks from the Inn, follows the coast line of west side Santa Cruz with a bike path that overlooks Monterey Bay. You'll enjoy spectacular ocean views on bike or foot, Numerous paths extend down to the beach where you can find a cozy private nook surrounded by the cliffs. You can join the local surf hot spot at Steamer's Lane. There you can observe otters, seals and dolphins.
Natural Bridges State Park
West Cliff Drive • 831-423-4609
This beach, with its famous natural bridge, is an excellent vantage point for viewing shore birds, migrating whales, and seals and otters playing offshore. Further along the beach, tidepools offer a glimpse of life beneath the sea. Low tides reveal sea stars, crabs, sea anemones, and other colorful ocean life. The park also includes a large area of coastal scrub meadows, with bright native wildflowers in the spring. Moore Creek flows down to the ocean through these meadows, forming a wetlands in the sand.
Lighthouse State Beach
West Cliff Drive • (831)429-2850
Also known as Point Santa Cruz, this area forms the northern boundary of Monterey Bay. It is one of the last open headlands in any California urban area. Surfers, tourists, birds - including the rare Black Swift and wintering Monarch butterflies are drawn to this area. Sea lions populate the offshore rocks.
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is prized by people from Santa Cruz. A campground like this is too magnificent to miss. Lighthouse Field State Beach is a splendid spot to go if you're at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park; a golf course close by is Pasatiempo Golf Club.
333 Golf Club Drive • (831) 420-5270
Pogonip features approximately 8 miles of hiking trails. In the northernmost portion of Pogonip, a multi-use trail (approximately one mile in length) is open hikers, bicyclists and equestrians. This multi-use trail provides a connection between Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Pogonip, and the upper UCSC campus. Bicycles and horses are prohibited on all other trails. Bicyclists must ride responsibly and at a safe speed.
Aptos Creek Road, Soquel Drive, Aptos, CA • (831)763-7062
The park offers rugged semi-wilderness, rising from sea level to steep coastal mountains of more than 2,600 feet. Once the site of logging operations until the 1920s, visitors can still find evidence of logging operations, mill sites and trestles in the park. With over 30 miles of trails, hiking, jogging and biking are some of the activities to be enjoyed here. Picnic tables and barbecue pits are available. A trail camp is located six miles from the nearest parking lot.
Big Basin Redwoods State Park is California's oldest State Park, established in 1902. Home to the largest continuous stand of ancient coast redwoods south of San Francisco, the park consists of over 18,000 acres of old growth and recovering redwood forest, with mixed conifer, oaks, chaparral, and riparian habitats. The park features family and group camping, tent cabins, backpacking camps, 80 miles of hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails. The park has a surprising number of waterfalls and a wide variety of environments from lush canyon bottoms to sparse chaparral-covered slopes.
Monterey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
Monterey was once a leading fishing and whaling port, but its economic mainstay is now tourism. The offshore Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (established 1992) protects an abyss deeper than the Grand Canyon and its myriad denizens, which include more than 30 species of mammals, more than 300 species of fish, and nearly 100 species of birds; many tourists visit the sanctuary to watch the whales.
Music lovers are spoiled for choice, with many venues and bars providing a wide variety of music and live bands. The nightlife in Santa Cruz is friendly with The Beach Boardwalk having free summer concerts on the beach. Check out some of the local acts at these fine venues.
The Catalyst 1011 Pacific Ave
Santa Cruz, CA • (831) 423-1336
Monterey Bay's premier nightclub, featuring acts from around the world. Artists such as Neil Young, Papa Roach, Emmylou Harris, Ice T, Nirvana, Alanis Morissette, No Doubt, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Pearl Jam have graced the Catalyst stage in years past. The main dance hall is 5000 square feet, not including balconies, and can hold 800 people. The bar downstairs is 100 feet long, starting in the front room and extending into the concert area. Upstairs is the game room with another bar, 6 pool tables a jukebox and arcade games, as well as a lounge.
320 Cedar St # 2 Santa Cruz, CA • (831) 427-2227
Kuumbwa” (pronounced koo-um-ba, silent “w”), a Swahili word meaning “act of spontaneous creation.” Kuumbwa Jazz is an internationally recognized nonprofit jazz venue. We are one of the longest weekly nonprofit jazz presenters on the West Coast, established in 1975. When we aren’t presenting our own weekly jazz series, the venue is available for outside promoters to bring in acts such as bluegrass, folk, Celtic and world music. The venue is also available for special occasions such as receptions, private parties, and community events. Café Kuumbwa is open during all Kuumbwa presented shows and serves healthy and organic (if available) fare, meat & vegetarian chili, salad and dessert. Our bar offers microbrewed beer (bottled & draft) wine, and non-alcoholic beverages. Kuumbwa Jazz is all ages venue, is 100% smoke-free and is wheelchair accessible.
1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz CA • (831)479-1854
Moe's Alley features the best in live entertainment 6 nights a week. From Blues to Salsa, Rhumba to Reggae, we have something for everyone to enjoy. Our spacious music hall, friendly staff, full bar, outdoor patio, and best of all great live music, create an unforgetable experience.
1205 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, CA • (831) 429-1812
The Rio Theatre can accommodate a wide variety of events, including concerts, lectures, video presentations, movies and theatre. Our multi-purpose venue has 680 seats and a thrust stage 24 feet wide by 16 feet deep. Such acts as Paula Poundstone, Tommy Emmanuel, Duncan Sheik and Arlo Guthrie are all scheduled on the upcoming roster.
120 Union St, Santa Cruz, CA • (831) 459-9876