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Things to do in Santa Cruz

Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.
Pedestrian Plaza
“This the perfect place to spend an entire day! Take advantage of being on the beach and split your day between rides and play time in the sand.”
  • 322 locals recommend
American Restaurant
$$
“Chart House style food in the yacht harbor ON the beach! Great steaks and seafood and a fantastic salad bar.Watch the sailboats!”
  • 147 locals recommend
Beach
“Nice beach, tide pools, nature center. Also is a monarch butterfly migration destination Oct-Feb each year.”
  • 130 locals recommend
Park
“The starting point for many of our amazing trails, Wilder Ranch leads you to the UCSC trails and offers endless options for epic riding.”
  • 103 locals recommend
Route
“walk, bike, jog, push stroller, skateboard (or drive if you have to) from the wharf to natural bridges state park along the edge of the cliffs that drop down to the bay, watching (or joining!) surfers at the famous steamer lane along the way.”
  • 93 locals recommend
Museum
“Great little museum, be sure to stop at the attached Abbott Square market for lunch or a snack afterwards.”
  • 70 locals recommend
Bakery
$$
“OMG, the best place for pastries and pies and cakes. They also have delicious breakfast and lunch plates to enjoy in the cafe or patio or to go. ”
  • 78 locals recommend
Bakery
$$
“Cool area where you can sit outside, other shops and eateries, including a brewery and a wine tasting room in walking distance. It's a little courtyard. The pastries are amazing here. Fresh salads.”
  • 63 locals recommend
Bar
$
“Hip Vibe, open bar atmosphere and some outdoor seating. Cool lighting. Burgers, salads, upscale pub food. This is the West End, lots of things sprouting up in this general area.”
  • 64 locals recommend
Bar
$$
“Sit outside and enjoy the menu of delicious crepes offered. A full bar and live music often.”
  • 74 locals recommend
Pier
“Don't miss the sea lions at the end of the pier. And clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl at the next door kiosk.”
  • 66 locals recommend
Restaurant
$$
“Wonderful Italian restaurant in Seabright area of Santa Cruz, make sure to make a reservation. Very popular, especially on weekends.”
  • 54 locals recommend
Mediterranean Restaurant
$$
“Interesting mediteranean menu, lovely atmosphere, great service, fine dining. More romantic, not for kids.”
  • 58 locals recommend
Café
$$
“Great breakfast! Walking distance. Always hopping! Be prepared to wait for seating :)”
  • 47 locals recommend
Restaurant
$$
“Wonderful organic wood fired pizzas. This is a very popular restaurant and can be very busy.”
  • 47 locals recommend
Route
“a walk up and down Pacific Garden Mall in Santa Cruz will show you why many people believe in the slogan - Keep Santa Cruz Weird this is the VW Bug and Tiedye capital of the world. Many homeless but that is part of the local culture.”
  • 53 locals recommend

Top restaurants

Pedestrian Plaza
“This the perfect place to spend an entire day! Take advantage of being on the beach and split your day between rides and play time in the sand.”
  • 322 locals recommend
American Restaurant
“Chart House style food in the yacht harbor ON the beach! Great steaks and seafood and a fantastic salad bar.Watch the sailboats!”
  • 147 locals recommend
Bar
“Hip Vibe, open bar atmosphere and some outdoor seating. Cool lighting. Burgers, salads, upscale pub food. This is the West End, lots of things sprouting up in this general area.”
  • 64 locals recommend
Bar
“Sit outside and enjoy the menu of delicious crepes offered. A full bar and live music often.”
  • 74 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Wonderful Italian restaurant in Seabright area of Santa Cruz, make sure to make a reservation. Very popular, especially on weekends.”
  • 54 locals recommend
Mediterranean Restaurant
“Interesting mediteranean menu, lovely atmosphere, great service, fine dining. More romantic, not for kids.”
  • 58 locals recommend
Café
“Great breakfast! Walking distance. Always hopping! Be prepared to wait for seating :)”
  • 47 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Wonderful organic wood fired pizzas. This is a very popular restaurant and can be very busy.”
  • 47 locals recommend

Get to know Santa Cruz

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