Below is our list of best places to visit & things to do in Santa Cruz, California
Arboretum and Botanic Garden
Is looking at lush, green landscapes one of your favorite pastimes?
If so, visit the University of California’s Arboretum and Botanic Garden!
135-acre Arboretum and Botanic Garden is an ideal location for a wide variety of Mediterranean plants to grow.
An important detail is that Henry Cowell—the landowner who owned Redwoods State Park before it became a state park—also had a significant stake in UC Berkeley’s current location.
At any given time, visitors may stroll around this famous garden. Visitors can participate in a variety of activities at no cost.
Norrie’s Gift and Garden Shop is a must-do activity for individuals who plan to visit The Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Santa Cruz to shop.
The exotic plants in Santa Cruz are worth a visit in this one-of-a-kind garden!
Address: 1156 High St, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, United States
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
It’s not hard to see why Big Basin Redwoods State Park is so famous.
Established in 1902, California’s biggest and oldest state park, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, is in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
This park’s state park contains redwoods that are more than 2,000 years old.
Overcrowding at Big Basin Redwoods is not unusual, especially on the weekends.
Hikers and riders will appreciate Big Basin Redwoods State Park’s trails, which are lined with ancient redwoods.
Some dedicated hikers could choose the Skyline to the Sea Hiker’s Trail as an option for a longer trek or a place to stay.
The Berry Creek Loop, a 10-mile hike at an elevation of 1,800 feet, will dazzle you with its waterfalls.
Located in the heart of Santa Cruz’s natural splendor, this state park cannot be missed by nature lovers.
Address: 21600 Big Basin Way, Boulder Creek, CA 95006, United States
Birichino Tasting Room
The Birichino Tasting Room is a must-see for every wine lover.
Alex Krause and John Locke, both of Santa Cruz, California, created the Birichino in 2008.
The two incredibly talented winemakers who run this tasting room stand out among Santa Cruz’s many top-notch wine bars.
They use their combined 40 years of winemaking knowledge to produce wines with the perfect balance of aroma, poise, and pucker.
Santa Cruz’s Birichino winery is located in a historic downtown building, making it easy for them to host wine tastings and other events.
The old-world feel of the tasting area enriches the experience of wine tasting.
They only use grapes from vineyards that have been in the same family for generations and make their wine to the highest possible standards.
Instead of filtering and refining the wine after fermentation, they use native fermentations in neutral or stainless barrels with the bare minimum of racks and fins.
People who appreciate wine should visit the Birichino Tasting Room to sample some of the finest bottles on offer.
Address: 204 Church St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, United States
Delaveaga Golf Course
What are you looking for in a Santa Cruz golf course?
The Deleveaga Golf Course is the perfect place to play a round of golf in a picturesque setting.
The Santa Cruz Mountains’ foothills, just above town, are home to one of the world’s most famous golf courses, Pebble Beach Golf Links.
However, this 18-hole municipal course is really privately owned by the Loustalot family, who have been running it since 1970.
Since then, the Loustalots have turned it into a destination for golfers and other sports fans.
Golfers may take in natural beauty and inventive course design while savoring top-notch service.
It’s just a few miles away from a gorgeous natural beauty area with stunning views of the ocean and a top-rated golf course, an award-winning restaurant, and two pubs.
This place is a golfer’s dream, surrounded by miles of gorgeous scenery.
Address: 401 Upper Park Rd, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, United States
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is a must-see for those who prefer hiking and camping.
They’re like living skyscrapers: the 280-foot-tall redwoods, some of which date back more than a millennium.
With its rich history and breathtaking landscape, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is a popular destination for visitors worldwide.
The campground is surrounded by a canopy of oak and pine trees. These trees also inspired early efforts to protect redwood forests.
Hiking, horseback riding, picnics, swimming, camping, and fishing are just a few activities available on this 4,650 acres of wooded and open landscape.
Beginners and experts alike may enjoy the park’s 30 kilometers of hiking routes.
The park’s Observation Deck, the highest point from which anybody can see Monterey, may be reached via a half-mile stroll.
You’ll be able to explore some of the area’s most stunning routes in only a few hours.
The flora of Santa Cruz can’t be fully appreciated without a visit to this park!
Address: 101 N Big Trees Park Rd, Felton, CA 95018, United States
The La Posta restaurant in Santa Cruz has some of the greatest Italian food in the city!
Traditional Italian and Falir cuisine meals may be found at this charming restaurant.
La Posta, a small Italian restaurant in Santa Cruz, is a great place to taste authentic Italian cuisine.
This restaurant’s interior design is modest, with dark wood and lighting reminiscent of an office in the 1930s.
Customers in La Posta can dine indoors, on the patio, or take out from the restaurant.
The restaurant is always packed, a testament to the quality of the meal and the convenience of its location.
Its cuisine focuses on authentic Italian fares, such as freshly baked bread, homemade pasta, tin-layered pizzas, and salami & cheeses.
They use local farmers, fishermen, and foragers to source organic ingredients for their Italian cuisine.
It’s nice to have live music playing as you eat at the restaurant.
La Posta’s delectable cuisine is a must-see in Santa Cruz!
Address: 538 Seabright Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062, United States
Lago di Como
Located on East Cliff Drive in the heart of Santa Cruz, the Lago di Como Restaurant serves Italian cuisine.
The restaurant’s owners are Giovanni and Mary Ellen Salciccia-Spanu.
The atmosphere is pleasant and inviting at this Italian eatery.
Lago di Como Restaurant has an airy feel thanks to its dark gray and creamy white tile floors and strategically placed mirrors.
Traditional Northern Italian cuisine is on the menu at this charming eatery.
Traditional Northern Italian cuisine is served in this restaurant, which is typical of the region.
Fresh fish with a lemon glaze and veal scaloppini with mushroom sauce are just a few of the restaurant’s exquisite specialties, including hand-made pasta and wood-fired pizzas.
Their wines and Proseccos may be paired with any of their meals.
There’s a great Italian restaurant in Santa Cruz!
Address: 21490 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, California 95062, United States
Monterey Bay Sanctuary Exploration Center
The Monterey Bay Sanctuary Exploration Center is the ideal tourist attraction for nature enthusiasts because of its handy position between the coast and Santa Cruz Wharf.
These cutting-edge exhibits and interactive displays highlight the underwater ecosystem of the refuge within a short walk from the beach and Santa Cruz Wharf.
The sanctuary’s exceptional marine habitat and its significance in protecting one of the country’s undersea treasures may be explored by visitors.
There is no better place to learn about the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary than this instructional site.
The exhibits at the center feature interactive and multimedia displays to teach visitors about marine conservation and their responsibilities in conserving the sanctuary’s spectacular marine environment.
Discovery Center visitors may explore the interactive multimedia displays that include touch screens, videos, and kiosks that allow visitors to interact with the content in various ways.
This all-in-one discovery hub makes learning about Santa Cruz’s coastal seas and marine creatures simple.
Address: 35 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, California 95060, United States
Natural Bridges State Beach
Santa Cruz has a lot to offer if you ask me.
Natural Bridges State Beach is an excellent option for extra fun in the sun.
Because of the natural arch in the large rocks surrounding the coast, the beach is known as “Natural Bridges.”
Shorebirds, migratory whales, and playful seals and otters may all be observed from this park and beach.
Migrating whales can be seen from April to November in this area.
On this 65-acre beach, visitors may enjoy kitesurfing, windsurfing, swimming, hiking, sightseeing, sunbathing, and picnicking.
Make the most of the outdoor beach throughout the week or weekend.
Near the beach, guests may use the restrooms and picnic tables shaded by pine and eucalyptus trees.
It is, without question, the best beach in Santa Cruz for spending time outside.
Address: 2531 W Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, United States
Santa Cruz’s unmatched nightlife ensures that there is never a dull moment.
You’ll find this nautically-themed amusement complex on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
It’s an indoor Mini Golf course featuring 18 holes, air hockey, ping pong, pool tables, video games, and other beverages for guests to enjoy in a family-friendly environment.
The major draw of Neptune’s Kingdom is its extraordinary golf course, which has a plethora of treasure chests and pirate ships.
In between putts, if you ever play miniature golf at Neptune’s Kingdom in Beach Flats at night, look at the gorgeous glittering lights that transform the course into an enchanted fantasy place.
This indoor miniature golf course is always open, no matter what the weather is like outside.
Visit the Barbary Coast restaurant for burgers, deli sandwiches, and cappuccinos while in Neptune’s Kingdom.
Anyone may have a good time in the Neptune Kingdom, a sight to behold for amusement.
Address: 400 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, United States
If you’re looking for an upmarket American restaurant in Santa Cruz, California, Oswald is the place to go.
Traditional regional food is served at the Oswald Restaurant in downtown Santa Cruz. Oswald is a contemporary American restaurant and bar located on the Central Coast of California.
Healthy, environmentally friendly alternatives abound at Oswald, as do tasty California comfort food specialties and inventive handcrafted beverages.
Steaks such as sirloin and lamb chops, roast duck breast and salmon, shrimp, lobster, crab, and scallops are just a few of the exquisite dishes in Owsald.
A different local artist is featured in a solo exhibition at Oswald about once a month. Each artist receives a reception at the restaurant.
If you’re planning to dine here on the weekend, you’ll want to make a reservation.
At Oswald, every meal is a one-of-a-kind experience!
Address: 121 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, United States
Roaring Camp Railroads
If you’re looking for a scenic way to go to Santa Cruz, consider taking a ride on this train.
A company called Roaring Camp Railroads Inc. owns and operates the Camp Railroads.
Traveling by rail is a popular choice for both young and old alike.
Passengers may see the majestic redwoods up close and from afar on historic steam locomotives still in operation more than a century after they were first built.
From Felton in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Roaring Camp Railroads operates two lines that connect the Roaring Camp to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and the Roaring Camp to Bear Mountain.
Passengers on the Roaring Camp Railroad travel through Santa Cruz’s natural beauty.
If you have an hour to spare, you may ride this vintage train into the Santa Cruz Mountains to get an entirely new perspective on the area.
Taking the train to Santa Cruz is a great way to see the city!
Address: 5401 Graham Hill Rd, Felton, CA 95018, United States
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
If you’re visiting Sanat Cruz, check out this amusement park!
This Santa Cruz landmark has been an amusement park for over a century.
This Santa Cruz beach boardwalk has been a pulsating hub of its coastal town for the search and discovery of pleasure.
Thrilling rides and family-friendly activities are just some of the highlights of this amusement park, which also features delicious culinary options, an intriguing past, and a prime position on the beach.
Known as the “Coney Island of the West,” this amusement park was founded in 1907.
The Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster and the Carousel are two of the park’s most iconic rides.
You may also play laser tag, mini-golf, arcade games, a climbing tower, and bowling.
Food vendors selling everything from corn dogs to ice cream can keep you fed if you become peckish.
Visit this wonderful boardwalk by the seashore, where you may have a great time!
Address: 400 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, United States
Santa Cruz Community Farmers’ Market
Check out what’s happening in the Downtown Farmers Market neighborhood!
It is Santa Cruz’s largest and oldest market and can be found just off Pacific Avenue in the city’s heart.
This region has long been home to some of the nation’s most innovative organic and ecological farms, and this trend has only continued to grow.
It’s open year-round on Wednesdays and is a pleasant way to pass a few hours.
You can dine here no matter what the weather is like!
Fresh fruit, flowers, and pastured meats are available at this market.
This is a great spot to get a taste of the Santa Cruz region’s local food and baked products.
Santa Cruz’s Wednesday afternoons just got better, thanks to this place.
Throughout the year, you can stop by for a snack or meal.
Address: 21 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, United States
Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History
Santa Cruz has a rich creative and historical legacy, which you may explore here!
More than just art and sculpture, there is no place to spare in this museum.
People in Santa Cruz County are always coming up with new ideas and presenting unique events and exhibitions, which is why this museum is placed in the area.
Several of its exhibits, whether temporary or long-term, are still on display.
Throughout the year, the museum hosts various musical and art events for its patrons to enjoy.
Two bars are open to the public at Abbott Square’s “front porch,” which is described as a shared space for tourists.
Everyone, even those who live close by and visit regularly, will find something to keep them entertained, regardless of their hobbies.
To understand more about Santa Cruz, you must visit this museum!
Address: 705 Front St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, United States
Santa Cruz Wharf
The Santa Cruz Wharf is a great spot to get some fresh air and spend time with friends and family.
In 1914, the Santa Cruz Wharf was constructed as a viewing and fishing pier for passing tourists.
Tourists flock to this well-known waterfront because of the variety of companies and activities, including fresh seafood.
Birds and sea lions are other popular attractions at the Santa Cruz Wharf.
Visitors may see various animals on the dock as it passes by. They may be heard from the pier at any time, swimming and barking.
Birds like loons, grebes, and jaegers may frequently be found on the Santa Cruz Wharf, where they are among the most common visitors.
An observation platform gives visitors an excellent glimpse of the sea lions resting on the pier building.
At the Santa Cruz Harbor, you may catch a glimpse of various animals.
Address: 21 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, United States
Seymour Marine Discovery Center
Bring your family and friends to the Seymour Marine Discovery Center for a fun-filled day of underwater exploration.
It has large tanks where visitors may see some of the most majestic creatures found in the ocean’s depths.
Located in the University of California’s Long Marine Laboratory, the Discovery Center is an excellent resource for children interested in learning about the ocean.
There are nearly 20,000 square feet of exhibit space in this museum.
Among its amenities are a giant shark pool and an invertebrate pool where you may interact with sea creatures like anemones, starfish, and hermit crabs.
If you’ve never been to the ocean, you’ll walk away with a renewed respect for everything it offers.
For example, a shark may be petted, and anybody can join in the show’s participatory approach.
Seeing the aquatic life in Santa Cruz is a must-do!
Address: 100 McAllister Way, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, United States
The Penny Ice Creamery
Santa Cruz has some great ice cream options if you’re in the mood.
This Santa Cruz restaurant is a must-visit!
One of the best organic ice creams in Santa Cruz can be found at this ice cream shop, which has two locations.
Penny Ice Creamery is the only ice cream restaurant that still manufactures its ice cream from scratch at home.
Old-fashioned, artisanal, and handcrafted frozen desserts created without contemporary technology are well-known in this place.
They come in various flavors and can be topped with toasted marshmallow fluff.
If you’re a fan of ice cream and marshmallows, you might be persuaded to visit Santa Cruz, California, where they make their organic marshmallow fluff.
Even on sweltering days, the line at this ice cream business is well worth the wait!
Address: 913 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, United States
The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum
This museum will satisfy your surfing curiosity if you’re a sports fan.
The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum may be found with a view of Santa Cruz’s pounding surf from the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse.
To everyone’s delight, this museum is available to the public and free to visit.
With its location next to Steamer Lane, a well-known surfing hotspot in Santa Cruz, this modest museum has shown a variety of exhibits, surfboards, and other fascinating objects over the past 100 years.
In Santa Cruz, surfers have flocked for decades. This museum has numerous surfboards and photos to tell the history of the many Santa Cruz surfers.
The museum’s collection consists mainly of surfing-related books and artifacts.
The finest site to learn about the history of surfing in Santa Cruz is the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum!
Address: 701 W Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, United States
Wilder Ranch State Park
For nature lovers, go no further than this fantastic park!
This state park is located in the middle of Santa Cruz and is a significant natural area surrounded by beautiful scenery.
There are several trails and breathtaking vistas to explore across the park’s more than 7,000 acres.
Sea life abounds in the park’s tidal pools, which include a large sea arch.
All visitors to this location may enjoy outdoor activities, including biking, hiking, and horseback riding.
Wilder Ranch State Park in Santa Cruz, California, is a famous spot for horseback riding.
If you’re looking for a challenge, be on the lookout for hiking trails over 35 kilometers long.
In the park, the trails meander through beautiful valleys and along the coast, allowing visitors to enjoy peaceful and breathtaking views.
The park’s pathways are open to everyone, including bicyclists, hikers, and horseback riders.
Santa Cruz has a new and improved location to take advantage of the great outdoors!
Address: 1401 Coast Rd, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, United States