You know right away that you are in a special place, yet if you ask people what it is that makes Downtown Santa Cruz so special, you’re likely to get a lot of different answers.
Some would tell you that the mix of over a hundred one-of-a-kind shops plus just enough of the big name stores you know and love, makes for one of the most exciting shopping experiences anywhere. Boutiques with great finds from your favorite labels, including a great selection of local clothing designers. specialty stores to match whatever specialty you are looking for. If you can’t find what you are looking for, you can always stop in and talk to our one of a kind Downtown Information Concierges at the famous Downtown Info Kiosk on Pacific Avenue, and they will surely send you in the right direction.
Of course with dozens of outstanding restaurants, each expressing its own interpretation of the bounty of agricultural, the fresh seafood from the Monterey Bay, the appellation of the Santa Cruz mountains, not to mention the creativity of the area’s many microbrews, one could easily argue that the food and beverage is the main draw. Everything from a quick bite on the run to an impressive fine dining experience. With this many choices, sometimes deciding what to eat can be overwhelming. Well, fret not, we’ve got you covered with our Downtown Lunch Wheel.
The world-class music scene brings extraordinary artists to the Kuumbwa Jazz Center on a more than weekly basis and the Annual Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music is celebrated among best contemporary orchestral music being played anywhere in the world. All year long music is playing with dozens of shows each week at the Catalyst Night Club, open mics, and small bands filling the restaurants not to mention the fantastic variety of performers to be found every day on the sidewalks of Pacific Avenue. Throughout the year festivals like the Santa Cruz Music Festival and the International, Live Looping Festival cover more amazing sub-genres than you ever knew existed.
Santa Cruz has always been a magnet for creativity and Downtown Santa Cruz is the epicenter. A truly remarkable wealth of local artists are showcased throughout Downtown as the streets come alive each month for the popular First Friday Santa Cruz Art Tour. The Museum of Art and History is at the very center of it all, with an ambitious calendar of events and exhibits that redefine the museum and the community every day.
There are 18 movie screens in Downtown Santa Cruz at 4 unique theaters. Whether you are a fan of the latest blockbuster action film or looking for the latest award-winning independent cinema, there is a show time coming up and a seat waiting for you. You’ll want to make sure to catch a live broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera and stay up late for your favorite cult classic at the midnight movie.
Yes, there is a lot to do in Downtown Santa Cruz, but make sure to spend some time not doing. Grab a hot tub and a message at a Downtown Spa, maybe a nice day at the salon, or meet a friend or two for a peaceful tea ceremony. Or linger at one of many sidewalk cafes, or at a bookstore for an hour or two. There’s always lots to do in Downtown Santa Cruz, but it’s also the perfect place to do nothing at all for a while.
The natural environment in and around Downtown Santa Cruz is really unmatched. The many sidewalk cafes along the tree-lined sidewalks create a comfortable pedestrian experience, giving Downtown Santa Cruz a walk score in the high 90’s. Adjacent to Downtown Santa Cruz, you will find the beautiful San Lorenzo River Walk, and a short walk will lead you to the gateway to the Monterey Bay and the world famous Beach Boardwalk. When you are ready for a serious nature reset, the California Redwoods are just a short drive away.