Downtown Holidays Events

The Best part of the Holidays are in Downtown Santa Cruz

The Holidays are a magical time of year, and nowhere is that magic more apparent than in Downtown Santa Cruz. Throughout the season there are so many reasons to celebrate and enjoy the festivities and get all of your holiday shopping taken care of, in a relaxing and stress free environment.
Make sure to mark your calendar for all of our fun seasonal events from our Free Friday Night Outdoor Movies to the popular Holiday Parade to our one of a kind “Downtown Santa Cruise” Pub crawl scavenger hunt and so much more.

Black Friday Weekend Sidewalk Sale – Nov 23-25

Start stuffing your stockings and checking off your list as the Black Friday deals extend onto the sidewalks and into the Weekend.

Stroll along Pacific Avenue and enjoy the many great restaurants, sidewalk cafe’s and the unique entertainment of holiday buskers as you get a head start on your holiday shopping.

Don’t forget the many great shops on the side-streets and all around Downtown.

Visit the Downtown Information Kiosk at Pacific and Soquel to pick up a Downtown Map and Directory.



Free Outdoor Movie at the Library – Ratatouille – Nov 23

The feast continues on Thanksgiving weekend with our favorite culinary tale.

Presented in partnership with the Downtown Branch Library, Roatatouille is the first feature in a series of Friday Evening Outdoor Movies this season.

Bring a lawn chair and some blankets, and bundle up for this fun and delicious adventure.

Bring a donation for Second Harvest Food Bank and bring the whole family. Chairs can be set up beginning at 5:30pm .Movie time is at 6:00pm. Popcorn and cocoa will be available for purchase.



Small Business Saturday – Nov 24

The biggest small event of the year takes happens again this year on the Saturday after Black Friday.

Small Businesses are the spark that makes Downtown Santa Cruz Vibrant and unique, and they support the community in so many ways. Saturday, November 24th is the perfect opportunity to show your support for the community of small, family owned and independent stores, restaurants here in the heart of Santa Cruz.




Free Outdoor Movie at the Library- A Christmas Story – Nov 30

Come relive the magic and anxiety of Christmas with Ralphie and his family on the 35th anniversary of this holiday classic.

Bring a lawn chair and some blankets, and bundle up. Lot opens at 5:30pm – Movie time at 6:00pm.

This Event will Highlight the CASA of Santa Cruz.





Downtown Holiday Parade – December 1st

Join the whole town for the official kick of of the Holiday Season in Downtown Santa Cruz. This favorite holiday tradition brings thousands out every year to witness marching bands, Dance groups, car clubs, boy scouts, derby girls and so so much more.

The Parade kicks of from Pacific and Laurel at 10:00 am and culminates with the star of the show as Santa Arrives on the Antique Fire Truck.

Register for the parade here.

Sponsored by



The Holiday . Parade will be broadcast on Facebook Live.




Visits with Santa at Marini’s Candies

No matter how old you are, if you were a kid In Santa Cruz, you probably visited the Jolly fellow himself at Marini’s Candies on Pacific Avenue.

Well, it turns out, enough of us must have been nice this year, because he’s coming back. Stop in for a relaxed, not rushed visit and photo with your own camera. Ho, ho, ho!.

Santa will be waiting for you every Saturday and Sunday in December from 1pm-5pm.






Santa’s Reindeer Round-up


Dec 1 – Dec 23
Santa Needs your help!!!

It seems the whole team of reindeer is hidden in stores throughout Downtown Santa Cruz.

Help him find them before his big night! Pick up a map at the DOwntown Information Kiosk at 1130 Pacific Avenue, have fun with this scavenger hunt and you could win Downtown Dollars and other great downtown prizes






Free Outdoor Movie at the Library – December 7th –  The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

Jim Carry stars as our favorite curmudgeon for the third movie in our Friday Night Outdoor Movie Series.

Coinciding with the Library’s sesquicentennial, there will be activities throughout the day and into the evening inside and outside the Downtown Branch Library.

Bring a lawn chair and some blankets, and bundle up. Lot opens at 5:30pm – Movie time at 6:00pm.




Downtown Santa Cruise – December 8th

Leave the little elves with the sitter for this 21 and over holiday romp.

Fast becoming a holiday Tradition the “Downtown Santa Cruise” Text-based scavenger hunt and cocktail crawl will guide you through downtown solving riddles in relishing in the holiday spirit.

Somewhere between naughty and nice, this spirited event promises to have you and your team plotting, scrathing your heads and laughing all the way.









Free Family Movie at the Del Mar with Second Harvest Food Bank

Polar Express – 10 am at the Del Mar Theatre

The Free Family Movie at the Del Mar is a special tradition and a wonderful way to support Second Harvest Food Bank as their holiday food drives help so many people in our community have healthy food, every day of the year.

Bring a food or cash donation and enjoy a great holiday classic on the Big Screen.

This is a fun, Saturday morning event for the whole family.


Parking for Hope

From December 18-Dec 24 revenue from Downtown Parking meters supports the great work of HOPE Services. Last year the Downtown meters raised over $30,000 for the HOPE services litter abatement crew.









Holidays Downtown Sponsored in part by

Kaiser Permanente

City of Santa Cruz Economic Development Department

Santa Cruz County Bank

Pacific Cookie Company
Sockshop and Shoe Company
Artisans & Agency
Palace Art and Office Supply
Marini’s Candies
Landmark Theaters

KPIG Radio
Santa Cruz Waves
Maverick Mailing
99 Bottles


Sign up for Weekly Updates