Since my California page is getting kind of big, I decided to do a feature page on my favorite city in CA, Santa Cruz. San Diego has a new page as well.
Santa Cruz is not a far drive from San Francisco, though the weather is much more normal. You will most likely NOT need a jacket in summertime here.
My favorite thing about Santa Cruz is the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. It is perhaps the nicest and most well kept seaside amusement park in the country. It has a friendly family atmosphere, while maintaining enough rides to appease the thrillseeking hipster.
The park has the wonderful Giant Dipper wooden coaster, and the most classic carousel with a working ring machine. On this carousel, after you pull the rings from the dispenser, you try to throw them in the mouth of a clowns head on the wall. If you make it, his eyes light up.
While on the boardwalk, seek out Fried Artichoke Hearts, my favorite junk food anywhere. Also look for banana slugs, a banana flavored candy popularized by a local college. Marinis Candies with two boardwalk locations also has chocolate covered bacon. Mmm.
Fried Artichoke Hearts at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Also, DO NOT MISS the cave train. It is a trippy train ride through a cave filled with goofy cavemen figures. It was recently refurbished so I don’t know if it is quite as wonderful as it was, though friends say it still is great. Don’t mistake it for a kiddie ride. Try to ride in an altered state.
As for the rest of the town, it is an old hippie mecca that is now popular with the dot com set so it can be pricey. There are tons of bike shops, surf shops and vegetarian restaurants.
Upscale Chocolate maker Richard Donnely makes his chocolates here. Donnelly Fine Chocolates, 1509 Mission St. , Santa Cruz, Ca 95060
There is a local ALT paper called Good Times. Check their site for Music listings or the club sites below:
Ciderup Productions puts on Punk Shows in the Santa Cruz Area
Coasters Lounge-115 Cliff st. Santa Cruz, CA, 95060 at a bowling alley-punk shows and more
Catalyst-1011 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz 95060 (831) 423-1338-shows ranging from Bad Religion to Jets to Brazil to Greg Kihn.
Callahan’s-507 Water St-831-427-3119-Locals play here.
For an EXCELLENT list of upcoming local shows and bands, check out SCUM!!!! No, seriously, check it out- Its Santa Cruz Underground Music.
The Crepe Place-restaurant with some live music: 1134 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Don Quixote’s ?-Live music venue in Felton, California: 6275 CA-9, Felton, CA 95018: (831) 335-2800 “Come for dinner AND a show”. Mostly awful acts with occasional gems.
Streetlight, 939 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060-831-421-9200
Logos Books & Records-1117 Pacific Ave-831-427-5100-for vinyl finds.
The best place for a first date is the Mystery Spot. It is a classic roadside attraction gravity trick that will mess with your mind.. Its a mystery. 465 Mystery Spot Road -Santa Cruz-follow signs on Market Street.
Saturn Cafe-145 Laurel St. ,Santa Cruz, 831-429-8505-late night eats.
Taqueria Vallarta-608 Soquel Ave, 831-457-8226-great burritos.
Santa Cruz Diner, 909 Ocean St-831-426-7151
Goodwill Store-204 Union St ,Santa Cruz, 831-423-1078
Front Street Thrift Store-428 Front St, 831-457-0229