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6 Things That Make Santa Cruz Special

6 Things That Make Santa Cruz Special

Santa Cruz is a special city with countless opportunities for fun, personal growth, and exploration.


3 min read

March 12, 2024

Amy Jeske is a local Santa Cruz realtor that knows the area like the back of her hand. Making the move to a new town can be an intimidating experience, Jeske makes things easy with a wealth of experience and ensures every relocation is as smooth as can be. Amy Jeske is a member of the Recommended Business Program.

Santa Cruz stands out among cities in California through its blend of laid-back beach vibes and sprawling green vistas. Supported by a strong sense of community and tons of things to do, Santa Cruz is one of the best areas in California to live. Santa Cruz captures the hearts of all who visit or set roots there. Let’s delve into the unique elements that make Santa Cruz a special place, from world-class surfing to its vast artistic community.

Proximity Between the Forest and the Beach

One of Santa Cruz's most enchanting features is its seamless blend of forested hills and sandy shores. The region offers a unique opportunity where one can be immersed in the dense, green canopies of the Santa Cruz Mountains, and within a mile, find themselves on the sun-kissed beaches that line the Pacific Ocean. This proximity invites a diverse range of activities, from hiking and mountain biking along the rugged trails to relaxing or surfing on the beach. The ease with which one can transition from a forest adventure to a beach escapade exemplifies the versatile beauty of Santa Cruz.

Many don't realize that Santa Cruz features a diverse environment with both beaches and beautiful forested areas.

World-Class Surfing

Santa Cruz and surfing go together like peanut butter and jelly. Next to Hawaii, you can argue that Santa Cruz is the second most influential area for surfing and surfing culture. The coastline offers some of the best waves on the west coast. These surf spots cater to those of all levels, from the iconic and challenging Steamer Lane to the more forgiving breaks at Cowell’s Beach. The rich surfing history in Santa Cruz extends into the art and culture, lending to the general laid-back, positive energy throughout the city.

The waves are great in Santa Cruz.

One of the Last Beach Boardwalks

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is an iconic symbol of classic coastal entertainment in California. As one of the last remaining seaside amusement parks in the United States, the Boardwalk offers a nostalgic journey with its historic rides, games, and attractions alongside modernized amenities. The Giant Dipper, a wooden roller coaster operating since 1924, and the picturesque Looff Carousel are among the timeless favorites. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a vibrant centerpiece in the community, constantly attracting visitors and hosting plenty of events and concerts throughout the year.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is one of the most iconic boardwalks in the United States.

Strong Sense of Community Pride

Santa Cruz is characterized by its strong sense of community pride, rooted in an open-minded, distinctive, and accepting culture. Santa Cruz is a big city in California, but it isn’t as large as places like Los Angeles or San Francisco. This contributes to Santa Cruz holding onto its close-knit community pride while taking advantage of big-city amenities. The residents are known for their support for diversity, kind nature, and care for their environment. This creates a positive energy that is palpable from inside the city to manners when out on the mountain trail. Like many cities in California, Santa Cruz is a diverse combination of cultures, ideas, and artistic expressions that combine into a unified, distinctive feel.

Santa Cruz is so much more than the boardwalk, it's a city with a thriving community and culture.

Creative Community

Creativity flourishes in Santa Cruz, supported by a community that values and fosters artistic expression. The city is home to numerous initiatives like the Open Studio Art Tour, Maker's Market, and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, which provide platforms for local artists to showcase their work. First Friday events transform downtown Santa Cruz into a vibrant arts district, where galleries, shops, and venues open their doors to feature local artists and musicians. This creative energy not only enriches the cultural landscape of Santa Cruz but also strengthens the communal bonds.

The art coming out of Santa Cruz has a longtime history of being influential.

Environmentally Conscious

Environmental stewardship is deeply ingrained in the ethos of Santa Cruz. The community's commitment to sustainability and conservation is evident in its numerous green initiatives, from extensive recycling programs to the protection of local wildlife habitats. There are over 30 environmental nonprofits doing work in the Santa Cruz area to help preserve and maintain the natural beauty and ecosystem. Even from a cursory glance, the remarkable research and conservation work the Monterey Bay Aquarium does is important. That’s just one example. Santa Cruz's residents and businesses alike prioritize eco-friendly practices, making it a model for environmental responsibility. The city's dedication to preserving its natural surroundings ensures that the beauty of the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Pacific coastline can be enjoyed for generations to come.

The world renown Monterey Bay Aquarium does fantastic work in the conservation field.

The spirit of Santa Cruz is powerful and woven through its strong sense of community, creative vibrancy, and commitment to the environment. These elements fuse to make Santa Cruz a special place to call home or plan a vacation to. Santa Cruz embodies the qualities that make California a remarkable state. Whether you’re drawn to the surf, art culture, or the desire to connect with a community that values what you do; Santa Cruz can fulfill your wants and needs.

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