"Santa Cruz - An Eccentri - City" Top 5 Page for this destination Santa Cruz by karenincalifornia

Santa Cruz Travel Guide: 295 reviews and 646 photos

Where normal is quirky and quirky is normal

Santa Cruz is not short on character. When my husband and I spent a weekend near the town, we found constant sources of amusement. Not just in terms of things to do - and there is a variety of that - but also in terms of the people. So many people in Santa Cruz march to their own drummers, if you know what I mean. They would be misfits in other places, but here in Santa Cruz, they add color and pretty much are accepted in an already screwball beach town.

We saw homeless people having philosphical debates with each other (possibly ex-UC Santa Cruz professors who had one too many mushrooms in their younger days), people sleeping in their cars near the beach, people with strange obsessive-compulsive disorders (like obsessing over house flies or spots on wine glasses), homeless arguing with the local police but not being arrested (kudos to the police for not getting abusive), and pedestrians apparently on a suicide mission as they darted in traffic in downtown Santa Cruz. On the other hand, we met people who were engaging and friendly (but very possibly belonging to the other categories of Santa Cruz people as well).


Santa Cruz is so retro, which may be why it is a magnet for people who are living in their own world, without a real care about "fitting in" with the current 2006 world. The retro flavor of the town is very much part of its endearing charm.

My own retro

In how many places can you still find Bulgy the Whale? He's there on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Talk about retro. Did this amusement park ride every bring back memories for me! (No, I am not talking about last year.)

Santa Cruz is entertaining, to say the least. It is full of college students and Gen-Xers at night. It also served as a good base for exploring wineries and hiking in the mountains for oldsters like my husband and me.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Entertaining, some excellent restaurants, party atmosphere, plenty to do
  • Cons:Too much traffic, overdeveloped, foggy and cold in summer
  • In a nutshell:A quirky California beach town with whacked out people
  • Last visit to Santa Cruz: Sep 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (19)

Comments (5)

  • VeronicaG's Profile Photo
    Aug 14, 2007 at 7:25 AM

    Your tale of the wine tastings was amusing, Karen. When we drove through Sonoma County wine country...they all SEEMED normal, hee, hee! Great tips...

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo
    Feb 13, 2007 at 11:24 PM

    I really enjoyed your Santa Cruz pages...you obviously put some thought into your tips! It'll certainly help me when I revisit the town in a few weeks. ~Joe

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Oct 3, 2006 at 2:17 AM

    Another interesting new page with informative texts and fine photos! I've never actually been to Santa Cruz, come to think of it, though I lived in the Bay Area for four years and used to know some people who taught there.

  • trvlrtom's Profile Photo
    Sep 17, 2006 at 9:59 PM

    Hi Karen - I hope your trip to Santa Cruz was everything you wanted. We were at the Bonny Doon Winery Sat. the 9th, and maybe just missed you!

  • pepples46's Profile Photo
    Sep 11, 2006 at 2:26 PM

    it looks very nice here in Santa Cruz with all the trimmings, wine food..yummy


“Happy hours . . . timeless friends”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 1 0 7
Forum Rank:
0 6 1 4 6

Badges & Stats in Santa Cruz

  • 19 Reviews
  • 26 Photos
  • 6 Forum posts
  • 3,434PageViews

Have you been to Santa Cruz?

  Share Your Travels  

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)