Teddy bear and presents underneath a Christmas tree with fairy lights

It’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays. Don’t worry though—for all those last-minute gift buyers, there is still time to check everyone off your list. As we move into the holiday season and the end of the year, there are numerous ways to get out and celebrate in Santa Cruz

From photos with Santa and the Grinch, to holiday performances at the theater, we’ve curated a list of just some of the family-friendly events taking place throughout the month of December!

Winter Wonderland At The Boardwalk

No surprise—there’s always something happening down at the Boardwalk. Winter Wonderland returns for another year, with select dates starting from the end of November and running all throughout December.

Decorated in holiday lights and…

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Night time at the Santa Cruz Town Clock

As November kicks off and we move into the holiday season, there are an abundance of events popping up across the county—although Santa Cruz is always the center of all the activity. Whether its the holiday spirit or simply everyone looking forward to the end of the year—finally!—there’s something going on almost every day of the week. 

From dances to wine tasting, here are just a few of the exciting events happening this weekend in Santa Cruz November 10th, 11th, and 12th, 2023.

Downtown Santa Cruz Fall Wine Walk

121 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz

For wine enthusiasts (age 21 and over, of course), Santa Cruz is hosting a wine tasting event on November 12 in the downtown area. With over 10 featured wineries, participants are invited to…

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 Aerial view of a diner eating a variety of Mexican dishes


There are two types of diners: those who have to study the menu before choosing a restaurant, and those who understand that Mexican food is always delicious, no matter what.

When it comes to cuisine, the city of Santa Cruz represents a wide reach across the globe. From east to west, there are a variety of options for every taste and for a range of budgets: fun, relaxed meals with the family to fine dining on date night. And, across the city, there are a number of excellent, casual Mexican restaurants to choose from—but here are just a few of our favorites!

Taqueria Santa Cruz

2215 Mission Street, Santa Cruz


Defined by their diners as “comfort food”, Taqueria Santa Cruz offers delicious, authentic Mexican food in a laid-back…

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Two kids and their dog celebrating Halloween in the living room

It’s almost time for trick-or-treating! Some might already have a costume prepared, while others might just figure it out last-minute, but regardless, there are numerous events around Santa Cruz County—for all ages!—that are perfect for celebrating the spookiest season in 2023. 

As an important note, most events have some regulations when it comes to costumes. This usually restricts vulgar or profane language, weaponry, and sometimes masks. Those choosing to attend any of the events are encouraged to read up on what is and what is not allowed ahead of time. 

Community Parades & Trick-Or-Treating

For the kids, the best part of Halloween is probably the candy—although dressing up is pretty great, too. When trick-or-treating with the little…

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Lone butterfly in field of flowers at Natural Bridges State Beach

Every year, countless Monarch butterflies make their way south to seek warmer weather, traveling from the more northern states, such as Oregon and Washington, the Rockies, and even the Canadian province of British Columbia. And, every year, the butterflies make their home for several months in the Santa Cruz area. 

Natural Bridges State Beach: Facts & Features

Natural Bridges State Beach is a popular attraction located southwest of the Santa Cruz downtown. It is perhaps most well-known for its spectacular ocean views, tide pools, and rock formations that dot the shoreline. In the warmer months, you’ll often find beachgoers soaking up the sun and people walking down by the water. Dogs, however, are not allowed on the beach, but they are allowed…

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Pink flamingo plushies hanging from game booth at Santa Cruz County Fair


A staple of the Watsonville area since the 1940s, the Santa Cruz County Fair has gone through several changes and improvements over its long history. In fact, the fair itself was first established around 1885. Events were added, switched around, and removed, and something more closely resembling the fair we know today first officially opened in Scotts Valley in 1918. 

The Santa Cruz County Fair draws large crowds annually, composed of people from all across the area. Typically, the fair is hosted in the second week of September. This year, 2023, the fair is running from September 13th to 17th.  

Things To Do At The Fair

With the motto, “Home Grown and Locally Shown", the Santa Cruz County Fair features exciting events, programs, shows,…

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Figures on Twin Lakes State Beach, east of Santa Cruz, with homes in background

With rental prices that just overtook San Francisco, it’s clear that Santa Cruz is an incredibly desirable place to settle down—especially for families. Home to the University of California Santa Cruz campus, this city is known particularly for its educational institutions, with highly-rated schools at all grade levels. 

For those on the fence about which neighborhoods are best for the kids, here are just a few of the excellent choices available for interested families. 

The Circles

Recognizable for its circular, residential streets that center on Garfield Park Christian Church (now slated for redevelopment), The Circles is a quaint neighborhood located south of Mission Street, close to Neary Lagoon Park. 


There are two convenience…

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Defocused musical artist on stage at small live music venue

Some might say that there’s nothing comparable to hearing your favorite songs live. The contagious energy, the roar of the crowd—there’s definitely something special about live music. Santa Cruz has a number of bars, clubs, and assorted live music venues for residents and visitors to experience. And while none may have the capacity of the SoFi Stadium, this city is still a great place to find both local and international artists. 

Whether you’re down to just see whoever is playing at the bar tonight, or if you’re planning to get tickets for something special, here are some of the venues you can find around the city—and some of the upcoming events and festivals, too!

Downtown Venues

The Catalyst Club, colloquially known as simply “The…

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Young girl in adventure ropes course

Santa Cruz: where the forest meets the sea. While the numerous beaches around Santa Cruz draw crowds of avid surfers, passionate sunbathers, and even the occasional furry friend for a walk, the area is also recognized for its gorgeous, expansive redwood forests. 

North of the downtown, situated in the small neighborhood of Mount Hermon, is a highly-rated adventure park. An excellent attraction for daring kids, adults, and corporate groups for team-building workshops, read on to learn more about why this park makes for a great Santa Cruz area day trip!

Aerial Adventures: What Is It?

Sometimes referred to as “treetop trekking”, Mount Hermon Adventures is an aerial ropes/obstacle course and ziplining experience. But what exactly does that…

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Sunny day at Santa Cruz beach with surfer in water. Photo by Amy Vosters on Unsplash

Recognized as one of the premier surfing destinations in the region, Santa Cruz attracts a significant number of tourists and passionate surfers every year. With its numerous beaches and strong waves, the city has been home to a multitude of high-profile names, including some of the best surfers in the world. 

From nervous beginners to the pros of the surf world, there’s a place in Santa Cruz that’s just right for any experience level. Here are a few of the notable surf spots along the coast—and the best places to grab gear while you’re there. 



We all have to start somewhere! If this is your first time on a board—or even your second or third—it’s probably best to stick to easier spots around Santa Cruz. 

One of the most…

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