Where to Get Great, Last-Minute Gifts In & Around Santa Cruz

Posted by Lauren Spencer on Wednesday, December 19th, 2018 at 11:44am.

where to get great, las-minute gift in & around santa cruz

If you have some last minute shopping to do, and you're in Santa Cruz, then you're in luck!

This town is just brimming with unique retail options, perfect for finding that charming one-of-a-kind gift, or even that I-don't-really-have-time-to-shop gift that's guaranteed to be a hit.

Clothes, homeware, and specialty food items are the big highlight in Santa Cruz, so buckle-up, we're going shopping!

Where to Get Great Last-Minute Gifts in Santa Cruz


Along Soquel Avenue, east of the San Lorenzo River, this store presents a carefully selected range of vintage, and hand-made designer items including decorative ceramics, block-printed fabrics, rugs, pillows, soaps, jewelry, and restored furniture.

Styles, eras, and materials mix together in a feast for the eyes, so you're bound to find something personal and affordable that will enrich someone's home for many years.

All of this occupies a spacious and approachable store, situated in an old re-purposed bank at the corner of Soquel and Cayuga. The beautiful architecture is hard to miss in an area already over-flowing with excellent retail options, so there's no reason not to stop by and pick something up.

Notable Mention: Agency

Located on Pacific Avenue, this is another excellent store for buying household items, especially locally crafted furniture.


Less than 200 yards from Home/Work, Tomboy is a vintage clothing store specializing in American fashions from a bygone era. Cowboy boots, leather accessories, hats, aged denim, and woven blankets pack the shelves as mid 20th-century classics play in the background.

Other items available at Tomboy include hand-made jewelry and perfume. Mosey in for a dose of Americana, pick up some fancy boots, or buy a shirt with real grit and character.

Notable Mention: Cognito Clothing

Just off Laurel Street, near the San Lorenzo River, visit this store for an eclectic mix of vintage and costume clothing and accessories. Dresses are a specialty.

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The True Olive Connection

A foodie's dream right here in Santa Cruz. You'd never guess that anyone could stock a store like this just with oil and vinegar products. The staff are happy for you to try before you buy, so come in to sample the various cosmetics, infused oils, and aged vinegar from all around the world.

Something here will catch your interest, and it'll be sure to bring class and flavor to any kitchen. Expertly packaged luxury food items are always a winner when it comes to gifts, and the nature of these products means that they can be used to improve almost any meal.

You can find The True Olive Connection on Lincoln Street, less than 200 yards west of the end of Soquel Avenue at Front Street.

Notable Mention: Venus Spirits

Award winning gin, whiskey and agave spirits in Santa Cruz. Organic ingredients are distilled in copper alembic stills for a unique Santa Cruz flavor. If you're doing your last minute shopping along Soquel Avenue, this one will be a bit out of the way at the corner of Swift and Delaware.

Richard Donnelly's Chocolate

Richard Donnelly is a world renowned chocolatier right here in Santa Cruz, set up on Mission Street (Cabrillo Highway) near the intersection with Bay Street.

You'd be hard pressed to find any giftee who wouldn't appreciate a beautifully crafted box of some of the finest chocolates around. The textures, flavors, and styles that Richard Donnelly brings to his work might be better suited to a gallery than the stomach - but we're going to eat it anyway.

Notable mention: Mutari Craft Chocolate House

Carefully sourced chocolates in a range of styles suited for mixing and drinking. This store is just down the street from The True Olive Connection along Pacific Avenue.

Bookshop Santa Cruz

Books. You can't go wrong with books. Everyone has an interest, and a good book store will let you find something to match it. Bookshop Santa Cruz is a large, family-owned store with new and used books, gifts, toys, cards, and magazines.

The selection here is huge, so you're sure to find something great, but if you're in an extra hurry, just ask one of the friendly staff for a recommendation.

Just north of both Mutari and The True Olive Connection, this store is located at 1520 Pacific Avenue.

Notable mention: The Santa Cruz Antique Faire

Practically next door to The True Olive Connection, this collection of vendors meets on the 2nd Sunday of the month. Just in case you can't find a gift anywhere else, here is your catch-all for "everything else".

If your last minute shopping happens to coincide with this event, then drop in for a course of the weird and wonderful.

Shopping in Santa Cruz

So that's just a taste of what's on offer in Santa Cruz. Whether you're leisurely shopping for yourself, or hurriedly grabbing something for someone else, the scenic, walkable streets of Santa Cruz will have what you're looking for.

If you just want to browse, then take a walk down Soquel Avenue towards Front Street and Pacific. Have fun!

If you're interesting in Santa Cruz real estate, contact us to find out about opportunities that are right for you.

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