When you think of Santa Cruz, what comes to mind is its gorgeous, white-sand beaches and its world-class surfing waves. It’s no wonder why people from all over the country move to California’s beautiful Santa Cruz.
Not only is it the city’s beauty that makes it so great, but its quality of life. In 2016, Gallup and National Geographic named Santa Cruz the second happiest city in the United States. People from across the country took a poll that assessed measurable expressions of happiness, like feeling safe, eating well, and learning new things, and Santa Cruz came out on top.
By looking at the city’s laidback, beach lifestyle, it's easy to see why Santa Cruz residents are so happy to live here. There are seemingly countless reasons that make Santa Cruz the best city in the US, but here are just a few:
1. Outdoor Lifestyle
With 250 days of sunshine a year, Santa Cruz gives its residents plenty of opportunity to get outside and experience everything the city has to offer. One of the most popular activities for Santa Cruz residents is surfing.
The surfing in Santa Cruz is world-renowned.
People from across the world flock to Santa Cruz to surf on its incredible waves. There are tons of incredible surfing spots across the city, from Steamer Lane on the Westside to Pleasure Point on the Eastside.
The Santa Cruz surfing community is huge and is welcoming to surfers of all skill levels. Join one of Santa Cruz’s surfing clubs, like the Kiwanis Club of Surf City, where you can practice this thrilling sport while making friends.
Santa Cruz is also known for its jaw-dropping redwood forests. Parks like The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park offer Santa Cruz residents many opportunities to get out and hike in the shade of massive trees.
The city’s blue-bird skies practically beg residents to get outdoors and enjoy the California sunshine. For lazy days, you can walk around Santa Cruz’s historic city center or bask in the sun on one of the city’s relaxing beaches.
It’s Santa Cruz’s outdoor lifestyle that uplifts everybody’s mood and makes this city one of the best in the US.
2. Food Culture
Eating great food is important for residents in Santa Cruz. So no matter if you’re vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free, Santa Cruz cuisine has something for you.
Over half of supermarkets across the city are pro-organic and anti-GMO because vendors care about the quality of the food they sell.
Buying locally grown food is a popular choice for residents in Santa Cruz. Farmer’s markets open throughout the week around Santa Cruz. Visit places like Live Oak Farmers’ Market and Santa Cruz Community Farmers’ Market where you can buy locally grown, organic food and produce.
If you’re looking to eat out in Santa Cruz, then you’re in luck. There are tons of top-quality restaurants across the city that will satisfy any palate.
Linda’s Seabreeze Cafe is a local favorite for breakfast and lunch. They serve the most delicious scrambled egg dishes and club sandwiches.
El Palomar is a locally loved Mexican restaurant that serves some of the city’s best fish tacos. Visit their downtown location to eat from their taco bar and watch over their fantastic ocean view.
Thai Basil is arguably one of the best Thai restaurants in the whole of Santa Cruz. This restaurant is tiny, with only 5 dining tables. It’s worth the wait to try their homemade curry dishes or pad thai.
3. Business Opportunities
Located on the outskirts of Silicon Valley, Santa Cruz is teeming with business opportunity, especially in the tech industry.
There are tons of local startup tech companies that are hitting the industry by storm, bringing worldwide attention to Santa Cruz.
Looker is a tech company based out of Santa Cruz that offers a data discovery platform that helps businesses make better decisions.
Another company based out of Santa Cruz is SellHound. This is a marketplace website where members can sell all types of goods. The reusing and reselling of goods is meant to focus on being environmentally friendly and creating a circular economy.
PayStand is a growing company is Santa Cruz that offers B2B billing and payment services. This company is completely cloud-based and brings the modern internet to business payments.
Santa Cruz has a wealth of opportunity for business people and tech workers wanting to be a part of new, exciting projects. With Silicon Valley so close, the tech industry is booming and everyone wants to be a part of the innovation.
There are so many reasons why Santa Cruz is the best place to live in the US. High-quality living is a priority for residents across Santa Cruz--you can see it in their easygoing, beach-town lifestyle.