Culture:

The Santa Cruz Experience

Life in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz may be a small city but we boast a lot of character and endless opportunities to enjoy the arts, connect with community, and explore the great outdoors. Flanked by the incredible redwood forests and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, our city feels infused with nature. It's an incredible location with many opportunities within reach.

If you’re a young professional seeking opportunities to launch your career, a family looking for a place to call home, or someone looking for a community that embraces you, you’re sure to find your tribe in Santa Cruz. Whatever you’re into, you’re bound to find a neighborhood that fits your needs and provides your favorite amenities.

It’s all within reach

We’re a short skip away from the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley. With easy access to major airports, sports and entertainment venues, nestled between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Monterey Bay, our unrivalled environment creates a thriving and open culture that invites innovation, entrepreneurship, and an ethos of keeping it real.

Whole Health Is Community Wealth

You don’t have to be a yogi or bicycle pump track superstar to appreciate how active and healthy Santa Cruz is as a community. We support all different kinds of activities, including park infrastructure that’s accessible to everyone, so you can get out and live a full life. Beyond a plethora of activities, we sport one of the highest densities of specialty grocers per capita, along with several active farmers markets where we enjoy food and drink that support the whole health of our active community.

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Average number of days of Sunshine per year

10%

Smoking Rate

2015

Gold Bicycle Friendly Community

1st

Home of the original CrossFit gym

#7

County in California for Clinical Care

(2015 University of Wisconsin Population of Health Institute)

98%

Access to Exercise Opportunities

(2015 University of Wisconsin Population of Health Institute)

Get Out There

Our natural environment entices people to jump into all kinds of sports on both land and sea. From extreme sports like big-wave surfing, mountain biking, kitesurfing, sailboat racing, and skateboarding to a nice long road bike ride or an oceanside run or dog walk meandering along West Cliff Drive, you’ll find the mild weather invites you to enjoy the outdoors year-round. Set out on a new trail, kayak with sea otters and whales, or play a round of disc golf with friends. The possibilities are endless for Santa Cruzans who enjoy an active lifestyle.

Surfing

Kitesurfing

Kayaking

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Skateboarding

Hiking

Running

Scuba Diving

Fishing

Body Surfing

Boogieboarding

Swimming

Sailing

Mountain Biking

Road Cycling

Crossfit

Yoga

Beach Volleyball

Disc Golf

Golf

Indoor Rock Climbing

A Delight for the Ears, Eyes, and Taste Buds

Santa Cruz has cosmopolitan flare without the uptown attitude, dude. Savor farm-to-table goodness with the freshest organic produce imaginable, melting in your mouth while you sip a handcrafted brew or local wine. Then kick it with world-class music, art, and entertainment for singles, couples, families, and friends. Santa Cruz will delight your every sense. Free beach concerts every summer at our world-famous boardwalk, venues provide rock, reggae, hip hop, world-beat, electronic, unbeatable jazz, comedy, drama -- whatever your jam, you’ll find your groove in Santa Cruz.

West End Taproom
A dog and girl on West Cliff in Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz pour over coffee at Companion Bakeshop
West Cliff Surfers at Steamers Lane
Santa Cruz Surfboards at Sawyer Land & Sea Supply
Santa Cruz Bikes at Pacific Edge.
Harvey West-5D3 3681
Nina Simon speaks at Santa Cruz New Tech Meetup
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Navigating the Neighborhoods

Where Kids Thrive

Education is one of the best indicators of a community’s economic health and potential for future growth. Based on that, Santa Cruz has a bright future. Santa Cruz families have access to public and private school options that outperform the state average and boast 96% graduation rates at our public high schools. Pacific Collegiate, a public charter high school, was...
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Education is one of the best indicators of a community’s economic health and potential for future growth. Based on that, Santa Cruz has a bright future. Santa Cruz families have access to public and private school options that outperform the state average and boast 96% graduation rates at our public high schools. Pacific Collegiate, a public charter high school, was ranked #14 in the U.S. by Newsweek in 2014. Our community values include educating the whole child by providing a variety of pre-school, primary, and secondary options that make college a realistic possibility for your family’s future.

Adding to schools are abundant parks in neighborhoods. Santa Cruz youth take advantage of recreation programs such as youth lifeguards, and the internationally recognized Museum of Art & History with a kids happy hour, a kid focused Makers community for kids who want to delve into Minecraft and 3-D printing.

Get connected to the marine world at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center, where you can walk inside a blue whale skeleton, and the adjacent UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Lab. And let’s not forget O’Neill Sea Odyssey sailing education tours. These are just some of the year-round activities and organizations for you and your family. With these options, it is no wonder that kids have such active and full lives in Santa Cruz.

A tolerant and diverse community for faith-based believers, non-believers, and people seeking their own path, Santa Cruz is a place where families can raise their kids in a supportive community with exposure to a variety of beliefs.

If you are relocating to Santa Cruz with your partner, spouse, or family, you’ll find that our diverse economy provides opportunities for a wide array of career options to ensure you all thrive. Industries page

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K-12 Schools

28

Public Parks

5

Museums