Whether you met the love of your life while riding the Giant Dipper roller coaster on our internationally-known Boardwalk or learned to surf for the first time off of West Cliff, Santa Cruz is a place where memories are created. For more than 100 years, tourism has continued to grow, expand, and diversify. There is always something new to discover.
Not only are there beautiful beaches, parks and open spaces, a burgeoning art scene, sightseeing, tons of attractions and activities,
but Santa Cruz has also become a destination for wine tasting, foodies, outdoor recreation, and agri-tourism - which has made our city a year-round destination to get away and have some fun. This community of businesses ranges from traditional hotels and restaurants all the way to the Brew Cruz (a microbrewery bus tour) to family friendly Segway tours along Westcliff. This mix of new and historical businesses make for unique experiences that keeps visitors coming back for more.
Since the mid 1800s people have been flocking to Santa Cruz to take advantage of the sunshine and natural beauty of our beautiful beaches and forests. Promoting the benefits of bathing in salt water, public bathhouses were the first big Santa Cruz attractions. By the early 1900s the tourism industry was in full swing. The first casino (which included a ballroom), The Plunge indoor swimming pool, a pleasure pier, and boardwalk opened in in 1904. The Boardwalk, built to be the “Coney Island of the West”, constructed its first roller coaster in 1908, which was quickly followed by the arrival of the merry-go-round in 1911.
The 1920s saw the first Miss California Pageants hosted at the Boardwalk and Cocoanut Grove Ballroom. The rise of Santa Cruz as a Tourist hot spot also brought other businesses catering to tourists: hotels, restaurants, photo stands, souvenir shops, bike, skate and surf shops - and more.
Today, Santa Cruz draws visitors both nationally and internationally, and has developed into an industry that generates over $500 million in direct travel expenditures annually and employs about 8,000 people countywide.
million tourists per year
Hotels & Motels
Boardwalk Rides & Attractions
Celebrate all things Local during Small Business Week
April 30-May 6 is National Small Business Week! We are encouraging the community to support our local businesses throughout this week and year-round.
Seriously... We're here to help!
We have put together a list of the great resources and tools available to businesses and business owners right here on our website
No Foolin', Sales Tax Increases to 9% on April 1, 2017
Because voters passed Measure D in 2016, the sales tax increases to a total of 9% on April 1, 2017
The tech ecosystem in Santa Cruz is thriving. It attracts talent from across the country who immerse themselves in our network of coworking spaces, meetups, and burgeoning companies.
With miles of mountain trails, world famous surf spots, and an average of 262 days of sunshine a year, the opportunities are endless for extreme sports and outdoor recreation.