Activities in Downtown Santa Cruz!

Santa Cruz is one of the most beautiful cities in California. There are so many things to do and see in downtown Santa Cruz. From oceanfront beaches to historic buildings, there’s something for everyone. One of the best ways to see what downtown has to offer is by taking a walking tour. You can learn about the history of the area or see some of the sights firsthand. No matter what your interests are, there’s bound to be something for you in downtown Santa Cruz. Read on for some fun activities in Downtown Santa Cruz!

activities in downtown santa cruz california

The Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH)

The Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH) is a museum that was founded in 1954 and is located in the downtown area of Santa Cruz. The museum’s mission is to preserve, interpret, and present the art, history, and culture of Santa Cruz County and the surrounding region.

The MAH features a wide range of exhibitions and programming, including art exhibits, history exhibits, and cultural events. The museum’s permanent collection includes over 3,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs, as well as historical artifacts and documents.

In addition to its exhibitions and educational programming, the MAH also hosts a variety of community events, including concerts, festivals, and other cultural events. These events are intended to bring people together and celebrate the diversity and cultural richness of the Santa Cruz community.

Address: 705 Front St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Rio Theatre

The Rio Theatre is a historic movie theater and live entertainment venue in downtown Santa Cruz. It was built in 1949 and has been a popular destination for film screenings and performances ever since. The theater is known for its Art Deco architecture and has a large, single screen where films are shown. It also has a stage for live performances, including concerts, comedy shows, and other events. The Rio Theatre is a beloved cultural landmark in Santa Cruz and has a reputation for hosting unique and diverse events.

If you plan to see a show at the Rio Theater make sure to get there early to deal with parking! The snack bar is minimal at best and at a recent show I spotted beer and wine and La Croix with some snacks but I would recommend eating beforehand. 

Address: 1205 Soquel Ave Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Pacific Avenue Shopping District

Pacific Avenue is the main shopping district in Santa Cruz, California. It runs through the heart of downtown and is home to a variety of businesses, including clothing stores, art galleries, restaurants, and coffee shops. The street is known for its lively atmosphere and is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Many of the businesses on Pacific Avenue are independently owned and offer unique goods and services.

The street is also home to a number of historic buildings, including the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History and the Pacific Avenue Brick Building. In addition to shopping, Pacific Avenue is a hub for entertainment and events, with regular farmer’s markets, street fairs, and live music performances. Here are some shops and activities to look out for when on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz:

  • BookShop Santa Cruz
    • Bookshop Santa Cruz is a large, general independent bookstore located in the heart of downtown Santa Cruz, California since 1966. The bookshop features new and used books, cards, calendars, t-shirts, toys, and gifts including many specialty Santa Cruz items.
  • Central Coast Creamery
    • Central Coast Creamery specializes in aged cheeses that harness the artistry of blending different milks and manufacturing processes that result in products unlike all others in the marketplace. Located inside Abbott Square Market. 
  • Crossroads Trading
    • Crossroads is a new and recycled fashion retailer that has been serving its fashionable and environmentally conscious customers since 1991.
  • Yes Cacao
    • At Yes, Cacao you can find clean, raw, organic, wild-harvested cacao!
  • Rip Curl
    • Rip Curl’s got apparel, gear, and other accessories so you can be ready for any adventure. 
  • Super Silver Santa Cruz
    • Owned and operated by a Santa Cruz local, Super Silver offers a dazzling selection of sterling silver jewelry for all styles and budgets

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