California’s history is built on newcomers searching for a fresh start, but it’s hard deciding where to settle in such a big state. That said, Santa Cruz showcases all of California’s finest qualities. This modest city, a mere 40 minutes from San Jose, attracts everyone from academics, artists and activists to surfers, cyclists and hikers.
A City in Nature
Northern California is known for natural beauty, with the contrast of beaches and mountains in close proximity affording sweeping scenic vistas. Santa Cruz has long been called “Surf City” because of its abundant beaches on the Pacific Ocean and Monterey Bay. It’s also been a coastal resort for over a century, with traditional waterfront tourism still going strong. There are condominiums for sale Santa Cruz CA practically on the beach, which are scooped up as quickly as they can be built. If this isn’t enough, the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking the town feature coastal forests with majestic redwoods and modern walking trails for visitors’ leisure.
An Innovation Hub
Besides beaches, Santa Cruz is best known for the University of California, Santa Cruz, a renowned research university. A pivotal point in the ’60s counterculture, UC Santa Cruz boasts a distinguished roster of educators and alumni. UCSC is recognized for postgraduate research in the sciences, particularly organic agriculture, and on the undergraduate level for its pioneering liberal arts programs.
Big Little City
Santa Cruz’s Bay Area/Silicon Valley-adjacent location and large educated population makes it especially cosmopolitan for its size. With local authorities’ longstanding tolerance of the bohemian and the offbeat, Santa Cruz has become a progressive mecca. City politicians have historically supported liberal stances on conservation, nonviolence and decriminalization of soft drugs. Attractions include landmarks such as historic Mission Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, events such as Santa Cruz Shakespeare and the Santa Cruz Film Festival, and a rotating cast of street musicians and performers year-round.
If you’re ready to head west, choose Santa Cruz and bask in California at its best.