Travel Blog


Santa Cruz County serves as the inspiration for a vibrant arts and culture scene, so it’s no wonder there’s an eclectic array of choices for art lovers. However you choose to enjoy Santa Cruz County’s cultural community, an amazing number of choices await.


A guide to nearly thirty free history and nature museums and art galleries countywide, and points in-between, found on the Arts and Culture section of

The surfboard with a shark bite in it, at the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, housed inside a quaint lighthouse overlooking the ocean. The museum also includes historic photographs, unsinkable vintage redwood surfboards, and other items tracing over 100 years of surfing history in Santa Cruz.

A giant concrete whale just across from Seabright Beach, where the century-old Museum of Natural History was the city’s first public museum and holds a wealth of information.

Rocky Dog I, II, II, canine sculptures on Pacific Avenue at Lincoln Street in Downtown Santa Cruz, part of the city’s SculpTour public art walking tour.


Retail galleries can be found at the Tannery Arts Center, which also hosts performances, lectures and works by artists-in-residence. The free First Friday Art Tour features local galleries and artists’ studios which open their doors to visitors.

Annual art, wine and music festivals are held in Capitola and Scotts Valley.

The Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History displays historical collections alongside visiting art exhibits. The outdoor rooftop sculpture garden is an exhibition space highlighting pieces in granite, clay, bronze and other mediums.

Downtown Santa Cruz is home to the Santa Cruz Symphony, Actors’ Theatre, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music and other festivals and venues for live music.

The Arts Council Santa Cruz County’s Open Studios Art Tour hosts a self-guided countywide tour of hundreds of local artists’ studios in the fall.

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