It’s that time of year again! Don’t let the hustle, bustle and hard-to-shop-for folks on your list get you down! Think outside the big box and take a look at this Holiday Gift Guide with 20+ Santa Cruz ideas that are easy, fun, and totally unique!
By Molly Ressler
Santa Cruz County definitely marches to the beat of its own drum when it comes to fashion. It’s comfort first and the more outdoorsy you look, the better. Going to the store in your active wear is perfectly acceptable (yes, the active wear video describes the area perfectly) and yoga leggings stay on hours after class. There are of course plenty of fashion conscious individuals among us, but the relaxed surf culture has a strong influence on almost everyone’s style, especially on the weekends.
Extending a half mile into the Monterey Bay, situated between the colorful Santa Cruz Boardwalk and the surfer-filled waves of Steamer Lane, the Santa Cruz Wharf offers some of most thrilling views along the California coast. At 2,745 feet, it’s the longest wooden pier in the United States, resting on over 4,400 Douglas-fir pilings. Built in 1914, the timber centenarian continues to offer a timeless Santa Cruz experience. Stroll its wooden walkways-ideally with a cup of clam chowder in hand-and discover fresh-seafood eateries, local gift shops, nature and history displays, fun seasonal events, and of course, those famous barking sea lions.
The latest buzz in Santa Cruz is Abbott Square, a dynamic plaza and marketplace that’s enlivened already buzzing downtown with six new restaurants, two bars, plenty of al fresco courtyard seating, and a lineup of free performances and public art. The $5 million endeavor is five years in the making, and a joint project of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH) and developer John McEnery IV who created a similar community marketplace in San Jose.
Instagram brims with stunning shots of Santa Cruz, showing off its inspiring coastline, pastoral farms and towering redwood forests. Yet what you may not have noticed is that, against this scenic backdrop, a nascent craft movement is taking root. Venerable Santa Cruz producers like Marini’s Candies are being joined by a new generation of artisans