Santa Cruz Travel Guide

Santa Cruz Travel Guide

– A travel guide for visiting
Santa Cruz in California. I’m Chris, this is Topher. This is Yellow Productions. We do travel guides that are
fun, informative, entertaining and in this video we’re
going to be telling you everything you need to know if you’re planning a visit to this city. First, we’ll start with
some general information about Santa Cruz. We’ll start with ‘Where
is Santa Cruz located?’ Well its located, if you look over here, right on the bay. This is the northern tip of Monterey Bay. Monterey, California just down that way. We’re also 32 miles south of San Jose, about 70 miles south of San Francisco. But its over this kind of
mountain range to get here and so it keeps Santa
Cruz kind of feeling like a little world of its own from
the rest of Silicon Valley. But lets talk about major attractions. We’ll start at the first one then I’ll come back for some tips. This is the number one
attraction in Santa Cruz. This is the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Its been rated one of the
best, if not the best, ocean front board walks
in Northern America. Its like an amusement
park right on the beach. This is a pretty cool place, its been in lots of different movies. Its been open since 1907. If you’re coming to the boardwalk though, make sure to check to make sure its open. Pretty much every day in summer, just certain weekends in the winter. You know what, I really like
the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Why? Its just so much fun. Little kids or big kids, I’m definitely in that big kid category. In addition to the
rides, there’s also food, there’s like corn dogs and pizza. This place sells saltwater taffy. I don’t know what it is
about saltwater taffy and like boardwalks,
but you gotta have that. Hey look up here, look,
look, look up in the air. That’s the Santa Cruz Giant Dipper, that wooden rollercoaster,
there they go down. And I love to here the
screams and that sound, so if you’re truly an adventuresome rider definitely check that out. These types of wooden roller coasters were hallmarks of beach
boardwalks back in the day. Very few of them remain, so little piece of history right here. I think the most creative
of their games here is called ‘Stinky Feet’. You sit on what looks like a toilet and you use the squirt gun
to squirt the stinky feet of that guy in the bath tub. When you’re done exploring
the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, another big attraction just over this way, its the Santa Cruz Wharf. This, its a really big pier
and its got restaurants on it, its got shops on it, gift shops. You can actually take your
car out there and park on that really big pier. Wharf. Santa Cruz, though, is
probably most famous for being a beach town and for the beach. Now we’re here in the winter, so this might not look very appealing, there was a big storm and all
this wood just washed up here. But if you come here in the summer this is like a mob scene. Everybody from the Bay Area comes out here because the Bay Area San Francisco doesn’t really have a lot
of wide, sandy beaches. Certainly the one in front
of the boardwalk is good, but there’s actually a lot of beaches here and what is Santa Cruz known for? Its nickname is called “Surf City”. “Surf City” because back in the 1800’s three Hawaiian princes came to Santa Cruz and introduced surfing to the
US mainland for the first time right here in Santa Cruz. I will point out though,
that if you are coming to Santa Cruz to surf, while
the surf is considered good, it is not warm, this is
definitely wet suit water pretty much all year round, so, bring your rubber to keep yourself warm. So, another thing that
Santa Cruz is known for in addition to being Surf City, one of their motto’s is,
“keep Santa Cruz weird”. They seem to have motto’s
and names like other cities, Surf City, like Huntington
Beach, keep Santa Cruz weird, like keep Portland weird, but
Santa Cruz is pretty weird. This is one of the hotels
here, the Hotel Paradox, it’s pretty weird, is it
an upscale boutique hotel, or is it a renovated motel? I don’t know, but this is where
we stayed when we were here, if you want to see how
weird this hotel is, you’ll find the link in
the description below, or at the end of this video, but what else is weird
about Santa Cruz, well, there’s tons of Artists that live here, there’s lots of weird art, I feel like the primary mode
of transportation in Santa Cruz is by skateboard. The University of California
Santa Cruz, their mascot is the banana slug, that’s right and I picked up this
newspaper in Santa Cruz, it’s the Santa Cruz Comic News. That’s pretty weird. They don’t need like,
writing for the news, you can just read comics for the news, I mean, it’s weird but it’s kinda cool. A really interesting
attraction in Santa Cruz is to visit the Mystery Spot. Why? It’s a gravitational vortex that makes everything
lean just a little bit. Admission to the mystery
spot is a bargain $8, but I will tell you if you’re coming here, book your tickets online
or reserve ahead of time, cus it gets really, quite busy. It’s about a 45 minute
tour and for eight bucks, how can you go wrong? They do charge five dollars for parking, there’s ample parking
and when you’re done, they give you a free
Mystery Spot bumper sticker and they say what do you do if you don’t have a car to put it on? Well, there’s plenty of
other cars in the parking lot to put that bumper sticker on too. This one has a lot of them. So, they end the tour by trying to explain the theories behind this mystery. Could it be aliens, could it be magma, could it be a gravitational vortex? You know what? The tour guide didn’t know. What did we pay eight dollars for? Do you guys know, I’m curious? Do you think it’s an optical illusion, or some other force? Oh. By the way, here,
let me show you this way. There’s also this hiking
path that I’m on right here and it’s just on the
other side of the hill from the Mystery Spot. You can do this for free when you’re done and it’s just, it’s neat to come here, because it’s like, this
cool redwood forest and where I’m from, there
aren’t a lot of redwood forests. One pro tip if you’re
coming to the Mystery Spot, whatever the forces are that are here, cell phones do not work,
so if you need Google Maps or things like that, make sure
you get some offline maps. Don’t expect to call an Uber from here, because Uber can’t hear you, this is probably a place
to bring your own car and that road to this parking
lot, it’s about a half mile, dirt, really lousily paved road, you really won’t want to be walking it and you probably want to leave
your nicely polished Ferrari at home. For a really unique
experience in Santa Cruz, ride the Roaring Camp and
Big Trees Steam Train, it’s pretty… I am on it right now and why
would you ride this train, well they’ve got two, they’ve got one that takes
you around the red wood forest and they’ve got a second
one that’ll take you down to the boardwalk in Santa Cruz, but I’d recommend this train, the one that goes through the trees, it’s an hour and a half train ride and it costs a little over $30, you spend 10 minutes at the top and this is the steepest
steam train in North America and they tell you about the redwood, the conductor, right there,
take a look at that conductor. – State, to about 1000
times its own volume. – If you do decide to ride the
Steam Train and Roaring Camp, I have two tips for you, the
first one, reserve online, they do sell out, when we were here, two of the trains sold out,
so if you’re just showing up, well, you might not be able
to ride a train for a while. My second tip for you is,
they have three types of cars, closed in cars, cars
with little tent roofs and ones that are open air, try
and get in the open air car, because you’ll be able to see
the canopy above the best. If for some reason you can’t
get in the open air car, well then try and sit in
the corners of the car, the front or back, cus you’ll
be able to take pictures the best from that vantage point. After your train ride, if you’d like to get a little bit more
up close and personal with the redwood trees, well
just down the other side of the tracks from the main station, is the entrance to the
Henry Cowell Redwoods Park, you can go hiking over there,
you have to pay parking if you park over there, so pay here once and when you’re done just walk
on over to the Redwoods Park. I’ll see you there. So, I mentioned the trees are
big, do you see this tree? This is the trunk of a
2,200 year old redwood. That is impressive. By the way, did I say
Santa Cruz was weird? Come here and did I say they
have a lot of banana slugs? I mean, not just they have a
lot of banana slugs around, but they even put them
on the sign right there. Look at that! Banana slug. So this state park with the redwoods, it’s actually a rainforest,
not a tropical rainforest, but a temperate rainforest,
here in Santa Cruz, they get over 100 inches of rain per year, that’s quite a bit and
each one of these trees drinks like, 500 gallons per
tree, it drinks a lot of water, from the roots system, from the bark and also from the actual
branches and the leaves, from the fog that is so prevalent
here in the Monterey Bay. One of the best times to
visit, is right after it rains, it is a rain forest and so, you’ll find a lots of the streams flowing and a lot of the rainforest activity. But I’ll point out it is cold here, because it’s not really sunny,
well it’s sunny right here, but it’s not sunny right
here and most of this. You’ll want to bring some warm clothes, cus it’s 10 to 20 degrees
colder in the rain forest than it is outside in
the sunny parking lot. Oh! And it’s muddy too so, bring some shoes that you don’t mind getting too yucky. Santa Cruz already feel like a world away from San Francisco or San Jose, but you come into the rainforest and it’s like a whole ‘nother world away. Actually, it feels kind of like falling into maybe, a story book. Okay, I know I showed
you a fake slug earlier, but come in right here and look at that, the banana slug. Look how big that banana slug is, that’s why they call it a banana slug, cus it is like, nearly
the size of a banana. That’s my hand right there. Nice to meet you banana
slug, should I pet him? No, I’m not gonna do it. If you’re looking for
nightlife in Santa Cruz, well a great neighborhood for
that is Capitola By The Sea, there’s all these bars and restaurants that basically look out
here on Capitola Beach. This is also a great
place to have those views of the whole Monterey Bay down to Monterey and then if we swing over this way, Capitola has its own Wharf, though this one’s a little bit smaller than the Santa Cruz wharf, they still call it a Wharf, cus there are cars driving on it, few restaurants down at the end, but what’s really picturesque if you love Instagram and pictures is the Venetian right here,
the Capitola venetian, this housing development. I love that each one looks
like a different color, kind of looks like the
houses in Mirano, Italy, which is right outside Venice
if you’ve ever been there. If you’re looking for
some place in Santa Cruz to do some interesting shopping, check out downtown Santa Cruz,
it’s here on Pacific Avenue and there’s some interesting
shops, in particular this one. It’s called the Sock
Shop and Shoe Company, this store started like,
20 or 30 years ago, it started the sock craze, that’s taken the country by storm. Everybody thought they were
crazy, but I said right, Santa Cruz is all about keeping it weird, so these people are like, “yeah”, Santa Cruz, people will totally
buy some interesting socks and if you wanna know what their
number one selling sock is, it’s socks with two sea
otters holding hands. Awww. If you’re looking for
Coffee, just down this way, there’s a Coffee shop called Verve. It’s a Santa Cruz original Coffee shop and if you’re looking
for Pizza by the slice, there’s a Pizza place on this
street called Pizza My Heart and I’m not saying that Pizza is the best, but for $7 you can get a tee
shirt and a slice of Pizza, so that’s a great souvenir to bring back, cus it says, “Pizza My Heart, Santa Cruz” and you’ll fill up your billy. Your billy? You’ll fill up your belly too. Also, if your travels bring you to the San Francisco Bay area, definitely consider a day
trip, or maybe even a few days to Santa Cruz to kind of feel
a little bit more laid back, alternative, natural lifestyle. Well, we hope you enjoyed this video. If you enjoyed this video
and you’re in the bay area, maybe you want to take a
day trip to Napa, Napa. It’s just on the other
side of San Francisco, you can check out this video right here, maybe on the right here, find links in the description below. We won’t say goodbye, because we’ll see you in the next video. – See you!

About the author


  1. Paradox Hotel Review:

    Napa Travel Tips (Things to Know):

    Napa Things To Do:

  2. Go to the Shadowbrook Restaurant in Capitola. Very unique on a hillside with a funicular taking you downhill to the restaurant. And for my two cents worth, the wine in Sonoma County is just as good as Napa with a better price point (disclosure: I live there).

  3. Wow, the last time I was in Santa Cruz was the late 1980's. I ran in the Wharf-to-Wharf road race. Great time and a great event!

  4. Funny that you said that the Red Wood Forest looks like it's out of a storybook. My son was obsessed with Alice in Wonderland when we went on a California road trip several years ago. We camped up there for two nights, and visited the Red Wood Forest, before taking that train through the forest. Anyway, he got ahead of my husband and I and got lost for a while. He was running ahead of us and looking for big holes in the trees, pretending he was gonna fall through the earth to Wonderland. Needless to say, we were scared until my husband found him five minutes later. However, I was with a forest ranger looking for him, and didn't know he had been found until about 30 minutes later. He was very upset, having lost us. We barely made it in time to the train, but fortunately, all worked out well. I will never forget that. As for the boardwalk, we loved riding the carrousel and trying deep fried Oreos. We tried to go to the Mystery Spot, my son's wish, but didn't realize that we needed reservations. My husband didn't want to wait the 2.5 hours. Another time, though. Great video, as always, Chris! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. We are going to visit San Francisco, los angeles and las Vegas this year, the tipical roadtrip. ๐Ÿ™‚ And santa cruz is now on our list too. It looks really interesting ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. i already know the background story behind the yellow color and the name of the production. but i just wanna know do you purposely buy things in yellow just to go with the channel or it almost happens to be one of your favorite color? what is your favorite color?

  7. Also home of the Santa Cruz Warriors, G league of the World Champions Golden State Warriors๐Ÿค™๐Ÿฝ

  8. Santa Cruz looks beautiful! I like how there is a good mix of things to do in the city itself as well as different things out in nature. The coastline looks really cool! In fact, there is also a Mystery Spot up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan near the Mackinac Bridge. I haven't been to that one, but I'd be curious to see how similar or different it is to the one in Santa Cruz.

  9. Chris! I love your videos just one comment about this video: itโ€™s called Silicon Valley, not Silicone Valley.๐Ÿคฃ
    Thereโ€™s a big difference.

  10. Sounds like the Electric Brae, in Ayrshire, Scotland. Beautiful area. Don't miss the Burns Museum: the best museum of its kind, at the cottage.

  11. Got the opportunity to walk down the levy for a couple of miles today.
    The river looked beautiful ,but wow the things I saw were not for the faint of heart.
    A guy shooting dope into his foot, another guy pooping at the waters edge , three guys under the water Street bridge stripping a pretty nice looking mountain bike ,a bunch of needles and that was before I even got to the camp.
    I didn't even want to go into the camp but I wandered further down the path where I saw guys hanging out under the highway 1 bridge making multiple dope deals with the PD 50 yds away. I used to take my kid down that path when he was in a stroller but I would have to explain way to much adult stuff .

  12. I went to Santa Cruz like 2 weeks ago wasnโ€™t a very pleasant experience lol hella crackheads and weird vibes

  13. Most underrated ride at the Boardwalk is the carousel. As you go round on horseback, you snag tokens from a dispenser on the end of a boom coming out from the wall. Then you try to chuck them in the mouth a clown on the next wall. Itโ€™s a wonder more people donโ€™t lose fingers or fall off the carousel. I totally recommend it!

  14. The boardwalk used to be a real shithole and a hangout for shady characters. It got a big renovation in the 90s. Itโ€™s awesome now.

  15. Would love to see the city and the boardwalk add more businesses in. More rides and night events!!! ๐Ÿ˜

  16. Then go downtown and take a long sad look at Liberal gentrification..or "homeless people". Just ignore the REAL side of Santa Cruz.. keep living the"dream"..

  17. O yeah keep Santa Cruz weird. That brings in all the drug addicts liberal fags that have completely destroyed this town.locals can't find a place to live. They have a million programs for drug addicts, criminals, illegals and other people that don't want to work or do anything. Then the town will block off a parking lot and pay pigs to stand guard there all night because that's the one beach where locals that grown up here and work our ass off to just to stay and live in our town because we like to set off fireworks there for us and all the kids but no they have to make sure they shut that down every 4th of July but let people shoot up right in front of kids.Priorities are kind of screwed up. Anyone think?

  18. Santa Cruz is probably one of the most exciting fun crazy interesting place you will ever go to I absolutely love Santa Cruz and the fact that they made that stupid sucky ass movie us is an insult to Santa Cruz that movie sucked ass one of the worst movies I've ever seen when I walked out of the theater it was like what a f—ing waste of money!! Answer those who say they're scared of Santa Cruz and walk in pairs you idiots!! How dare you try to put a bad and Dark Cloud over one of the most fun places around go to Santa Cruz explore each walk along the beach along the lighthouse it's all good you will love it if you've never been there I've been going my whole entire life and it's the second home for me love Santa Cruz!!!๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜Ž

  19. Siliโ€coneโ€ Valley is Los Angeles. Siliโ€conโ€ Valley is in the San Francisco Bay Area.

  20. Fun fact: The Boardwalk was used two horror films, in the film "The Lost Boys" and recently in "Us". Don't forget to walk East Cliff dr. and enjoy the beautiful ocean view, surfers, lighthouse and the natural bridge. Lived in Santa Cruz my whole life and can't see myself moving anywhere else, love it here.


  22. My Santa Cruz โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿฅฐ

  23. Go to Santa Cruz every year! And I just got back yesterday from spending a week in Santa Cruz and I wanna go back!๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ข

  24. Donโ€™t forget the great nightlife of college students and 50 year old uber drug addicts; a perfect combination.

  25. I live in Aptos, 10 miles south. traffic, traffic, traffic and more traffic. count on 1 plus hr in traffic for 10 mile drive from any direction to get to Santa Cruz

  26. When you mentioned Pizza My Heart, you said, "I'm not saying their pizza is the best". But, they literally are the first American pizza to ever win the "Best Traditional Pizza" prize at the International Pizza Competition in Las Vegas. (voted the best pizza in the world)

  27. Did you try surfing Steamer Lane at 15 ft? No visit to the surf museum? Didn't even visit those local surfboard shop who shapers are well known?

  28. Tips to the tourist traps in Santa Cruz. Try steamers lane on west cliff, and the surfing museum. Capitola if you need touristy, and Rio Del Mar for a less crowded beach experience.

  29. Great tour video ๐Ÿค—I live in Modesto, ca and my family goes to Santa Cruz beach boardwalk every year except the last 2 years. But this year I'm suprising my husband for his birthday and I reserved a weekend for us in Santa Cruz ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜ your video just made me happy to go

  30. Great video. I am so glad you showed the redwoods. But it's pronounced Sili-cawn Valley. I always make that mistake as well and I live there. ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Go to Davenport. Itโ€™s right up from mission street, just pull over at any of the pull outs on the side of the road and you will find some of nicest and most private beaches youโ€™ve ever been to.

  32. I've lived in Santa Cruz my entire life. I'm not sure why I'm watching this, but I am. Lol. Also, we have one of the best salt water taffys around. Inky downfall is it's so expensive to live here.

  33. Santa Cruz is also just 40 miles north of Monterey. New Brighton beach is where the cement boat is located, put there during WWII; really great bakery that also serves lunch called The Buttery on Branciforte; the harbor with hundreds of boats has a great restaurant called Crow's Nest (harbor located between Santa Cruz and Capitola); best place for lunch or dinner is Carpo's in Capitola next, to the off ramp. Hope this helps.

  34. I'll be at Santa Cruz next week at some point! I'm a blind person, from the UK, coming with my family. I'm thus looking forward to: the boardwalk, the Hallmark shop with the noisy ornaments, and I think my Aunt has booked the steam train. I've got some questions, though.
    1: Firstly, the boardwalk: We'll check out the boardwalk as I know there's some rides with sounds and music on such as the haunted castle, ghost blaster and cave train. Hopefully I'll try out Undertoe as well. However my question is, how would you describe the difference between Undertoe and Giant Dipper? Is one more intense than the other?
    Do they have boardwalk barkers (the people saying to step right up and win a prize, trying to get people to play?)? I've always wanted to hear a real carnival barker in action. I know it's an odd question, but there it is. We don't have barkers in the UK on any of our piers.
    My next random question, is there anywhere that does chocolate chip cookies? Especially warm ones.
    Thirdly, is there any live music, or possibly any karaoke bars?
    Lastly, is there anything else anyone can recommend? I love anything that has audio to go with it especially, or any place with stuff to touch/hands on type approach that could be different. Anything cool for the senses besides vision? Thanks in advance.

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