A Few Days in Downtown Santa Cruz

Colors of Downtown Santa Cruz
Colors of Downtown Santa Cruz

We’re working our way down to Los Angeles slowly and our first stop is Santa Cruz. I dig the sleepy beach town vibe and politeness of this place, plus I get to wear summer clothing again which is never really the case in San Francisco (global warming, you missed a spot). We also got to test our new luggage set-up and to be honest, I feel like a diva lugging around two rolling suitcases after spending three months in Asia with my 40L and Jon’s 55L backpack. But it’ll grow on me or we’ll just end up not replacing things or donate some stuff.

Overall, things have been nice and chill minus my nausea that I’ve been dealing with these past few weeks. Jon thinks it’s stress-related and I like pretend the gassy bubble in my stomach is my air baby who likes to talk a lot. So, we haven’t done much except relax and accept the fact that this is going to be our normal lives from now until one of us has a cow. Ay caramba!

Stickers on a door in Downtown Santa Cruz
Stickers on a door in Downtown Santa Cruz, California

Wanna head down to Santa Cruz? Here are a few things to do the next time you’re there.

Take the trolley to or from Downtown to the Boardwalk. I love taking public transit and if it’s adorably cute like this, you betcha I’ll be on it! This may not go very far, but if you want to avoid a boring walk or if the construction crew closes the sidewalk, at least take it one-way. Plus it only costs 25 cents.

Grab a slice from Pizza My Heart or better yet buy a shirt for $6-7 plus, any slice then, share your mug with the shirt on! The daily specials are what I gravitate towards to but really any way they top it, it’ll be delicious.

Hop on some classic rides at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk! Giant Dipper is a 1924 wooden roller coaster that will give you just the right amount of thrills with a coastal view. The 1911 Charles I.D. Looff Carousel won’t just take you for a spin, saddle up to the horse closest to the outer edge and grab a ring from the metal arm to toss into the clown’s mouth. If the ring goes in, it lights up green and you win the horse you’re on (that last part isn’t true). There are deals after 5pm and on weekdays, so make sure you look up some deals before you go!

Sip something hot to wake you up at Lulu Carpenter’s or Verve Coffee Shop. Lulu’s at the Octagon is a super cozy spot to read or write and can make a mean milk tea with great customer service, but if you need some strong caffeine to plow through the waves, run to Verve.

Head to the original Marianne’s Ice Cream shop lickety split! We’ve been to The Penny Ice Creamery and Mission Hill Creamery in previous visits but Marianne’s is still my favorite.

Want to get a good stretch? Take an Iyengar class at Yoga Center Santa Cruz to compliment your very chill state of mind.

You know you’ve been in California awhile when you take note of the bright yellow bumper stickers with The Mystery Spot written on it. What is this mysterious spot? Well, we still don’t know and we don’t want to read reviews about it either. So, just book your tour and do it!

Beach towns will always have an island vibe and Pono Hawaiian Grill at the Reef Bar will serve you a little aloha from drinks, poke bowls & wraps to live music. You may even hear the next Jason Mraz or Bruno Mars play a set while you chow down on some creamy wasabi poke. Ono!

Creamy Wasabi Poke Bowl from Pono Hawaiian Grill - CharmBTrippin.com
Creamy Wasabi Poke Bowl from Pono Hawaiian Grill

Watch something different and relive the days of classic cinema by supporting the Del Mar Theatre. The flashing marquee will catch your eye, the art deco interior will make you stop in awe and the film experience will take you elsewhere. Just don’t forget the popcorn and please, turn your phones to silent.

POPUP hosts many food events and concepts but wistfully we were there when zero events were scheduled. Definitely bookmarked for next time!

Want to Try the BEST BBQ on the West Coat?

You’ll have to get out of Santa Cruz and head over to Aptos St. BBQ and you can thank me later unless you’re vegetarian, then, I’m sorry for showing you this.

A photo posted by Jon (@jonability) on

Where To Stay in Downtown Santa Cruz

Book a great Airbnb near downtown and ditch your car for a while. Everything you would need is walking or biking distance, plus you’ll have some local insight from your host. Our host gave a list of local restaurants (the good, bad and must avoid), a parking pass for extended street parking and a jet pack when we lost internet connection.

So, if you’ve never tried Airbnb, now is the time! We’ll both get a $30 Travel Credit when you travel or host a guest with my promo link or promo code: CNARONG

Chic Studio in Downtown Santa Cruz
Chic Studio in Downtown Santa Cruz

Sadly, no surfing for me in the cold, sharky waters because I am afraid for my life and cold water is just not as fun. But if you need help planning your trip to Santa Cruz, tweet at me! I’d love to help you out.

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