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Westside

Santa Cruz, CA

Between the ocean and the banks of the San Lorenzo River, the lush west side of Santa Cruz is the cultural core of Santa Cruz County. Nestled among palm trees, sea cliffs and redwoods, contemporary Santa Cruz has a rich legacy of social activism and counterculture. Known as a prominent coastal surf town for decades and home to the long-subversive University of California Santa Cruz, look beyond the Santa Cruz Beach boardwalk towards a town center bristling with stimulating eateries and imbued with a deep appreciation for the arts, carved out of a landscape of geologically diverse state parks and natural reserves.

Explore the Neighborhood

Living in Westside

Restaurants

The most popular evening destinations among locals and tourists alike, downtown Santa Cruz and historic Pacific Avenue serve as the city's commercial hub. Within ten square blocks, you can reach a huge variety of restaurants, bars, theaters and ice creameries on foot. Crawl Pacific Avenue and find restaurants such as Rosie McCann's Irish Pub & Restaurant, a loft-like pub with occasional live music and burgers too juicy to be kept secret. Navigate the side streets that run parallel to Pacific, and wander upstairs into The Redroom Cocktail Lounge, a massive speakeasy-style lounge popular with students. Alternatively, head to Hula's Island Grill and Tiki Room for excellent Hawaiian-fusion eats and troughs of flaming alcohol titled the Scorpion Bowl, a drink big enough to share with multiple friends. Give in to the powerful aroma of the Penny Ice Creamery as you pass its facade. This ice cream parlor that uses seasonal local ingredients to give simple flavors such as coffee and lavender a Wonka-like potency. Coffee lovers enjoy visiting Verve Coffee Roasters for stellar single-origin espresso and brew. For entertainment, the Kuumbwa Jazz Center provides an intimate music venue that features excellent travelling and local acts. A few locally owned movie theaters such as the Nickelodeon & Del Mar Theaters show the funkier side of cinema for a quieter night out. To escape the hubbub of downtown, try travelling up to Mission Street to Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing. This certified-organic brewpub features an outdoor patio and a massive copper tree behind the bar with golden beer steins dangling from it.

History

The Santa Cruz area primarily bears names given by Spanish explorers, such as Mission Street, from the Spanish Mission established long before the town's incorporation. Records show the now-Westside area settled on the banks of the newly christened San Lorenzo river as early as 1769, with Pacific Avenue as the town's original main street since the 1860's. In the hills of Santa Cruz forests, you can find remnants of limestone quarries from the early 20th century. The Special Collections at UC Santa Cruz's McHenry Library archive photographs from Santa Cruz's history. A thriving university and relatively successful tourist industry have allowed Santa Cruz to develop slowly yet steadily throughout the decades since the University's inception in 1965. Contemporary Santa Cruz is well-known for its tourism and cultural strength.

Transportation

The Westside is a fairly navigable area, with Highways 1 and 17 as the primary arteries through the area's circulatory system. A well-established public transportation system runs through the area, from the University to downtown Santa Cruz, extending into the greater Santa Cruz area from the downtown transit station. Traffic can feel clustered during peak periods, yet it is manageable, and parking isn't often too difficult to find. On foot, the commercial areas are highly accessible, demanding 30 to 40 minutes at most to cross to opposite ends of the Westside's commercial reaches. Because Mission Street is the local continuation of Highway 1, its speeds can be inhospitable to cyclists for a decent stretch, but otherwise the whole area is bike friendly, mostly flat in tourist areas and hillier only when travelling through residential areas towards the University.

Cost

Likely due to the town's desirable climate and proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area, the cost of housing is relatively high on the west side of Santa Cruz. Rent in the area averages $1,882 per month, well above the California and U.S. averages. Overall, city infrastructure and costs are fairly reasonable, with a pint of quality beer at a local bar costing $4 to $6, public transportation costing $1 to $2, and gas prices only slightly above the national average.

Shopping

Surrounded by some of the most fertile growing regions in the country, Santa Cruz has two outstanding year-round farmers markets, one taking up a massive block-length parking lot on Wednesday afternoons and a smaller Saturday morning farmers market sandwiched between Natural Bridges State Beach and Highway 1. Chain stores such as Trader Joe's and CVS service the remainder of the basic needs of area residents, with local New Leaf Community Markets providing fresh, locally produced goods, followed by smaller specialty stores such as the Food Bin and Herb Room on Mission Street. The Westside's Pacific Avenue is the main shopping area of all of Santa Cruz, bordered on its south end by the Santa Cruz Beach boardwalk. Locals enjoy access to art supply stores, bookstores such as Logos Books and Records or the iconic Bookshop Santa Cruz for great used and new selections, and funkier boutiques such as the Sockshop & Shoe Company for high-quality upscale footwear.

Parks

There is a stunning and geologically diverse group of state parks to visit on the Westside. North of downtown and on the east side of UC Santa Cruz lies Pogonip, a gorgeous redwood forest peppered with open plains that overlook the ocean, downtown, and the Santa Cruz waterfront. To the west of UC Santa Cruz and running down to Highway 1 is Wilder Ranch State Park, composed of staggered tiers of sea cliffs, scrub and clumps of dense forest, that is very popular with local mountain bikers for its network of rutted downhill trails. On the ocean side of Wilder Ranch lies a bike trail that runs east towards Natural Bridges State Beach and Westcliff Drive, a cliffside crawl studded with pocket beaches, wildlife and historic surf destinations.

Nearby

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Westside Apartments for Rent

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Oceanview
222 Columbia St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
New
$2,395 - 3,770 1-2 Bed Available Now
844-701-0170
Cypress Point
101 Felix St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
1 wk
$1,963 - 5,198 Studio - 2 Bed Available Now
866-876-0952
1 wk
71 Front St Unit 206
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
$1,595 Studio Available 07/05/17
408-400-3572
Pacific Shores
1240 Shaffer Rd, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
$3,847 - 3,972 2 Bed Available Now
1 hr
121 Rincon St
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Call for Rent House for Rent Available Now
2 hrs
890 W Cliff Dr
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
$4,995 House for Rent Available Now
1 day
317 Chace St
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
$3,800 House for Rent Available Now
1 day
129 Archer Dr
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
$6,500 House for Rent Available Now
1 day
520 Chestnut St
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
$1,995 Condo for Rent Available Now
1 day
408 Palm St
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
$2,980 House for Rent Available Now
New
132 Swift St
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
$3,200 House for Rent Available Now
5 days

Apartments for Rent in Westside, Santa Cruz, CA

Between the ocean and the banks of the San Lorenzo River, the lush west side of Santa Cruz is the cultural core of Santa Cruz County. Nestled among palm trees, sea cliffs and redwoods, contemporary Santa Cruz has a rich legacy of social activism and counterculture. Known as a prominent coastal surf town for decades and home to the long-subversive University of California Santa Cruz, look beyond the Santa Cruz Beach boardwalk towards a town center bristling with stimulating eateries and imbued with a deep appreciation for the arts, carved out of a landscape of geologically diverse state parks and natural reserves.

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