Santa Cruz, California

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Santa Cruz, California

Introduction to Santa Cruz, California

Situated on the northern part of Monterey Bay, the California city of Santa Cruz lies about 30 miles southwest of San Jose and 74 miles south of San Francisco. Incorporated in 1866, the city is the county seat for the County of Santa Cruz. The principal industries of Santa Cruz are tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, and education (University of California at Santa Cruz is located here). The city's proximity to Silicon Valley has in recent years also brought an influx of workers in high-tech industries into Santa Cruz and its surrounding towns.

Santa Cruz was founded in 1769 by Spanish explorer Don Gaspar de Portola, who named the area after the Spanish name for "Holy Cross". In the late 1800s, agriculture, logging, lime processing, and commercial fishing were the thriving industries. By the turn of the century, tourism took hold as a major industry and prospered to this day, thanks to the city's scenic beauty, mild climate, abundant sunshine, and 29 miles of coastline. The quintessential beach town often referred to as "Surf City" (despite the fact that Huntington Beach trademarked the moniker), Santa Cruz lays claim to being the place where Hawaiian royalty first introduced surfing to the U.S. mainland.

Things to do in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is famous for its beaches and for the sport of surfing. The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, housed in the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse, traces more than a century worth of surfing history associated with Santa Cruz. Museum visitors enjoy a spectacular view of the city and the Monterey Bay while overlooking the famed surfing site known as Steamer Lane. The Santa Cruz Boardwalk, the West Coast's last remaining seaside amusement park, offers more than 30 rides, arcades, food, an indoor miniature golf course and over 15 gift shops. The Cocoanut Grove complex hosts trade shows, conventions, conferences, parties, banquets and more. The Santa Cruz Wharf is famous for its views of marine mammals, its fishing, and other recreational activities.

Included among the cultural offerings in Santa Cruz is the annual summer festival held by Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Typical performances include two Shakespeare plays and one other play. Some of the performances take place in a unique outdoor space among the redwoods. Santa Cruz is also home to the Cabrillo Music Festival. Local Santa Cruz museums include the Natural History Museum and the Surfing Museum.

The nearby city of San Jose, located only a half-hour away, is home to a number of its own attractions. A few of the more prominent are the Winchester Mystery House, the Tech Museum of Innovation, the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, the Children's Discovery Museum, and the History Museum of San Jose. Sports fans can see Minor League Baseball action (Triple-A's San Jose Giants), Arena Football League action (San Jose SaberCats), and the National Hockey League's San Jose Sharks.

Fans of alternative sports will recognize Santa Cruz as home to the De Laveaga Disc Golf Course, which hosts several PDGA (Professional Disc Golf Association) tournaments, including the annual Masters Cup. De Laveaga was the host venue for the disc golf and discathon World Disc Games overall event held in July 2005. The event was sanctioned by the WFDF (World Flying Disc Federation).

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High Points

Santa Cruz strengths, compared to Peers (similar size places nationally) or State (other places in California):

Category Trophy
Walking and Biking to Work
(vs. Peers)
Top 1% trophy Santa Cruz Walking and Biking to Work
College Educated Adults
(vs. Peers)
Top 14% Santa Cruz College Educated Adults
Public Transportation Use
(vs. Peers)
Top 15% Santa Cruz Public Transportation Use
Well-Paid Single Women
(vs. Peers)
Top 17% Santa Cruz Well-Paid Single Women
Well-Paid Single Men
(vs. Peers)
Top 18% Santa Cruz Well-Paid Single Men

Comparative Profile of Santa Cruz, California

Comparing Santa Cruz to similar size places nationwide (Peers) and to other places in California (State):

Ratings range from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest).

The People

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Male Share of the Population 9 7
Well-Paid Single Women 9 8
Well-Paid Single Men 9 8
Racial Diversity 7 5
Age of the Population 3 4
Senior Citizens 3 3
Female Share of the Population 2 4
Children Under 5 Years Old 1 2


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Average Household Size 4 3
Portion of People Married 2 1


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
College Educated Adults 9 9
Median Family Income 7 7
People in Middle Class or Better 4 5
People Above Poverty 3 4

Commute & Sprawl

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Walking and Biking to Work 10 10
Working at Home 10 8
Public Transportation Use 9 9
Short Commute Times 6 7


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Studio & One-Bedroom Rentals 10 9
Seasonal and Vacation Housing 10 9
People Living Alone 7 8
Affordability of Property Taxes 4 3
Housing Recently Built 4 3
Affordability of Rents 2 3


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Low Property Crime 3 2
Low Violent Crime 2 1

Detailed pages on related topics: Colleges in Santa Cruz, Graduate Schools in Santa Cruz
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Santa Cruz Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 26 miles S of San Jose, California
County Santa Cruz
Standard Zip Codes 95060, 95062, 95064, 95065, 95066
P.O. Box Zip Codes 95061, 95063, 95067
Phone Area Codes 831
Time Zone Pacific (-8 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 36.974
Longitude -122.029

Santa Cruz Climate

Nearest Weather Stations

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)
Distance 2.6 miles
Jan Temp 40 to 61 F
Apr Temp 44 to 69 F
Jul Temp 53 to 75 F
Oct Temp 48 to 73 F
Annual Precip 30.6 inches
Distance 14.8 miles
Jan Temp 39 to 61 F
Apr Temp 45 to 68 F
Jul Temp 53 to 72 F
Oct Temp 48 to 72 F
Annual Precip 23.2 inches
Station GILROY
Distance 25.6 miles
Jan Temp 39 to 60 F
Apr Temp 47 to 73 F
Jul Temp 56 to 88 F
Oct Temp 50 to 79 F
Annual Precip 20.6 inches
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Santa Cruz Population (2000)

Category Count Percent
Total Population 54,593 100%
Male 27,180 49.8%
Female 27,413 50.2%
Under 18 9,463 17.3%
18+ 45,130 82.7%
65+ 4,663 8.5%
Median Age 31.7
Average Family Size 2.98
White 42,984 78.7%
African-American 945 1.7%
Asian 2,677 4.9%
American Indian & Alaskan 469 0.9%
Other 4,990 9.1%
Mixed Race 2,456 4.5%
Hispanic (included in categories above) 9,491 17.4%

Estimated Santa Cruz Population Growth 2000-2005

Category Value
Est. 2005 Population 54,760
Growth 167
Growth % 0.3%

Santa Cruz Ancestry

(From 2000 Census, as reported by individuals)

Note: This is national, not racial, ancestry, so, e.g., the Census doesn't have categories for Hispanic and African-American people. CityTownInfo is currently gathering additional ancestry data for this site.
Ancestry Percent
Other (often includes Hispanic and African American) 30%
German 10.4%
Irish 9%
Italian 8.5%
English 8.4%
US/American 3%
European 2.7%
Scottish 2.4%
Russian 2.3%
French (except Basque) 2.2%
Polish 1.9%
Norwegian 1.7%
Portuguese 1.7%
Swedish 1.6%
Scotch-Irish 1.6%
Dutch 1.4%
Danish 1.1%
British 0.9%
French Canadian 0.6%
Welsh 0.6%
Greek 0.6%
Eastern European 0.5%
Northern European 0.5%
Swiss 0.5%
Scandinavian 0.4%
Hungarian 0.4%
African 0.3%
Romanian 0.3%
Ukrainian 0.3%
Lebanese 0.2%
Celtic 0.2%
Iranian 0.2%
Yugoslavian 0.2%
Austrian 0.2%
Lithuanian 0.2%
Armenian 0.2%
Canadian 0.2%
Croatian 0.2%
Finnish 0.2%
Czech 0.2%
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Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Santa Cruz, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Bonny Doon (95060)
Paradise Park (95060)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Pop. Median Family
Income (2000)
Santa Cruz 54,593 $62,231
Capitola 10,033 $59,473
Los Gatos 28,592 $119,194
Monte Sereno 3,483 $156,706
Saratoga 29,843 $155,246
Scotts Valley 11,385 $88,573
Watsonville 44,265 $40,293

Santa Cruz Public Libraries

Santa Cruz Libraries
Santa Cruz, California
(831) 420-5600

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Santa Cruz Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Private)
(831) 477-2200
Emergency Service: No

(Voluntary non-profit - Church)
(831) 462-7700
Emergency Service: Yes

Starbucks in Santa Cruz

(As of 2005)
1335 Pacific Avenue
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Featured Colleges in the Santa Cruz Area (QuickSchools™)

quickinfoThese schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).

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Santa Cruz High Schools (2004)

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 1,179 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 26.1

Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 1,177 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 27.1

A Charter School.
Serves 366 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.1

A Non-traditional School
Serves 307 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 14

A Non-traditional School
Serves 189 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 26.6

A Non-traditional School
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 169 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 22.2

A Non-traditional School
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 115 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 19.2

343 SOQUEL AVE. #44
A Charter School.
Serves 54 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 15.4

Serves 44 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 44

Santa Cruz Colleges

Click school name for a detailed profile.

Five Branches University

University of California-Santa Cruz

(List of California Colleges)

Detailed pages on related topics: Colleges in Santa Cruz, Graduate Schools in Santa Cruz
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City, State Similarity   1 Person Houses 65+ College Grads Commute Minutes Family Income Kids 0-4 Non White Pop. Poverty Prop. Crime Seasonal Housing Viol. Crime
      loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose
1. Tempe, Arizona 89.4   28.5% 7.2% 39.6% 21 $55,237 5.7% 22.5% 158,625 14.3% 82.2 0.8% 6.2
2. South Miami, Florida 86.9   31.2% 13.6% 38.1% 29 $57,791 5.9% 30.2% 10,741 17.1% 82.9 0.6% 7.9
3. Charleston, South Carolina 86   33.8% 13.5% 37.5% 21 $48,705 5.4% 36.9% 96,650 19.1% 56.3 1.1% 10.8
4. Lexington, Kentucky 82.5   31.7% 10% 35.6% 20 $53,264 6.2% 19% 260,512 12.9% 39.2 0.8% 5
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