Introduction to Watsonville, California
Watsonville, California, in Santa Cruz county, is 15 miles E of Santa Cruz, California (center to center) and 30 miles S of San Jose, California. The city is situated in the Pajaro Valley. Watsonville is a major agriculture and food processing area. The municipality is surrounded by agricultural land. Strawberries, apples, raspberries, lettuce, artichokes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, blackberries, mushrooms and cut flowers are some of the primary crops. The Eastern Highlands are utilized for cattle grazing, timber production and includes vineyards and orchards.
Watsonville is home to the headquarters of Driscoll's Strawberries, West Marine, Sweet Darling Strawberries and Martinelli's, a prominent producer of sparkling apple cider. Light industry, manufacturing and the service industries are factors for the economy. The majority of the coast land bordering Watsonville is included in the Monterey Bay Sanctuary. The Santa Cruz Mountains can be seen from parts of the city.
Watsonville features cool winters and mild summers. Fog and low overcast are typical occurrences during the night and morning, particularly during the summer. The city has a very large Hispanic population and a sizeable Asian-American community. In 2008 Country Home Magazine placed Watsonville in the top ten "Best Places to live in America."
The Costanoans were the original inhabitants. By 1847 there were a large number of cattle ranches. The city was incorporated in 1868. The municipality was named in tribute to Judge John Watson. It began to thrive after the railroad connected Watsonville with Santa Clara Valley in 1871. Watsonville is located near the epicenter of the powerful 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake which destroyed and damaged numerous building situated downtown. The earthquake caused a lot of destruction all over the region.
- The Henry J. Mello Performing Arts Center features a variety of musical productions, dramas and other events.
- Santa Cruz County Symphony.
- Monterey Bay Strawberry Festival features entertainment, crafts and strawberry treats.
- Pajaro Valley Arts Council.
- Santa Cruz County Fair features music, arts and crafts and entertainment for kids.
- California Pajarosa.
- Agricultural History Museum.
- Watsonville Fly-In & Air Show is a popular event and features antique airplanes, military planes and helicopters.
- Watsonville Speedway.
- Pajaro Valley Historical Association.
- Birding Festival.
Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, Manresa State, Sunset, Moss Landing State and Zmudowski State beaches are popular destinations. The Wetlands Nature Center is a noteworthy location. Mount Madonna County Park is enjoyed by residents and tourists. Visitors enjoy the local wineries including Alfaro Family Vineyard and Winery, Natal Vineyards and River Run Vintners. Golf enthusiasts enjoy playing at the nearby Springs Hills Golf Course. Families have fun at the close by Santa Cruz Beach & Boardwalk.
Watsonville Higher Education
The city is served by the nearby University of California at Santa Cruz, Cabrillo College and California State University at Monterey Bay.