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Overview

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).

People

Total Population 62,752
Male Share of the Population 49.2%
Female Share of the Population 50.8%
Senior Citizens 9.7%
Employed Population 16+ 30,450
Age of the Population 29

Families

% of people married 29.2%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 51.5%
Median Earnings25+ $38,169
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $22,520
Median Earnings With High School Degree $26,903

Wealth

Median Family Income $88,738
% Above Poverty Level 76.2%
% Below Poverty Level 23.8%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 22 minutes
% Working from Home 7.1%
% Walking and Biking to Work 19.1%
% Using Public Transportation 6.6%

Housing

People Living Alone 32.3%
Median Gross Rent $1,545
Median House Value $659,500

Ancestry

Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 37.5%
US/American 0.2%
English 10.5%
Irish 12%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

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

Notes:

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Station SANTA CRUZ
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
Station WATSONVILLE WATERWORKS
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

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 Population Median Family Income
Capitola 10,077 $73,610
Los Gatos 30,398 $157,701
Monte Sereno 3,508 $229,583
Saratoga 30,817 $200,677
Scotts Valley 11,780 $113,546
Watsonville 52,543 $47,604

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Santa Cruz Public Libraries

Library
Santa Cruz Libraries
1543 PACIFIC AVE.
Santa Cruz, California
(831) 420-5600

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Santa Cruz Hospitals

SUTTER MATERNITY AND SURGERY CENTER
(Voluntary non-profit - Private)
2900 CHANTICLEER AVENUE
(831) 477-2200
Emergency Service: No

DOMINICAN HOSPITAL
(Voluntary non-profit - Church)
1555 SOQUEL DRIVE
(831) 462-7700
Emergency Service: Yes

Click the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab.
Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school.

 
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Santa Cruz High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

SANTA CRUZ HIGH
415 WALNUT AVE.
831-429-3960
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 1,179 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 26.1

HARBOR HIGH
300 LAFONDA AVE.
831-429-3810
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 1,177 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 27.1

PACIFIC COLLEGIATE
900 HIGH STREET
831-479-7785
A Charter School.
Serves 366 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.1

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY COMMUNITY
3650 GRAHAM HILL RD.
831-479-5331
A Non-traditional School
Serves 307 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 14

ALTERNATIVE FAMILY EDUCATION (AFE)
300 LA FONDA AVE.
831-429-3432
A Non-traditional School
Serves 189 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 26.6

ARK ALTERNATIVE
313 SWIFT ST.
831-429-3432
A Non-traditional School
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 169 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 22.2

LOMA PRIETA HIGH (CONT.)
319 LAFONDA AVE.
831-429-3854
A Non-traditional School
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 115 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 19.2

DELTA CHARTER
343 SOQUEL AVE. #44
831-458-0406
A Charter School.
Serves 54 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 15.4

BEN LOMOND YOUTH CONSERVATION CAMP
13575 EMPIRE GRADE RD
831-423-1652
Serves 44 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 44

Santa Cruz Colleges

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