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Santa Cruz is famous for its coastline, natural forests, and famous Beach Boardwalk. With only over 275,000 residents, this surf city is not as populated as others such as San Diego or Santa Monica. But it’s still unique enough to have a 5.2% population growth since 2010.

Let’s take a look at the major Santa Cruz neighborhoods and see what gives this beach town its character.   

 

The Boardwalk and Beach Hill

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk lies east of the Santa Cruz Wharf. Built-in 1907, this admission-free amusement park is one of the only two existing coastal amusement parks in the United States West Coast. 

Across the Boardwalk is Beach Hill, a neighborhood on 3rd Street and Main Street dotted with Victorian-style homes and condos, known to be one of the most expensive locations in Santa Cruz.  

 

Seabright

Seabright, also called Midtown, resides along Soquel Avenue across from Seabright Beach. This laid-back neighborhood is becoming a hip and trendy area due to the locally owned shops and cafes. Homes here are characterized by the iconic beach home with a painted wooden deck and two stories. The area is filled with a lively nightlife scene with bars and live music leading to Seabright Beach. 

 

Downtown

Downtown Santa Cruz is filled with chic restaurants, shops, bars, and theaters. The Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History resides here. NExtSpace and Cruzioworks co-working spaces are here as well. The D-League Santa Cruz Warrior and Santa Cruz Derby Girls are hosted in the Kaiser Permanente Arena right off of Downtown Santa Cruz.

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Up Next: 5 Tips to Finding a Rental Home in Santa Cruz, CA

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Capitola Village

 

Capitola features a lifestyle reminiscent of a European seaport with independently owned restaurants and shops. Capitola hosts art, wine, and music festivals all year round, including a Surfing Santa at the start of the holiday season.

Due to the migration of residents from other areas of California, the homes in Capitola have grown in popularity and have increased in prices. This area is also quieter and known for families settling down here.

 

Aptos and Seacliff

 

The communities along Seacliff are located in Aptos, CA, just a few miles south of the heart of Santa Cruz. Seacliff is one of the more popular neighborhoods in Aptos due to its secluded beachfront. The densely populated neighborhood overlooks the Seacliff State Beach, famous for its RV park, fishing spots, and the USS Palo Alto, a concrete freighter docked on the beach since 1929.

Aptos also features the Rio Del Mar neighborhood with European coastal architecture next to the beach. 

 

The University of California, Santa Cruz, and Santa Cruz Mountains

University of California, Santa Cruz is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains in northern Santa Cruz. The mountains comprise 2,000 acres of natural wildlife. The university area has been known for impacted student and faculty housing. Public trails surround the university, incorporating the campus into the wildlife. 

The Moore Creek Estates and Westmont Place are housing neighborhoods developed for students and faculty who attend UCSC.

Easily tour around the neighborhoods of Santa Cruz by instantly scheduling a rental property showing with Poplar Homes.

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