THE FULLEST Guide to Santa Cruz
We’re thrilled to have Santa Cruz local Katie Chirgotis guest edit this guide. Katie is the founder of Eothen Circle, an apothecary and flower shop on the west side of town just a few blocks away from shimmering Monterey Bay. We are huge fans of Eothen Circle’s beautiful offerings and are honored that a number of THE FULLEST products are on their carefully curated list of wellness essentials. Make sure to book Katie’s guide full of secret tips and her under the radar locations!
Welcome to Santa Cruz, CA! A dreamy little surftown less than two hours south of San Francisco with mythic waves, towering redwoods, and intimate community. My name is Katie and I am the founder and creative director of Eothen Circle or as we call it our little earth temple by the sea. Read on for our best picks for the next time you’re in town!
The Dream Inn
Beautiful oceanfront hotel with a pool, a view, and surfboard storage. Book early, the “No Vacancy” sign is on more often than not.
With a more urban lean, Hotel Paradox appeals to those who are drawn to a bolder, more energized design aesthetic than this sleepy surftown typically offers.
For those looking for an Airbnb in south Santa Cruz, this one’s for you! This serene and earthy cabin in the valley is tucked in under the trees and designed with sustainability and beauty in mind.
Historic Spanish Style Home
Private, stylish, and perfectly located on the west side close to UCSC, it also has two bicycles for use!
Cottage in Pleasure Point
Located in the eastside of town, this newly remodeled home is brand new on the market and minutes from the epic surf of Pleasure Point.
Santa Cruz Farmer’s Market
Enjoy year-round abundance at this farmer’s market. We love the Wednesday downtown market — which is filled with incredible food and flower options from all over California.
Bad Animal Books
Rare and vintage books rub shoulders with a curated natural wine bar and delectable small plates. The food is by MIDWAY and each plate features a standout ingredient grown and harvested on a local farm.
A focus on wood-fired Northern Cali fare with an emphasis on the freshest organic ingredients. Devour beautiful and elegant plates full of flavor and seasonality.
Quirky, bright, and fun — a Riviera-inspired cuisine from the mind of multi-Michelin star awarded chef David Kinch. Order a clean and chic Spagliato Bianco to sip alongside warm Taggiasca olives before enjoying a tartar of salmon caught just that morning and only a mile away.
High vibe, low ego, and all in good fun. This natural wine bar is a gathering place for anyone who wants to dive into the world of living, wild wine, while having a most excellent time. Truly a gathering place for the people, the fanciest to the saltiest of types will find their place here. Keep tabs on their social media accounts for weekly food announcements including incredible food pop-ups such as Japanese yakitori, Eastern European with a California twist, and Latin American street food.
Part apothecary, part flower shop, with the fullest intentions to provide beautiful, healthful, magical products for mind, body, and spirit. Our offerings center around femme, BIPOC, and queer-owned crafts and products that are meant to support and uplift your practice — whether that be skin, nutrition, or ritual. We’re lucky to be a stockist of THE FULLEST, which truly hits all the marks of what we love to offer to our patrons. Warm Feelings™ saffron latte sachet for nourishment, Kinder Thoughts™ saffron capsules for supplement support, Strands of Sunshine™ saffron threads for emotional and mental uplift, Mindful Immunity™ super protection syrup to boost and strengthen.
Founded in 2005, Vanessa’s eye for the chic and thoughtful designers and creatives with an edge is unparalleled. You’ll find apparel from Rachel Comey, fine jewelry from Pamela Love, apothecary from Wonder Valley, lighting from Conway Electric, linens from Dunsen and Dunsen, and so much more. The racks and visual displays are always changing, so be sure to visit again and again to avoid missing out on any treasures.
Bianca Avril Solorzano has an absolutely dope vintage apparel collection in a lofty, hip space. Check her social channel for the best updates on what’s coming through, and be sure not to miss her contemporary art gallery above Coqui.
Stripe Design Group
An incredible collection of home decor, baby and child, women’s, and men’s apparel. Stripe recently began offering interior design services for residential and commercial interiors, you’ll see their work in hip spaces around town like Humble Sea and Venus Spirits.
Botanic and Luxe
Created by two best friends and absolute gems, Leilani and Ariel, Botanic and Luxe is a thoughtfully curated boutique focusing on plant accents for the home, gifts, interior decor, fair-trade, and locally made. In the heart of downtown, they’ll have moved into a bigger and even more luxe space by October 1st.
Seymour Marine Discovery Center
Also known as “Serengeti of the Sea” for its incredible diversity of marine life, this community-supported education center run by the University of Santa Cruz is a 20,000-square-foot scientific immersion where guests can touch a shark, explore the latest discoveries in ocean science, and take in the spectacular Monterey Bay. The wide open stretch of land leading to the center is also an excellent place to practice your roller skating skills!
Land of Medicine Buddha
A powerful place with miles of trails that wind through sacred temples and magical forests. These paths eventually connect to Nisene Marks State Park but are never that populated due to its tucked-away location and limited access hours. Check the events calendar for meditation events open to the public or register for their retreats and workshops.
Natural Bridges State Park / Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve
Natural Bridges is an excellent vantage point for viewing the area’s shore birds, migrating whales, and seals and otters playing offshore. Make your way to the tidepools for glimpses into the underwater world of sea stars, shore crabs, sea anemones, chitons, and an abundance of life — just make sure to check the tide chart for lows and negatives beforehand.
In the spring, the park is bright with native wildflowers and in the winter, it’s Monarch butterfly season! A walking path called the Monarch Butterfly Trail meanders through the grove of trees where they literally hang out, gathering for warmth on the swinging branches of eucalyptus trees. You can park for free outside the state park on West Cliff Drive, Swanton Blvd, or Delaware Avenue. There is a convenient entrance at the corner of Delaware and Natural Bridges Drive and the grove will be on your left.
East Cliff Drive / West Cliff Drive
If you hug the coast along the line of “the Fishbowl,” named after the way the City of Santa Cruz curves around Monterey Bay, you’ll soon see that there are well-kept, well-walked coastal bluff trails perfect for biking, running, and strolling on the East and West arcs of town. Experience beautiful views, spy secret swimming spots, and drink in the sea air as you catch a sunrise or sunset — or both!
If you’re craving to get in the water, here’s a list of excellent breaks to check at a range of levels from easy to advanced. Be sure to wear at least a 4/3 wetsuit, know your etiquette, and be gracious to the locals — they don’t mess around. Here are a few of our faves:
- Capitola Jetty
- Pleasure Point
- Four Mile
- The Hook
- Steamer Lane
- 30th and East Cliff
- Moss Landing