228 Interesting, Odd, Beautiful & Historic Things to See in Santa Cruz County

228 Interesting, Odd, Beautiful & Historic Things to See in Santa Cruz CountySanta Cruz is easy to fall in love with.

We have great people, amazing natural surroundings, a lot of history, and a ridiculous amount of uniqueness that can only be described as being very “Santa Cruz.”

It’s natural, given the pride that many of us feel in our town, to assume that we know Santa Cruz inside and out.

However, authors Steven Bignell and Susan Bruijnes have just released a new book which is likely to challenge your knowledge of Santa Cruz.  And it just may lead you to some great new discoveries.

The book, 228 Interesting, Odd, Beautiful & Historic Things to See in Santa Cruz County, is indeed packed full of interesting things to see and do in Santa Cruz.

Sure, it includes many of the well known attractions and sights from around town, but it also delves into many obscure and lesser known gems from around the county.

A Look Inside the Book

228 Interesting, Odd, Beautiful & Historic Things to See in Santa Cruz County is broken into the following geographic sections:

  • Downtown Santa Cruz & Vicinity
  • Westside Santa Cruz
  • UC Santa Cruz
  • San Lorenzo Valley & Scotts Valley
  • The North Coast
  • Eastside Santa Cruz
  • Mid-County: Capitola, Soquel, Aptos, Rio del Mar
  • South County: Watsonville & La Selva Beach

Below are a couple excerpts from the book (photos below are not from the book, though the book does contain photos of all 228 items discussed).

#73 Small Creatures

If you want to see a perfect example of a Santa Cruz treasure hidden in plain sight, locate the traffic island that separates the one-way residential portion of Trescony Avenue from the commercial section of the street next to the Mission Street McDonald’s.  Peering up at you from inside the triangular island are the eyes of dozens of small creatures.  These tiny, colorful ceramic sculptures were created by local elementary school students under the direction of artist and sculptor Susana Arias….it is a wonderful example of the extensive array of public art that can be seen all over the county.

Small Critters

#163 Beach Cottage

The one-room beach cottage on display at the Capitola Historical Museum is tiny, but in the early part of the last century, $1-a-day cottages like this were home to many seaside tourists visiting the beaches of Capitola and Santa Cruz.  Vacationers would stay on the coast for a month or more during summer to get away from California’s hotter regions…The cottage at the museum was built in 1907 and was used in Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s Cottage City for more than 30 years…Peek in the windows and you will see how such a cottage might have been furnished in those early days of seaside tourism.

Capitola Beach Cottage

The book is a testament to just how rich Santa Cruz County is with history, creativity, and natural beauty.

You’ll learn the history behind many of the public works of art that you walk or drive past on a daily basis (like the painted electric boxes at each intersection, and the mosaics on the lampposts on the Water Street & Soquel Avenue bridges).

You’ll also be treated to many local history lessons, and find new places to enjoy a leisurely walk, or a sunset view.

Most of all though, you’re likely to come away with a renewed desire to get out and explore Santa Cruz.

228 Interesting, Odd, Beautiful & Historic Things to See in Santa Cruz County is available at Bookshop Santa Cruz.

Click here to buy online at Bookshop Santa Cruz.


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About Ethan Oates

Ethan Oates fell in love with Santa Cruz while visiting as a child. He has lived in Santa Cruz since the mid '90's, and is happiest when spending time with his family.

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