This Weekend in Santa Cruz: March 9th – 11th, 2018

Santa Cruz Wharf with Clouds

This weekend, leave the wetsuit at home and jump in the chilly ocean for a great cause. Music lovers, there’s a 2-day festival just for you. And a circus put on by local kids sounds like a fun way for families to spend a potentially rainy Saturday afternoon.

See our picks for the top events this weekend (and be sure to scroll to the bottom for some upcoming events you’ll want to put on your calendar):

This edition of the Santa Cruz Life Weekend Roundup is powered by Event Santa Cruz and the 2018 NEXTies. We hope you’ll join us for The NEXTies on Friday, Mar. 23rd at the Rio Theatre as we celebrate some of the best and brightest in our local community. 

2018 Nexties

Click here to learn more about The 2018 Nexties.


Avenue Q School Edition

When: 3/8-3/10 & 3/15-3/17 @ 7:00 pm and 3/11 & 3/18 @ 2:00 pm
Where: Henry J Mello Center
Cost: $7 & $10

PVHS/WHS Drama present their performance of this Tony Award Winning puppet-filled comedy about a recent college grad who moves into an apartment in a neighborhood that’s a bit out of the ordinary. This play has been adapted for high school performances and is rated PG13.

Get more info here.

Santa Cruz Food Lounge Night Market

When: 3/9 from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Where: Santa Cruz Food Lounge
Cost: Free

So much delicious fun is in store at the Night Market, a recurring dining event that takes place on the second Friday of every month. Tantalize your tastebuds with Persian, Venezuelan, and Thai cuisine, for starters. Speaking of starters, there will also be a Kickstarter Launch Party for 11th Hour Coffee. Try multiple dishes from local pop-up vendors as well as craft cocktails from the bar. This month’s live music is “Nomad”.

Get more info here.

Santa Cruz Tattoo Expo

When: 3/9 – 3/11
Where: Kaiser Permanente Arena
Cost: $20 – $45

Tattoos, food, drinks, and music will be featured all weekend long at the 2nd Annual Santa Cruz Tattoo Expo. If you’re looking for inspiration for your first or next tattoo, this is a great event to explore your options—browse artist portfolios, watch live demos, and meet tattoo artists from all over the country.

Get more info here.

Also on Friday

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Santa Cruz Polar Plungepolar plunge

When: 3/10 at 10:00 am
Where: Rio Del Mar Beach
Cost: $125

Take a dip into the chilly water at Rio Del Mar Beach and support Special Olympic athletes! Raise at least $125 and then take on the challenge of a cold morning dunk to raise awareness for Special Olympics. You can even skip the dip and register as a “chicken” to enjoy the festivities without all the dampness. Everyone is encouraged to dress in costume. You can even register your dog for the Puppy Plunge! Food for participants, awards, incentives and more.

Get more info here.

Santa Cruz Music Festival 2018

When: 3/10 – 3/11
Where: Various venues in Downtown Santa Cruz
Cost: $45 – $130

Hit the music scene all weekend long with more than 200 performers and artists at many locations downtown. New venues added this year for an even bigger lineup of hip hop, rap, rock, reggae, metal, folk and more. There will also be artists, yoga, food trucks and late night fun. Choose between the full experience pass for ages 18 and up, or the Locals Pass for ages 21 and up.

More info: Festival Website & Purchase Tickets

Santa Cruz Music Festival – Onesies and PJ’s Bike Party


When: 3/10 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Where: Depot Park

Put on your onesie, grab your bike and head out to the party! SC Bike Party presents a daytime group ride in your PJs! There’s even a chance to win two tickets to the Santa Cruz Music Festival. All ages and experience levels are welcome. Rides are 5 to 10 miles long with music and dance stops, too.

Get more info here.


When: 3/10 at 2:00 pm
Where: Aptos High School
Cost: $12. Over 65 or under 12: $6. Kids under 2 are free

Bring your friends and family out for an afternoon performance as Orchard School students present their annual Circus.  See juggling acts, clowns, circus animals and even unicycles! Tickets can be purchased online or at the door.

Get more info here.

Avenue Q School Edition

See Description Under Friday Section

Santa Cruz Tattoo Expo

See Description Under Friday Section

Also on Saturday

santa cruz instagramKeep up with us all weekend long, and see which events we’re attending, by following Santa Cruz Life on Instagram.


The Magic of Honey Bees


When: 3/11 from 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Where: Hive & Hum
Cost: $45

Learn about the magical honey bees and how you can help these amazing and important creatures. Expert Emily Bondor will host this class and share her apiculture experience and knowledge. Whether you are interested in beekeeping, want to be a steward for bees or just want to learn more about the importance of honey bees, then this is the class for you.

Get more info here.

Festival of Dreams Santa Cruz

When: 3/11 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Where: Louden Nelson Community Center
Cost: Tickets are $25 in advance/$35 at the door

Learn about dreamwork and how the many forms of dreaming can shape our lives. The festival will feature a keynote address by expert and author Dr. Gayle Delaney, a panel discussion, six workshops and private dream consultations. Raffle, food, drink and more!

Get more info here.

Avenue Q School Edition

See Description Under Friday Section


See Description Under Saturday Section

Santa Cruz Tattoo Expo

See Description Under Friday Section

Also on Sunday

Upcoming Events You Don’t Want to Miss

Painted Cork Grand Opening

Painted Cork Grand Opening

What: Painted Cork Grand Opening
Where: Painted Cork (1129 Soquel Ave.)
When: March 17 from 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Help us welcome Painted Cork Art Studio to Santa Cruz during their Grand Opening celebration on March 17. Painted Cork offers family friendly painting lessons for all ages, but as their name suggests, they also offer “Paint and Sip” classes for the over-21 crowd. Bring your own beer or wine and paint the night away with friends. All art supplies are provided and there’s no experience necessary. Just bring your favorite beverage and get ready to have a great time. Find out all about their classes while enjoying complimentary drinks and taco bar at the Grand Opening next Saturday, March 17 from noon to 4:00 PM.

Get Event Info

Santa Cruz Derby Girls 2018 Season Opener

santa cruz derby girls 2018

What: Santa Cruz Derby Girls 2018 Season Opener (Double Header!)
Where: Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium
When: March 17. Game times: 4:30 PM & 6:45 PM

With all due respect to the Warriors, our favorite local sports team is without a doubt the funky, community-minded, hard-hitting Santa Cruz Derby Girls. It’s an all-fun atmosphere in the crowd yet no-nonsense on the track, and we love every minute of it. They’re kicking off the season in style with a double header on St. Patrick’s Day. Game 1 features the Derby Groms (the #1 ranked all-star junior team in the world), and Game 2 features the Santa Cruz Derby Girls’ adult all star team, the Boardwalk Bombshells. We hope to see you there!

Get Event Info

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About Valerie Lemke

Valerie Lemke was a transplant from the Bay Area to Santa Cruz County over 25 years ago, and hasn't looked back since. She is a local freelance writer and photographer who loves writing about and photographing one of the most beautiful regions in the world, the Central Coast.