Here Comes Santa Claus – Follow Santa with the Santa Cruz Santa Tracker

Santa Cruz Santa Tracker Maybe it’s because our town shares his name, or maybe he just likes the vibe here.

Whatever the reason, Santa Claus is going to be making a lot of appearances throughout Santa Cruz County leading up to Christmas.

We got a hold of Santa’s daily planner (old school, I know, but that’s how Santa rolls).  We compiled a list of all of Santa’s stops throughout Santa Cruz County.

Three Ways to Track Santa Claus

We have created three ways for you to keep track of Santa as he makes his way through Santa Cruz County. Choose the one that works best for you:


Note – We’ve done our best to round up all of Santa’s stops in Santa Cruz, but you never know when and where he might pop up. If you hear of any Santa sightings that didn’t make our list then be sure to tell us in the comments section at the bottom of the post.  Also, while we’ve provided times for many of the events, please refer to the official websites for each event in case times and dates are updated.

Find Santa on the Map

Where will Santa be this year? Check the map below to find the locations Santa Claus plans to visit in Santa Cruz County.

Track Santa By Date

Use the table below to find where Santa will be on a specific date. You can sort the columns by clicking on the column header, or use the search box to the right to find a specific date or event. Links in the table take you to a detailed overview of the event.

DateEventLocationTime
Friday, Nov. 29Boulder Creek Downtown Holiday EventDowntown Boulder Creek5:00pm - 8:30pm
Friday, Nov. 29Holiday Lights TrainSanta Cruz Beach Boardwalk1st Train: 5:00pm
2nd Train: 6:30pm
Saturday, Nov. 30Surfin' SantaCapitola Beach12:00pm
Saturday, Nov. 30Felton Tree LightingFelton5:00pm - 7:00pm
Saturday. Nov. 30Holiday Lights TrainSanta Cruz Beach Boardwalk1st Train: 5:00pm
2nd Train: 6:30pm
Saturday, Nov. 30Photos with SantaCapitola Mall10:00am - 8:00pm
Sunday, Dec. 1Photos with SantaCapitola Mall10:00am - 8:00pm
Monday, Dec. 2Photos with SantaCapitola Mall11:00am - 8:00pm
Tuesday, Dec. 3Photos with SantaCapitola Mall11:00am - 8:00pm
Wednesday, Dec. 4Photos with SantaCapitola Mall11:00am - 8:00pm
Thursday, Dec. 5Photos with SantaCapitola Mall11:00am - 8:00pm
Friday, Dec. 6Capitola Tree LightingCapitola Village5:30pm
Friday, Dec. 6Photos with SantaCapitola Mall11:00am - 8:00pm
Saturday, Dec. 7Downtown Santa Cruz Holiday ParadeDowntown Santa Cruz10:00am - 12:00pm
Saturday, Dec. 7Aptos Village Tree LightingAptos Village2:00pm - 5:00pm
Saturday, Dec. 7Scotts Valley Tree LightingScotts Valley Community Center5:00pm - 7:00pm
Saturday, Dec. 7Santa at Marini'sMarini's Candies2:00pm – 6:00pm
Saturday, Dec. 7Holiday Lights TrainSanta Cruz Beach Boardwalk1st Train: 5:00pm
2nd Train: 6:30pm
Saturday, Dec. 7Photos with SantaCapitola Mall10:00am - 8:00pm
Sunday, Dec. 8Holiday in the PlazaWatsonville2:00pm
Sunday, Dec. 8Santa at Marini'sMarini's Candies2:00pm – 6:00pm
Sunday, Dec. 8Holiday Lights TrainSanta Cruz Beach Boardwalk5:00pm
Sunday, Dec. 8Photos with SantaCapitola Mall11:00am - 6:00pm
Monday, Dec. 9Photos with SantaCapitola Mall11:00am - 8:00pm
Tuesday, Dec. 10Photos with SantaCapitola Mall11:00am - 8:00pm
Wednesday, Dec. 11Photos with SantaCapitola Mall11:00am - 8:00pm
Thursday, Dec. 12Photos with SantaCapitola Mall11:00am - 8:00pm
Friday, Dec. 13Photos with SantaCapitola Mall11:00am - 8:00pm
Saturday, Dec. 14Santa at Marini'sMarini's Candies2:00pm – 6:00pm
Saturday, Dec. 14Holiday Lights TrainSanta Cruz Beach Boardwalk1st Train: 5:00pm
2nd Train: 6:30pm
Saturday, Dec. 14Photos with SantaCapitola Mall10:00am - 8:00pm
Sunday, Dec. 15Santa at Marini'sMarini's Candies2:00pm – 6:00pm
Sunday, Dec. 15Holiday Lights TrainSanta Cruz Beach Boardwalk1st Train: 5:00pm
2nd Train: 6:30pm
Sunday, Dec. 15Photos with SantaCapitola Mall11:00am - 6:00pm
Monday, Dec. 16Photos with SantaCapitola Mall11:00am - 8:00pm
Tuesday, Dec. 17Photos with SantaCapitola Mall11:00am - 8:00pm
Wednesday, Dec. 18Photos with SantaCapitola Mall11:00am - 8:00pm
Thursday, Dec. 19Photos with SantaCapitola Mall11:00am - 8:00pm
Friday, Dec. 20Santa at Marini'sMarini's Candies2:00pm – 6:00pm
Friday, Dec. 20Holiday Lights TrainSanta Cruz Beach Boardwalk6:30
Friday, Dec. 20Photos with SantaCapitola Mall11:00am - 8:00pm
Saturday, Dec. 21Photos with SantaCapitola Mall10:00am - 8:00pm
Saturday, Dec. 21Santa at Marini'sMarini's Candies2:00pm – 6:00pm
Saturday, Dec. 21Holiday Lights TrainSanta Cruz Beach Boardwalk1st Train: 5:00pm
2nd Train: 6:30pm
Sunday, Dec. 22Santa at Marini'sMarini's Candies2:00pm – 6:00pm
Sunday, Dec. 22Photos with SantaCapitola Mall10:00am - 8:00pm
Monday, Dec. 23Holiday Lights TrainSanta Cruz Beach Boardwalk1st Train: 5:00pm
2nd Train: 6:30pm
Monday, Dec. 23Santa at Marini'sMarini's Candies2:00pm – 6:00pm
Sunday, Dec. 22Holiday Lights TrainSanta Cruz Beach Boardwalk1st Train: 5:00pm
2nd Train: 6:30pm
Saturday, Dec. 23Photos with SantaCapitola Mall10:00am - 8:00pm
Tuesday, Dec. 24Photos with SantaCapitola Mall10:00am - 6:00pm

Santa Claus Event List

Want to know more about a particular event that Santa will be attending? Here you go…

Surfin’ Santa

Surfin Santa Capitola
Surfin’ Santa is a holiday tradition and a crowd favorite.

Santa arrives on the Capitola Beach at noon on Saturday, Nov. 30 via outrigger.  Bring your camera to get photos with Santa, and make sure you’ve got your Christmas list handy because Santa will be visiting with all the kids once he gets on dry land.

Date: Saturday, November 30
Time: 12:00 pm
Location: Capitola Beach
What to Bring: Christmas List, Camera
More Information: Capitola-Soquel Chamber of Commerce

Capitola Tree Lighting with Santa Claus

Join friends, family, and Santa Claus for the Holiday Tree Lighting festival in the Capitola Village. The festivities start at 5:30 at the arbor in front of Quality Market at Capitola & Stockton Avenues. Santa Claus will be on hand to visit with the kids. Many shops will be open for holiday shopping and there will be a raffle for gift certificates to Shadowbrook and various Capitola Village shops.

Date: Friday, December 6
Time: 5:30 pm
Location: Capitola Village
More Information: Capitola-Soquel Chamber of Commerce

Santa at Marini’s Candies

Like your Santa without the Mall?  Santa Claus will be at Marini’s Candies in Downtown Santa Cruz for 8 days in December.  This is a family affair, no professional photographer present, so bring your camera and have fun!

Date: December 7-8, 14-15, 20-23
Time: 2:00pm – 6:00pm
Location: Marini’s Candies in Downtown Santa Cruz
What to Bring: Christmas List, Camera
More Information: downtownsantacruz.com

Capitola Mall

Santa Claus will be at the Capitola Mall daily through Christmas Eve.  Times vary depending on the day so be sure to check the website for exact times.  Photos with Santa are available for purchase.

Date: Daily through December 24
Time: Click here for exact times
Location: Promo Court (near the Macy’s Entrance)
What to Bring: Christmas List, Money for Photograph (click here for pricing information)
More Information: Capitola Mall 

Holiday Event in Downtown Boulder Creek

Santa Claus will be on-hand for this holiday event in Boulder Creek.  The event starts at 5:00 pm, and Santa Claus will make his arrival at 6:00 pm, just in time for the tree lighting ceremony.  Afterwards Santa will be taking photos with the kids from 6:15pm – 8:30pm at Boulder Creek Pizza and Pub.  A photographer will be on hand to capture your special moment with Santa.  Pictures cost only $5.

Date: November 29
Time: 6:15 pm – 8:30 pm
Location: Downtown Boulder Creek
What to Bring: $5 for a pic with Santa
More Information

Santa Cruz Holiday Lights Train

The Holiday Lights Train is a popular attraction this time of year.  The hour long train ride is full of holiday cheer, and kids get a special treat when the train makes a brief stop at the north pole (Depot Park) to pick up Santa and Mrs. Claus.  Santa and Mrs. Claus chat with all of the children as they walk through the train.

Date: November 29 – 30 December 7, – 8, 14 – 15, 20 – 23
Time: Check website for exact times
Location: Train Departs from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
More Information: Roaring Camp

Felton Holiday Tree Lighting

Felton’s Tree Lighting Festival on Saturday, Nov. 30 will have plenty of holiday cheer.  It will also feature a chance for your kids to take photos with Santa.

Date: November 30
Time: 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Location: Felton

Downtown Santa Cruz Holiday Parade

Enjoy a traditional holiday parade in Downtown Santa Cruz.  The parade starts at Pacific & Laurel and heads north.  Bring your camera to get pictures of Santa Claus in the parade.

Date: December 7
Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Location: Downtown Santa Cruz
What to Bring: Camera
More Information: downtownsantacruz.com

Aptos Village Holiday Craft Fair & Tree Lighting

Santa Claus will arrive by fire truck at the start of the event so be sure to get there by 2:00.  Kids will have a chance to sit on Santa’s lap while parents take their own (free) photos.

Date: December 7
Time: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Location: Aptos Village Tree (corner of Soquel Drive and Aptos Creek Road)
More Information: Aptos Chamber of Commerce

Scotts Valley Christmas Tree Lighting Festival

Enjoy a holiday tree lighting festival with great food and live performances.  Santa Claus will arrive via fire truck, and you will be able to have a professional photo taken with him.

Date: December 7
Time: 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Location: Scotts Valley Community Center, 360 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley
More Information: Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce

Holiday in the Plaza

Watsonville hosts a holiday event on Sunday, December 8th.  There will be snow, a 30 foot tree, plenty of kids activities, and a special appearance by Santa Claus.

Date: December 8
Time: 2:00pm
Location: Downtown Watsonville
More Information: City of Watsonville

*Dear Santa Letter

If you don’t have a chance to visit Santa Claus in person this year (or if you’re going on the Holiday Lights Train), then be sure to drop a letter to Santa in the North Pole mailbox outside of the entrance to Neptune’s Kingdom at the Boardwalk.  The Roaring Camp trains will be making special evening trips to the North Pole each evening to drop off your letters to Santa Claus.

PS – Do you know of any other Santa sightings? If you catch a glimpse of him at an event that didn’t make our list then let us know in the comments below!

Surfin’ Santa Photo Credit: Capitola-Soquel Chamber of Commerce

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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