Santa Cruz Events

Santa Cruz County has great events all year long, and we'll keep you up to date on the best events, right here.


Santa Cruz knows how to celebrate holidays, as is evidenced by the massive influx of visitors with each major holiday. HIghlights include 4th of July in Santa Cruz, Halloween, and the Christmas holidays.

Recurring Events

Santa Cruz is home to some great recurring events. The First Friday of each month is an art lover's dream, while bargain hunters love the Santa Cruz Antique Faire, held the first Sunday of each month.
During the summer months you can enjoy weekly outdoor events like the Wednesday night Movies on the Beach, Thursday night Beach Parties at the Crow's Nest, Friday Night Bands on the Beach, Sunday Art & Music in Capitola, and many more.

Annual Events

Over the years Santa Cruz, Capitola, and the surrounding communities have developed some amazing annual events. Summer is the unofficial event season, but you can find great events year round.
Favorites include Woodies on the Wharf, the Capitola Rod & Custom Classic Car Show, the Wharf to Wharf Race, the newly added Pleasure Point Street Fair, Begonia Festival, Capitola Art & Wine Festival, Restaurant Week, the Santa Cruz County Fair, the Santa Cruz Open Studios Art Tour, Santa Cruz Film Festival, the Santa Cruz Greek Festival, and Santa Cruz TEDx. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
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Santa Cruz Guerilla Drive-In: Free Outdoor Movies Under the Stars

Santa Cruz Guerilla Drive-In at City Hall Protest

Santa Cruz Guerilla Drive-In at City Hall Protest (Photo credit: Bob Elderberry)

There are no formal drive-in movie theatres left in Santa Cruz County, but a few times a year you can follow a set of buried-treasure type directions to find the Guerilla Drive-In, an anarchist outdoor moving movie theater whose legality is hazy but whose awesomeness is not.

Guerilla Drive-In, which started in 2002, claims, “Beyond showing great free movies year-round and bringing a broad community together, part of our mission is reclaiming public space and transforming our urban environment.”

Bringing together two passions innate to Santa Cruz — DIY (Do It Yourself) culture and great cinema — Guerilla Drive-In screens free films at different locations around town.  The first guerilla theater in the country, it often does not secure rights or permits to show these films. This is part of their mission to reclaim public space — they don’t believe permits should be needed to simply enjoy a movie outdoors with some friends.  As a result, police officers have sometimes broken up the peaceful viewings, on the grounds of trespassing.

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Santa Cruz 4th of July 2013 Events

Santa Cruz 4th of July

This post is about 4th of July events from 2013, but not to worry! Just head over to our updated post with 2015 4th of July events in Santa Cruz.

Use of personal fireworks is illegal in much of Santa Cruz County, but that doesn’t mean this town lacks for Independence Day activities.  From Aptos to Bonny Doon, there are plenty of options for celebrating 4th of July in Santa Cruz.

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4th of July Activities For Kids: 7 Fun & Safe Alternatives to Fireworks

4th of July Activities for Kids

With 4th of July just a week away it’s time to start to nail down those patriotic plans.

If you live in a place like Santa Cruz, where there are limited Fireworks shows then you might consider buying fireworks and putting on your own show.  But, if you have kids, then fireworks aren’t the smartest or safest things to be bringing into your home.

Here’s a look at 7 kid-friendly alternatives to fireworks.  These 4th of July activities for kids will all create hands-on fun for you and your little ones, and are a lot safer than lighting fireworks and running like mad to duck for cover before they go off.

Note – some of these items aren’t intended for young kids.  Use your best judgement in picking out the right toys for your tots.

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