Santa Cruz Boardwalk Concerts

Free Friday Night Bands on the Beach

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Concerts

Photo Credit: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

The Boardwalk isn’t just for roller coasters and deep-fried cheesecake. Every Friday night from mid-June through August, the award-winning seaside amusement park hosts free outdoor concerts, featuring hit bands from the ’60s through current day recording artists.

A concert on the beach is not only a chance to hear great live music. It’s a little slice of sun-soaked paradise, a perfect fusion between natural and synthetic beauty. To look out at the pale blue sky above the deep tapestry of blues in the ocean while hearing Papa Doo Run Run, a Boardwalk concert staple, perform “Surfin’ USA” is to attain the status of a perfectly picturesque summer evening in Santa Cruz.

And boy, do people know it. Although the first concert doesn’t start until 6:30 p.m. and the second at 8:30 p.m., fans have gone so far as to line up on the beach in the morning, just so they can get the perfect spot in front of the stage.

Friday night traffic and parking around the Boardwalk can get pretty crazy, so if you don’t want to miss any of the concert, arrive early or travel by some way other than car if possible — walk, bike, or park Downtown and take a metro bus (#19 and #20 run from the Downtown Metro Center to the Wharf).

Alcohol is allowed on the Boardwalk, but not on the beach. A low beach chair is great for relaxing and enjoying the music, and cautionary sweater in case the wind picks up or the fog rolls through is always a good idea.

So the next time you’re in the mood for music and standards like the Catalyst aren’t peaking your interest, remember to take a look at who’s playing the Boardwalk.

Share Your Beach Boardwalk Concert Experiences & Use Hashtag:



6:30 PM & 8:30 PM


Main Beach @ the Boardwalk



2018 Boardwalk Concert Lineup



Hit Song

Jun. 15 Berlin Take My Breath Away
Jun. 22 The Motels Only the Lonely

Jun. 29

Los Lobos La Bamba
Jul. 6 Rose Royce Car Wash
Jul. 13 Smash Mouth All Star
Jul. 20 Los Lonely Boys Heaven
Jul. 27 The Fixx One Thing Leads to Another
Aug. 3 Y&T Summertime Girls
Aug. 10 TBA
Aug. 17 The English Beat Save It For Later
Aug. 24 Starship featuring Mickey Thomas We Built This City
Aug. 31 Papa Doo Run Run (Santa Cruz) Beach Party

Need a Place to Crash?

Coming from out of town?  Here are some recommended hotels, each within walking distance to the Boardwalk:

  • Beach Street Inn & Suites
  • Dream Inn
  • Sea & Sand Inn
  • West Cliff Inn

Beach Street Inn & Suites

Beach Street Inn

  • 4 minute walk to Main Beach / Boardwalk
  • Ocean View Rooms


Dream Inn

Dream Inn Santa Cruz

  • ​Santa Cruz’s premiere ocean front luxury hotel
  • 4 minute walk to Main Beach / Boardwalk
  • Ocean View Rooms


Sea & Sand Inn

sea and sand inn

  • 5 minute walk to Main Beach / Boardwalk
  • Ocean View Rooms


West Cliff Inn

West Cliff Inn

  • 4 minute walk to Main Beach / Boardwalk
  • Ocean View Rooms
  • 9.2 out of 10: Rating by guests at