Discover the East Side of
Santa Cruz

East Side Santa Cruz is a perfect balance between the funky vibe of Downtown and the quieter energy of South County. One thing about the East Side: it’s pretty much just locals around here. The tourists thin out as you get a few miles south of Downtown until it feels like just neighbors at your local beaches, restaurants, and parks.

In the Eastside Santa Cruz Community

strockrealestate-aptos-ca-East-Cliff-restaurant

Food

The East Side has a handful of locally cultivated restaurants. There are less options than Downtown or Aptos Village, but every establishment here feels hand selected. Start your morning with Harbor Cafe, a favorite brunch spot that’s easy to miss because of its unassuming location and beach-shack-chic exterior. You’ll get the hint on a Saturday morning though, when you spot throngs of locals waiting for their Cali Benedict, Churro Belgian Waffle, or Tofu Scramble – best washed down with a housemade Bloody Mary. 

In the evening, venture over to the Crow’s Nest, a beachside restaurant that sits right at the mouth of the Harbor (translation = sailboat views come complimentary with every meal). Delicious food, cool cocktails, and stellar sunsets make this a locally loved eatery. Upstairs the Breakwater Bar We & Grill (the affiliate, more casual dining area) offers even better views, live music, and an especially spectacular vantage point to watch the sunset. 

Other local favs include Seabright Deli, if you’re looking for a great sandwich to take to the beach; Tramonti, if you’re in the mood for classic Italian food or a good Spritz (they have three different types); and La Posta, another Italian restaurant that offers Neighborhood Night every Wednesday (AKA, a free glass of wine with every pizza/pasta order)! 

Family

Alright, we’ve sold you on the lifestyle here in East Side Santa Cruz (honestly, one of the most underrated communities). Now, where to live? The Seabright neighborhood offers a wide array of family homes in a quintessential beach town neighborhood, from classic bungalows, to new townhomes, to historic Victorians. What we love about this neighborhood is its proximity to the beach and the conveniences of town. 

The Live Oak neighborhood is just next door – it’s a little further from the ocean (though only a sub 5-min drive) but it is close to everything in Capitola, and just a short drive to Midtown and Downtown! Lastly, the Twin Lakes neighborhood is right by the Harbor and has direct access to Twin Lakes State Beach, an awesome stretch of sunny sand. You’ll find fabulous coastal cottages here, and everything is walking distance to the surf. 

Ready to move to the East Side? We thought you might. 

Fun

Now that we’ve eaten our way through the East Side, we’re ready for some active fun. We’ll start with something easy, like a leisurely stroll out to Walton Lighthouse, which is right at the end of Seabright Beach. Head out to the end of the jetty at sunset for an unparalleled view of Monterey Bay. This is especially fun on Wednesday nights in the summer, during the sailboat races; local clubs speed between the Harbor and the Santa Cruz Wharf, while you have the best seat in the house at the Lighthouse. 

The Harbor itself offers plenty of ways to have fun in the community. You could join a local yacht club and participate in the aforementioned sailboat races, or you could hop on board the Chardonnay. The Chardonnay Sailing Charter offers public cruises every week on their 70’ sailing yachts. But wait, it gets better: they offer a bunch of different themed excursions, depending on your mood – from brunch, to beer, to pizza, to a classic sunset sail

strockrealestate-aptos-ca-East-Cliff-fitness

Fitness

Not close enough to the water for ya? Check out the SUP Shack that’s right here in the Harbor and rent paddle boards, kayaks, and boogie boards. In addition to the gear, you can also join a SUP yoga class on the water, a sunset tour, or even send the kiddos to a day camp in the summer! 

Ready for something that’s a little more grounded? Check out Arana Gulch, a hidden gem of protected green space that begins at the end of the Harbor and scoops into the surrounding neighborhoods. The one mile paved loop is great for walking, biking, and checking out the native habitat! If the Arana Gulch Loop is just a warm up for you, you’ll love Pacific Edge Climbing Gym (locally referred to as Pac Edge). Snag a day pass and gear rental for around $40 and start rock climbing! You could also join a class (they have yoga!), a club, or a summer camp for the kids. 

 

Search for homes Horizontal-Eastside

Instant Home Valuation

Experience Life As a Local

Experience Life
As a Local

You can download your own guide or you can book time with one of our agents. Discover hiking trails, hidden food gems, the best beach paths, and more!