Dining With Your Dog, Santa Cruz Style

Santa Cruz is many things: beach town, surfer town, hippie town … the list goes on and on. One thing that often gets lost on the leftmost coast is that we are absolutely a dog-loving town. For many locals, taking their dog with them has became part and parcel of leaving the house and luckily, there’s enough places that allow it that you’ll have plenty of options. In this blog post, we take a look at some of the best local spots you can grab a bite with your pooch by your side.

SeabrewSeabright Brewery – The Seabright Brewery is also on our list of best local breweries and it’s a great place to take your pooch. With a spacious outdoor seating area that’s nearly as big as the interior, there is plenty of room for owners and pets alike to enjoy a relaxing outdoor meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) alongside the steady trickle of the outdoor fountain. The Seabright Brewery is located at 519 Seabright Ave. near Murray St.


Harbor Cafe – Just on the other side of the harbor from the Seabright Brewery is the Harbor Cafe–another great spot to enjoy a meal with your dog. The Harbor Cafe also has plenty of outdoor seating, but it is primarily a breakfast and lunch spot since it closes at 2 p.m. The Harbor Cafe also made the cut of our best local breakfast spots in Santa Cruz, particularly for those to try their delicious mimosas.

Hoffman’s Bistro (Downtown) – Hoffman’s is a downtown favorite of many locals, particularly after the renovations and changes brought on by their stint on the TV show “Restaurant Impossible.” There is a small outdoor seating area that allows dogs.

Surfrider Cafe – The Surfrider Cafe has a couple of outdoor tables around the perimeter of the restaurant that allow dogs while eating. As for their food, they have a nice selection of sandwiches, including plenty of options for vegetarians. They also have a decent beer selection and multiple TVs, on which you can usually find local sporting events. They do not currently have a website, but you can stay up to date on what’s going on by visiting their website here.

CHkCharlie Hong Kong – A local favorite for lovers of Asian street food, Charlie  Hong Kong has more outdoor seating than it does in its small main building. Unlike some of the other places on this list, their outdoor area is fully covered, providing a nice amount of shade. It is often a rather crowded place to eat so you should keep that in mind if you’re going at peak hours. They generally have a dish set out with water for dogs.


Other useful tips

Exploring the Best Beaches In Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is called “Surf City” for a reason and there’s plenty of coastline to enjoy, whether you’re paddling out or just relaxing on the sand. This blog post will cover the best beaches in town, from the popular and crowded to the scenic and less-traveled.

seabrightbeachSeabright State BeachSeabright State Beach is on the midtown side of the Boardwalk, opposite of Main Beach. As such, it is a bit more touristy and crowded than some other beached, but it does offer a different experience that is a good time, especially around “beach holidays,” which means any sunny day that most people have off of work. Seabright is a large beach with plenty of space to set up shop, build a bonfire, and bring your dog (on-leash only).

Its Beach – Its Beach at Lighthouse Field State Beach is one of the most popular beaches on Santa Cruz’s Westside, in part due to the fact that it is a dog-friendly beach. Situated right near the lighthouse, which is home to a surfing museum, as well as world-renowned surf spot Steamer Lane, Its Beach is enjoyed by tourists and locals alike. Whether taking your dog for a run on the beach or just strolling by for a sunset view, it’s easily one of the best spots in town to relax and enjoy the ocean vibe along West Cliff Dr.

Seacliff State Beach – Located in Aptos on State Park Dr., Seacliff State Beach is another of Santa Cruz County’s signature beaches. Unlike the others on this list, it has a pier, which is often used for fishing. There is also a concrete ship, the SS Palo Alto, permanently situated at the end of the pier. The SS Palo Alto has an interesting history of how it came to the area as an unused WWI tanker ship.

Pleasure Point – Pleasure Point is one of the most popular surf spots in the area, located just south of Santa Cruz in nearby Capitola. The Point is also home to wet suit inventor and local icon, Jack O’Neil, which only adds to the allure of the famous breaks and surf contests held here. While it doesn’t offer much in terms of actual beach space, it is one of the best places to soak up some sun and watch the surfers.

natturalbridgesNatural Bridges State Beach Natural Bridges, at the end of West Cliff Dr., may very well be the crown jewel of Santa Cruz beaches. It’s a great spot to park and take in the view of the bird-covered rocks and what remains of the natural bridges. Or you can stroll down to the beach to stick your toe in the water. The beach itself tends to be less crowded than some others, but it is a popular destination for cars that drive along West Cliff, particularly at sunset.

You may be intrested in…

Local Golf Course Guide & Review | Santa Cruz, CA

Though it may not offer quite the pedigree of a city like San Diego, Santa Cruz is absolutely a golf-friendly part of the Central Coast. With several local courses of varying difficulty, there’s truly something for everyone, from newcomers to the game to seasoned pros. We’ve even got a local course designed by world famous course architect, Alister Mckenzie.

Not all of these courses are in Santa Cruz, but those that aren’t are all within a short drive from the area. If you feel adventurous, there’s plenty more great courses to see just south in Monterey.

Driving range at Delaveaga Golf Course.

Driving range at Delaveaga Golf Course.

Delaveaga Golf Course & Lodge – Delaveaga is a nice, full 18-hole course that is challenging but not overly difficult. They regularly hold tournaments and have events at the course, which tend to draw a nice local crowd. The clubhouse is also home to a restaurant called “The Lodge” which offers some decent eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Delaveaga also has one of the nicer driving ranges around, giving golfers a chance to work out the kinks before they hit the links. There is also a putting and chipping green.


Pasatiempo – Pasatiempo is a lovely course designed by renowned course architect Alister Mackenzie, who also designed Augusta National. The course is “semi-private,” meaning that it is only open to the public during certain times. It should be noted that Pasatiempo has both a dress code that must be adhered to, as well as a requirement that all spikes be plastic rather than metal. It is, without a doubt, one of the most beautifully designed and well-maintained courses we have in the local area.


Seascape – A very nice 18 hole course located in nearby Aptos, Seascape is a nice complement to Delaveaga as they are similar in difficulty. It’s got plenty of ups and downs, ravines, and a few holes that offer some unique challenges. Though the course is located very near the ocean, there aren’t many spots that provide the sweeping views of a Pebble Beach. They also have practice facilities, a pro shop, and food and drink at the well-maintained course.


valleygardensValley Gardens – Valley Gardens is a straightforward and fairly easy nine hole course located in nearby Scotts Valley. It’s the most affordable of the local courses, but is also the least challenging. There is a pond on the course that’s in play on some of the holes, though it’s fairly easy to navigate around unless you mis-hit the ball. A great place to grab a quick round if you don’t have time to play 18.


Boulder Creek – The Boulder Creek Golf Course is an 18-hole course that is fairly short and straightforward. There are a lot of tree-lined fairways that will punish errant shots, but there is not anything particularly tricky or difficult about the course. It’s a great course to play a “quick” 18 (if such a thing exists) since it is much shorter than the other local 18-hole courses.


Golf belongs – without any doubts – among the most favorite outdoor activities Santa Santa Cruz has to offer.

Pizza Places In Santa Cruz: Best Of The Best

pizzamyheartSanta Cruz has a ton of options for pizza and Italian cuisine lovers and you can get everything from a standard slice of greasy goodness to a artisanal pizzas made in wood-fired ovens. With apologies to those left off this list, here are the best places to get a slice or pie in Santa Cruz. 

Pizza My Heart – If you like thin crust pizza, this is the place for you. A no-frills pizza joint with locations from downtown to Capitola (and beyond), it’s hard to beat a good slice from Pizza My Heart. Most locations have a distinctly local feel to them, from the surf-themed downtown location to the hole-in-the-wall location in Capitola Village. The slices are greasy in the best way possible and the lines are usually long so pack your patience if you’re hankering for a unique slice.


Woodstock’s Pizza – Woodstock Pizza is more akin to a sports and pizza place. They have multiple TVs that always have sports on, a small arcade, and they host local trivia and game nights. Woodstock’s is popular with university students and locals alike, offering a bit more of an “experience” than some other places–think pizza parties and family friendly fun (and beer).


Engfer Pizza Works – Engfer’s is a local joint in the Seabright neighborhood that has a quirky appeal. Aside from delicious pies made in a wood-fired oven, they also have a beer cooler from which you can buy drinks for your meal, or grab some to go. There’s a small side room that also has a ping-pong table for guests to use.


Bantam Pizzeria – A higher-end pizzeria, Bantam also makes pies in a wood-fired oven from their location on the Westside of Santa Cruz. They have limited hours, typically from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Their emphasis is on artisanal pizzas made with organic and locally sourced ingredients, both of which shine through in the great flavors of their pizza.


Upper Crust Pizza & Pasta – Upper Crust has what is probably the best Sicilian style pizza you’ll find in Santa Cruz. They are also known locally for having one of the best daily lunch specials in town, as well as their nightly dinner specials, which include pasta, pizza, drinks, and wings. Upper Crust has locations on Soquel Dr. and on Mission St. on the Westside of town.


Pizzeria Avanti – Avanti is more similar to Bantam than the other restaurants on this list. They also focus on organic, natural ingredients that sourced from throughout the county. Their offerings are more along artisanal lines, which means the cost is a bit higher than you’ll find at a standard pizza-by-the-slice place. They also have some interesting toppings that you might not find at other places in town.


Santa Cruz, CA Disc Golf Courses & Guide

DossSanta Cruz has an intimate connection with the history of disc golf, not to mention a world famous course that is considered one of the most challenging in the world. Many of the earliest organizations and companies involved in the sport came from our own backyard, not to mention a few professional players and several highly ranked amateurs.

Delaveaga Disc Golf Course – Delaveaga, or “Dela” to locals, is one of the most beautiful (and frustrating) courses in the world. Situated just past the golf course, it offers a similar layout and terrain, if with a bit more rugged and un-manicured. Part of the difficulty of the course is that there are endless trees on most holes, a majority of which hide the steep ravines just behind them.

Each year, Delaveaga plays host to the Steady Ed Memorial Master’s Cup, which draws the top players from all over the world. The tournament is one of the few that make up the National Tour of the Professional Disc Golf Association.

Delaveaga is one of the most challenging courses in the world, so be prepared foDeLar some difficulty if you’re a casual player throwing a round. With 27 holes and plenty of elevation changes, it can also be pretty tiring. Make sure to bring water as there is none available at the course itself.


Aptos High School – If you’re not quite ready to take on Delaveaga, Aptos High School has a wonderful 18-hole course on the perimeter of the school campus. (Important to note: the course can only be played after 3 p.m. when school is in session). A challenging, but much easier course than Dela, Aptos High School offers a lot of variety: open shots, tunnel shots, a “top-of-the-world” hole, and multiple basket placements.


Black Mouse – Black Mouse Disc Golf Course is actually located in nearby Felton, just behind San Lorenzo Valley middle school. As with Aptos High School, the course should only be played after 3 p.m. when school is in session. It’s a relatively short course, but it is heavily wooded and the entire thing is on a sloped hillside. Your disc will get familiar with plenty of trees when you play this course and you may also witness the worst rollaway you’ve ever seen (outside of Dela, of course).

It’s a challenging and technical 18-hole course that is heavily shaded, which is a nice break from the sub-baked rounds offered by other local courses.


UC Santa Cruz – UC Santa Cruz has recently installed a 9-hole course that is pretty straightforward and definitely the easiest one on this list. Some of the holes require a bit of distance, especially if you’re throwing from the long position, but all are wide open and offer at least a look at the basket. There’s a little bit of elevation change, but not much in the way of obstacles (see here for map).

Golf can be one of the amazing outdoor activities Santa Cruz has to offer not only to those, who life in the city, but also to Santa Cruz visitors.

The Best Breakfast Spots in Santa Cruz

ZacharysThough it’s a small town, Santa Cruz is big on breakfast and for good reason: there are several great local spots to choose from. In this article, we take a look at the top places to grab some morning grub before embarking on a day of sunshine-filled adventure. You’ll notice that all of these tend to get crowded pretty early as they are popular and well-known among locals, as well as attracting plenty of out-of-towners during peak tourism months.

Zachary’s – It’s hard to think about getting breakfast in Santa Cruz without Zachary’s coming up. It’s located in the heart of downtown on Pacific Avenue and is one of the most popular spots for locals, students, and tourists alike. In spite of a rather large eating space, Zachary’s does get quite busy and it’s advisable to get there somewhat early if you want to avoid a wait. Local favorites from their menu include their delicious sourdough pancakes and of course, “Mike’s Mess,” their signature scramble plate. (It should be noted that Zachary’s is closed on Mondays).


WalnutcafeWalnut Avenue Cafe – Another great downtown breakfast spot, Walnut Ave. Cafe offers standard breakfast plates, fresh-squeezed juice, and an atmosphere that feels like a classic, old-time diner. Like Zachary’s, Walnut Ave. Cafe also gets crowded quickly so it’s best to try and get there early for a table, especially on the weekends. There is also limited outdoor seating, which is a pleasant and comfortable treat on most days in Santa Cruz.


Cafe Brasil – Though it’s in a tiny building that was clearly once a home, Cafe Brasil is big on flavor and atmosphere. They offer a variety of Brazilian breakfast and lunch options, including their popular acai bowls, smoothies, and fresh squeezed juices. Parking is even more limited than seating at Cafe Brasil and it’s recommended that your park on a side street.


Linda’s Seabreeze Cafe – A highly regarded and award-winning local cafe, Linda’s Seabreeze Cafe serves breakfast and lunch from their Seabright Ave. location. Another smaller eating spot, Linda’s tends to get crowded pretty early as you’ll note by the steady gathering of people outside the entrance. They serve classic breakfast dishes and offer sandwiches and burgers on the lunch menu. Linda’s is open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays.


Harbor Cafe – Just on the other side of the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor from Linda’s is the Harbor Cafe. In business locally for more than 50 years, they serve standard breakfast plates as well as some great lunch options. Like the other places mentioned on this list, it gets crowded so getting there early is a good idea. Once you’re seated, you can relax outside with one of their delicious mimosas or bloody mary’s while you ponder your breakfast choice.



More useful tip