Top Summer Events in Santa Cruz!

The state of California is a huge hotspot for tourists. With so many activities, events, and of course the undeniably perfect summer weather throughout the entire year, California is at the top of the list for many. However, the state itself is quite big, so the only big decision you have to make is what city you should road trip to visit in the summer. To make your life a little easier, just start planning your summer trip with a visit to Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is known for its natural scenic beauty, oceanside amusement park, infamous wharf, and an abundance of indoor and outdoor events that are sure to capture your attention.  This summer, there are some really fun adventures going on that you don’t want to miss out on. Take your friends and family to these top summer events in Santa Cruz, California.

Beach Events

Speaking of undeniably perfect summer weather, why not use that to your advantage? The best way to spend an afternoon or evening enjoying yourself is doing it a few feet away from the ocean. One of the most popular spots in all of Santa Cruz is the beach boardwalk. Right next to the iconic Santa Cruz amusement park, the beach boardwalk is hosting some spectacular nights this summer including free movie nights every Wednesday at 9pm. The movie nights will run from June 20th to August 15th, 2018. If you’ve never watched a movie in the summer night breeze, it is a must. The soothing sound of waves subtly crashing behind you is the ultimate experience. On Fridays, however, the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk will have free band nights on the beach for you and your loved ones to enjoy. On June 15th-August 31st at 6:30pm and 8:30pm, bring your beach chairs to chill out and watch the show, or your favorite summer outfit for some dancing right next to the stage.


If you’re looking to explore and experience different cultures, Santa Cruz has all types of festivals where you can do just that. Voted the best street festival in Santa Cruz County, The Greek Festival will be one for the books this year. From September 8th-10th, enjoy food, live music, spirits, and unlimited free smells. Speaking of free, the admission is of no charge as well.  On September 8th-9th, the 36th annual Capitola Art & Wine Festival will also be going on.  There will be over 150 fine artists, 23 Santa Cruz Mountain wineries, and even a children’s art area with ongoing craft projects. Whichever festival you choose to go to this summer, both will be an unforgettable experience for your family and friends.


Hold on to your horses because you’re in for a crazy ride at the Annual Santa Cruz County Fair. Usually held in the middle of September, you can expect to have the time of your life at this 5 day event. Here you’ll find amazing and one-of-a-kind food, big and small carnival rides, monster truck shows, camel rides, and a market filled with farmer grown produce that you can purchase and bring home. This is by far one of the most anticipated and beloved fairs that the locals look forward to every year. If you have children, this fair is absolutely a must to visit on your trip to Santa Cruz this summer.


No matter the time or day, there are always some sort of live musical performances that you can find in Santa Cruz. This city is filled with aspiring vocalists, musicians, and bands that are just itching to show off their talents to the world. If you’re looking for the hottest artists for all types of music, you’ll probably want to check out The Catalyst Club. Whether local or national, every artist at this spot will blow your mind.  If you’re looking for a more classical music scene, the Santa Cruz Symphony is the place to go. According to Performing Arts in Monterey Bay, “The Santa Cruz Symphony has become one of the premiere orchestras of the greater Central California region.” Let’s just say they’re not known to disappoint.  On June 2nd, they will be holding a pops concert at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. Titled as the “Movie Music of John Williams,” this concert will contain classic themes from iconic movies such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones movies, and more. You will not want to miss this.

These few festivals, fairs, and concerts only scratch the surface of what Santa Cruz has to offer. The last thing you should visit before your summer trip comes to an end is the infamous, mile-long, oceanside amusement park in Santa Cruz located right by the boardwalk.  With over a hundred years of history, it is considered one of the best seaside amusement parks in the world. So, whether you’re looking for exciting nightlife and adventure, or unique and wholesome family fun, there is something for everyone no matter the age. Take advantage of these events while you’re in town this summer and don’t be afraid to ask the friendly locals about what to do in their gorgeous town if you’re feeling adventurous. Have fun, enjoy your summer, but most importantly drive safe!