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Sep 19th
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Santa Cruz

Area Guide

Best of Santa Cruz County

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks

It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, Editor
Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

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Area Guide

Santa Cruz Visitor Guide

Santa Cruz Visitor Guide

One of the pleasures that locals find living in Santa Cruz County is, perhaps, knowing that they reside in somewhat of a protective paradise. There’s the striking beauty—from the gorgeous Monterey Bay to the breathtaking Santa Cruz Mountains. And then there’s the amazing food—from festive little taquerías to upscale culinary hot spots. And in between, there’s so much activity happening that it’s hard to be bored here. Now, you get to experience some of the splendor, too. Most visitors to the area admit to being captivated by everything Santa Cruz County has to offer, and our annual guide is designed to help steer you in the right direction, and, perhaps, point out a few things you may not have even considered on your trip.
Open Santa Cruz Visitor Guide PDF
>
Santa Cruz Visitor Guide Online>

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Area Guide

The 2012 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll

The 2012 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll

What is the best new business in Santa Cruz County? Where do you find the best calamari? Which local mover and shaker captured your interest? The answers to all that—and much more—awaits. Welcome to our annual Best Of Santa Cruz Readers’ Poll. It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, we spotlight all of the local businesses, restaurants and humans that captured your interest over the past year. Our hats go off to our readers, for voting, and to all of the individuals recognized as being the “best” they can be in the creative realms they operate in. They’re a passionate bunch, these winners, so take some time and appreciate their time in the spotlight. Also, take note of our annual Critics’ Picks on page 100, where our editorial posse unveils a different kind of “list.”  As always, thank you for reading. And here’s to another year of making Santa Cruz County the very best it can be.
As always, thanks for reading. And here’s to another year of making Santa Cruz County the best it can be.
—Greg Archer, Editor

Best of Santa Cruz County Index:
| Critics’ Picks | Shops | Food & Drink | Arts & Entertainment | Health & Fitness | Professionals | The Rest |

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Area Guide

Santa Cruz Happy Hour Directory

Santa Cruz Happy Hour Directory

Santa Cruz Happy Hour Directory
In good times or bad, who can resist happy hour?  Check out our Santa Cruz area happy hour directory, where you'll find a list of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs that offer specials on food and drink. Know of something we missed?  Add a comment below or contact Good Times.

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Area Guide

Lighted Boat Parade 2011

Lighted Boat Parade 2011

Photo slideshow.  Judging cetegories: Sailing, Power, People Powered, Commercial/Sponsored Vessels, Best of Theme and Best Music. Enchanted Harbor at Santa Cruz Dec. 3, 2011 Sponsored by the Santa Cruz Harbor Yacht Club.

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Area Guide

Karaoke in Santa Cruz

Karaoke in Santa Cruz

Let your star shine with karaoke in Santa Cruz


Boardwalk Bowl
Bocci’s Cellar
Britannia Arms
Fog Bank
Henfling’s Tavern & Grill
Hindquarter Bar and Grill
I Love Sushi
Malone’s Grille
Michael’s on Main
Sir Froggy’s Pub
Trout Farm Inn

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Area Guide

Dog-friendly Spots in Santa Cruz

Dog-friendly Spots in Santa Cruz

Dog-friendly businesses in Santa Cruz County
Dining
Shopping
Lodging
Dog Parks
Dog Friendly Beaches
Miscellaneous



 

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Area Guide

SC Culture, Attractions, Art Galleries & Theater

SC Culture, Attractions, Art Galleries & Theater

Get out and enjoy some Santa Cruz Attractions, Art Galleries & Theater.

Cabrillo Stage at the Cabrillo Theatre
6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 831-479-6154;
831-479-6429, cabrillostage.com Summer always heats up with Cabrillo’s high-caliber offerings. This year’s line-up includes “The Full Monty,” “Hairspray” and “The Last 5 Years.” Professional actors, great stage direction and brilliant music arrangement. Watch exclusive behind-the-scenes footage on GTv.  photo: rr jones

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Area Guide

Menu Guide for Santa Cruz area

Menu Guide for Santa Cruz area

Click below for the menus, phone numbers and address of all these restaurants:
Laili, Kianti’s, Rosie McCann’s, El Palomar, Fire Fish, Ideal Bar & Grill, Miramar, Casablanca Restaurant, Zelda’s, Paradise Beach Grille, Zameen Cuisine, Sawasdee Thai Cuisine, Lillian’s, The Crepe Place, burger., The Parish, Samba Rock, Pearl of the Ocean, Vasili’s Greek Taverna, Zoccoli’s Deli, Taqueria Vallarta, Charlie Hong Kong, Aloha Island Grille, May’s Sushi, Engfer’s Pizza Works, Chill Out Cafe, Clubhouse Kitchen, Hollin’s House, Hindquarter, Ristorante Italiano, Zachary’s, Hula’s, Linwood’s Bar & Grill.
Dining, Restaurant list in Santa Cruz County
Restaurant dining and wine reviews >
>Spring 2012 Food and Wine Dining Guide PDF.
Menu Guide for Santa Cruz area (Fall 2011) >
Menu Guide for Santa Cruz area (Spring 2011) >
Restaurant A-Z in Santa Cruz area >

Area Guide

Shopping in Santa Cruz

Shopping in Santa Cruz

Guide to shopping, antiques, boutiques, clothing, bookshops and more in Santa Cruz, Capitola, Aptos

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Area Guide

Santa Cruz County Farmer's Markets

Santa Cruz County Farmer's Markets

Aptos Farmers’ Market At Cabrillo College
Downtown Santa Cruz Farmers’ Market 
Live Oak Farmers’ Market
Westside Farmers’ Market
Scotts Valley Farmers’ Market

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Area Guide

Wine Bars and Wineries in Santa Cruz County

Wine Bars and Wineries in Santa Cruz County

There are so many local wineries in the area, but there are a unique cluster of impressive wine bars, too. Pop the cork and dive in. See also Good Times Josie Cowden's reviews of Santa Cruz area wines and wineries.
Restaurant dining and wine reviews >
Menu Guide for Santa Cruz area >
Restaurant A-Z in Santa Cruz area >

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Area Guide

SC Theater, Art, Attractions & Museum

SC Theater, Art, Attractions & Museum

Theater
Art Galleries
Attractions

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Area Guide

Santa Cruz area Radio guide

Santa Cruz area Radio guide

Good Times area AM & FM radio stations and programming guide.

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Area Guide

Resorts, Hotels, Spas in Santa Cruz County

Resorts, Hotels, Spas in Santa Cruz County

Resorts,
Hotels,
B&B’s &
Spas in Santa Cruz County

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Area Guide

Beaches in Santa Cruz County

Beaches in Santa Cruz County

A list of beaches in the North and South County area.
Capitola Beach, Castle Beach, Its Beach, Moran Lake, Manresa State Beach,
Sunset State Beach, Natural Bridges State Park, New Brighton State Beach,
Pleasure Point Beach , Privates ., Rio Del Mar Beach, Santa Cruz Main Beach
Seacliff State Beach , Twin Lakes State Beach
North Coast Beaches
Davenport Beach, Panther Beach , Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel , Waddell State Beach

 

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Area Guide

Surf Spots & Schools in Santa Cruz County

Surf Spots & Schools in Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz is one of the world's finest surfing areas.
Here's the Good Times guide to surfing & surf training.
Capitola Jetty , The Hook , Manresa/La Selva
Privates , Pleasure Point
Cowell , Steamer Lane , Natural Bridges
Three Mile , Scott’s Creek , Waddell Creek , Four Mile
See reviews of all by area

 

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Area Guide

SC Skating, Climbing, Biking, Boating, Kayaking, SCUBA

SC Skating, Climbing, Biking, Boating, Kayaking, SCUBA

Skating, Biking, Boating
Rock Climbing, Kayaking
Stand up Paddling
SCUBA, Rentals

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Area Guide

State Parks, Hiking & Walking

State Parks, Hiking & Walking

Whether you live here or are visiting the hiking and running trail options are amazing and some of the most beautiful in the world. Explore the local hills, redwoods, beaches and more. Explore our list of great hiking spots, leave your comments and submit your favorite hikes.
Note: There are some pending park closures due to the CA state budget - contact the Dept. of Parks and Recreation to confirm park hours and availability.
City of Santa Cruz >
Santa Cruz Department of Parks & Recreation >

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Area Guide

Dining, Restaurant list in Santa Cruz area A-Z

Dining, Restaurant list in Santa Cruz area A-Z

Dining, Restaurant list in Santa Cruz County
Restaurant dining and wine reviews >

Menu Guide for Santa Cruz area >

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Area Guide

Free WiFi hot spots

Free WiFi hot spots

The Santa Cruz area offers several locations to connect to the internet for free while enjoying a coffee, meal or conversation. See the Good Times list for Free WiFi hot spots.

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Area Guide

Clubs & Night Life

Clubs & Night Life

As the long days turn to twilight and the sun sets to the west the Santa Cruz nights light up with something for everyone.  Whether you are looking for cool jazz, rock 'n' roll or some acoustic guitar you'll find it here.  Locals and travelers join together to celebrate great food, cool drinks and night beats. See Santa Cruz Area NightLife A-Z

Also see our area featured > calendar>

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Area Guide

Santa Cruz area movie theaters

Santa Cruz area movie theaters

Local theaters in the  Santa Cruz area.

Find out about New releases, Movie Times, Reviews, and Previews in our Santa Cruz film section >
Movie Times click here.

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Area Guide

Golf Courses in Santa Cruz County

Golf Courses in Santa Cruz County

Seascape Golf Course
Located so close to the ocean that you can hear the waves crash. You can have both 18- and 9-hole courses over 6,000 yards, situated between cypress tress. SGC also has an on-site Nike Golf learning center. Price range: $23-$72 depending on day and time.
610 Clubhouse Drive, Aptos, 688-3213.

 

 

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Area Guide

Spiritual Guide in the Santa Cruz area

Spiritual Guide in the Santa Cruz area

NEW AGE/OMNI-FAITHS/ EASTERN
CATHOLICISM
CHRISTIANITY
PAGAN/OCCULT
JUDAISM

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Area Guide

Getting Around Bikes & Busses

Getting Around Bikes & BussesSanta Cruz is a very ecologically minded place. Combine that with students strapped for cash and you get a community particularly interested in alternative forms of transportation. Fortunately, whatever your reason—whether it be the exercise from riding a bike, the lower carbon footprint associated with public transit, or simply saving money with a carpool partner or highly efficient car—there is likely to be a local a solution for you.
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Area Guide

Yoga Centers in Santa Cruz County

Yoga Centers in Santa Cruz County

Sure, both UCSC and Cabrillo sport a bundle of great fitness classes—you may really dig the gyms there, too. But take note of some yoga alternatives here in Santa Cruz:
Contact yoga instructors for times and rates.

 

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Dilated Pupil

Study Guide

Study Guide

Best places on and off campus to study in Santa Cruz
UCSC & Cabrillo College
Tutors
Bookstores
List of Free wifi locations in Santa Cruz >
Complete Santa Cruz Student Guide click here >

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Dilated Pupil

Dilated Pupil Student Guide

Dilated Pupil Student Guide

It’s that time of year again—school is back in session, and you’re either a little fish in a big pond or the big man/woman on campus. Whether you’re a freshman at UC Santa Cruz or finishing at Cabrillo College, there’s plenty to discover on campus and around town.

To help you navigate both UCSC and Cabrillo’s campus—including the best places to study, chow down, hang out and more—and get the most out of your college experience, we’ve dedicated the first portion of this year’s Dilated Pupil to just that. Want to know where to work out? We’ve got you covered. Looking for the best place to buy dorm room decor? Look no further.

Then, when you’re all ready to brave the unknown and explore around town, check out the second half of Dilated Pupil, in which we give you the lowdown on the best places to see live music, scarf pizza, spark romance, get that long-awaited piercing, surf, and more.

Let Good Times be your guide. —Jenna Brogan, Editor
Click to open
Dilated Pupil Santa Cruz Student Guide to on and off campus living
(PDF)

Also see: Best places on and off campus to study in Santa Cruz
Tutors, Bookstores, List of Free wifi locations in Santa Cruz >

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Dilated Pupil

Indie Shops & Great Bargains

Indie Shops & Great Bargains

Shop till you drop and have some cash left over for some tasty food or a night on the town.
GOOD TIMES guide to Indie shops, thrift stores and bargain hunting in Santa Cruz.

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Dilated Pupil

Top 10 Tips for Surviving College

Top 10 Tips for Surviving College1. Organization is key. You don’t want to be rushing around at 8:05 in a futile attempt to find the textbook you need for your 8 a.m. class. Set some simple guidelines for yourself such as keeping to-do lists to help you stay organized.

2. In this day and age, we are all very familiar with social networking. But when it comes to college, it may behoove you to do some old fashioned face-to-face networking too. Not only can you find that invaluable classmate who will share their notes should you miss a class, but you may also find connections that will help and support you well into the future. Consider Santa Cruz Next (xxxxx.org)

3.  Be cool. Many college students find themselves unduly stressed out what with the pressure of grades, money or new relationships. Take the time to breathe, stretch, walk on the beach or take that well-deserved nap—as the saying goes, “this too shall pass.”

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Dilated Pupil

Thrift Stores, Shops and Bargain Hunting

Thrift Stores, Shops and Bargain Hunting

Indie stores with great spirit boast stellar deals and more.

Bargain Barn
Appreciate a good rummage? Don't mind getting your hands a little dirty? The Barn is a score and a half. This hot spot is open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 292 Pioneer Street,  Santa Cruz, (831) 423-8611.

Bill’s Wheels
Voted Best Skateboard Shop in GT Readers’ Poll, you can’t really go wrong here. 1240 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 469-0904

Crossroads
For last-minute outfits Crossroads is hard to compete with, whether you're looking for basics or fancy dress wear, they are bound to have it. This is also a great place to sell old clothes. 811 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, (831) 458-0555.

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Dilated Pupil

Ten Tips To Wrap Your Head Around

Ten Tips To Wrap Your Head AroundRECESSION-PROOF YOURSELF
Web is the Word:
Take it from a journalism major whose industry was hurting before the economic meltdown—this bit of advice may be easier said than done. Fortunately, some of the things you are already doing may turn out to strengthen your résumé. Know much about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networking platforms? Have a blog? Say so! There are many employers looking for web-savvy individuals to help take their business into the 21st century. If there is still time to learn more about HTML, Flash and all things Web 2.0—do it! It can only help your chances of finding that first big job.
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Dilated Pupil

In the Wash, area laundromats

ALL THIS CLEAN FUN FOR A BUNDLE OF QUARTERS. WHO KNEW? TAKE NOTE: FOUR WASHERS = BEST SPINS.

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Dilated Pupil

Do It Yourself

Our quick guide to several local creative portals that encourage you to use your brain, learn stuff and get things done.

Santa Cruz Rehearsal Studios
An affordable and beautiful space, SCRS is the place where you can be loud and amplified, practice with your band and jam hard without the fear of being evicted. Outfitted with four streamlined rooms, each complete with a PA and mics, SCRS is a musicians dream. 118 Coral St., Santa Cruz, (831) 425-7277, santacruzrehearsalstudios.com.

The Bike Church
This nonprofit tool co-op is a gold-mine of information and support for those who desire to "DO IT YOURSLEF." The bike church offers affordable classes, parts and service and it’s also a safe place. Whether you're a veteran bike rider or still have training wheels, The Bike Church is all about supporting and sustaining the bike community. It's also a great place to volunteer. 703 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, (831) 425-2453, bikechurch.santacruzhub.org.

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Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Feeding Frenzy

Culinary journey ‘The Trip to Italy’ isn’t the foodie film you’d expect 

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past
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Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.