Local Activities


UC Santa Cruz

Central Campus Walking Map

Get out and explore the campus. It’s like living in a state park! The fire roads and trails of the upper campus are great for mountain biking, running, or just a hike. You can even find beautiful, secluded spots right in the center of campus; here are a few to start you off: the Upper Quarry amphitheater, the pedestrian path between the Music Center and Oakes College, the Great Meadow below the Academic Resources Center, and the pedestrian bridge between the Classroom Building and Earth & Marine Sciences. Happy hiking!

Grateful Dead Archive Exhibit and Digital Scholarship Commons

The Grateful Dead Archive Exhibit covers information about the archive and creation of the Grateful Dead Archive Online (GDAO) digital exhibit. Also visit the Library’s new Digital Scholarship Commons hub for students and faculty to transform research, scholarly communication, and instruction using new media and digital technologies.

Scenic Campus Walk Through Redwoods

UCSC is nestled in a 2,000 acre redwood forest. Take a walk to the Porter Squiggle, Science Hill, McHenry Library, the Bay Tree Campus store, or the Quarry Amphitheater and experience the natural beauty of the campus. We recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes, carrying a water bottle, and dressing in layers.

UCSC Arboretum

Visit our 135-acre Arboretum & Botanic Garden. Home to rare and unique plant species, a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, and a deep history of research, botanical stewardship and community. Come see what’s blooming in the garden.

UCSC Farm and Alan Chadwick Garden

Founded in 1971, the 30-acre Farm includes handworked gardens of annual and perennial food and ornamental crops, mechanically cultivated row crops, orchards, and research plots. The Center’s offices, the agroecology laboratory, greenhouses and hoophouses, and an ecological aquaculture greenhouse are among the facilities located at the Farm.

Pogonip Trail

The Pogonip trail system totals approximately 11.5 miles; 3 of those mile are multi-use open to hikers, bicyclists and equestrians. In the northernmost portion of Pogonip, a multi-use trail (approximately one mile in length) is open hikers, bicyclists and equestrians.

Stevenson Coffee House

Established in 1975 and located at Stevenson College. This long-standing favorite offers espresso drinks, salads, sandwiches, their famous fudgies, and more.

Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County

70 miles south of San Francisco, 35 miles north of Monterey, and unabashedly left of center, you’ll find great surf, sandy beaches, redwood-covered mountains, laid-back towns organic farms, and a burgeoning beer and wine scene. It’s impossible to pick one place to visit in Santa Cruz County. Take a quick cruz of them all!

Downtown Santa Cruz

Downtown Santa Cruz businesses have everything you need to get you ready for your sandy adventure and offer a soft landing after a long day in the sun.

West Cliff Drive

West Cliff Drive is a scenic, 3 mile walking and biking path along the Pacific Ocean in Santa Cruz with epic views of the Monterey Bay. Beginning at the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf, West Cliff Drive takes you past the Santa Cruz Dream Inn, West Cliff Inn, Sea & Sand, and the Seaway Inn toward a residential neighborhood.

Wilder Ranch State Park

The Santa Cruz coastline awaits discovery on Wilder Ranch State Park’s 7,000 acres. From the crest of Ben Lomond Mountain, the landscape rolls down ancient wave-cut terraces through the marsh lands of a nature preserve to the seashore. Step back in time to the late 1800’s and visit an early dairy ranch. With more than 35 miles of trail, you can adventure into the Santa Cruz Mountains or walk along the coastal bluffs.

UCSC Coastal Science Campus

The 100-acre UC Santa Cruz Coastal Science Campus (CSC) is located on the edge of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, encompassing federal, state, and university research and educational facilities that support coastal conservation, marine biology, ecology, habitat restoration, and environmental policy. The coastal campus strengthens research collaborations and student opportunities with government agencies and conservation organizations.

Light House Beach

Overlooking internationally renowned surfing hotspot Steamer Lane, this museum has photographs, surfboards, and other interesting items tracing over 100 years of surfing history in Santa Cruz. 

Kayaking on the Wharf

Kayaking from the Capitola Wharf in the stillness of early morning is a perfect time to watch for all manners of sea life.

Natural Bridges State Beach

This park and beach is an excellent vantage point for viewing shore birds, migrating whales, as well as seals and otters playing offshore. Further along the beach, public access tidepools offer a glimpse of life beneath the sea. Low tides reveal sea stars, shore crabs, sea anemones, and other colorful ocean life.

Verve Coffee House

11th Hour Coffee

Shanty Shack Brewing

Surrounding Counties

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Frolicking sea otters, fast-swimming sharks, pulsating jellies and waddling penguins — our world-class exhibits and breathtaking scenery instill a love of the ocean in our visitors. With over 200 exhibits and 80,000 plants and animals, the Aquarium is a window to the wonders of the ocean.

Canary Row

With its picturesque charm and colorful history, Cannery Row captivates visitors from all over the world. The unique appeal of this fabled street is what makes Cannery Row the most popular vacation destination on California’s Central Coast. With luxurious waterfront hotels, enticing restaurants and captivating boutiques, Cannery Row is the ideal place to soak up the culture and beauty of Monterey Bay.

Big Sur

Big Sur is a majestic stretch of rocky cliffs, lush mountains, panoramic beaches, and coastal redwood forests (plus the Big Sur River) located off the famous Pacific Coast Highway. Outdoor adventure is abundant with epic hiking trails, picturesque camping and breathtaking historic & state parks to be explored.

Captain + Stoker

Fieldwork Brewing Company

Dust Bowl Brewing Co. Tap Depot

Alvarado Street Brewery

Fun Facts about UCSC

FX’s Devs

In March of 2020, FX released a show on Hulu called Devs, starring Nick Offerman and many others, which of many scenes were filmed at UCSC! Filming was done at McHenry, the Quarry Plaza, and Science Hill!

DEVS — Pictured: BTS. CR: Raymond Liu/FX

UCSC Alumni

SNL Alumn, Maya Rudolph and Andy Samberg both attended UCSC. Maya Rudolph was an affiliate of Porter College and graduated with a Photography degree! Go Slugs!

John Carl Warnecke & McHenry Library

Friend and architect of the Kennedy’s , John Carl Warnecke, designed the architecture for McHenry Library. Warnecke also designed the John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame memorial gravesite and the master plan for Lafayette Square.