Find out what readers voted as the best among community life.
Best Dog Park
- Frederick Street Park features a large, fenced area for off-leash, four-legged fun complete with water spigots and plenty of room to run. Plus, there’s a specific zone designated for little pups and small adult dogs to play. Can you say cuteness?
- The park offers plenty of amenities for your human companions, too, like barbeque pits and picnic tables.
- If you’re looking for an afternoon workout, stop by the park’s sand volleyball court and enjoy a game.
- Complete with the largest city parks playground, Frederick Street Park is a perfect place to bring the kids.
- Once you get there, it’s hard to find a reason to leave. But if you do, you can follow the park’s ocean views straight to the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor.
- Seabright has several popular live music venues, including The Crepe Place and the 71-year-old Rio Theatre that hosts world-class musicians.
- The neighborhood’s nature crown jewel is its long and sandy namesake beach that runs between the Santa Cruz Harbor and Boardwalk. It used to be known as “Castle Beach” because from 1929-1967 it literally had a bathhouse/restaurant on it that looked like a medieval castle.
- This neighborhood boasts the area’s only and oldest roller rink, the iconic Santa Cruz Roller Palladium, which has been letting the good times roll for more than 69 years and counting.
- The area is known for its hangover-buster breakfast and brunch spots, including Seabreeze Café and Aldo’s Harbor Restaurant, and just over bridge is the popular and poppin’ Harbor Café.
- If you love Italian food, you might want to think about moving to the neighborhood. It boasts Lillian’s, La Posta, Ristorante Italiano, and Tramonti … and that’s just to name a few. Mama Mia!
Best Retreat Center
- The ‘1440’ in this spot’s name stands for the number of minutes in a single day. When you’re relaxing on the 75-acre, Santa Cruz Mountains campus, you’ll cherish each and every one of those minutes.
- Guests can sign up for overnight accommodations and immersive programs that range from a weekend learning about optimizing your fundraising skills to a week-long training on Emotional Freedom Techniques.
- The campus features a luxurious spa complete with healing massages, facials and energy work. Plus, there’s an infinity-edge hot tub overlooking the redwoods. Enough said.
- Book a therapeutic solo getaway or plan your next team-building retreat in one of 1440’s pristine meeting spaces designed to accommodate hundreds of guests.
- As a nonprofit, 1440 Multiversity is dedicated to keeping its programs accessible for all guests on a path of self-growth and learning. Since inception, it has offered over 500 program tuition scholarships. You can apply for one on 1440’s website right now.
East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz
RUNNERS-UP Capitola Beach, Seacliff State Beach
West Cliff Drive
RUNNERS-UP Nisene Marks, Wilder Ranch
400 Beach St., Santa Cruz,
RUNNERS-UP Carousel, Log Ride
RUNNERS-UP Flower Power, Sharon D. Paine
168 Frederick St., Santa Cruz
RUNNERS-UP Aptos Polo Grounds, Skypark
Aptos Farmers Market at Cabrillo College
6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 728-5060
RUNNERS-UP Downtown, Live Oak
Local Athlete (non-Derby)
RUNNERS-UP Carina Reid, Katie Zaferes
RUNNERS-UP Brent Adams, James Durbin
RUNNERS-UP Pleasure Point, Westside
2710 Chanticleer Ave., Santa Cruz, 479-10555, greybears.org
RUNNERS-UP Homeless Garden Project, Jacob’s Heart
Place of Worship
Twin Lakes Church
2701 Cabrillo College Drive, Aptos, 465-3300, tlc.org
RUNNERS-UP Inner Light Ministries, Temple Beth El
Place to Walk/Jog/Hike
West Cliff Drive
RUNNERS-UP Henry Cowell Redwoods, Nisene Marks
800 Bethany Dr.., Scotts Valley, 544-1440, 1440.org
RUNNERS-UP Land of Medicine Buddha Retreat Center, Mount Madonna Institute
Chaminade Resort & Spa
1 Chaminade Ln., Santa Cruz, 475-5600, chaminade.com