Photo by Caroline Egan.
Photo by Caroline Egan.

Santa Cruzans are a unique breed. If you’re new to this little part of the world, it may seem simple enough to understand at first, but just wait. Santa Cruz is an open-minded place with lots of different folks doing their thing. We love that, we wouldn’t be Santa Cruzans if we didn’t. In creating this list, we did not intend to stereotype but rather point out the undertones of the hipster, environmentalist, feminist and radical that lie in every true Santa Cruzan. Enjoy.


You hold strong opinions about where you buy your groceries.

You’ve witnessed a fight break out over bike rack space at the Santa Cruz Metro.

You have, on more than one occasion, found yourself asserting to a non-Santa Cruzan that Santa Cruz is more than just a liberal, pot-smoking, hippie haven. You do this despite the fact that you’ve had three vegan housemates, your boyfriend or girlfriend is kind of an anarchist, and you’re currently enrolled in a class about the music of the Grateful Dead.

Vegan or not, you’re familiar with and have probably tasted the following: seitan, tofu, tahini, kombucha, quinoa and nutritional yeast.

When people ask if UCSC has sports you say, “Actually, I don’t really know.”

You know the difference between a hipster, a hippie and the hippie hipster.

You scoff at people who spend hundreds of dollars on a remote parking permit, but you’re really jealous of them every time it rains.

Your mom wanted to know when you started eating kale.

You have a favorite family of deer on campus and you generally know where to find them depending on the time of day.

At some point, you started to care about what’s going on in the world.

You feel a little anxious when there’s only one kind of trash can available and find yourself searching for recycling, compost and e-waste bins.

You drink local beer. When that fails, you drink Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Your boyfriend wears flannel. You wear your boyfriend’s flannel.

You’ve been to the Capitola Mall and you never need to go back.

You know that nobody really loves Santa Cruz

Diner, unless it’s between the hours of 2 and 4 a.m.

You and everyone you know has a different opinion about which taquería has the best burritos.

Every time you tell someone you went to the Red Room last night you roll your eyes in mock-disgust, but you still keep going there.

You have a soft spot for a few of the homeless guys on Pacific Avenue, but you really wish they’d stop asking you for weed every time you walk by.

You know that being fashionably late to a house party means arriving about 15 to 20 minutes before the cops roll up.

You would never bring your uncle who hunts to campus.

You’ve taken a feminist studies class. Enough said.

You avoid Quarry Plaza when you’re running late because you’ll probably run into two to three friends who will ask you to sign their petition and today you just don’t have time.

Your housemate plays ultimate Frisbee. It’s all he talks about.

You’ve been to a house party at a co-op on Ocean Street or Broadway. It was weird, from what you remember, but you’d probably go again.

You think the new biomedical science building is heinous. You miss the trees that were there, but not the tree-sitters.

Off campus, you live next to a nice family. The parents drive a Subaru Outback.

You have nice calves from riding a bike.

You know someone who drives to San José solely to get Chipotle or In-N-Out.

You drink mate out of a jar (double points if it’s wrapped in a bandana).

You’ve watched a video of a Santa Cruz city council meeting on YouTube and found it really funny.

You don’t have cable.

After three years dating girls in Santa Cruz, you don’t necessarily think it’s weird they don’t shave their legs, but it’s still not your preference.

Your reusable water bottle is permanently affixed to your body.

You’ve had at least one professor you’ve never actually seen wearing pants, only hiking shorts.

You drink a lot of coffee. None of it is from Starbucks.