Spanning a half-mile section in the center of the city, Downtown serves as the hub for business and entertainment in Santa Cruz. Whether you’re there for a quick bite to eat, some casual shopping, or just having fun with your fellow Banana Slugs, City on a Hill Press presents a handful of the over 200 businesses that reside in Downtown.

Illustration of storefronts on Pacific Ave
Illustration by Ella Apuntar.


Nick The Greek: A staple for connoisseurs of Mediterranean food and late-night dorm deliveries, Nick The Greek serves traditional Greek street food. Signature dishes include their beef and lamb gyro pita, Grecian beefteki burger, and baklava. 

Pacific Cookie Company: This sweet local business has been filling up cookie jars across Santa Cruz since 1978. In addition to distributing across the West Coast, Pacific Cookie Company’s treats can be found at some UCSC dining halls. Pacific Cookie Company sells both classic and unique flavors, which you can find on their website.

Pizza My Heart: Alongside their staple tourist t-shirt, Pizza My Heart also serves pizza by the giant slice. Originally founded in neighboring Capitola, this surf-themed establishment’s award-winning pizzas include the Big Sur, topped with 40 cloves of garlic and other toppings, and the Figgy Piggy, topped with a sweet and savoury combination of feta and black figs, among others.


The Catalyst: After a dormant year and a half due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Santa Cruz’s premier live music venue is back in business. Hosting multiple shows a month and an 800 person capacity, The Catalyst has hosted musical powerhouses such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam, and more recently welcomed up-and-coming artists like WILLOW. Check their website to see upcoming performers and potential updated COVID guidelines. 

Santa Cruz Cinema: One of the newest additions to the downtown scene, the Santa Cruz Cinema opened in March 2021, replacing Regal Cinema 9. General admission is $10.75, but those with a valid student ID can watch a movie for a discounted $8. 

Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH): Through artwork and local history, the MAH seeks to ignite shared experiences to enrich the community. It is open to the public Thursday through Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. One of this fall’s exhibitions is “Out of the Ashes: Stories from the CZU Lightning Complex Fires,” based on an archive of art, objects, and stories from the 2020 wildfires.

For a full list of businesses in Downtown Santa Cruz visit