Entering a new city, no matter how big or small, is intimidating. As we welcome new students to a campus far from the heart of town, City on a Hill Press editors offer our favorite spots around Santa Cruz. This diverse collection of spaces has offered us a good meal, a beautiful view, or a quiet reading spot. We hope that you will visit and enjoy these spots as much as we have!
Alison Sun, Copy and Fact Lead:
11th Hour Coffee: Tucked away behind the hustle and bustle of Pacific Avenue, the natural wood furniture and endless greenery in this combination coffee shop and plant store offer the perfect laid-back, naturey vibes for your next study date. Along with your standard roster of café drinks, 11th Hour also serves specialty items like goat cheese toast and nitro green tea. Drop in for a honey latte, or stay after hours for live music and weekly dumpling and ramen nights by Full Steam Dumpling, which shares the space with 11th Hour.
Flynn Lloyd, Co-Editor in Chief:
Felton Garden of Eden: Deep in the forest behind the UC Santa Cruz upper campus lies the coveted Garden of Eden, a swimming hole on the San Lorenzo River within Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. The drive through winding roads and redwoods takes about 20 minutes before you are greeted with a short hike down to the water. While the journey can pose a decent trek, the secluded river and beach offer the perfect spot for a summer swim or picnic with friends. As one explores further down the river more surprises, such as a rope swing, reveal themselves. Take advantage of the next warm day in Santa Cruz by bringing a friend and a sandwich to go on the adventure that is visiting the Garden of Eden.
Mia Pabros, Photo Editor:
Chadwick Garden: It’s a lush and cared-for space. 50 years ago, this section of sloped land seemed unpromising, but Alan Chadwick saw potential. It is now home to a variety of thriving citrus trees, ornamentals, and seasonal plants. My fellow soil enthusiasts will certainly appreciate the rich and nutrient dense soil found here. Orin Martin, along with student interns, are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the garden. Located just below Merrill, this space is perfect for a quiet study, indulgent read, and living out a secret-garden fantasy.
Rachel Raiyani and Nico Santiago, News Editors:
UCSC East Fields: There isn’t a sight more beautiful to behold in all of Santa Cruz than the view from East Field below Cowell and Stevenson. In the daylight, clouds dot the ocean-framed sky as you look across the Monterey Bay. Sunshine lights up the coast, and starlight twinkles in the picturesque evening. The lights of Santa Cruz at night and the low hum of cars down Highway 17 make our small three-by-three-mile town a nature-nestled metropolis.
We’re biased, though — we fell in love dancing under those starry skies to old Cuban jazz.
Prema Reyes, Illustration Editor:
Swanton Berry Farm: You can’t take the bus to America’s first unionized organic farm, so text that friend with a car. The 11 mile drive along CA-1, shouldered between the glittering ocean and rolling green fields, may be the most compelling support of journey over destination. Comfortably falling onto the honor system when low on staff, Swanton Berry Farm feels like a world within a world. One where no harm could possibly come to the person with strawberry shortcake in one hand, hot cider in the other, and an ocean view.
Sofia Ruster, News Editor:
Oakes Lower Lawn: The unsung hero of UCSC. Where else can you witness students playing frisbee instead of studying, sunbathers blasting indie music, and wild turkeys grazing on the grass, all at once? Take a moment to take in the ocean view and dewy lawn while you stargaze. As the night fog rolls in, you might start to wonder — is the forest nearby really haunted, or is it just the deer taking a night stroll?
Maybe the distant sound of screaming coyotes in the mountains will add a tinge of fear to your visit. Remain calm. The view is worth it.
Ryan Loyola, Co-Editor in Chief:
West Cliff Drive: Starting at Cowell Beach and ending at Natural Bridges State Beach, this 2.6-mile path is perfect for enjoyers of long, meditative walks or scenic bike rides. When you’re so close to the Pacific Ocean, you tend to take it for granted. So however long your stay at Santa Cruz, take the time to breathe in the salt air, buy a craft from an artisan pop-up, post an artsy nature candid, and watch the burning sunset. I’ve done three out of the four. The last one is on my bucket list before I graduate.
Yitong Lei, Photo and Illustration Editor:
Natural Bridges Monarch Trail: In fourth grade, I found out that butterflies have a lifespan of only two to six weeks. Ever since, I’ve had a soft spot for these magnificent creatures and the sight of one always puts a smile on my face. Most monarchs start to arrive at the Natural Bridges sanctuary around mid-October and begin to fly north by late January. It’s hard to find a place where you can see these butterflies practically year-round, so don’t take them for granted.