Corporations are getting harder to escape, even in Santa Cruz. Here are some of the beloved community-oriented and non-corporate collective spaces where you can always find a home. Whether that’s a political, emotional, new, or known home, it’s never too late to try and find your place.

*If you need it, the Tenant Sanctuary is a vital community resource also housed at the Hub.

703 Pacific Avenue (A.K.A. the Hub)

Twelve years ago, community members transformed an old retail space and parking lot into the ambient, cozy, setting we know today as the Hub. Tucked behind a black metal gate and a small canopy of beloved plants, the Hub is home to several community projects, such as SubRosa, Free Skool Santa Cruz, the Bike Church, PedX, and more. 

SubRosa is a community-run space that hosts classes, events, meetings, and houses the Anarchist Lending Library. Members of the collective revived the Free Skool Santa Cruz project, where members are welcome to join community-led classes. Learn how to sew, compost, make food, read poetry, or paint with toddlers — every month’s offerings are different! 

The Hub is also where you’ll find The Fábrica, a community workspace to learn and share knowledge about textile arts: sewing, knitting, quilting, embroidery, crochet, and bookbinding. 

A list of what’s available at the Hub can be found here

Tabby Cat Cafe (No Cats Here, Just Cats Enthusiasts…  For Now?)

The Tabby Cat Cafe is open until 3 p.m. every day of the week and is what overpriced coworking spaces wish they could be. Almost everything here is locally sourced and will satiate your desire to have a small pastry or coffee before you actually start your schoolwork. If you’re like me, you’ll be glad to know that the Tabby Cat Cafe is open to all, even those who aren’t customers. Occasional SubRosa events were hosted here before the pandemic, and more events will come back once it’s safe again. You can also buy prints from local artists here and stay tuned for seasonal pop-ups. Find them on Instagram here.

Little Giant Collective

Coming back from a pandemic hiatus, Little Giant Collective (LGC) is a collective of artists and printmakers in Santa Cruz. Pre-pandemic, LGC hosted monthly art gatherings called sip ‘n’ sketch with communal art supplies provided. During lockdown months, sip ‘n’ sketch took place over Instagram live. Stay up-to-date with them @little.giant.collective and keep your eyes peeled for Mahjong Club afternoons, art exhibitions, print sales, and more. LGC is located at 115 S River St., right next to Mobo Sushi and adjacent to the Trader Joe’s parking lot.

Don’t be a stranger! You’ll soon notice that the city is smaller than you think — the organizers and community members that frequent these spaces may have their hand in multiple community and campus projects. You might be able to find yourself here, or you might not. Ultimately, we hope this serves as a running start for finding corners of Santa Cruz to call your own.