Let's begin with crime rate. Our street has had 12 break ins within 3 years of which 6 were home break ins. We live in a million dollar home surrounded by doctors, lawyers and business owners but yet experience crime as if we lived in the worst neighborhood in Detroit. Now, the downtown is full of homeless people that are super aggressive and forget taking your family to the public library. The library has been taken over by homeless drug addicts and drug dealers that block the entrance, use the bathrooms to bathe and watch porn on the computers. You cannot avoid the heroin use, aggressive pan handlers and the overall crime anywhere you go in Santa Cruz. Let's talk food. Santa Cruz has the worst food selection in the entire nation. The restaurants are horrible. No ethnic food and the current high end restaurants serve frozen tasteless food. The schools are also horrible. If you have kids then do not bring them to Santa Cruz. My kids ask why there are so many needles in the parks and at the beach. That should put fear into any parent. Overall this place is like a third world country where the police do not help and are corrupt, the drugs are plentiful, the food will make you sick and the residents are victims. Horrible, horrible, horrible place to live.
I come to the farmers market on Wednesday I buy for restaurants I can't get parking near the markets- I'm buying more than the usual person and I'm working I need a place near the market I have to go to my van back and forth from a distance I'm so frustrated I hate the tickets and parking restrictions for someone buying large quantities I'm not your usual customerI find parking in Santa Cruz very difficult I hate Santa Cruz!!!!!!!!Today someone called the police on that guy Curtis with his peace van I love his free show! He's great and one person reported him while most of us loved him!Why does one person have a right to close him down in the middle of the day?Police state here in SCruz I'm just trying to buy a lot and do my job too SCruz sucks! I hate the parking department so much!!!!!!!I don't enjoy downtown I just come to buy from local farmers for workAnd the city doesn't provide parking close enough
Santa Cruz is a great beach town that's surrounded by forests and wonderful hiking areas in the back, and great beaches in the front. If you enjoy the outdoors, then you will love Santa Cruz for sure; there's always something to do to get outdoors in the sunshine.
However, with that said, there are a few things about the town that one needs to keep in mind before moving here:
1) Housing is RIDICULOUSLY expensive and hard to find. If you are hoping to find a 1 bedroom place, don't get your hopes up on getting something under $1500. And while Santa Cruz claims to be a dog-friendly town, there are very few dog-friendly housing for rent that doesn't require you to pay an arm and a leg for safety deposit or for rent every month.
2) While the beaches are great, some of them can be really dirty and can be littered with all sorts of junk (trash, needles, used condoms, etc). Not all beaches are like this obviously but some are particularly bad.
3) Downtown is great and has a lot of wonderful restaurants for individuals to try out, as well as a few theaters and bars for one to partake in on a Friday or Saturday night. However, there are also a lot of homeless/transient indivduals who walk around the streets of Santa Cruz and are not ashamed in bugging (or, occasionally, downright harassing) you for some money. And, more often than not, downtown does not feel completely safe after around 8pm at night.
While there are a lot of "bad things" about Santa Cruz, overall it could be a lot worse. This is a great place for those of us who want to be by the ocean for a few years before moving on, but realistically speaking with the housing price rising it probably isn't worth it unless you can afford to buy a house here for you and your family.
I recently moved from North Carolina to Santa Cruz, CA about two months ago. I'm still adjusting to the time difference, but overall I love the city. The weather is perhaps the best reason for moving here. It is sunny almost every day, and if it rains, you can usually be back outside in the afternoon. There are a lot of agricultural sights that visitors must see when they visit. The nature reserves and Agricultural History Project are only two of the places I have visited. They detail the history of the city in an atmosphere that almost any age would understand. When you come to Santa Cruz, you should definitely check out the beaches! They have golden sand and the water is a far cry from the ocean I left on the east coast.
Not only are there plenty of beaches to have fun on, but if there are several parks for your children to play in. I have never seen so many people walking their dogs so freely in a park as I do here. There are leash laws so if you have a dog, you have to keep them on a leash. However, the parks allow people to walk on the sidewalk with their pets and I enjoy this because I have a dog that likes being outside. One of the downfalls of Santa Cruz is that there are not as many shopping centers as I am accustomed to. You may have to leave the city if you want a larger shopping experience, but there are a few unique finds here.