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7 hours in Santa Cruz.....

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7 hours in Santa Cruz.....

Have a 10.5 hour layover at SFO on Saturday, March 1. Have been to SF enough times and Santa Cruz sounds like a great way to spend an afternoon. (Flight lands at 115 and leaves at 1145 so figure w/ getting a car and getting there I have 6-7 hours).

Thoughts on if this is a worthwhile adventure? What can you recommend for this time? Spend an hour or two on the beach, an our or two at Big Basin park and a nice meal somewhere.

Any/alll recs are appreciated.

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1. Re: 7 hours in Santa Cruz.....

Puter our TA DE for the area should be by but in the meantime, this is a great article on SC

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g33048-c133677/Santa-…

you can take 280 to 92 W to 1S to SC and then either do Henry Cowell first and then spend time in SC on Pacific Avenue as well as the lovely beaches state parks there.

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2. Re: 7 hours in Santa Cruz.....

This looks great, very helpful thank you.

Any restaurant recs? Looking to go a little upscale (ie better than pizza and sushi) but since i'll be solo would pref something a little upbeat/less formal.

Is the Grateful Dead exhibition worthwhile? Been to a handful of shows in my day but certainly far from the biggest dead-head.

Thanks :)

Santa Cruz...
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3. Re: 7 hours in Santa Cruz.....

Hi, injera,

First, the Grateful Dead exhibit.....

I am not sure I would try this, with your time frame. It is interesting, but it is in the University library. The campus is very large in acreage and not car friendly. There are some metered parking spaces behind the library, however. If these are full you would need to find a rare parking lot with meters, not requiring a permit, and do some walking. If you are really interested in it then you should get a map of the campus and the road(s) you should take to get to this space.

Restaurants

I would not worry about being solo....I don't know of a restaurant which would even hiccup about serving a solo diner.

If you want to be on the water, the Dream Inn Hotel has a very nice upscale restaurant with some views....Aquarius. For really casual, the nearby Picnic Basket is interesting.

Here is the menu for Aquarius

…trvlclick.com/restaurants/…menus

I am giving you the Trip Adviser reviews for the Picnic Basket As you will see, it is rather unique....locally owned by a young couple who started the Ice Creamery in town a few years ago. They were flown to Washington for some kind of recognition by Obama for small businesses. But if you were wanting dinner, won't work. They close at 4:00.

tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g33048-d23…

Otherwise, the main street of town is full of restaurants, many with sidewalk seating, as well as inside. Mostly, menus are posted outside. I would just walk the street and browse.

I know you said no pizza, but Kianti's Pizza and Pasta is very popular. Has a patio with umbrellas and very good pasta. Rosie McCann's Irish Pub is upstairs and if you get a window table you look down through the trees to the street. Good comfort-type food. The Pub is in the back, so doesn't interfere with the restaurant. The Walnut Avenue Cafe, is also very popular and is just half a block off from Pacific Avenue. For 'silk road' cuisine, Laili, which is a few doors from Pacific Avenue on Cooper Street has a lovely protected patio and interesting food. A little further afield, but not very far is the Crow's Nest at the Yacht Harbor. Great views.

You can google any of these for menus.

Big Basin is really not in a convenient place with your limited time. It is on winding roads over 20 miles north of Santa Cruz, with a 17-mile winding road running through it. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is only 7 miles up Hwy 9 from Santa Cruz, however. There is a link to it in the article that belomiser gave you.

Please let me know if you want more information about the area.

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4. Re: 7 hours in Santa Cruz.....

OH, about getting here. Belomiser gave you directions to come on Hwy 1, which is a pretty drive, but if you want more time here, the faster, but still scenic route would be to take Hwy 380 up to 280, but instead of taking 92 to the coast at Half Moon Bay you would stay on Hwy 280 through the foothills of the Coast Range to Hwy 85, marked "Gilroy" and then watch for the Santa Cruz exit, Hwy 17. This takes you over the hills to Santa Cruz, and is also a pretty drive. Eight miles of it is winding, but it is four lanes divided by concrete barriers and the rest is mostly freeway.

280 and 85 are freeways, as well, and 280 is a very scenic drive.

Edited: 16 February 2014, 17:20
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5. Re: 7 hours in Santa Cruz.....

Thanks for the feedback everyone!!

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6. Re: 7 hours in Santa Cruz.....

Injera, Lots of the suggestions here are good ones, with the exception of the food recommendations. Asking people for restaurant recommendations can be dicey if you don't know the person making the recommendations personally. My neighbor, for instance, has recommended so many horrible restaurants to me I have come to the conclusion he loves bad service an inedible food. For restaurant advice I'd look to TripAdvisor or Yelp reviews and let the crowd be your guide rather than one person you do not know. The recommendations above are a case in point. Walnut Ave. Cafe is the only recommendation that I would personally eat at but since you are not in town for breakfast or lunch it is totally irrelevant since they close at 3pm. The other three, Aquarius, Kianti's and Rosie's are not even in the top 40 recommendations on TripAdvisor or Yelp. So, you have to ask yourself....do you go with the guy you don't know or a restaurant in the top 10 that is put there after hundreds of reviews? I know what I'd do.

7. Re: 7 hours in Santa Cruz.....

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