Dream Inn  | Blog

Staff Picks Dream Inn | Blog

Our Staff Picks are your guide to stay 'in the know' when you go. Whether you're planning to hang ten or take five, checkout our blog to find the best local attractions, events and activities to keep you entertained while you stay in Santa Cruz. There's no shortage of things to do. From mild to wild, there's something for everyone here. 

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    Eat Locally in California this 2020

    Santa Cruz is full of great restaurants, local farms, and tons of weekly markets that sell locally produced food to the public. In 2020 we have dedicated one of our...
    Santa Cruz is full of great restaurants, local farms, and tons of weekly markets that sell locally produced food to the public. In 2020 we have dedicated one of our new year's resolutions to learning how to source our food locally and seasonally. We are lucky to be from a state with mild weather and tons of sunshine, making the produce on this side of the country top-notch. With so many restaurants in the area, how do you know if you have picked a spot that is sourcing the right vegetables for the season, or getting their produce from the region? A great place to start is by finding out what fruits and vegetables are normally grown during the month you are currently in—for example, if you’re dining out this January, you should look for items on the menu that include ingredients like asparagus, arugula, pomegranates, sprouts, and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes or turnips. Another indication that a restaurant sources their food locally is that they will usually list the farms they use on the back of the menu. Now that you are equipped with the knowledge to enjoy fresh food, all we have to say to you is "Happy New Year and even happier eating!" 
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    Happy Ho-Ho-Holidays from Santa Cruz

    The holidays have arrived—plug in those string lights and pour yourself a stiff glass of holiday cheer because this year's winter festivities are in full swing. There will be fun...
    The holidays have arrived—plug in those string lights and pour yourself a stiff glass of holiday cheer because this year's winter festivities are in full swing. There will be fun events taking place in downtown Santa Cruz for the entire month of December. To kick off the season right, all of the downtown shops have implemented their seasonally anticipated winter wonderland displays. Grab a hot cocoa and a map while you check out all of the local artists that participated in the gorgeous 2019 displays. Another family favorite for this time of year is the annual Downtown Holiday Parade. Line the streets with other eager spectators and cheer on the impressive floats that will be passing through the streets—if you cheer loud enough you might just even catch a glimpse of Santa and his beloved wife Mrs. Claus. For the more mature visitors to Santa Cruz who are looking to get more naughty than nice, a holiday themed pub crawl has been set up just for you! Check out the full list of events that will be happening in downtown Santa Cruz here. December will be a month full of great HO-HO-HOliday fun. 
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    Channel Your Inner Nature Lover to These Spectacular Islands

    If you are looking to branch out of the urban atmosphere of Santa Cruz, plan a day trip over to Channel Islands National Park. This park is close enough to...
    If you are looking to branch out of the urban atmosphere of Santa Cruz, plan a day trip over to Channel Islands National Park. This park is close enough to Santa Cruz to make it an easy daytime activity, but we promise you will feel like you left the country and stepped into paradise. The Channel Islands are composed of five different islands that can only be reached by park concessionaire boats, planes, or private boats. While this may seem tough, it’s fairly simple to reach these islands with just a little extra planning on the front end of your trip. Surround yourself with some of Mother Mature's finest, semi-untouched work—the Channel Islands are home to some of the largest kelp forests in the Pacific Ocean, islands full of sea lions, and the occasional whale sighting. Let the mystery of the natural world woo you during your stay in Santa Cruz! 
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    Pack Your Spooky Shoes in Santa Cruz

    Halloween is starting early in Santa Cruz this year—13 days early to be exact. We love this spooky season so much in Santa Cruz that we decided it was only...
    Halloween is starting early in Santa Cruz this year—13 days early to be exact. We love this spooky season so much in Santa Cruz that we decided it was only right to begin celebrating a little earlier than usual. It’s about to be 13 Days of Halloween on the Wharf, and you’re invited to get a little scary with the rest of the town. October 19th is when all the ghouls and boys will be sneaking out of their graves and socializing among the haunted. They will be dancing their skeletons off to Thriller and attempting to catch a ghastly picture at the photo booth. There will also be seasonal specials at the majority of restaurants and some of the gift shops for the last two weeks of October. Make sure to dress in your best costume before making your way down to the wharf. It’s a great way to kick-off the fall season and to cause a little harmless trouble at the same time. 
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    Spend Your September at a Different Santa Cruz Festival Every Weekend

    The dog days of summer are slowly coming to a close, which means fall is right around the corner. For some, September marks the best time of the year—cooler weather,...
    The dog days of summer are slowly coming to a close, which means fall is right around the corner. For some, September marks the best time of the year—cooler weather, football season, and inching closer to the highly anticipated holiday months. While all of those things bring us joy, what we are really excited for is the sheer amount of festivals and fairs going on in the month of September. Be sure to check out a few of our favorites, listed below. Mole & Mariachi Festival: An entire day dedicated to Mexican food and music sounds like a perfect Saturday activity to us. September 7th.  Santa Cruz County Fair: It’s one of the events we look most forward to all year long. Who doesn’t love carnival food and silly rides? September 11th - 15th.  Capitola Art & Wine Festival: Art and wine, need we say more? September 15th & 14th.  
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    Santa Cruz Your Way Around Wilder Ranch State Park

    The coastline in Southern California is truly what dreams are made of. The dramatic rocks against the cool Pacific Ocean is a perfect panoramic image that belongs carefully placed in...
    The coastline in Southern California is truly what dreams are made of. The dramatic rocks against the cool Pacific Ocean is a perfect panoramic image that belongs carefully placed in your memories. One of the best ways to see all of the beauty that this incredible coastline has to offer is by getting out of the city and onto the dusty trails around the state.  A local favorite is the Old Landing Cove Hike located in Wilder Ranch State Park. This two-mile hike is great for beginners as well as experienced hikers looking to take a fun route along the ocean. This trek is fairly flat and totally customizable—take on the full loop or extend your walk into Ohlone Bluff, just a little further down the trail. Hikers can expect to see beautiful vibrant green grass with wildflowers, secret beaches between the rocks, and might even catch a glimpse of migrating whales. You never know what kind of magic you’ll find while exploring the great state of California! 
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    We Have a Case of This Years Santa Cruz Race

    It’s time to gear up and cheer loud for the runners of ‘the best little road race in California,’ the 47th Annual Wharf to Wharf Race. This iconic race brings runners...
    It’s time to gear up and cheer loud for the runners of ‘the best little road race in California,’ the 47th Annual Wharf to Wharf Race. This iconic race brings runners from all over the country to compete in Santa Cruz for a spot in the Top 100 fastest runners on this salty, scenic course. Only 16,000 people are able to sign up for this fun run and the top 100 will walk away with more than just bragging rights. The Wharf to Wharf run is less than a half marathon but just long enough for those athletes running to really feel the burn.  Wake up with the sun and claim your place along the rolling hills to help motivate these dedicated runners. You will see a plethora of silly signs and encouraging words that will undoubtedly cause a case of the giggles among some runners. It’s possible that you will leave the course just as inspired as you have helped others feel. Now that’s one positive way to start a Saturday! 
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    Freak Out Over Free Summer Entertainment in Santa Cruz

    This summer, coming to a beach near you, are completely free movies and concerts series every single week. Summer is here and it's time to roll out your beach blankets...
    This summer, coming to a beach near you, are completely free movies and concerts series every single week. Summer is here and it's time to roll out your beach blankets and towels so that you can enjoy the delightful scenes and tunes of the beach boardwalk. Each Friday night, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk invites you to enjoy a giant range of famous headliners that will be playing rock from the ’70s to today. The shows begin at 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm—but if you are craving more from your outdoor activities, be sure to stop by on Wednesdays for Santa Cruz’s Free Movies on the Beach. All of the movies that will be played are completely family-friendly and like we said, completely FREE! Summer is the best time to round-up all your friends and family and enjoy the breezy weather that hits Southern California right at dusk. 
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    Sail The High Seas of Santa Cruz

    There are so many ways to appreciate the breathtaking scenery of Santa Cruz, but one of the most romantic and unforgettable ways is to take on the city is by...
    There are so many ways to appreciate the breathtaking scenery of Santa Cruz, but one of the most romantic and unforgettable ways is to take on the city is by water. Schedule a private sailing excursion during your summer visit to Southern California, right here in the Santa Cruz Harbor. With plenty of warm, breezy days ahead of us and endless sunshine, a trip out to sea is exactly what the soul needs. While you are cruising the actual deep blue hues of the Pacific Highway, you will get a chance to see remarkable wildlife while completely relaxing along with the current and the salty air that will be pushing you along the coast. Just take a quick stroll down to the harbor or ask our concierge to help you book your exclusive chartered tour during your stay with us, to help make your trip become even more memorable than you could ever imagine! 
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    Veggies Are Taking over Santa Cruz!

    Calling all VegHeads to VegFest this Saturday, April 6th! If you are a veggie-lover, vegetarian, vegan or anything in between, this is the most perfect Saturday afternoon event for you....
    Calling all VegHeads to VegFest this Saturday, April 6th! If you are a veggie-lover, vegetarian, vegan or anything in between, this is the most perfect Saturday afternoon event for you. You can expect great live music along with the opportunity to learn about a sustainable, plant-based, and cruelty-free lifestyle. As our world continues to evolve, awareness towards our environment has certainly increased. VegFest is a fun way to learn something new about a different lifestyle, brush up on what you already know or just have a great time trying new food and checking out the latest fashion and beauty in the cruelty-free realm. Tickets to this event are completely free if you register through Event Bright here. This event is just a quick walk from the hotel, so stretch your legs and bring your appetite to this years VegFest! 
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    First Friday is a Fab Way to See Santa Cruz

    There is no shortage of interesting things to do when visiting Santa Cruz, but one of our most cherished events is First Friday, and it happens to occur every single...
    There is no shortage of interesting things to do when visiting Santa Cruz, but one of our most cherished events is First Friday, and it happens to occur every single month. First Friday was started in the community to promote local artists and enhance foot traffic in the Downtown, Midtown, River Street, Soquel Village, San Lorenzo Valley, and Westside areas. Each month the galleries and shops in those districts stay open late to display all of the incredible work that they have on display and offer snack and cocktails to all patrons. Each of the locations offers a different block party atmosphere with live music and tons of locals mingling. It is a great way to see the raw version of Santa Cruz and to pick up some cool new artwork along the way. Visit Southern California the authentic way and make some new connections while you do it at Santa Cruz’s First Friday Party!
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    Experience the Older Side of Santa Cruz

    The weather in California is some of the greatest in the entire country. People have been flocking to our cliffy seaside from the moment it was discovered. Even to this day,...
    The weather in California is some of the greatest in the entire country. People have been flocking to our cliffy seaside from the moment it was discovered. Even to this day, people from all over the world come to Northern California knowing they will get a healthy dose of sunshine and fresh air, especially during the winter months. One of our favorite places to visit is Mission State Historical Park, just a quick ride up the road. Mission State Park houses the oldest building in Santa Cruz and is home to a plethora of different birds, elephant seals, and jaw-dropping views! It was built in 1791 as the twelfth of twenty-one mission homes that were built for Christian settlers who were spreading the word of God. Mission State Park no longer represents a religious landmark but it is still quite remarkable to lay eyes on a building that was built so many years ago.
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    Guided Tours in January Lead to Seal'd Deals

    The new year brings new sea neighbors to Northern California beaches each winter. Take a guided tour this January to catch a glimpse at the majestic elephant seals that make...
    The new year brings new sea neighbors to Northern California beaches each winter. Take a guided tour this January to catch a glimpse at the majestic elephant seals that make their way to Año Nuevo State Park. Elephant seals are among some of the most aggressive large mammals that visit the California beaches. The seals migrate to this Northern California beach during mating season while they await their female partners to give birth to a new litter of pups. This is also the time that the males duke it out to become the alpha male and the one that will get to mate. Año Nuevo State Park offers guided tours during mating season, which lasts through March. It's a 3 to 4-mile journey that can only be achieved by hiking. Bring your waterproof clothes and sturdy shoes and be one of the few that gets a real peek at these incredible animals! 
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    All Aboard the Santa Cruz Santa Train

    As one holiday comes to a close a bunch of other fun ones are all coming to an opening. It is safe to say that the holiday season is in...
    As one holiday comes to a close a bunch of other fun ones are all coming to an opening. It is safe to say that the holiday season is in full swing, which means lights are popping up left and right all over Santa Cruz. A great way to experience the lights around town is by taking the Santa Cruz Holiday Lights Train & The Lighting of the Menorah on December 3rd for the Chanukah Train. The Holiday Lights Train runs every Saturday and Sunday in the month of December and has even brought Santa Claus down all the way from the North Pole to give the official tour. Sip on Hot Cider and visit with Santa and after the train ride concludes try a fun twist of ice skating at the beach! This holiday ride is so unique you’ll be exiting the train screaming “ALL ABOARD SANTA'S AWAITIN'!”
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    Savory Surf Facts in Santa Cruz

    The art of surfing is one that has captivated the world for hundreds of years and has been adopted in any city that has a body of water nearby.
    The art of surfing is one that has captivated the world for hundreds of years and has been adopted in any city that has a body of water nearby.

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    Explore Santa Cruz One Step at a Time

    As the fall weather begins to creep in and pumpkin everything pops up all over the city, we insist that you optimize your time outdoors with a walking tour!
    As the fall weather begins to creep in and pumpkin everything pops up all over the city, we insist that you optimize your time outdoors with a walking tour!

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    Bring Your All to the Bounty of the County

    Strap up your boots and get your stomach ready, it is time for the Santa Cruz County Fair! Bounty of the County will begin on September 12th and will go until the 16th.
    Strap up your boots and get your stomach ready, it is time for the Santa Cruz County Fair! Bounty of the County will begin on September 12th and will go until the 16th.

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    Pick Your Berries and Eat Them Too

    It's strawberry season here in Santa Cruz. What a great time to be in California, the sun is shining, the weather is smooth and strawberries are ripe and ready to eat and enjoy. 
    It's strawberry season here in Santa Cruz. What a great time to be in California, the sun is shining, the weather is smooth and strawberries are ripe and ready to eat and enjoy. 

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    Wreking it on the Wharf

    Explore Santa Cruz by foot with 16,000 others by joining the Wharf to Wharf Race.
    Explore Santa Cruz by foot with 16,000 others by joining the Wharf to Wharf Race.

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    Father's Day on the Sea!

    Don’t be a landlubber this Father’s Day — make sure you rile your pops up and get him out on the sea! 
    Don’t be a landlubber this Father’s Day — make sure you rile your pops up and get him out on the sea! 

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    Treat Yourself to Tea in Santa Cruz

    Things are starting to feel a bit royal this month.
    Things are starting to feel a bit royal this month.

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    Earth Day in Santa Cruz

    It's no secret that Californians love the outdoors, and it's well-known that we obsess over all things environmentally friendly too. Which is why Earth Day is one of our favorite
    It's no secret that Californians love the outdoors, and it's well-known that we obsess over all things environmentally friendly too. Which is why Earth Day is one of our favorite holidays. This April, be sure to come out and support Santa Cruz’s Earth Day Festival and San Lorenzo River Clean up on April 21st from 11am until 4pm. The day will be filled with tons of great information on how to rev up your ecological lifestyle.  Begin the day by wading along the riverside and collecting items that call for proper disposal--the morning will leave you feeling accomplished knowing that you did your part to make the earth a little happier. After the clean up, jam out to great local bands and attend the Recycled Fashion Show and Compost Workshop. Make your Earth Day a full, fun day in Santa Cruz by learning and exploring beneficial ways to contribute to our environment.  

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    A Step Into the Past at Del Mar

    You don’t have to search far to travel back in time while visiting Santa Cruz.
    You don’t have to search far to travel back in time while visiting Santa Cruz.

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    Wander Down the Wharf

    The Santa Cruz Wharf is a staple of Santa Cruz culture — it is a meeting place, an eating place and an all around sight seeing place!
    The Santa Cruz Wharf is a staple of Santa Cruz culture — it is a meeting place, an eating place and an all around sight seeing place!

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    Santa Cruz, The Orignal Surf Town

    If surfing is what you seek you have come to the right place — a laid back hang ten city — Santa Cruz is the original California surf town.
    If surfing is what you seek you have come to the right place — a laid back hang ten city — Santa Cruz is the original California surf town.

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    Spending the Holidays in Santa Cruz

    It has been rumored that some say we put the Santa in Santa Cruz — which may be the reason we are constantly ‘Dream-Inn’ of getting festive in December.
    It has been rumored that some say we put the Santa in Santa Cruz — which may be the reason we are constantly ‘Dream-Inn’ of getting festive in December.

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    Retreat Among the Redwoods

    Bring yourself back while walking alongside giant redwoods and listening to the scurry of sweet, tiny animals.
    Bring yourself back while walking alongside giant redwoods and listening to the scurry of sweet, tiny animals.

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    Find the Missing Arm at Big Basin

    As the fall weather sets in and the spooky October vibes slowly creep across Santa Cruz, make sure you mark your calendars for the annual ‘Missing Arm” event at Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
    As the fall weather sets in and the spooky October vibes slowly creep across Santa Cruz, make sure you mark your calendars for the annual ‘Missing Arm” event at Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

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    Bringing the Botanic's to Santa Cruz

    Let your inner tree hugger out and visit the University of California Arboretum & Botanic Garden of Santa Cruz. 
    Let your inner tree hugger out and visit the University of California Arboretum & Botanic Garden of Santa Cruz. 

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    Polynesia Playtime in Santa Cruz

    Take a step out of California and into the Polynesian lifestyle! August 20th marks the 25th annual Aloha Races and Polynesia Festival here in Santa Cruz.
    Take a step out of California and into the Polynesian lifestyle! August 20th marks the 25th annual Aloha Races and Polynesia Festival here in Santa Cruz.

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    The Cinema on Santa Cruz Beach

    It doesn’t matter whether it is day or night, Santa Cruz has something for everyone and is always ready to please!
    It doesn’t matter whether it is day or night, Santa Cruz has something for everyone and is always ready to please!

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    Local Bubbles are Brewed

    The simplicity of beer is all about the products used, the less complicated the ingredients the more pure the concoction.
    The simplicity of beer is all about the products used, the less complicated the ingredients the more pure the concoction.

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    Reliving the Redwood Mountain Faire

    Bring a partner and grab a chair, come visit us at the Redwood Mountain Faire. 
    Bring a partner and grab a chair, come visit us at the Redwood Mountain Faire. 

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    Shop the Sidewalks of Santa Cruz

    Window shopping is a favorite past time for many, but on the last weekend of each month Downtown Santa Cruz brings out the products from behind the glass and puts them right in front of the store-fronts.
    Window shopping is a favorite past time for many, but on the last weekend of each month Downtown Santa Cruz brings out the products from behind the glass and puts them right in front of the store-fronts.

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    Dream Inn' About Technology

    An evening of entrepreneurs, technology and craft beer is a night you may recognize as being part of the California culture.
    An evening of entrepreneurs, technology and craft beer is a night you may recognize as being part of the California culture.

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    Dream-Inn' of Ice Cream

    Sweetness is the way to my heart, and The Penny Ice Creamery has struck gold on every single one of my tastebuds.
    Sweetness is the way to my heart, and The Penny Ice Creamery has struck gold on every single one of my tastebuds.

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    A Secret Hole in the Wall

    While the rest of the country is shivering in their boots and scarves you’re sitting pretty in sunny Santa Cruz!
    While the rest of the country is shivering in their boots and scarves you’re sitting pretty in sunny Santa Cruz!

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