San Francisco to Santa Cruz?!
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Aug 10, 2007 1:13 AM Last Post By: JoanR
Aug 8, 2007 4:10 PM
San Francisco to Santa Cruz?!Good afternoon all...
I'm a Londoner travelling to San Francisco 30/8 for two weeks and want to spend a couple of days in Santa Cruz.
I don't have a car and according to Amtraks impenetrable website(!!!) this journey can't be done without taking time consuming detours by bus or whatever...
I would be massively grateful if anyone can tell me the easiest, most direct route, i mean, how do the locals do it?
Any tips about cheap accommodation, eating, nightlife once i'm in SCZ would be gratefully received also...
Aug 8, 2007 5:00 PM
1Greyhound Bus is easiest. No transfers, $13 each way. Centre to Centre. Here for what's happening. Here is a hostel. Just walk up and down Pacific Mall, and Front street and see what is happening. If you are not 21 yo, nightlife will be a problem. There is a lot to do in SC, Google it with "camping" "wine tasting" "beach" etc. The Cruz is silicon valley, laid back, so it is all on the web. There is a half decent bus service in SC too.
Aug 8, 2007 5:39 PM
2The reason you're having trouble with the Amtrak site is that Santa Cruz can't be reached by train. It has this in common with most places in the USA.
Get a free copy of the Metro Weekly when you get to town: that will let you know what's on that week. Don't count on a huge amount to be going on, though: nightlife picks up considerably once the fall quarter at UCSC (University of California, Santa Cruz) starts in late September. Restaurants and bars are concentrated downtown on and around Pacific Ave. Most of these have changed from the days when I was a student there, but The Catalyst is still the main venue in town for "big name" bands or singers.
Aug 8, 2007 6:01 PM
Aug 8, 2007 6:02 PM
41. Take BART to the airport, then take the Santa Cruz Airporter to SC. Not cheap. $50.
2. Take Caltrain to San Jose. Get off at the Diridon Station. About $4.50 one way.
Then take the Highway 17 Express Bus to Santa Cruz: This bus leaves the Diridon Station and travels over the Santa Cruz Mountains (45 minutes) via Highway 17. The first bus leaves for Santa Cruz at 6:00am and leaves about every half hour until the last bus at 10:30pm. You can see the Bus Schedule here.
Aug 8, 2007 6:03 PM
5you can take Caltrain from SF to San Jose and then the Santa Cruz bus #17 (goes over Highway 17).
Aug 8, 2007 7:17 PM
6"Santa Cruz is worth an afternoon at the very most."
I recognize that's just an opinion (from an opinionated guy), but why discourage people like that? Santa Cruz has ocean teeming with surfers, a classic beach boardwalk, and deep redwood forests in the mountains immediately above. For many people that's worth more than a couple of hours.
It will be harder without a car, but still ...
Aug 8, 2007 8:02 PM
7Santa Cruz is a great beach town, university town, shopping, fabulous reasonably priced food, leftover hippie culture, as many panhandlers as SF, great music scene, artist scene, great bookstores, hot tub spas, health nuts, weird characters, surfers, chicks, gays, lesbians, outrageously overpriced real estate.
What more could a person want from a California scene?
Aug 8, 2007 9:04 PM
Aug 8, 2007 9:28 PM
10CalTrain to the bus is your best bet, as mentioned above. CalTrain times vary dramatically, with the fastest express trains at rush hour and the slowest taking 100 minutes.
If your schedule is flexible, take a look at the rideshare board on Craigslist. There's always someone driving back and forth. Also not hard to find a ride if you're staying at a hostel.
Aug 8, 2007 10:59 PM
Aug 8, 2007 11:23 PM
12The lack of decent public transport in California is very annpying to foreigners used to good service in their home countries. That said, doing like the locals in a land away from home is invariably the way to go. We rented big cars and enjoyed the experience.
Aug 8, 2007 11:40 PM
Aug 10, 2007 1:08 AM
Thanks so much for the link to the street performers in Santa Cruz.
My husband and I, for several years, have walked down a mile from the Ross/Cost Plus shopping Center, on River Street, down Pacific Avenue to Laurel and back every other day. The "umbrella man" has been our friend during that time. No, he doesn't speak, just nods and smiles that beautific smile. When he first started out his costume was an Hawaiian shirt and Khakis and his trademarks is that he walks, one step at a time, very slowly, up and down the street, carrying an umbrella. Very slowly his costume became more elaborate until it is what you see today. All pink and frilly with lots of makeup. He didn't do that at first. Our first contact was way back when, when my husband told him "you are walking too fast". Now we look for him and "exchange" greetings. If I tell him he needs a heavier shawl because it is chilly, he smiles that smile and shrugs. If I say something like "we have to stop meeting like this" he smiles and nods.
I wonder if, now that I know his name, I have the nerve to call him Robert? We think he lives in the Palomar Hotel downtown, because we often see him leaving that lobby.
There is also what I call "the baby doll lady". She is short and stout and dressed in an outlandish costume with an elaborate wrapped headdress. She stands at the store side of the sidewalk and says, "Got a dollar?".
Our most favorite street performer, however, was Tom Scribner, who for years sat on the sidewalk of what then was called "The Mall" (or Pacific Avenue Mall....they took the traffic off and planted, since have let one-way traffic back on.) Tom played the saw. Beautifully. He is now commemorated with a life-sized bronze statue outside Bookshop Santa Cruz, showing him seated and engrossed in his playing.
We have a very lovely downtown It's also clean, except right now for the sidewalks in some areas and I read that they are going to spend $10,000 on steam cleaning.
The residents get nervous about the "eccentrics", but they are harmless, and the beggars sit quietly on the sidewalk with signs, and rarely speak, or if they do, it's "can you spare some change"?
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