Santa Cruz Downtown
Downtown Santa Cruz lies north of the waterfront. The place to visit here is Pacific Avenue, between Water and Lincoln streets. This is a delightful part of town, tree- lined and with broad sidewalks, designed for the pedestrian. It has several good shops, galleries, restaurants and outdoor cafes, punctuated with hot-dog stands and 1960s-style street entertainers and musicians. At the Water Street end of the mall stands an old, restored clock-tower, and near the center of it, just off Pacific Avenue on Cooper Street, you can visit a most unique, eight-sided red-brick building, the Octagon House, dating from 1882. The Octagon House features changing art and historic exhibits.
North still is Mission Hill. a good place to view old Victorian homes—some of the city’s finest—located mainly on Mission and High streets and Escalona Drive. Also of interest here is a replica of the Mision la Exaltacion de la Santa Cruz, the twelfth of California’s twenty-one missions founded by Franciscan fathers. The old mission was originally built upon the very same site, overlooking the San Lorenzo River, in 1791.
Another curiosity to amaze and delight you, some three miles northeast of town, off Branciforte Drive, is the Mystery Spot. Here, in a circle roughly 150 feet in diameter, balls roll uphill, trees grow sideways, and people are unable to stand upright. It is a strange natural phenomenon that defies the laws of gravity.
University of California, Santa Cruz
UC Santa Cruz. Before leaving Santa Cruz, try to also visit the University of California, Santa Cruz, one of the loveliest of the UC campuses. It is located at the northwest edge of town, on a wooded hillside, reached more or less directly on High Street. Here you can tour modern, architect-designed buildings, tucked away among groves of towering redwoods, giving way to the rolling hillsides farther out.
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