10 Things To Do At Night In Santa Cruz, California

things to do in santa cruz at night
Contributing Writer
| 4 min read

Situated on the northern edge of Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz is a vibrant city of the Santa Cruz County, California. It experiences a warm-summer and a Mediterranean climate thus having favorable weather throughout the year. Its proximity to Monterey Bay results in fog and low overcast during the night and morning hours, especially during the summer months. Its economy relies on agriculture (it is the center of the organic agriculture movement), tourism, education, and high technology. Some tourist attractions include the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the redwood forests and Monterey Bay. The city offers cheap hotels and beachfront rentals for tourists to stay as well. What better time to explore a place and have an unforgettable night-out experience with the stars and the moon shining bright! Read on to find out more about things to do at night in Santa Cruz, California.

1. Take your children to the EXIT Santa Cruz theme park

Escape room
Source: Needpix

Get to enjoy playing fun, challenging and interactive games with your kids at Exit Santa Cruz’s escape room. Here, working as a team, you will have one hour to find clues, solve puzzles and make your escape. Enjoy solving a murder mystery, escaping a mad scientist or conducting a jewelry heist. You can also participate in a Brush-Up painting party with a local artist in a fun atmosphere. Definitely, this theme park is an ideal place for fun things to do with the family. The fun activities sharpen your critical thinking and problem-solving skills as well.

EXIT Santa Cruz

Address: 816 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA

Website: EXIT Santa Cruz

Opening hours: Monday-Friday 6pm to 10pm, Saturday-Sunday 10am to 10pm

Price: 10 USD

Visited this place?

2. Party with friends at The Catalyst

Reel Big Fish live in The Catalyst in Santa Cruz, California
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Miles Gehm used under CC BY 2.0

We all love unwinding at a good party. The Catalyst is known for a mix of well-known musical acts with bands, DJs and a full bar. It has a more intimate smaller room and the main floor which can hold about 800 people. Sing and dance your heart out with your friends while listening to your favorite music. Connected to it is a restaurant that serves scrumptious pizzas, wings, and soda. This is an awesome place to let loose and have fun with your friends while also interacting with different clientele, who vary depending on who is performing at the nightclub.

The Catalyst

Address: 1011 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA

Website: The Catalyst

Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 5pm to 2am

Price: 11-30 USD

Visited this place?

3. Enjoy seasonal flavoured ice creams at The Penny Ice Creamery

Honey Yogurt Walnut Jam with Warm Donuts - The Penny Ice Creamery
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Arnold Gatilao used under CC BY 2.0

Pleasure your sweet tooth at The Penny Ice Creamery. Using locally farmed and organic ingredients such as 100% organic dairy, unrefined cane sugar, and egg yolks, they make their ice cream from scratch. Enjoy delicious ice cream with flavors that change with the seasons. The ice cream has been described as being worth every penny and a must try when in Santa Cruz.

The Penny Ice Creamery

Address: 913 Cedar Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Website: The Penny Ice Creamery

Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 12pm to 11pm

Price: 5 USD

Visited this place?

4. Play a round of golf at Neptune’s Kingdom

Neptune's Kingdom
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jeremy Thompson used under CC BY 2.0

Enjoy playing miniature golf at Neptune’s Kingdom miniature golf course. Set up in the Buccaneer Bay, you have to watch out for pirates as you play through on the two-story 18-hole miniature golf course with three new black light holes. Definitely, a fun way to spend your night that is both entertaining and a form of physical activity.

Neptune's Kingdom

Address: 400 W Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA

Website: Neptune’s Kingdom

Opening hours: Monday-Friday 11am to 11pm, Saturday 10am to 11pm, Sunday 10am to 10pm

Price: 7 USD

Visited this place?

5. Sip a drink at Poet & Patriot Irish Pub

Editor’s Note: Establishment is permanently closed.

Visit this cash-only pub and get to enjoy a nice selection of local beers and cider and some Irish pub beers. The atmosphere is calm with a cool crowd mostly comprised of the working class. It features karaoke, live performances on some days, dart boards where you can enjoy playing darts, and a separate area for playing pool. Enjoy a chilled night at this spot.

Poet & Patriot Irish Pub

Address: 320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA

Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 1pm to 2am

Price: 10 USD

Visited this place?

6. Build a community through tea at Hidden Peak Teahouse

Source: Pixabay

Hidden Peak Teahouse offers a unique tea drinking experience. The ambient lighting and interior décor with different antiques provide a tranquil atmosphere to relax in with vintage vinyl music playing in the background. Enjoy the different types of traditional tea made from the finest quality raw materials that are served using different serving styles such as Gung Fu service, Gaiwan or teapot with a strainer. Interact with others through sharing and talking or pick a game or book from the shelves for your entertainment. What a calm and unique way to spend your night! #### Hidden Peak Teahouse

Address: 1541 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA

Website: Hidden Peak Teahouse

Opening hours: Monday-Thursday, Sunday 11am to 9pm, Friday-Saturday 11am to 9.30pm

Price: 11-30 USD

Visited this place?

7. Enjoy a movie at Landmark's Nickelodeon Theatre

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jorge Royan used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Catch a film at Landmark’s Nickelodeon Theatre. Admire the retro décor in the interior of the small and intimate theater. It features indie and foreign films and also new releases that are shown on four screens. Get artisanal snacks from the small snack bar that offers different varieties of titbits. A movie is always a great and entertaining way to enjoy quality time.

Landmark's Nickelodeon Theatre

Address: 210 Lincoln St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA

Opening hours: Monday-Friday 2pm to 9.30pm, Saturday-Sunday 12pm to 9.30pm

Visited this place?

8. Taste Italian delicacies at Lillian's Italian Restaurant

Sicilian caponata
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Massimoweb used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Dine at Lillian’s Italian Restaurant to enjoy scrumptious Sicilian recipes with creative additions with Italian influences and drink from a selection of regional wines. The restaurant is elegantly decorated and offers a classy dining experience to its patrons. Treat yourself to an amazing dinner that will leave you feeling satisfied and that it is without a doubt a worthy way to spend your money and time. #### Lillian’s Italian Restaurant

Address: 1148 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062, USA

Website: Lillian’s Italian Restaurant

Opening hours: Tuesday-Thursday, Sunday 4pm to 9pm, Friday-Saturday 4pm to 10pm

Price: 11-30 USD

Visited this place?

9. Promenade down the Santa Cruz Wharf

Santa Cruz Wharf
Source: Photo by Flickr user Milo & Silvia in ... used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Visit this wharf that is situated between the Main Beach and Cowell’s Beach. Enjoy walking down the wharf that features restaurants serving foods such as fish and fresh seafood, activities such as fishing and boating, sightseeing for wildlife such as dolphins, otters, and sea lions, and shopping from the various gift shops. Catch a breath of fresh air while taking in spectacular views of the sky, water, and the surroundings.

Santa Cruz Wharf

Address: 21 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA

Website: Santa Cruz Wharf

Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 5am to 2am

Visited this place?

10. Catch a mix of live acts at Moe's Alley

Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz
Source: Photo by Flickr user Miles Gehm used under CC BY 2.0

Yearning to listen to loud music at a place with a good sound system? Moe’s Alley is the place! From blues to salsa and rhumba to reggae, this music hall offers variety for everyone to enjoy. It features a spacious music hall, concerts from local and touring bands, a dance floor, a full bar, friendly staff and an outdoor patio for a breath of fresh air. Enjoy a night out at this spot and create unforgettable memories.

Moe's Alley

Address: 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA

Website: Moe’s Alley

Opening hours: Monday-Friday 4pm to 2am

Price: 11-30 USD

Visited this place?

Experience an amazing night life

A city with a vibrant nightlife provides comfort to its visitors knowing that they can tour several places when they do not feel like going to bed early. Santa Cruz provides such a place with experiences ranging from concerts to restaurants with delicious foods and clubs. Plan a visit here and enjoy some of these things to do at night in Santa Cruz, California.

During the day, be sure to check out some cafes and surf spots as well.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our Privacy Policy for more information on how we use your data

Herine is from Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. As a travel enthusiast, she always takes interest in learning about and visiting new places. She has traveled to many places within the country,...Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Santa Cruz
Looking for accommodation?
Good things are meant to be shared!
Back to top
Visited any of these places? Click this button to activate our "Add a Tip" feature to share your experience.
treehouse hotel santa cruz

13 Best Treehouse Hotels and Rentals In And Near Santa Cruz, California - Updated 2024