Santa Cruz Free Walking Tours

F R E E ! Historic Walking Tours  Click here Each tour takes 45-90 minutes to walk. Download and print all four self-guided historic walking tours of Santa Cruz.  

FREE  Walking Tours

The City of Santa Cruz is proud of its heritage and has developed a historic preservation program to protect and enhance its resources. Information is provided below regarding four historic area walking tours, the City Historic Building Survey and historic districts. For additional information, please contact the City Planning and Community Development Department at 831-420-5416.

Historic Area Walking Tours

Four self-guided historic walking tours have been produced. Each tour takes 45-90 minutes. Click on the links below to download PDF versions of each brochure.

Mission Hill.  The Mission Hill District was included on the National Register of Historic Places for the following reasons: it is the birthplace of Santa Cruz, the first permanent European settlement in Santa Cruz County; until the gold rush, it was the religious, commercial, industrial, and agricultural center of the County; and, it was pre-eminent in the Spanish-Native American and Mexican periods and important during the American period of history. It is important to note that the area of the mission complex was a prehistoric site of local Indian habitation some time prior to the construction of the mission.

Walnut Avenue . Walnut Avenue is one of the most beautiful streets in the City. Its uninterrupted Victorian buildings and mature tree cover make it a most enjoyable walk. It makes up the northern portion of the Downtown Neighborhood National Register Historic District. Building ages range from 1870 to 1938.

Ocean View . Ocean View Avenue, opened in 1871, is a grand street with many large fine houses built by two groups of people - wealthy year-round residents of San Jose and Central Valley residents who wanted fine summer houses.

Beach Hill.  This area's history is linked to the history of transportation. The change from shipping to railroad to automobile is reflected in the buildings, from sea captain's cottages to mansions to bungalows.

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