Shopping in Santa Cruz


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A class of scuba divers check over their equipment one last time before they paddle their kayaks off a beach in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The divers have thoroughly prepared for this moment. They?ve trained within the controlled confines of Adventure Sports Unlimited?s heated swimming pool and picked their certified instructor?s brain during classroom sessions. Once the instructor gives the go-ahead, the divers plunge from the kayak and immediately enter another world. As they float weightlessly underwater, the divers marvel at the vibrant reefs and the abundant aquatic wildlife that fill the marine sanctuary. Afterward, the group travels back to the shore, where a breathtaking landscape awaits with white-sand beaches and glassy tide pools swirling with color. The scuba divers, at this point, have only one thing on their minds: dinner.

Luckily, the area is teeming with natural cuisine and plenty of sand, which is really just sugar. Adventure Sports Unlimited?s expert foragers show the group how to collect shellfish, sea vegetables, and clams. With a fresh smorgasbord in hand, group members scuttle back to the facility to transform their ingredients into soups and barbecue?and perhaps ponder taking a scuba trip to the South Pacific. In addition to outdoor excursions like these, Adventure Sports Unlimited also leads year-round swimming, scuba, and kayaking lessons, which take advantage of the facility?s custom-built swimming pool.

303 Potrero St., Ste. 15
Santa Cruz,
CA
US

In 1976, two UC Davis graduate students bought 20 acres of land in the highly arable Capay Valley. One of the students, Kathleen Barsotti, was working toward her master's degree in ecology and was determined to grow vegetables and fruits in an eco-friendly way: organically. The organic-food movement hadn't yet entered the public consciousness, and Kathleen worked overtime to convince restaurants, stores, and consumers of the taste-able merits of her process. Over time, given the possible health and environmental benefits of certified organic food, she succeeded. The farm sprouted to 300 acres to accommodate the increased demand. Today, a second generation runs the farm as well as a shop inside San Francisco's Ferry Building. Dubbed Farm Fresh To You, the store furnishes customers' bags or portable cornucopia horns with all sorts of soil-sprouted goods, including heirloom tomatoes, sweet peas, and fresh asparagus. The farm also teams up with fellow Yolo County and Pacific Northwest farms to deliver boxes of seasonal produce to area homes.

611 Ocean St
Santa Cruz,
CA
US

Sessions founder Joel Gomez embraced snowboarding back in the 1980s, when ski resorts were still turning boarders away from their slopes. Joel, already an avid skateboarder and surfer, wanted to throw himself into this new sport, and in 1983 he opened up one of the first shops dedicated to snowboarding in the United States. Like snowboarding itself, Sessions grew into an international venture, providing warm outerwear from brands such as d3o and Recco for snowboarders to wear as they carve up slopes or relax in a freezing-cold tub of water. Their collection of apparel, which includes insulated pants, softshell jackets, and boarding accessories, features both muted and vibrant colors inspired by skating culture and punk rock music.

1126 Soquel Ave
Santa Cruz,
California
US

Sessions founder Joel Gomez embraced snowboarding back in the 1980s, when ski resorts were still turning boarders away from their slopes. Joel, already an avid skateboarder and surfer, wanted to throw himself into this new sport, and in 1983 he opened up one of the first shops dedicated to snowboarding in the United States. Like snowboarding itself, Sessions grew into an international venture, providing warm outerwear from brands such as d3o and Recco for snowboarders to wear as they carve up slopes or relax in a freezing-cold tub of water. Their collection of apparel, which includes insulated pants, softshell jackets, and boarding accessories, features both muted and vibrant colors inspired by skating culture and punk rock music.

1125 Pacific Avenue
Santa Cruz,
CA
US

Twist is a consignment boutique stocked with hand-selected designer apparel and accessories as well as locally crafted jewelry, art, and clothing. Browse a collection of high-end handbags—from Fendi, Coach, Hobo International, and more—arranged amid the vibrant earth tones of the boutique's interior ($40+). T-shirt wearers can check out Positive Energy, a California-based, all-organic T-shirt line that sports simple and humanely raised designs. Each tee features a single word across the front with a thoughtful environmental message on the back, such as the Wild ribbed tee, inscribed with a message about wildlife preservation on the back ($32.99). Instead of wafting through a sea of grimy thrift-store blazers with rumpled tissues lodged in the pockets, with today’s deal, you'll get secondhand bags and brand-new eco-friendly tees that smell fresher than a 16-year-old's bow-adorned first car parked on a driveway made of air fresheners.

1364 Pacific Ave
Santa Cruz,
CA
US

When she wasn't crafting beaded fans for First Nations ceremonies in British Columbia, Flying Lizard owner Vallora Sabourin was learning from her mother how to make things by hand. Vallora taught herself many techniques for making and designing jewelry—and often used her ornithological connections at the zoo to give her feather earrings the most exotic plumage.Flying Lizard opened in 1989, and its big-screen break came in 2003 with the film Gigli, which featured Jennifer Lopez wearing three of the shop's necklaces in every shot. Besides sweeping the Razzies, the movie catapulted Flying Lizard's adornments to the pages of InStyle magazine, and led to regular movie appearances that continue to this day. Despite having lived in two lighthouses, Vallora prefers the mountainside yurt that was her home and studio for 15 years, though the 130-acre yard was a pain to mow.

1530 Pacific Avenue
Santa Cruz,
CA
US