The Best Cafés in Santa Cruz

best cafes in santa cruz under the palm trees

Santa Cruz is an incredible destination that offers a perfect blend of coastal charm, natural beauty, and cultural richness. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a must-visit spot that will leave you in awe. 

  • You can enjoy thrilling rides, arcade games, and a great Pacific view. 
  • It’s a beautiful beach experience that you will remember. 
  • Natural Bridges State Beach is also a must-visit. 
  • You can witness fantastic rock formations and tidal pools teeming with marine life here. 
  • You can walk along sandy shores and breathe in the fresh ocean air. 

It’s truly a magical place that you should visit. Let’s check the best cafés in Santa Cruz!

The Best Cafés and Coffee Shops in Santa Cruz

If you’re exploring Santa Cruz and need a break, check out the café scene. Trust me, it’s the perfect way to relax and try local treats. Imagine sipping on a latte with the smell of redwoods in the air or munching on a freshly baked pastry while watching the waves. 

You can grab a seat at The Abbey Coffee Lounge or the café at the Mystery Spot and take a breather before diving back into all the fun stuff to do in Santa Cruz. 

11th Hour Coffee

It’s a cool spot with amazing coffee and a chill vibe. They’ve got a bunch of plants inside and outside in their garden seating area. Plus, their coffee is freshly roasted and delicious. I love how they’re all about dreaming big and making positive changes. 

Website: 11th Hour Coffee

Shrine Coffee

I just discovered this amazing coffee shop in Santa Cruz called Shrine Coffee. It’s located near the ocean, and the atmosphere is serene and relaxing. The woodwork inside is made from Monterey cypress trees, and there’s even a cozy fireplace and water fountain. Even better is that it’s a non-profit cafe that’s an extension of the Shrine of St. Joseph catholic church. Their mission is to create a welcoming space for people at every stage of life’s journey. 

Website: Shrine Coffee

Cat & Cloud Coffee

Cat & Cloud Coffee started as a single café on Portola Avenue but has now expanded to multiple locations in Santa Cruz. Their westside café is adorned with playful touches of pink and teal and features high ceilings, comfortable chairs, outdoor seating, and a fully-equipped kitchen that serves delicious breakfast items. The café’s inviting ambiance lets you relish their masterfully brewed coffee while soaking up the lively atmosphere.

Website: Cat & Cloud Coffee

The Abbey Coffee Lounge

The Abbey is such a cool spot! Whether you’re a student, professional, or just hanging with family, you’ll love it here. There’s a ton of creative stuff to check out, like artwork from books and pages. The cozy vibe is perfect for chilling on a couch or getting inspired while sipping your coffee. And let’s not forget the local musicians who keep things groovy! Trust me, you won’t regret stopping by.

Website: The Abbey Coffee Lounge

Verve Coffee Roasters

If you’re looking for a chill spot to hang out with your friends, Verve’s Pacific Avenue store is where it’s at. They have a super cool bohemian vibe and plenty of seating for any crew. And let’s talk about the coffee – it’s seriously the best. Verve roasts their beans on vintage equipment, and you can taste the quality. Plus, their locations are seriously stunning. If you’re a coffee lover, check out Verve on Pacific Avenue.

Website: Verve Coffee Roasters

Lulu Carpenter’s

Lulu Carpenter’s is housed in a historic building with a rich history dating back to 1865. The exposed brick walls and cherry wood furnishings create a sophisticated ambiance further enhanced by displaying stunning artworks. The bakery is renowned for its delectable offerings, which include mouth-watering blueberry white chocolate scones and buttermilk biscuits. It’s the perfect spot to indulge in some delicious treats while enjoying a cup of coffee.

Website: Lulu Carpenter’s

Firefly Coffee House

Firefly Coffee House is the perfect spot to grab a delicious cup of locally roasted coffee. The cafe’s vibrant walls and handmade countertop add to the cozy and charming ambiance that’s perfect for enjoying your favorite brew. Plus, the colorful mural-graced building nearby and the San Lorenzo Riverwalk make for a picturesque setting. You’re going to love it!

Website: Firefly Coffee House

Tabby Cat Cafe

Tabby Cat Cafe in downtown Santa Cruz exudes a bright and relaxed atmosphere. Their coffee is expertly crafted and pairs perfectly with diverse seating options, including counter-side chairs and comfortable couches. The reading nook is stocked with books, allowing you to unwind and escape. Occasionally, the cafe surprises its visitors with free movie screenings, adding to its unique charm.

Website: Tabby Cat Cafe

Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting

Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting is where you can get the best coffee in town! They’ve been roasting, blending, and brewing the finest 100% Arabica coffees for over 40 years. You won’t find a better cup of coffee anywhere else. The cafe is located downtown and has free WiFi, daily specials, and community art on display, so it’s the perfect spot to relax and enjoy your coffee. 

Website: Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting

Windmill Cafe

The location is perfect – close to Twin Lakes Beach and Santa Cruz Harbor. And the building itself is almost a century old, which gives it such a relaxed vibe. But what blew me away was the food. They have something for everyone, with tofu scrambles and gluten-free pastries on the menu. And everything is just so tasty! This makes the Windmill Cafe one of the best cafés in Santa Cruz!

Website: Windmill Cafe

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