If you love ocean strolls that make you feel like you are walking on water, Santa Cruz Wharf is the A-Ticket to exercise and enjoyment. The longest public pier over the water in California is more than half a mile long, providing a full mile of exercise round-trip, start to finish.
Along the way you can easily be diverted from your exercise plans. Your senses are assaulted right off the bat by the smells of fresh fish grilling, garlic sizzling and mysterious, delicious flavors wafting from a variety of air vents coming directly from the kitchens of restaurants on the pier structure. Italian fare at Carniglia's, Stagnaro's (caught today, cooked today) fish and Olita's Mexican restaurant span the globe with culinary tastes. There are 8 restaurants with full menus, 5 diners and cafes with snacks & sweets ranging from hot dogs to ice cream treats, and even a wine bar, Vino Prima.
Don't stop unless you plan to shop till you drop. The "Made in Santa Cruz" store is a favorite among locals and tourists, while Noland's Clothing & Gift Company (made famous by the Surf City USA tussle and lawsuit with Huntington Beach,) still sells the $15 T-shirt that started the battle. If a shirt emblazoned with Surf City Santa Cruz USA Original doesn't tickle your funny bone, their store called ‘Surf City Santa Cruz on the Wharf' sells button Uggs, Hurley caps, and surfboards such as BIC Sport, SurfTech and BZ Bodyboards.
Home to special events such as the fun-loving Woodies on the Wharf, Santa Cruz's pier is the anchor to its beach entertainment that includes the oldest seaside amusement zone on the West Coast. Santa Cruz Boardwalk can be seen from the pier. Its happy, colorful rides such as sky chairs and roller coasters that let out screams, seem constantly in motion against green mountains by day and twinkling lights by night.