I named my blog Capitola Jewels because although I no longer live in Capitola, it is still so much of who I am as a person. I moved away when I was 18 to go to college and never moved back. I love it so much and visit almost every other month, but I know that I am where I need to be in Orange County. It’s interesting how your gut can tell you so much about where you are meant to be at certain times in your life. It has always been my guide in making life decisions and I am grateful for the path it has led me to.
Last weekend I went home to visit my parents and do a combined Mother’s and Father’s Day with them. Most of my weekend was spent at our home playing horseshoes in the backyard, playing with my mom’s new kitten, and soaking up the sun, but usually I go on quite the escapades while in town. I put together a Capitola Travel Guide for some friends while they were in town for a wedding a few weeks back. They loved all the spots I recommended so it inspired me to do a post about all the best spots in Capitola that most people miss because they are doing all the touristy stuff.
Thus, here is my Ultimate Capitola Travel Guide:
- Gayle’s Bakery – this is the best bakery you will ever go to. I’m not kidding – I can’t go anywhere but Gayle’s. My go-tos:
- Downtowner with sugar
- Butter star cookies
- Egg & bacon croissant sandwich
- Hot chocolate with whipped cream – I get this every time
- Beer Thirty – Beer Thirty is a super cool brewery with an outdoor area to play games and hang out. This is my favorite brewery in Santa Cruz. If you want to order food, Carpo’s is right next door. Carpo’s has great American food (fries, hot dogs, pasta, etc.) which is always great after a few beers. Their salad bar is also my absolute favorite.
- Little Tampico – Little Tampico is a delicious Mexican restaurant next to Beer Thirty (within walking distance). The chips and salsa are amazing and their Molly’s Margarita is to die for. These are VERY strong so try to only have one. The food is great.
- The Capitola Village – definitely go here! This is where most of the fun is if you aren’t going to Downtown Santa Cruz. “The Village” as we call it is a little area right on the water with tons of shopping, restaurants, and bars. I always end up here when I’m in town because it is walking distance from my mom’s house and is a really fun spot. My favorites are:
- Britannia Arms – I love this place. I usually come grab a drink here first before making my rounds down the line of bars.
- Zelda’s – really cute and a Capitola classic but somewhat over-priced. I love sitting out on the deck while watching the water, also a great spot to watch people on the beach.
- Pizza My Heart – get a piece of pesto pizza! This place is incredible but the line can be unreasonable so be prepared to wait.
- Paradise Beach Grille – I love this spot and only recently started going. The drinks are great and the patio outside is awesome! I love getting the cheese board and a bottle of wine and sharing with a group of friends.
- Mr. Toots – if you are here in the morning and don’t want to drink (sorry in advance for all the bar recommendations) stop at Mr. Toots for a coffee. It’s a super cute coffee shop right above Margaritaville and is locally owned and operated.
- Margaritaville – this is a really fun Mexican restaurant and bar!
- Shopping – there are tons of great shopping spots in the Capitola Village. You can get some ice cream and mosey around the streets looking for unique items. All the places to shop are great in The Village!
- Sante Adairius Rustic Ales – this is a super-secret Capitola gem that is hidden within a residential neighborhood. If you want to be the ultimate local try this place out.
- Avenue Café – my dad took me here for the first time this past weekend. The food was great and it’s just outside the Capitola Village by the police station. It has about six different kinds of eggs benedict and the French toast is amazing!
- Shadowbrook – Shadowbrook is my all-time favorite restaurant in Capitola. Every birthday growing up my dad would ask me where I wanted to go for dinner and I chose Shadowbrook every time. It’s also my boyfriends favorite restaurant – he loves the surf n turf plate and the great selection of wines they have. When you’re there, try:
- Creamy Artichoke Soup – since artichokes are local to the Santa Cruz County area try them here any chance you get.
- Surf and Turf
- Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee
- Jack Daniels’ Mud Pie
- Pear Pleasure – a pear martini that has a unique flavor and is delicious
- Café Cruz – another amazing Capitola classic! Café Cruz is a Rosticceria and bar that is a local favorite.
- Depot Hill – you can access Depot Hill by climbing the stairs (there are 75 of them!) behind Souza’s ice cream in Capitola Village. If you want the perfect photography opportunity – this place is great! Depot Hill is basically a neighborhood with huge, beautiful homes that look off on all of Capitola Village. I come here every time I am in town to get some perspective and reflect. I highly recommend it!
I hope that you have a chance to visit Capitola. It is such an amazing city and it has a great vibe and energy that is so welcoming. If you have any questions or would like further tips, please reach out to me. It makes me so happy to talk about the city that I love so much!
- Hat – Women’s Brixton Hat – Women’s Brixton Hat
- Sunnies – Melrose in the OC – in store only
- Top – Madewell Eyelet Garden Sleeveless Top
- Bandana – Capelli of New York – Stars & Stripes Patchwork Bandana
- Skinnies – Target Women’s Skinny Jeans– right now only $13!
- Wedges – Marc Fisher ‘Adalyn’ Espadrille Wedge Sandal