Museums Walking Tour (Self Guided), Santa Cruz

Before you set out on your trip to Santa Cruz, the following are top museums worth visiting. These museums tell their stories through photographs, history, art, surfboards and other related items. Take this tour to discover the natural history and best museums in this city.
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Museums Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Museums Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Santa Cruz (See other walking tours in Santa Cruz)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 Km or 3.1 Miles
Author: karenl
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park
  • Artisans Gallery
  • Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History
  • Santa Cruz Art League
  • Santa Cruz City Museum of Natural History
  • McNaught Fine Art
Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park

1) Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park (must see)

Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park was built in 1791 and is one of the mission’s buildings that still operates. This little museum in downtown Santa Cruz focuses on historical visual culture and carries a permanent collection of historical artifacts that exemplify the history of Santa Cruz. The museum offers many interesting activities and their program also includes tours of the Evergreen Cemetery, Octagon building and the Davenport Jail Museum. This building is the best venue for tourists interested in the unique history of this town.
Artisans Gallery

2) Artisans Gallery

Founded in 1976, Artisans Gallery started as an artists' cooperative displaying different fine ceramics, beautiful paintings, interior supplies, jewelry and unique candles. The gallery gives preference to local artists as well as artists from around the world, as it displays their artwork and great talent. The artwork and Artisans' crafts inspire everyone, are fun to look at and deserve to be appreciated and used. Artisans try to achieve their motto “Dedicated to the Creative Spirit" by facilitating the making of American crafts with emphasis on the local artists that Santa Cruz and the other communities have to offer.

Operation hours: Sunday - Thursday: 10:30 am - 6:30 pm; Friday - Saturday: 10:30 am - 8:30 pm
Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History

3) Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (must see)

Through its wide exhibitions, interesting programs and unique collections, the Museum of Art & History tries to help visitors understand the culture and history of Santa Cruz County. The museum offers many research opportunities and historic resources for Santa Cruz locals and visitors, who are charmed by exhibitions about Santa Cruz surf culture, antique paintings and artifacts. The nicest part of the museum is the store, which carries interesting gift items and a lovely sculpture garden outside. Explore this little museum and find its hidden secrets.

Opening hours: Sunday-Thursday open from 10 am-7 pm, Friday open from 10 am-8 pm, Saturday open from 10 am - 3 pm.
Santa Cruz Art League

4) Santa Cruz Art League

Founded in 1919, the Santa Cruz Art League is a membership organization free to the public. Until 1951, the Art League had its unique exhibitions at other venues, always in front of visitors' eyes. Being an art gallery, specialty shop, theater and classroom, the gallery encourages a large, select group of professional artists in an amiable environment, which makes the art open to the community. The gallery holds pproximately 12 art shows every year, some for artists, some for the community and some on an invitation basis. They hold classes, monthly workshops, as well as theater productions and book readings. Check out this gallery and experience the eccentricity of its exhibitions.

Operation hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 12 pm - 5 pm; Sunday: 12 pm - 4 pm.
Santa Cruz City Museum of Natural History

5) Santa Cruz City Museum of Natural History

The Santa Cruz City Museum of Natural History, also known affectionately by locals as the "whale museum", is one of the earliest museums in the state of California. Founded from the Laura Hecox collection in 1905, the museum's collections grew extensively throughout the years, acquiring many Native American and archaeological artifacts, as well as natural history specimens of the past. Currently, the museum is housed in a Carnegie Library, named after the Carnegie philanthropic foundation that funded the construction of the library in 1915.

The Museum traces its beginnings to the late 19th century and the collection of naturalist Laura Hecox. Mss Hecox was born in Santa Cruz in 1854 and from childhood had a keen interest in the natural sciences. In 1904 Laura Hecox deeded her collection to the City of Santa Cruz for the establishment of its first public museum.The following year, the Hecox Museum opened in the basement of the new Carnegie Library. The museum opened August 21, 1905. There were displays of dried sea stars and crustaceans, Indian baskets and mortars, Eskimo artifacts, minerals, agates, gems, petrified woods, coral, bird nests and eggs, turtle and tortoise carapaces, and several cases of shells, including two hundred local species. The Hecox collection remained at the library until about 1917 when it was moved to the new Santa Cruz High School.

In 1984 the museum built outdoor exhibit kiosks on the Santa Cruz Wharf featuring marine life, fishing, and the wharf's history. In 1986 the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum was established as a satellite facility at the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse. The displays of old surfboards and historical photographs attract 70,000 visitors each year.

Operation hours: Tuesday – Friday: 11 am – 4 pm; Saturday,Sunday: 10 am- 5 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
McNaught Fine Art

6) McNaught Fine Art

Located in the county of Santa Cruz, the McNaught Fine Art offers fine European and American paintings to all their customers. They provide art services including conservation, framing, sales and restoration. It is associated with some industries like Schools and Educational Services as well as Museums And Art Galleries. For over twenty-five years, the gallery has researched every work of art before it was up for sale, which is why the acquisition of fine art is always a great pleasure for its customers.

Walking Tours in Santa Cruz, California

Create Your Own Walk in Santa Cruz

Create Your Own Walk in Santa Cruz

Creating your own self-guided walk in Santa Cruz is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Specialty Shops Walk

Specialty Shops Walk

Santa Cruz is home to an appealing variety of gifts, antiques and specialty shops. Stroll through Santa Cruz’s best shops on your own or check your favorite Santa Cruz store on this tour. Downtown Santa Cruz has the key to the best shopping experience, with over 200 original stores and shops. It's all here, don't miss it.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.6 Km or 0.4 Miles
Capitola District Walking Tour

Capitola District Walking Tour

Capitola is an intimate beach village situated Santa Cruz County on the Monterey Bay, and is home to different interesting galleries, restaurants, museums and specialty shops. Located an hour from San Francisco, Capitola is full of great traditions and interesting history. It is the perfect place where Begonia Festival fascinates tourists every weekend, along with live music and sand castle...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles
Santa Cruz Introduction Walking Tour

Santa Cruz Introduction Walking Tour

Owing to its coastal location in Central California, Santa Cruz is largely regarded as the birthplace of U.S. surfing. Other than that, the city's main attraction is a long wharf stretching far into Monterey Bay, packed with eateries and shops. Those in favor of vintage entertainment will find it in plenty at the nearby Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, featuring the 1911 Looff Carousel and the...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.5 Km or 2.8 Miles
Historical Churches

Historical Churches

Santa Cruz is the biggest city of Santa Cruz County, California. Santa Cruz has a lot of beautiful churches and religious centers. Even though Orthodox and Catholic churches predominate, there are also Moslem, Jewish and Buddhist communities. Take this tour to learn about the most famous religious buildings and get a sense of the spiritual life of Santa Cruz.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 Km or 3.4 Miles
Beach Walking Tour

Beach Walking Tour

Santa Cruz is home to many beautiful and unique beaches. You will find the major part of the tourists and locals on the sunny beaches, some are surfing, some are enjoying an ice-cream on the Boardwalk, everybody has fun here. Take this amazing tour to discover the best attractions along the beaches of Santa Cruz.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles