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Only In Santa Cruz

Wed, Oct 02, 2019

Maria Walsh

Maria Walsh - Guest Services Coordinator

Best of the Best: October Santa Cruz Events

Autumn has officially fallen on Santa Cruz. It’s crisp and sunny outside, the jackets are coming out, and the pumpkin spice is flowing. Despite the seasonal shift, one thing remains the same: there are fun, creative events all over town. With a friend or on your own, check out this list for reasons to head out, no matter the season.

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Open Studios

First three weekends of October, from 11am to 5pm Saturdays and Sundays, across Santa Cruz County.

North County: October 5 & 6, South County: October 12 & 13, All County: October 19 & 20


Open Studios shows us what a truly creative community Santa Cruz is. With the opportunity to visit over 300 artist studios across the county, Open Studios is a fantastic way to connect with others, see new artwork, and get inspired. More.

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Pacific Garden Mall Historical Walking Tour

Saturday, October 12th in Downtown Santa Cruz, 1-2pm. Tour starts at Eagle Monument at Pacific & Front Streets.

October is one of the prettiest months of the year in Santa Cruz. Put on your walking shoes and enjoy the refreshing fall air while seeing your town in a whole new way. Meet new people and learn interesting tales from local historian Ross Gibson. More.

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GLOW: Festival of Fire & Light

Saturday, October 12th at the MAH, 7-10pm

The MAH’s 8th Festival of Fire and Light is a mind-blowing spectacle of the best digital and fire artists in the county. Taking over the museum, Abbott Square and Cooper street, GLOW gets you up close and personal through installations, performances, and a chance to play fire-breathing instruments. Family-friendly, this event is a community favorite. More.

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Open Streets Santa Cruz County

Sunday, October 13th on West Cliff Drive, 9am-2pm

We live in one of the prettiest places in the world, and October is all about enjoying it. West Cliff Drive, from the Lighthouse to Natural Bridges, will be closed to cars for Open Streets, which means time to bike, dance, walk, and play in the street. Performances and activities add to the fun, so grab a friend and get outside. More.

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Free Open Rehearsal at the Santa Cruz Symphony

Friday, October 11th at the Civic Auditorium, 7:30-10pm

Change up your Friday night and head to the Civic Auditorium, either after dinner or before going out. Fill your ears with beautiful classical music rehearsed by the masterful Santa Cruz Symphony. What’s better than that? Well, that it’s free. More.

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Litquake Santa Cruz: Funny & Peculiar

Tuesday, October 15th at Bookshop Santa Cruz, 7pm

“Keeping it Weird” is the theme of this literary event, which, let’s be real, is reason enough to attend. Five Santa Cruz writers share their work for the 20th Anniversary of Litquake, San Francisco’s famous Literary Festival. More.

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Unique Multiples Art Exhibition

The Sesnon Gallery at UC Santa Cruz. On view now through December 6th.

Wouldn’t it be incredible if you could see artwork by Ai Weiwei, Yayoi Kusama, Andy Warhol, and Cindy Sherman, all in one place? Yes, it would be, and you can. The Sesnon Gallery at UC Santa Cruz will be showing selected pieces from the Parkett Collection at the University of Castilla–La Mancha (UCLM) in Cuenca, Spain. (And is the only public education institution in the U.S. to do so.) Free and open to the public, this exhibition shouldn’t be missed. More.

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Sculpture IS: In the Garden

On view now through October 31st at Sierra Azul Nursery & Gardens

Visit the stunning two-acre garden and uncover beautiful sculptures around every corner. Bring your picnic lunch and come spend an afternoon enjoying over 80 sculptures selected by jurors, Susana Arias, Jamie Abbott, and Jeff Rosendale. More.