Santa Cruz is a laid-back, sleepy beach town with beautiful beaches, great surfing waves, and a long wharf that stretches into Monterey Bay. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk boasts a variety of entertainment from rollercoasters and carousels to cafés, restaurants and buzzing bars, while the Natural Bridges State Beach along West Cliff Drive is famous for its spectacular bridge-shaped rock formation. When it comes to coffee, there is a fantastic selection of cafés, independent coffee shops, and coffee houses with drive-through options that serve small-batch, fair trade, and organic coffee, and healthy light eats. Head to the coast for a coffee at one of these coffee shops in Santa Cruz. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.11th Hour Coffee
© 11th Hour Coffee
The 11th Hour Coffee shop is a trendy café with beautiful wooden interiors, stylish décor, and lush green indoor plants that offers a unique coffee experience. The coffee shop serves a selection of natural-process coffees made with ethically sourced coffee beans from around the globe and brewed to perfection as espressos, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and more. A striking handmade bluestone bar with unique individual stones and crystals rests at the center of the café and behind which sits a gleaming 3-group 1970s-era manual lever Bezzera espresso machine that churns out some of the best coffee in town.
1001 Center St #1, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, Phone: 831-322-4599
© Café Delmarette
Located next door to the Del Mar Theatre, Café Delmarette is a European-style café that serves a casual menu of toasted sandwiches, paninis, and baked goods, along with freshly roasted Verve coffees, imported teas, and other non-alcoholic beverages. The charming café has comfortable indoor seating with plenty of tables and chairs for couples and families, as well as a separate fenced-off sidewalk seating where owners and their dogs can enjoy their meal. Café Delmarette is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.
1126 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, Phone: 831-420-1025
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© Café Iveta
Located on the popular Westside of Santa Cruz, Café Iveta family-friendly café is a quiet hidden gem tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist crowds. Based just a short walk from the Natural Bridges State Beach, the café is open for breakfast and lunch and offers delicious homemade dishes like eggs, omelets, delectable pastries, and award-winning scones. Italian-style espresso drinks are made with Lavazza coffee and other drinks include tea, fruit juices and smoothies, and a selection of craft beer and imported wine. Café Iveta has a lovely outdoor patio for relaxing in the sun.
2125 Delaware Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, Phone: 831-713-5946
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4.Cat & Cloud Coffee
© Cat & Cloud Coffee
Cat & Cloud Coffee is a friendly neighborhood coffee shop with two locations on Portola Avenue and in downtown’s Abbott Square Market that began with weekly pop-ups at the Companion Bakeshop before becoming a popular go-to for a morning caffeine fix. Cat & Cloud uses cutting-edge brewing techniques to create single-source origin coffees and rich darker roasts and offers a subscription program for customers who want to brew their coffee at home. Owners Jared Truby, Chris Baca, and Charles Jack are dedicated to providing the community they love with the highest quality and most delectable coffee brews in town.
3600 Portola Drive, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, 725 Front Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
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Set in an unassuming strip mall on Mission Street, Coffeetopia is a modern coffee chain with three locations in Santa Cruz County that serve a variety of locally roasted and freshly brewed coffees, espressos, lattes, mochas. The café is adorned with a rotating local art display and has contemporary décor with plenty of seating and complimentary wireless Internet. A curated menu of light eats includes fresh pastries, breakfast burritos, bagels, gourmet sandwiches, and several gluten-free options. The café is a popular stop for cyclists and hikers to get an energy fix before heading into the Wilder Ranch State Park.
1723 Mission Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, Phone: 831-425-6583
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6.College Eight Cafe
Overlooking the College Eight quad at the University of California Santa Cruz, College Eight Café is a modern coffee shop with a rotating display of students' artworks on the walls that serve freshly brewed coffee, tea, sodas, and a variety of healthy food. Located opposite the dining hall, the café is a popular stop for students to relax over a game of billiards or catch up on some work while enjoying great coffee and delicious snacks like soup, bagels, and sandwiches. The café has indoor and outdoor seating, an ATM and a microwave for warming up food, and complimentary wireless internet access for UCSC students.
1154 High St, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, Phone: 831-459-4567
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7.Companion Bakeshop Westside Santa Cruz
© Companion Bakeshop Westside Santa Cruz
Companion Bakeshop Westside Santa Cruz is a family-owned and operated bakery and coffee shop that offers in-house baked sourdough bread and delectable pastries, along with gourmet light fare and locally roasted coffee. The Mission Street-based organic bakery bakes whole grain sourdough daily, along with a variety of other baked goods, and serves freshly brewed, locally roasted coffee and espresso drinks, teas, and juices in a warm and friendly atmosphere.
2341 Mission St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, Phone: 831-471-8378
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8.Cowell Coffee Shop: For the Peoples
© Diana Vyshniakova/stock.adobe.com
Cowell Coffee Shop: For the Peoples is a basic needs café that offers a food pantry, as well as basic needs resources such as coffee, tea, and pastries to UCSC students at no charge. The café, which also serves as a functional study space, transformed into a basic needs shop after research showed that 48% of UC undergraduates experience food insecurity. The café also offers quarterly “Slugs in the Kitchen” cooking classes, Basic Needs workshops, and CalFresh advising for students. Cowell Coffee Shop: For the Peoples is open for breakfast, brunch, and lunch, daily
11 Cowell Service Rd, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, Phone: 831-459-2710
Ferrell’s Donuts is a family-owned and operated café that was founded by Michael Morse in 1976 and has been the top choice for both locals and visitors alike for fresh, quality donuts, made-to-order bagels, and gourmet sandwiches. Ferrell’s Donuts has several locations around town and serves an array of over 40 handmade donuts, sweet pastries and other baked treats, freshly brewed coffee, and delicious hot chocolate. All-natural sandwiches and bagels are made-to-order and feature a selection of fresh, locally sourced ingredients and fillings from cheese and bacon to salad and turkey.
2227 Mission St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, Phone: 831-457-2760
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© Harbor Café
Established in 1960 by a local sailing legend, the Harbor Café has been serving the community as a local gathering place for great food and drinks for more than 50 years. The family-friendly restaurant combines excellent food and beverages with a relaxed, laid-back ambiance and beautiful harbor views to offer an unforgettable dining experience. The menu features traditional dishes such as gourmet sandwiches and wraps, burgers and tacos, fresh salads and homemade soups, specialty dishes, and a range of beverages. Open for breakfast and lunch, seven days of the week, the charming café has outdoor seating where dogs are welcome and a special doggie menu with treats such as chewy pig ears, jerky lamb treats, bully sticks, and Lucky’s peanut butter cookies.
535 Seventh Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95062, Phone: 831-475-4948
© Java Junction
Located in the Gateway Plaza, Java Junction serves freshly brewed small-batch coffee, along with tea, juices and smoothies, and light fare like bagels, sandwiches, and pastries in a casual, laid-back setting. The business has three locations in Santa Cruz, namely in the Seabright neighborhood, near the Crow’s Nest restaurant, and one on River Street on the edge of town and all offer a modern, airy space in which to enjoy great coffee and healthy food. Java Junction is open for breakfast, brunch, and lunch, daily.
580 River St # A, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, Phone: 831-426-2128
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© Lulu Carpenter's
Set in a historic 1865 brick building at the end of Pacific Avenue, Lulu Carpenter’s is a friendly neighborhood café with a spacious indoor area, sidewalk seating, and intimate tables tucked away in a lush, back garden. The lovely café has warm interiors with high ceilings, exposed brick walls, and a beautiful wooden bar that serves an array of freshly roasted and brewed coffee and tea and other drinks. LuLu Carpenter’s serves breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch with signature dishes like breakfast sandwiches, burritos, croissants, and other pastries.
1545 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, 911 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz
13.Mission Hill Coffee & Creamery
© Mission Hill Coffee & Creamery
Located in the University Town Center, Mission Hill Coffee & Creamery is an upbeat counter-serve café that serves handcrafted, organic, and chemical-free ice cream, as well as sundaes, frozen yogurt, sorbet, and locally-roasted Chromatic Coffee. Formerly known as the Mission Hill Creamery, Mission Hill Coffee and Creamery is owned by Chef Dave Kumec who creates locally-sourced recipes for his award-winning ice cream and uses French and American inspired bakery recipes to bake delectable pastries and other sweet treats.
1101 Pacific Ave b, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, Phone: 831-508-0774
14.Mutari Chocolate House & Factory
© Mutari Chocolate House & Factory
Mutari Chocolate House & Factory is a family-friendly chocolate shop and café that makes gourmet single-origin chocolates and confectionary and high-quality coffee. All chocolates are made in-house with hand-picked, stone-ground, ethically traded cacao, including dark chocolate truffles, single-origin chocolate bars, and hot and cold drinking chocolate tasting flights. The café serves a variety of coffee and offers tours of the factory to see the chocolate-making process, as well as cater for special events and functions like weddings.
504 Front St A, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, Phone: 831-687-8141
© Peoples Coffee
Peoples Coffee is a friendly neighborhood café in Live Oak that focuses on exceptional coffee and specialty espresso drinks. The coffee menu offers a variety of standard drinks like americano, cappuccino, macchiato, and espresso, as well as various teas and other hot and cold beverages. A simple food menu features fresh bagels and light pastries, and the café offers ample free parking and complimentary wireless Internet. Peoples Coffee is open for breakfast, brunch, and lunch, daily.
1200 17th Ave #126, Santa Cruz, CA 95062, Phone: 831-464-2739
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16.Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting
© Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting
Opened in 1978, Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting is a longstanding coffee roastery that has been roasting its own beans and supplying the area with rich blends and single-origin coffees for over 40 years. Situated in the heart of downtown Missoula, the spacious café offers a variety of organic, fair trade coffees that have been ethically sourced from Africa and Central & South America and locally roasted in a range of rich blends from light to dark. The café on Pacific Avenue has modern décor and plenty of indoor seating, as well as an outdoor parklet, where customers can sip their coffee and watch the world go by.
1330 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, Phone: 831-459-0100
17.Steamer Lane Supply
© Steamer Lane Supply
Located at the Lighthouse Field State Beach, Steamer Lane Supply is a cozy little coffee shop that serves fantastic coffee, light eats and sells surf supplies and apparel. Named after the world-class surf break right opposite the café, the coffee shop serves a variety of freshly roasted and brewed coffee, assorted teas, and specialty coffee drinks like cold brew, espresso drinks, and drip coffee. Light fare such as freshly baked pastries, breakfast burritos, and other sweet treats are available, and the outdoor patios are dog-friendly with water bowls available.
644-670 W Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, Phone: 831-621-7361
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18.The Abbey Coffee Lounge
© The Abbey Coffee Lounge
This shabby-chic coffee shop has been a long-standing coffee shop and art and music lounge for students from the university who come here to connect, study, work, and hangout. Established over a decade ago, the shabby-chic coffee shop has comfortable indoor and outdoor spaces, lots of comfortable seating, and complimentary wireless Internet. The café serves a variety of freshly roasted and brewed coffee, assorted teas, and specialty coffee drinks like cold brew, espresso drinks, and drip coffee. Light fare such as freshly baked pastries, flapjacks, and sandwiches are available, and the café hosts local musical talents throughout the year.
350 Mission St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, Phone: 831-429-1058
19.The Picnic Basket
© The Picnic Basket
Located in the Beach Street Inn and Suites opposite Santa Cruz’s famous boardwalk, the Picnic Basket is a quaint little café that is dedicated to serving simple, delicious food, premium, locally-roasted, and brewed coffee and handmade ice-cream. The locavore kitchen prepared delicious farm-to-table food with fresh, high quality locally sourced ingredients that are delivered daily from the farms, fields, and food artisans of Santa Cruz County. Signature plates include creative gourmet sandwiches, breakfast burritos, homemade soups, and mouth-watering baked goods.
125 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, Phone: 831-427-9946
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20.The Walnut Avenue Cafe
© The Walnut Avenue Café
Established in 1994, the Walnut Avenue Café has been a local favorite for casual breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch for more than 24 years. Boasting a comfortable, family-friendly atmosphere with indoor and outdoor seating where dogs are welcome, the café offers a menu of delicious and healthy cuisine, including omelets, egg dishes, fresh salads and sandwiches, burgers, pasta dishes, and a variety of hot and cold drinks. The comfortable café offers a unique menu of kids and dogs, which includes hickory-smoked bacon, organic dog biscuits, and chicken chewy sticks, and the Walnut Avenue Café is open for breakfast, lunch, and brunch, seven days a week. Located on Walnut Avenue, just off Pacific Avenue, the café offers ample parking in the two-story parking garage behind the building.
106 Walnut Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, Phone: 831-457-2307
21.Verve Coffee Roasters
© Verve Coffee Roasters
Verve Coffee Roasters is lauded for its fantastic breakfasts, variety of single-origin coffees, and specialty drinks like the honey lavender draft latte. The contemporary café has an airy and light vibe with lofty ceilings, chevron planked floors, bleached wood accents, and cozy banquettes. There is also a lovely outdoor patio for summer sipping and people watching, and the coffee menu features a variety of standard drinks like americano, cappuccino, macchiato, and espresso, as well as various teas, and other hot and cold beverages.
1540 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062, Phone: 831-600-7784
22.Westside Coffee Company
© Westside Coffee Company
Located in the Almar Shopping Center, the Westside Coffee Company is a funky surf shop and café that is adorned with surfboards, fish tanks, surf-related art, and cool posters. The family-friendly café serves a variety of regular coffee drinks like americano, cappuccino, macchiato, and espresso, along with specialty coffee drinks, cold brews, loose-leaf teas, and juices. The café also offers a serve a selection of light bites throughout the day and night, ranging from freshly baked pastries to made-from-scratch sandwiches. The Westside Coffee Company is open for breakfast, brunch, and lunch, daily.
849 Almar Ave # H, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, Phone: 831-427-1300
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© Windmill Café
Built in 1927 by the Los Robles family, the Windmill Café became a family-friendly café in 2009 and serves a simple menu of healthy cuisine for breakfast and lunch, along with coffee, hot drinks, milk, and fruit juices. Breakfast delights include bagels, egg dishes, salmon croissants, and French toast, while lunch plates range from fresh salads, and soups, stir-fry dishes, gourmet sandwiches, and smoothies. Windmill Café is also a full-service catering company as well and offers multi-course culinary menus for a variety of events and has a front patio and back garden area, which is ideal for alfresco-style dining and welcomes dogs. The Windmill Café is open for breakfast and lunch, seven days a week.
21231 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, CA 95062, Phone: 831-464-4698
23 Best Coffee Shops in Santa Cruz, CA
- 11th Hour Coffee, Photo: 11th Hour Coffee
- Cafe Delmarette, Photo: Café Delmarette
- Cafe Iveta, Photo: Café Iveta
- Cat & Cloud Coffee, Photo: Cat & Cloud Coffee
- Coffeetopia, Photo: Coffeetopia
- College Eight Cafe, Photo: ?rtranq/stock.adobe.com
- Companion Bakeshop Westside Santa Cruz, Photo: Companion Bakeshop Westside Santa Cruz
- Cowell Coffee Shop: For the Peoples, Photo: Diana Vyshniakova/stock.adobe.com
- Ferrell's Donuts, Photo: mdyn/stock.adobe.com
- Harbor Cafe, Photo: Harbor Café
- Java Junction, Photo: Java Junction
- Lulu Carpenter's, Photo: Lulu Carpenter's
- Mission Hill Coffee & Creamery, Photo: Mission Hill Coffee & Creamery
- Mutari Chocolate House & Factory, Photo: Mutari Chocolate House & Factory
- Peoples Coffee, Photo: Peoples Coffee
- Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting, Photo: Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting
- Steamer Lane Supply, Photo: Steamer Lane Supply
- The Abbey Coffee Lounge, Photo: The Abbey Coffee Lounge
- The Picnic Basket, Photo: The Picnic Basket
- The Walnut Avenue Cafe , Photo: The Walnut Avenue Café
- Verve Coffee Roasters, Photo: Verve Coffee Roasters
- Westside Coffee Company, Photo: Westside Coffee Company
- Windmill Cafe, Photo: Windmill Café
- Cover Photo: Day Of Victory Stu./stock.adobe.com
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