Travel Tips

10 Best Things to do in Capitola

10 Best Things to do in Capitola
Written by Eddie White

Are you planning to visit Capitola? Then there are the 10 best things to do in Capitola that will make your stay memorable.

Capitola, California, is a quaint coastal community in Santa Cruz County. Capitola, a town on California’s Central Coast, sits on the northern borders of Monterey Bay.

As of the year 2020 census, the population of the city was 9,938. Capitola’s beaches and dining options make it a popular vacation spot.

10 Best Things to do in Capitola

1. Exhibits From the Capitola Historical Museum

The Capitola Historical Museum, located in a renovated turn-of-the-century beach resort cottage, presents the cultural and social heritage of Capitola and Santa Cruz County.

The museum is located right next to Capitola City Hall, and it is open from 2:00 to 5:00 on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Special exhibitions on the arts, economy and social history of the region are shown for a year at a time.

The city’s history in photographs and postcards, the tourism sector, and the area’s world-famous public beaches have all been the subject of previous displays.

The museum also has a preserved wash house from the turn of the twentieth century that visitors can explore as a living history exhibit, in addition to its substantial artifact and photography permanent collections.

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2. Capitola, California Armida Winery

Three different Capitola-based spouses run the Armida Winery, which has tasting rooms in Capitola and Healdsburg, Santa Cruz County.

Wines in white, red, zinfandel, and point types, as well as many others, are produced and sourced from this small-lot vineyard.

PoiZin zinfandel is a specialty there and has earned the moniker “a wine to die for” because of its exceptional quality.

The Capitola brewery is accessible to the general public seven days a week, with a tasting room that looks out over the picturesque Russian River and Dry Creek Valleys.

Release parties on Fridays, barrel tastings on the weekends, and wine club pickup parties are just a few of the public special events available in the taproom.

In either of the two available wine clubs, members receive regular shipments of wine representing a wide range of genres and price points.

3. Capitola, California’s Sante Adairius Rustic Ales

Tim Clifford and Adair Paterno founded Sante Adairius Rustic Ales to provide high-quality, historically accurate brews inspired by traditional European traditions of brewing.

The historic Capitola brewery in Santa Cruz County is open for tours and tastings on Tuesdays through Sundays, and a new tasting room is open seven days a week.

All year long, drinkers can enjoy fan favorites like the Four Legs Good Blonde Quad, Love’s Armor American Wild Ale, Maiden Fields Berliner Weisse, Saison Bernice, and Deaf Stewart Witbier, while limited releases showcase experimental brews and partnerships with local breweries.

Members of SARA’s Cellar, an exclusive club by invitation only, have access to even more rare beverages.

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4. State Beach in New Brighton

It’s possible to go swimming, fishing, hiking, and camping at New Brighton State Beach, a public beach in Santa Cruz County.

The Pacific Migrations Visitor Center serves as its primary entrance and features a gift shop and displays on the local indigenous people and pioneer settlers from all over the world.

Visitors can enjoy the outdoors at their own pace in the neighboring coastal live oak and Monterey pine forest, and they can take in breathtaking views of the ocean and watch for marine life from a bluff high above Monterey Bay.

Junior Ranger programs and campfire storytelling sessions are just two of many seasonal activities for kids that take place at the beach.

5. The coast of Capitola City

Capitola City Beach, near the head of Monterey Bay, is a public beach. Volleyball, surfing, sunbathing, and bird watching are just some of the urban outdoor activities that attract people to the beach.

Capitola Wharf provides a fishing pier in a tranquil water section close to Soquel Cove. Restrooms and showers are provided, and lifeguards are on duty during the summer and busy times.

A stroll along the shore will take you to the Esplanade and its many eateries and boutiques, as well as some of the city’s more storied structures, such as the Venetian Hotel.

For the benefit of the public, the beach hosts a number of special activities throughout the summer, such as free family movies, art displays, and a twilight concert series.

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6. Shadowbrook

Opened in 1947 in a renovated log cabin that had been used as a summer retreat in the 1920s, Shadowbrook has since earned a reputation as one of Capitola’s finest romantic eating establishments.

Today, Ted Burke and Bob Munsey are the proud proprietors of what has been called “one of the most distinctive restaurant experiences in the American West” thanks to its combination of indoor, outdoor, and rooftop eating options and unusual venues like a restored cable car.

Awards from organizations like OpenTable and USA Today, as well as the Gourmet Diners Club of America, have been bestowed upon it for its culinary excellence.

Hazelnut-crusted brook trout, Thai-style game hen, honey-glazed pork chops, and vegan alternatives like sunflower seed risotto are just a few of the entrees available at dinnertime, along with a full menu of inventive upscale American cooking.

The Rock Room is the restaurant’s appetizer and pizza bar, serving artisanal pizzas and gastropub fare in addition to the restaurant’s full appetizer, pizza, and drink menus.

 7. Caruso’s Tuscan Cuisine

The Capitola Mercantile, a shopping mall designed to evoke the atmosphere of a traditional European covered market, is home to the family-run restaurant Caruso’s Tuscan Cuisine.

Lunch and dinner are served daily, and all of the food is made from scratch right there in the restaurant, guaranteeing great quality and authenticity.

Wood-fired pizzas on a 12-inch crust, homemade pasta, and Italian standards like calamari and bruschetta are the stars of the menu.

For parties of six or more, bookings are required; reservations for smaller groups are not taken.

After dinner, patrons can stroll the rest of the Mercantile, which features a Cava Wine Bar, the renowned Seaside Coffee, and other stalls selling the wares of local artisans.

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 8. Capitola Mall

Capitola Mall is the only enclosed shopping mall in Santa Cruz County, and it features more than 80 specialty retailers and eateries.

Opened in 1977 and enlarged in 1988 to accommodate up to 100 stores, the mall is managed by Merlone Geier Partners.

The mall now features a wide variety of stores catering to women, men, and children, including Target, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Victoria’s Secret, Express, and Children’s Place.

Food court staples like Starbucks, Subway, and Sorabol can be found alongside national restaurant franchises like Chili’s, Olive Garden, and Five Guys Burgers & Fries.

The mall regularly hosts charity book sales, art walks, and family fun days to raise money for local organizations.

 9. Margaritas, Capitola, California

Margaritaville, a Capitola institution for fine dining for over three decades, had a major renovation and reopening in 2015.

The Margaritaville restaurant is owned and run by Sunset Hospitality Group of Santa Cruz, despite its name is similar to the famed Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville chain of casual dining restaurants found around the country.

It offers a wide selection of high-quality, made-from-scratch Mexican meals, with an emphasis on seafood options such as Baja fish tacos and a raw oyster bar.

Traditional Mexican dishes like chicken mole enchiladas are served, as well as handcrafted margaritas. There is outdoor patio seating right on the water, and pets are welcome.

 10. Capitola Beach Company

Capitola Beach Company, located in Capitola Village, has been teaching people how to surf and stand-up paddleboard since 2004.

Lessons are available in both private and semi-private formats and typically last for 90 minutes, covering both beach and water instruction for surfers of varying skill levels.

All necessary gear is also provided for students taking part in group lessons. In addition, there is a full-service surf shop where you can buy clothing and accessories from well-known labels like Billabong, Quiksilver, TOMS, and Lucky Brand.

Customers over the age of 18 can also hire surfboards and paddleboards by the hour or day.

About the author

Eddie White

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