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The final days of holiday gifting: Choose Downtown Santa Cruz

Downtown Santa Cruz is the go-to spot for last-minute holiday gifting.
(Downtown Santa Cruz)

Downtown shopping is the gift that keeps on giving this holiday season! With the holiday rush in full swing, many shoppers default to online big box stores for last minute gifts. But with a little extra effort, you can find unique and meaningful gifts while also supporting our local economy.

Leaf and Vine has shelves and shelves of handmade pottery, unique houseplants, & good vibes!
(Leaf and Vine)

If you’re searching for a more personal and festive experience than any app you’ve ever seen, shopping Downtown is where it’s at. Local stores and boutiques often boast one-of-a-kind items and distinctive service that simply cannot be found at chain stores.

Plus, frequenting locally-owned businesses helps keep money circulating within Santa Cruz County, ultimately boosting our community’s economic strength. From Sunday, December 18 through Sunday, December 25, ALL downtown Santa Cruz street meter fees will be donated to Hope Services, a local nonprofit.

Hope Services has helped to keep our beloved Pacific Avenue (as well as other downtown Santa Cruz streets) clean for 24 years. Their organization provides valuable training and support services to individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health needs.

To date, Parking for Hope has generated a total of $218,507 in funds that support wages for the Hope Services Downtown Litter Abatement Crew. Hope Services would like to increase crew member working hours in 2023 which is dependent on the Parking for Hope contribution level.

Bookshop Santa Cruz is FILLED with walls of book recommendations for any last minute gifts.
(Bookshop Santa Cruz)

In addition to the timely community-giveback benefits for Hope Services, supporting local downtown businesses allows you to discover hidden gems, as well as the unique stories behind these products. Many downtown shops feature products made by local artists and small business owners, giving you the chance to learn about the visionaries who created these items and their journeys.
It’s more than clear why shopping Downtown Santa Cruz this holiday season is a guaranteed good time. Now, come see for yourself! Join Santa Cruz Economic Development to help keep your favorite shops and restaurants open. Find especial gifts and make a positive impact on your local economy, all while creating your most memorable shopping experience.

Check out the directory of businesses at