Santa Cruz Wharf

The Santa Cruz Wharf Celebrates 100 Years! Wharf 100th Anniversary YouTube icon

The Wharf celebrates its 100th Anniversary with a series of events throughout 2014. Check out our list of UPCOMING EVENTS

WharfCeleb_GtsSky160x260Centennial Celebration and Fireworks Spectacular
October 4th 
10:00 am - 5:00 pm: Santa Cruz Wharf
9:00 pm - Fireworks: Main Beach
Come join the FREE fun and fireworks as we celebrate the Santa Cruz Wharf 100th Anniversary. It's a day-long community celebration not to be missed. The fun begins at 10:00 am with the Santa Cruz High School Marching Band leading a historical procession of antique cars, musicians, costumed characters and local legends onto the longest wooden Wharf on the coast of the United States. Come in period dress as we mirror the Wharf’s opening day in 1914. Then kick back and enjoy live music, bocce, face painting and photo booths all afternoon. Explore the Wharf’s historic past and exciting future in side-by-side Pop Up Museums. Savor in delicious specials from the phenomenal Wharf restaurants. End your night with a fabulous Fireworks Spectacular finale guaranteed to light up the Bay. Come celebrate!

Schedule of Events:
10:00 am - Wharf Community Procession
11:00 am - 100 Year Anniversary Toast
12:00 pm - Kuumbwa Jazz Honors Band
1:30 pm - The Parafins 
3:00 pm - Cruz Control
4:00 pm - Wally's Swing World
9:00 pm - Fireworks Spectacular

Pop Up Museum at the Centennial Celebration

Celebrate 100 years of wharf history with a very special Pop Up Museum sponsored by the Museum of Art & History, from 12:00 to 2:00 pm at the Commons Area of the Santa Cruz Wharf. Historian Geoffrey Dunn will be on hand to facilitate the activities. Bring photographs, artifacts, stories and maybe even an old fishing pole. Dunn says he will provide free autographed copies of his book “Santa Cruz Is in the Heart: Volume II” to anyone who brings photos of Don’s Burger Bar, the Pier House Restaurant (at the base of the wharf) or a photograph of former KSCO radio host Steve Hartman cutting fish. There will also be a special award given the rarest, unknown photograph of the Santa Cruz waterfront brought to the Pop Up. 

Wyland 2View Wyland Mural at Centennial Celebration

Renowned marine life artist Wyland attended the Sanctuary Celebration on May 17th. Attendees got a rare treat as they saw this amazing artist paint a mural of one of our favorite marine friends, the sea otter. Wyland's name has become synonymous with the new generation of awareness about environmental conservation. Through his unique marine life paintings, sculptures, and photography, Wyland has inspired a generation about the importance of marine life conservation. We are honored to have this one-of-a-kind art piece currently on display at the Santa Cruz Wharf. Learn more about Wyland and see his other amazing work at 

Santa Cruz Wharf Community Procession - Then and Now!

The opening of the Santa Cruz Wharf, built as a result of a $172,000 bond issue, was dedicated with great fanfare on December 5, 1914. Thousands of people turned out to celebrate the official opening. Although the planned late-morning Celebration Parade from Pacific Avenue to the wharf was canceled due to rain, the sun broke through the clouds just before noon. “Bells rang, whistles whistled, engines tooted, sirens sirened, the band played and the clock struck,” wrote a reporter in the Santa Cruz Surf newspaper.

A hundred years later, the plans for the 2014 centennial are just as grand. The fun begins at 10:00 am with the Santa Cruz High School Marching Band leading a procession of antique cars, musicians, costumed characters and local legends onto the longest wooden Wharf on the coast of the United States. We encourage the public to come in period dress as we mirror the Wharf’s opening day in 1914. Then head down to the Wharf stage for a historic community toast and day long festivities. This is a community celebration for the ages!

Santa Cruz Wharf Grand Opening, December 5, 2014

Santa Cruz Wharf Grand Opening, December 5, 1914. 

Santa Cruz Wharf History

Composed of over 2000 70 ft. Douglas fir pilings driven 21 feet into the ocean floor, the wharf was 2,745 feet long. The wharf was actually the sixth wharf -- preceding it were the Cowell Wharf, the Gharky (yes, this is the correct spelling!) Wharf, the Railroad Wharf, the Connecting Wharf, and the Pleasure Pier. None of the existing wharves could serve deep-water ships. So, the current Municipal Wharf was constructed in 1914, with its end bent to the west for a steamship dock and freight warehouse. The wharf rail line was shifted to the Municipal Wharf, and the old Railroad Wharf became part of a sardine cannery before being demolished in 1922. Here are more history notes by local historians on the six wharvesGraphic of wharves timeline.


Santa Cruz Wharf Master Plan and Engineering Report

As the Santa Cruz Wharf approaches its 100th birthday in 2014, the City has embarked on a study of the half-mile long landmark to usher it into the next century of its existence. The Wharf Master Plan lays out a comprehensive vision for increasing public access and recreational uses on the Wharf; business and economic development opportunities; integration of scientific, educational, and research initiatives; parking and vehicular movement improvements; and the preparation of design and development standards for buildings and public spaces. In addition, the Engineering Report component identifies repairs and upgrades to the Wharf necessary to see it through to its next major anniversary.
The Wharf Master Plan and Engineering Report will be submitted to the City Council for acceptance in September 2014. Once accepted, the preparation of environmental review documents will commence for the recommendations and improvements coming out of the Wharf Master Plan. Any modifications or updates required for the City’s General Plan, the Beach and South of Laurel Plan, the Local Coastal Plan will occur, together with the submittal of an application for a Coastal Development Permit to the Coastal Commission. During this process additional opportunities for public review and comment will be provided.

For more information and updates, please visit the Santa Cruz Wharf Master Plan and Engineering Report Resource Page at or contact the City’s project manager, Norm Daly, at or 831-420-5109.

Santa Cruz Wharf Video

A fun-filled, fast-paced and informative look at the Santa Cruz Wharf - a landmark destination for locals and visitors alike!

Santa Cruz Wharf Brochure

The two-page Santa Cruz Wharf Brochure features the locations of the Wharf's restaurants, shops and restrooms, and lists special events, telephone numbers and other information you need to make your visit to the Santa Cruz Wharf one you'll never forget!

Shopping, Dining and Recreation

The Santa Cruz Wharf offers the best in seaside shopping, dining and recreation. You'll find everything from handmade arts & crafts to beach apparel, outdoor fresh fish markets to fine dining, whale watching, fishing trips and kayaking.

Critters and Creatures

Sea lionsThere's a wide variety of Critters and Creatures in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Check out the video links below and then visit the Santa Cruz Wharf to see these amazing marine mammals in person!

 Humpback Whale off of Santa Cruz by Michael Harris
 California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus).

Parking on the Santa Cruz Wharf 

You can walk, bike or drive your car onto the Santa Cruz Wharf. Pay for vehicle parking only at the Wharf gate when leaving. Be sure to view the latest city-wide parking information and get details about the Wharf Locals' Parking Pass.

Wharf Services

  • Wharf Headquarters is located at 21 Municipal Wharf. 831-420-6025.
  • Lifeguard Headquarters is located at 1 Municipal Wharf. 831-420-6015.
    Visit the Santa Cruz Fire Department Marine Safety Division webpage for more information.
  • Public restrooms are located adjacent to Wharf Headquarters and at the end of the Wharf.
  • A public boat landing is located on the Boardwalk side of the Wharf across from Santa Cruz Boat Rentals.


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