From an informal outdoor ceremony to a large banquet, the City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Department has a facility to meet your needs.
Reserving is easy! Just select the facility that's right for you. Complete the application process and the space is yours for your special occasion. Choose from the following Event facilities:
A rustic and comfortable setting for your wedding or party--the recently remodeled Clubhouse and Scouthouse offer combined seating indoors and out, a lovely deck area, a full kitchen, 4 barbecue pits, 2 wet bars, an indoor fireplace and private restrooms. Easy load-in and accessible parking help make the Clubhouse and Scouthouse a convenient as well as a scenic spot for your special occasion. Alcohol and Sound permits available. Call (831) 420-5270 for more information.
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Friendship Gardens at Harvey West Park - Info and Fees
The Friendship Gardens in located in the upper park of Harvey West. This is a large, open grass area that can be rented for ceremonies with a limit of 50 chairs. There are two larger picnic area sites above the grass hill, Friendship and Upper Glen which can be reserved and have picnic table seating and BBQ pits. Wedding ceremonies can be held in the grass area and the outdoor reception held in the picnic area above. This is a well manicured lawn perfect for an outdoor ceremony.
The Wagner Grove is a beautiful redwood clearing located behind the Buckeye picnic area in the Harvey West Park. This historical redwood grove is a very secluded, outdoor setting for your wedding ceremony. It can accomodate 100 people with a limit of 50 chairs. This area requires a short walk which is not handicap accessible due to the natural terrain. Couples looking for a peaceful, woodland setting will enjoy this circle that feels like it is away from it all but has plenty of guest parking.
103 Emmett Street (3,000 capacity)
This picturesque park near downtown Santa Cruz is a perfect setting for your wedding. A central fountain, shady and sunny areas, along with electrical power make Mission Plaza a wonderful place for your ceremony. Call (831) 420-5270 for details.
701 West Cliff Drive (200 capacity)
Overlooking Steamer Lane and the gorgeous Monterey Bay, Lighthouse Point is a spectacular setting for your wedding or special ceremony. The lawn area adjacent to the Surfing Museum is available for booking. A maximum of 50 chairs is allowed in this area. Parking is first come, first served. Call (831) 420-5270 for details.
809 Center Street (200 standing capacity)
Manicured gardens, lovely mission-style architecture and a convenient downtown location make the City Hall Courtyard a wonderful choice for your special ceremony or buffet reception. Call (831) 420-5270 for details.
For Parties and Events:
307 Church Street (2,000 house capacity)
The largest indoor facility in Santa Cruz County and centrally located in downtown Santa Cruz, the Civic Auditorium offers a full-sized industrial kitchen, dressing rooms, box office, reserved parking and excellent service. The artdeco exterior and spacious interior make the Civic an excellent choice for your large banquet or party. To reserve the Civic Auditorium call (831) 420-5240.
Louden Nelson Community Center
301 Center Street
Dining Room (127 seated capacity) and Auditorium (235 seated capacity) The Center's sunny dining room or lovely Spanish-style auditorium may be just what you need for your special party or banquet. The Center offers a full commercial kitchen, easy load-in, and accessible parking. Call (831) 420-6177 for more information.
Depot Park Plaza - Outdoor Event Application, General Information
119 Center Street
A beautiful open plaza within Depot Park with distinctive public artwork and electricity. Close to restrooms and parking, this area is easy-to-find and convenient to the beach area. This is a great place for a wedding or family event. Sound amplification is allowed with sound permit ($47 fee).
Click here for Events at the Del Mar Theatre
How To Reserve
Select facility. Call the phone number listed to check availability or go online to check availability for some facilities.
Reserve by phone Monday - Thursday, 9:00 am - 11:00 am. Full payment must be made by Visa and MasterCard. Call (831) 420-5270 to reserve your space today.
Reserve by mail or in person. Download an application and email us or pick one up!
For reservations at: Civic Auditorium
Pick up applications at:
307 Church Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Tuesday - Friday: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am - 1:30 pm
For reservations at: Louden Nelson Center
Pick up applications at:
Louden Nelson Center
301 Center Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Monday - Saturday: 9:00 am - 9:30 pm
Closed on Sundays
For reservations at: Harvey West Clubhouse & Scouthouse, Mission Plaza, City Hall Courtyard & Lighthouse Point Lawn Area, Cowell's Beach and Main Beach
Download applications and Conditions of Use or pick up applications at:
Parks and Recreation Office
323 Church Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Complete and return application(s) with fees to the appropriate reservation office.
PDF of facility use fees. Day rate is for 8 hours unless stated otherwise. An hourly rate of $50/hr. is charged for each hour in excess of 8 hours (except Louden Nelson Center and the Civic Auditorium). Alcohol permit and sound permit fees will be collected when applicable. Parking fees are not included in facility reservation fees; metered parking will be enforced.
Read this important info: Wedding Information
Cowell Beach - Outdoor Event Application, Cowell's Beach Map, Located on the west side of the municipal wharf, just in front of the Dream Inn Hotel, this area is suitable for a weddings, picnics, and private or corporate parties. Ideal for smaller gatherings ranging from 1-400 people. Portions of the beach are close to restrooms, parking, and electricity. Amplified sound is allowed with a Access to Power Permit ($20 fee). Fees for renting the beach.
Main Beach - Outdoor Event Application
Located in front of Beach Street and to the east side of the Municipal Wharf, Main Beach is ideal for larger events such as corporate gatherings or sporting tournaments. Framed between the ocean and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, this 1000 yard stretch of sand is suitable for events 6000+ in attendance. Portions of the beach are close to restrooms, parking, and electricity. Amplified sound is allowed with an additional permit. ($47 fee)
FAQ's regarding beach weddings
Q: May I bring or serve alcohol on the beach?
A: Alcohol is NOT allowed on Santa Cruz City beaches.
Q: Do I need a permit to get married on the beach?
A: You may use our beaches first come first serve for a family gathering, including a small wedding, however you must follow the rules of the beach. There is never alcohol permitted on any City beaches and amplified music is only allowed with a reservation. You may make a reservation for a portion of the beach which can include sound. Information on reservation fees can be found above.
Q: Can I have a reception on the beach as well as a ceremony?
A: yes, but our beach works best for a ceremony and an off site reception. We do not allow glass, alcohol or open flames so it will limit what you can have at your reception. Usually, groups just do a ceremony with an arch and sometimes chairs for some guests. The beach is great for casual wedding ceremonies.
Q: Does reserving an area make it private for only me and my guests?
A: No, the beach is a public beach and there will be beach goers. Your permit will allow you the right to ask patrons to move in the event they are in your reserved space. We do not rope off or isolate your event from the rest of the beach. We will post a sign on cones which alert the public that a special event will be happening.
Q: Can I light candles, tiki torches or send off lanterns into the sky as part of my ceremony?
A: no, the Fire Department code states that no open flame will be permitted on City beaches.
Q: Can I have a DJ or band for a big party?
A: We do allow amplified sound permits in conjunction with a reservation. However, it is typically used for ceremony music, vows and announcements. We do not provide electrical power so a generator must be rented. All sound speakers must be facing the ocean and kept at a reasonable level.
Q: Can we have my wedding catered and bring in tables, grills, etc?
A: We do not allow any vehicles on the beach which makes bringing down a whole wedding reception challenging. Everything must be hand carried. The wedding sites are a good walking distance from the parking lot and nearest ramp. We don't recommend this type of party, however, you can do so if you fully understand the limitations. Glass is not allowed. Styrofoam products are prohibited. All trash must be removed from the beach. Charcoal grills are prohibited. However, propane grills are permitted but must meet Fire Dept. standards.
Q: Which area of the beach is most used for weddings?
A: The most private setting is Cowell Beach at Sandy Point. The closest area used for weddings is Cowell Beach at the Hotel. The Main Beach isn't used much for weddings unless you are wanting to be near the amusement park for great pictures and setting.
Q: How big are the wedding sites and the exact locations?
A: There are three sites to reserve to weddings at the Cowell Beach. The beach will still be open to the public but we will mark off your area with cones to alert beach-goers that a wedding will be happening. The areas can be seen on the map here with the approximate dimensions.