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

Santa Cruz Wharf History

The opening of the municipal wharf, built as a result of a $172,000 bond issue, was dedicated with great fanfare on December 5, 1914. 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 wharves. Graphic of wharves timeline.

Santa Cruz Wharf Grand Opening, December 5, 2014

Santa Cruz Wharf Grand Opening, December 5, 1914.

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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