The Beach Hill neighborhood of Santa Cruz, California is a great historic mix of late 19th and early 20th century mansions, cottages, mid-century motels, hotels and a wonderful historic hostel called the Carmelita Cottages. I suggest staying here when you visit, but if you are here for the day, take a walk around the neighborhood before you make your way toward more of the popular attractions in the area.
Beach Hill is situated between the working class Latino community of the Beach Flats, the bustling eclectic Downtown, the suburban West Side neighborhood, The Municipal Wharf and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk amusement park. All of these neighborhoods are within easy walking distance.
Earlier in the century the neighborhood was an exclusive community of wealthy families in large multiple story mansions. Over the years this has given way to hotels and motels as well as a few restaurants and apartment buildings both middle class and for the wealthy. The neighborhood has a distinct character that also offers sweeping views of the Monterey Bay and views of other neighborhoods in Santa Cruz.
A small walk in this tightly knit neighborhood should give you a quick sense of what life was back in an earlier period of this city. I suggest to bring a camera and walk around and spot many of the hidden architectural gems. Better yet, stay for a few days and enjoy many of the wonderful attractions scattered just beyond the reach of Beach Hill.