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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! Next up is the Sanctuary Celebration honoring the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary on May 17.  Experience the unique marine sanctuary as you stroll the Wharf.  Learn all about the things that have drawn locals and visitors to the Wharf for the past century: fishing, history, sports, birding, sea lions, whale watching and more, including recent efforts to make the wharf sustainable.  Join us! 

Santa Cruz Wharf Grand Opening, December 5, 2014

Santa Cruz Wharf Grand Opening, December 5, 1914. The wharf celebrates 100 years in 2014!

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 Study Underway

As the Santa Cruz Wharf approaches its 100th birthday in 2014, the City is embarking on a study of the half-mile long landmark to identify structural improvements and increase economic opportunities. The Wharf Master Plan will lay out a comprehensive vision for the design of buildings and public spaces, create linkages with nearby educational and recreational activities such as the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center, and identify repairs and upgrades to the Wharf necessary to see it through to its next major anniversary. The study, conducted by ROMA Design Group over the next 12-18 months, is being underwritten by a grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA). A series of public workshops to solicit input will be held over the coming months. For more information contact Norm Daly of the City's Economic Development Department at 831-420-5109 or  

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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Last updated: 4/9/2014 10:06:16 AM