The City of Santa Cruz, California, is situated on the northern part of Monterey Bay. The City has of an area of 12 square miles. The University of California, Santa Cruz campus was opened in 1965 and has a population of 10,117 (1996).
In 1769 the Spanish explorer Don Gaspar de Portola discovered the land area which is now known as the City of Santa Cruz. When he came upon the beautiful flowing river, he named it San Lorenzo in honor of Saint Lawrence. He called the rolling hills above the river Santa Cruz, which means holy cross.
Santa Cruz is located in Santa Cruz County, of which it is the county seat, south of San Francisco between Santa Clara and Salinas along Highway 1 on the Pacific Ocean.
Santa Cruz is part of the Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California metro area.
Less than an hour from San Jose via Hwy-17 over the coast range, through Scotts Valley to the Santa Cruz beach makes this area a favorite getaway for the San Francisco Bay Area and San Jose Region.
Many Silicon Valley workers commute daily to Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz enjoys a cooler summer climate than the communities just over the hills.