Arts Festivals in Santa Cruz

hotel solares

We know two things for sure: Santa Cruz has a strong connection to the ocean and to the arts. And in the coming months you can experience both at some of the upcoming local arts festivals! Kick back and enjoy the surf (on screen, that is) at the Santa Cruz Surf Film Festival. Witness crazy pyrotechnics at the GLOW Festival. Or, admire the beauty of the sea at the ninth annual Sea Glass and Ocean Art Festival. Details below.


Santa Cruz Surf Film Festival

On October 5 and 6, embrace the very essence of coastal Santa Cruz at the fifth annual Santa Cruz Surf Film Festival. At the historic Rio Theatre, catch exclusive screenings of some of the best international surf-themed films and shorts. The event kicks off Friday at 6:30 p.m. with a feature and short, followed by a second feature at 8:45 p.m. Saturday starts with a “Shorts-o-Rama” (lots of short films) at 6:30 p.m. followed by a feature and more shorts at 8:45 p.m. Find the complete schedule here. Throughout both evenings you’ll have the chance to win goodies like Yeti coolers, wetsuits, SurfEars earplugs and gift certificates. Tickets are sold individually for each major feature, $16/adult and $10/child. Or you can grab a 4-screening pass for $50.


GLOW Festival

If watching film sounds like a snoozefest, Santa Cruz’s GLOW Festival might be more your speed. It’s on October 20, from 6-10 p.m. and features some of the best fire and digital artists in the county. In downtown Santa Cruz, witness outdoor fire dancing and art displays. In the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, walk through interactive digital art, projections and LED sculptures. Expect to see everything from black-light art installations to fire skeeball (yep, you read that right). General Admission tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children ages 12 and under.


Sea Glass and Ocean Art Festival  

Visiting Santa Cruz in November and need something to do? From November 3-4, you can visit the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and enjoy more than just rides and food. It’ll also be home to the ninth annual Sea Glass and Ocean Art Festival. Take a look at genuine sea glass creations from over 40 artists (recently announced) while also benefitting the local marine environment. Visitors will also have the opportunity to win raffle baskets, and purchase food and drinks. Admission is $5 at the door, with a portion of the proceeds going towards ocean conservation efforts.


Hotel Near Downtown Santa Cruz and Cocoanut Grove  

Pro tip: don’t get so caught up in the festival excitement that you forget to book your stay at a nice nearby hotel! And if you’ll be downtown or at the boardwalk, consider staying at Hotel Solares. Its bright décor and welcoming amenities effortlessly capture the Santa Cruz spirit.

Celebrate Santa Cruz’s coastal roots at one of the many upcoming art festivals! And don’t forget: book a night or two at the nearby Hotel Solares.


Hotel Solares
Characterized by its bright yellow and blue hues, this pet-friendly hotel offers the best of Santa Cruz, located within walking distance of the iconic Boardwalk and downtown scene. 600 Riverside Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. 831.458.9660