Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
The oldest amusement park in California, this official State Historic Landmark preserves the appeal of an early 20C seaside amusement park. Its renovated boardwalk features a series of turreted and brightly painted buildings and rides fronting a wide bay beach (swimming inadvisable due to dangerous currents). The Giant Dipper, a half-mile-long wooden roller coaster, has been the boardwalk's most distinctive feature since 1924. The Looff carousel (1911) is the work of the respected Danish woodcarver Charles I.D. Looff. Both enjoy the status of National Historic Landmarks.Nearby, the Cocoanut Grove Banquet and Conference Center (1907) is famous for its now-renovated Grand Ballroom, where such musicians as Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman and Xavier Cugat often performed with their big bands. A few blocks west, the broad municipal wharf stretches into the bay and is lined with tackle shops and eateries. A magnificent view of the Boardwalk extends from its decks.