Last weekend I went for a quick getaway in Santa Cruz, California and found myself browsing in quite a few boutiques. While the main attraction is of course the beach, Santa Cruz has a lively downtown tucked away from the boardwalk that’s full of its own unique culture. The skater/surfer-meets-artist vibe naturally attracts creative types bringing amazing local goods and art. Unsurprisingly lacking in big box retailers, Santa Cruz offers a unique shopping experience, especially if, like me, you love home decor boutiques. These are a few I consider must-visits if you’re ever in the area.
Home/Work is full of independently made goods, from furniture and decor to skincare and jewelry. I especially love the unique prints they carry that would suit a variety of interior styles. The shop itself is modern, yet colorful with an edge of bohemian eclectic flair. All of the items have a handmade quality to them that make each piece unique. While a little out of the way, this shop will leave you feeling inspired and is actually located in a historic 1920s bank giving it extra charm. Whether you have money to spend or are just looking for a little dose of creativity, definitely check out Home/Work.
In the heart of downtown Santa Cruz you’ll find Stripe, a clothing and home decor boutique offering carefully curated goods from creative professionals. My favorite part of the shop has to be the constellation wall in the back. Talk about a statement wall! The mid-century, vintage feel lends itself to an Anthropologie-eque selection. While anyone could find amazing pieces here, I would say Stripe skews slightly older than the other boutiques I visited, if only for the fact that there aren’t as many trend-lead items on display. There’s also a Stripe Men just one store over if you’re looking for menswear.
I decided to visit Botanic and Luxe because of a bag I saw someone carrying in the street. The name and minimal glam look intrigued me, so I checked out the map and luckily it was nearby. That’s branding done right! I was blown away by the combination of lush greenery and home decor all in one place. I would describe the aesthetic as a celebration of all things beautiful and natural. It’s just an all-round cozy shop offering a great variety of plants and ways to display them around the house.
If you’re a fan of houseplants and jungalow style, you could easily get lost in Dig Gardens for hours. The expansive space includes both indoor and outdoor sections of plants, home goods, and plenty of giftable items. I found that the pricing was really reasonable, and possibly cheaper, than my go-to plant nursery which isn’t even half as fun. Plus, the Insta-worthy succulent wall is a work of art you won’t want to miss.
If you’re on the hunt for local goods that embody California style, this is the place. Cameron Marks is actually one boutique split into two separate shops right next to each other, home goods and jewelry in one and clothing in another. The layout is done in a way that leads you through several rooms, each with a new theme to discover. My personal favorite is the pottery nook, which is essentially a pantry full of beautiful handmade ceramics. The clothing in the second shop is insanely beautiful and exactly my style, but not quite my budget unfortunately. Everything felt simple, luxurious, and great quality. If you're feeling like a splurge I would highly recommend!