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  • Writer's pictureMegan Kilmer

What it's like to live in Watsonville

Santa Cruz County is home to some of the most epic outdoor activities in the world. You have the beach, the redwoods, biking, boating, you name it! Santa Cruz County is small but mighty, let's get to know what it is like living in Watsonville, the most southern city in the county.

Watsonville does not disappoint with Sunset State Beach, redwood trails and camping at Mt. Madonna. Pinto Lake is another attraction with affordable water craft activities and boat launching. Watsonville has well maintained trails for walking and biking along the slough system that are perfect for a quiet walk around the neighborhood.

Watsonville has a rich history. The land's first people were the Mutsun-speaking Calendaruc Tribe who worked the fertile land and fished the now called Pajaro Dunes. Watsonville is famously home to Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Cider which served as a drink to replace alcohol during prohibition. Granite Construction, still headquartered in Watsonville, is famous for creating the first roads to Yosemite, and is now a global enterprise.

Watsonville gives a dense suburban vibe. You have strip malls, car lots, and just about everything convenience you can imagine. The city center is a combo of old and new. There are some beautiful Victorian era hotels, a Fox theater, and an amazing modern and new library and courthouse. An extension of local Cabrillo college is also located in the town center. Don’t forget the Friday’s Farmers Market where you can listen to live music and often you can catch a bounce house for the kiddos.

Hungry? Watsonville is superior when it comes to Mexican food. Although you may be surprised (or not) that the best food is from the many taco trucks that are sprinkled throughout the Watsonville community. If you prefer to sit down and dine, check out Cilantro’s and Jalisco's, both are family friendly.

Not looking for Mexican food? No problem. Dining at the California Grill has some stunning views of Mt. Madonna and the food is always fresh and local. You have to try the goody gorgonzola bread at Ella’s at the Airport. Breakfast is another winner in Watsonville if you are looking for a Sunday brunch you will not be disappointed! Cowboy’s Corner, and the Farm House are fresh local favorites for an all-american breakfast.

Watsonville has career opportunities with the top employers being Pajaro Valley School District, Watsonville Hospital, and Fox Racing Shox. Watsonville is ranked 5th in the nation for agricultural production and is part of what is considered the “Salad Bowl.”

If you are commuting North, which many do, keep in mind that Watsonville to Santa Cruz and San Jose has a high traffic volume. Consider leaving before 7am to head North and heading home before 3pm or after 6pm. If commuting South morning traffic is light and congestion starts closer to Monterey. Evening traffic from Monterey has the most congestion at 5pm like most metropolitan areas.

What about the weekend? - Glad you asked! There are some favorite breweries and pour houses in Watsonville. Starting with Fruition located in the East Lake Shopping Center you can often find Watsonville local fruit infused with a rustic ale. Beer Mule is a local pour house with more of a beer garden experience. Pick up a game of corn hole and have some tasty sliders or homemade pretzel.

Outdoor experiences close by include Moss Landing Harbor, La Selva Beach, and Nisene Marks State Park. Is there anything close to Watsonville for the kids? Yes! Gilroy Gardens is a family favorite amusement park chocked full of rides, food, and beautiful scenery. Monterey isn’t far away with the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Dennis the Menace Park.

Do you have a question about living in Watsonville? Megan Kilmer is our expert on Watsonville real estate and is here to answer any questions you may have about living there. Her cell is 831.888.7530 and her email is - reach out anytime if you are looking to buy or sell a home in Wastonville, Corralitos, Larkin Valley or anywhere nearby!


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