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Photograph by Jenn Ireland
Midtown Mentality: Readers picked Seabright as the best neighborhood.

People & Places

Readers Picks

Somebody clever once said that the sign of intelligence is the ability to hold two contradictory ideas in mind at once and still function. Santa Cruz must be bursting with smartypants, because voters in our survey voted Umbrella Man best local hero, second-best local villain and second-best street performer. Meanwhile, Midtown ate the Westside's lunch in the best neighborhood category, while fall smoked summer and spring for best season.

Best Makeout Spot

West Cliff
As though the moonlit ocean, sound of lapping waves and smell of salt air weren't enough, the chance to steam the windows and rock the body right within the view of classy houses, strolling retirees and zooming bicyclists just adds to that breathless tension that all memorable makeouts must have.

Best Neighborhood

Languid and dreamy, like a shot in a long-view lens, this sun-filled flatland is easily the most peaceful of our neighborhoods, protected from wind by giant stands of eucs, radiating with florescent foliage and featuring solid little houses--and a strip of local businesses--that defy the mere passage of time.

Best Place To Take Kids

Music coming from nine directions, candy made of woven pink air, large-eyed stuffed animals beckoning to be cuddled, salty taffy, squirting hot dogs, bright metal cars swooshing above and the sound of whooping as hundreds soar up and down creaking wooden tracks--the Boardwalk is sensory paradise for every kid.
400 Beach St., Santa Cruz. 831.423.5590.

Best Season

One knows how spring will progress; not so with fall, where the lurking yaw of winter can show up at any time in a sudden cold breeze that sweeps the leaves aloft or an instant disappearance of the sun. It's no wonder we feel so alert and alive in this, the best of seasons.The fact that we get our town back each autumn, and usually a gracious Indian summer to enjoy it by, only adds to the appeal.

Best Street Performer

The Great Morgani
One hundred twenty costumes, including one made mostly of balloons; 40-plus accordions to suit each holiday or season, a set list that stretches from "When the Saints" to "Midnight in Moscow"--who can deny that the Great Morgani is the hardest working man in local show biz? You sure haven't!

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