Santa Cruz is the county seat and largest city of Santa Cruz County, California in the US. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, Santa Cruz had a total population of 59,946. It is located on the northern edge of the Monterey Bay, about 72 mi (116 km) south of San Francisco. The city is part of the U.S. Census-designated 11-county San Francisco Bay Area Combined Statistical Area but not within the traditional 9-county definition of the San Francisco Bay Area, as it is not in a county that touches the San Francisco Bay. Primarily, Santa Cruz is counted as part of the Monterey Bay region.
The present-day site of Santa Cruz was the location of Spanish settlement beginning in 1791, including Mission Santa Cruz and the pueblo of Branciforte. Following the Mexican–American War of 1846–48, California became the 31st state in 1850. The City of Santa Cruz was chartered in 1866. Important early industries included lumber, gunpowder, lime and agriculture. Late in the 19th century, Santa Cruz established itself as a beach resort community. Santa Cruz is now known for its moderate climate, the natural beauty of its coastline and redwood forests, alternative community lifestyles, and socially liberal leanings. It is also home to the University of California, Santa Cruz, a premier research institution and educational hub, as well as the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, an oceanfront amusement park.