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downtown-santa-cruzLiving in Santa Cruz makes getting out for a date night quite convenient. Downtown Santa Cruz has four movie theatres and over fifty eateries in a 10-block stretch. This is not to mention the multitude of bars and other activities available, including DIY pottery and candle-making shops.

For us, downtown is just right out the back door. From the Inn at Pasatiempo it is truly not much farther. A dozen parking lots lie just off Pacific Ave, which serves as the main commercial artery for downtown. Wide sidewalks and dense storefronts make Pacific Avenue perfect for a stroll most hours of the day.

marinisBeing so close to the action lets us duck out of the house just 15 minutes before the start of the film. Despite our seemingly late departure, we still manage to stop on the way at Marini’s Candies. Marini’s is a Santa Cruz landmark, opening in their Boardwalk location more than 100 years ago. We stroll past the assorted chocolates and fudges, on past the eat-in counter and an even longer case of ice cream. Our target, as ever, is the large display filled with gummy candies. They sell gummies by the pound here at Marini’s, and after selecting our preferred variety I think we may have been close to that. My lady slips the bag into her purse, where the candy will be safe until after the theater; in which outside food is obviously disallowed. Yes… Nice and safe…

Tonight’s feature is a mainstream film and has us headed to the larger, nine-screen, theatre. Within recent memory they have installed some amazing reclining seats. There are a couple bonuses to this setup: One is that I do not have a recliner at home and they are actually quite comfy. They are set out in pairs with adjustable armrests, making them impromptu loveseats if you brought someone to cuddle. Another change that came with the recliners is assigned seating. Assigned seating is the best upgrade to cinema-going since digital sound. With a modicum of planning you can nearly always sit where you want at the movies. What a world we live in!

515-kitchen-and-cocktails-smDinner remains exciting even after gorging ourselves on gummies. A quick three blocks and we’ve arrived at our favorite restaurant downtown. 515 Kitchen and Cocktails has been the go-to spot for dinner and drinks for over 10 years. Checking in for our reservations we are lead upstairs to the speakeasy-style second story. After treating ourselves to a New York Steak served with a Bourbon Apple Compound Butter and a pair of the best cocktails in town; it’s all we can do to drag ourselves home having called it another night well spent.