Believe it or not, weird and funky Santa Cruz  started out as a Mission town. Mission Santa Cruz (126 High St., 831/426-5686, Tues.–Sat. 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.–2 p.m.) was one of the later California missions, dedicated in 1791. Today, the attractive white of the building with its classic red-tiled roof welcomes parishioners to the active Holy Cross church and fourth-grade students from around the Bay Area  to the historic museum areas of the old mission.
In fact, the buildings you can visit today, like many others in the mission chain, is not the original complex built by the Spanish fathers in the 18th century. Indeed, none of the first mission and only one wall from the second mission remains on the site today—the rest was destroyed in an earthquake.
The church you’ll tour today is the fourth one, built in 1889. After you finish your tour of the complex and grounds, be sure to stop in at the Galeria, which houses the mission gift shop and a stunning collection of religious vestments—something you won’t see in many other California missions.