Tuesday is a school and work night. Around town, Tuesdays can feel a bit sleepy, without the weekend flow of tourists filling the streets with the usual hustle and bustle.
However, unknown to tourists and even many locals, Tuesday is one of the best days of the week to hit the town, and not only to avoid crowds. Many restaurants and business in Santa Cruz have created enticingly affordable specials to lure locals out on the town.
Moreover, Tuesday is the only day of the week that businesses on the Wharf are allowed to validate free two-hour parking.
Most of the restaurants on the Wharf offer a special entrée for $9.95 on Tuesday, including the Ideal Bar and Grill, which offers a 7-ounce sirloin steak combined with a choice of calamari, prawns or coconut prawns.
Riva's has grilled salmon, and Gilda's boasts a marinated tri-tip served with potatoes au gratin and mixed veggies, and Miramar has a choice between calamari steak with rice and veggies, fish and chips, or half shrimp louie salad with smoked salmon chowder.
Also, Stagnaro Brothers has a $10 special, which changes weekly.
A bit further down the wharf, you will find Olita's, which features a taco with a choice of draft beer or house margarita for $6.
For dessert, go down to Marini's on the Wharf for buy-one-get-one-free caramel apples.
For a more adult indulgence, visit the Wharf's Vino Prima Wine Bar, which hosts a blind wine tasting on Tuesday—a tasting of five different wines, followed by a discussion of their qualities and place of origin, for $20.
A fun date before or after dinner is a game of bowling at the Boardwalk Bowl at 115 Cliff St., which offers two games, complete with shoes, a hot dog, chips and soda for $7.50, or $6 for kids under 12 from noon to 5 p.m. Or, if you are out late, catch half-price bowling from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Downtown also offers its own array of enticing Tuesday bargains:
The Saturn Cafe at 145 Laurel St. has $1.50 vegan and gluten-free tacos, but don't let that scare you—they are quite delicious
The Blue Lagoon at 923 Pacific Ave. has $2 well drinks,
And, of course, the quintessential downtown Tuesday special is $1.50 cheese slices and $1 pepperoni half slices at Rockers Pizza inside the Catalyst at 1011 Pacific Ave.
Shogun at 1123 Pacific Ave. offers 10 percent discounts to students with student IDs, and Sitar Indian cuisine at 1133 Pacific Ave. has a 15 percent discounts for students and downtown employees.
Pacific Cookie Company takes a dollar off a half-dozen cookies after 5 p.m., bringing the price down to $4.75
Kianti's at 1100 Pacific Ave. offers half-off appetizers and $4 Bargetto wines
Soif at 105 Walnut Ave. has "Tapas on Tuesdays," a modestly priced and creatively arranged variety of Spanish-style appetizers, accompanied by an assortment of Spanish wines, ports and sherries.
Tuesday night is pint night at 99 Bottles at 110 Walnut Ave., with dollar off pints and $3 off pitchers, as well as a raffle for prizes, like T-shirts and glassware.
At Marini's Downtown at 1308 Pacific Ave., from 1-4 p.m., you can get an ice cream cone for a buck. If you feel adventurous, try the bacon flavor for a rather jarring change of pace.
And at Clouds Downtown at 110 Church St., it is happy hour all day, with well drinks and draft beer for $3.50 and half off all appetizers
Acapulco at 1116 Pacific Ave. offers $2 tacos from 4 p.m. to closing, and half-price appetizers and drink specials from 4-6 p.m. At Pacific Thai at 1319 Pacific Ave., you get $1 off Thai Tea and $1-$2 of all "Thai-titled" entrees.
And kids eat free on Tuesdays at Rosie McCann's at 1220 Pacific Ave.
It could take a lifetime of Tuesdays to try every one of these weekly specials.