The Mission Hill area of Santa Cruz is of particular importance because of its historical significance. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places Inventory in 1975. The area is bounded by Highway 1 and an overpass connecting to High Street. The hill slopes steeply downward to the River Street commercial and industrial area, Northern Pacific Avenue, and across Mission Street down to Chestnut Street. Therefore, it is a good and proximate vantage point to downtown Santa Cruz and the River Street area.
Within the Mission Hill area is the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park (Mission Plaza), Holy Cross Church, Holy Cross School, a replica of the old chapel, and the ruins of the Neary-Rodriguez Adobe.
The area was the first European-populated center of the county, home to the Spanish missionaries and the Santa Cruz Mission, built in 1791.
Holy Cross Church has athletic facilities for local schools and the community. The park is centrally located within Santa Cruz city and thus it has become the location of numerous fairs and festivals, like the Japanese Cultural Fair.
The area is no longer a point of interest for commercial activity.