See also: Monterrey

Monterey is a city (population 28,000 in 2018) in the Monterey County area of Monterey Bay in California. Monterey is one of the more beautiful coastal cities of California, and then a historic city can make for a great two-day trip for those visiting San Francisco or a weekend getaway for California natives. It has more historic buildings in its downtown than any other city west of Santa Fe, and a world-class aquarium.


View from Lover's Point

Monterey was once the capital of California. Today it is widely known for its beautiful coastline, and from the many John Steinbeck novels set there, including Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat.

Rugged terrain and vicious Pacific currents made much of the California coast virtually unexplorable to European ships. After a disastrous attempt to explore this new territory by sea, Spanish missionaries in Mexico launched a series of overland expeditions from San Diego. Monterey was established in 1770 by Father Junipero Serra and soon became a Spanish military base with a small fort or "presidio" located near a calm harbor that could provide shelter to supply ships. The military presence eventually gave way to a thriving commercial trade that brought in many enterprising foreign merchants.

Once Mexico gained its independence from Spain, Monterey became the capital of Alta California under Mexican rule. From this era come many classic stories of flirtation, fashion, and politics in the Mexican colonial era. Lands once owned by the government began to come into private hands, and local families began to consolidate their property and power into business enterprises based on the ranches or "ranchos," where they raised cattle or invented the famous Monterey Jack cheese.

Monterey soon fell under American power in the Mexican-American War and remained the capital of the territory. A delegation of writers drafted the constitution which marked the entrance of the State of California into the United States of America. This era saw the mass northward migration of ambitious people in search of gold, which led to a near desertion of the town. Monterey soon recovered, however, and today is known for its magnificent natural beauty, world famous Aquarium, and temperate year-round climate.

The Monterey Peninsula has the largest population of sea otters on the California coast. The abundance of marine wildlife visible from the shoreline is one of the primary attractions of the region. Seals, sea lions, and sea otters are visible year-round, and migrating whales are commonly seen in the fall and spring months.

Alvarado Street serves as downtown Monterey's "main drag." It has superb restaurants, a selection of bars, and unique shops.

Monterey (California)
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Get in[edit]

Map of Monterey (California)

By plane[edit]

  • 1 Monterey Regional Airport (MRY  IATA Monterey Peninsula Airport). It has regular flights from Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles,Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle/Tacoma on Alaska Airlines dba Horizon Air or SkyWest Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Eagle, and United Express. From the airport it is a short drive west along Highway 68 and onto southbound Highway 1, where the two right lanes lead straight downtown. Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) runs local bus 93 between the airport and downtown a couple times a day on weekdays only. Monterey Regional Airport (Q3612524) on Wikidata Monterey Regional Airport on Wikipedia
  • Due to the high fares and limited schedules, you may want to consider flying into San Jose International Airport (SJC IATA) or San Francisco International Airport (SFO IATA), and travelling by bus or car to Monterey. The Monterey Airbus provides scheduled service from both airports.

By car[edit]

  • (the Pacific Coast Highway) runs through Monterey, providing access from the north Santa Cruz (50 minutes), and from the south along the world-famous Big Sur coast.
  • to From the San Francisco Bay Area, take US 101 south through San Jose and Gilroy to State Highway 156, going west at Prunedale (inland of Monterey Bay, 9 mi (14 km) north of Salinas). Go west 5 mi (8.0 km) on State Highway 156 (a two-lane highway that often gets congested on touristy weekends) through Castroville, at which point State Highway 156 becomes a freeway and shortly thereafter merges with southbound Highway 1. Monterey is then 15 mi (24 km) south along Highway 1.

If heading to Cannery Row or the Aquarium, look for brown signs that advise which exit to take. (If Highway 1 has ceased to be a freeway, you've gone past Monterey and are near Carmel.)

  • From the San Francisco Bay Area, internet map sites, mapping software, and GPS systems will advise you to take State Route 17 to Santa Cruz and then State Route 1 south. Although State Route 17 through the Santa Cruz Mountains is shorter than US 101, it is filled with sharp curves and corners, is often highly congested, and accident-prone, so may actually take longer to drive than Highway 101, and certainly is a more stressful drive. At uncongested times and in good weather, SR 17 can be enjoyable, but otherwise opt for US 101 and State Route 156.
  • Alternatively, for a more scenic but even slower route from San Francisco, you can take State Route 1 all the way along the coast to Monterey from San Francisco. The difference in driving time, compared to taking US 101, is about a half hour, but the ocean-side scenery makes that worth it, particularly if there isn't fog along the coast.
  • to From the south, take US 101 north to Salinas, then State Route 68 west to Monterey.

Again, for a scenic but slower route, you can take State Route 1 along the coast north to Monterey through Big Sur. That route is extraordinarily scenic but also full of very tight turns and a lot of stretches that require patient, careful driving. From Morro Bay (on the Pacific Ocean, to the west of San Luis Obispo), the drive to Monterey through Big Sur takes, in good driving conditions, about a half hour longer than going via Salinas and US 101. But the Big Sur coastal route should be avoided if there is any chance of fog, or in darkness—it's just too twisty, with too many dropoffs, to be advisable for drivers unfamiliar with the route, in adverse driving conditions. In the winter rainy season, it is always wise to check to make sure that the Big Sur route is open to through traffic—occasionally, a rock slide will close the road for a short period.

Despite Monterey's popularity, all of the above routes will require you to traverse a two-lane road section at some point: State Route 1 between just south of Watsonville and Castroville, State Route 156 between Prunedale and Castroville, State Route 68 between Salinas and Monterey, or State Route 1 from most of the way from Morro Bay up to Carmel. Because the Monterey Peninsula is so popular with tourists, all of those roads are often busy with traffic, particularly on weekends, which means there is a higher risk of traffic delays and even of head-on crashes. No matter which route you take, drive with caution.

By train[edit]

Amtrak's Coast Starlight train stops in Salinas. From the Salinas transit center, take the Monterey-Salinas Transit route 21 or 56 to Monterey. Amtrak runs a Thruway bus service from the station to the major hotels of Monterey and on to Carmel.

By bus[edit]

  • 2 Greyhound Lines & American Star Tours, (bus stop) Salinas Amtrak Station @ 3 Station Pl, Salinas, toll-free: +1 800 231-2222. Nearest Greyhound stop is in Salinas. Connects San Jose to Los Angeles (via Gilroy, Salinas, King City, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara and Oxnard). American Star Tours also run the same route as the above but with additional stops in Psso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Grover Beach, UC Santa Barbara and UCLA. Tickets with American Star Tours whose tickets can be booked with Greyhound or Amtrak.
  • 3 Groome Transportation (formerly Monterey Airbus), (Monterey Shuttle Station) 438 Calle Principal, +1 831 373-7777. (office hours) Daily 7AM-10PM. Regularly scheduled shuttle bus to San Jose (SJC) and San Francisco (SFO) International Airports from the Marina (140 Beach Rd) and Prundale Park & Ride (16 Meridian Spur). Call to reserve door to door pick-up/drop-off.

Get around[edit]

  • 4 Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST), 201 Pearl St, +1 888 MST-BUS1 (678-2871). provides convenient public bus service within town, as well as to the nearby towns of Carmel, Pacific Grove, historical Salinas and breathtaking Big Sur. Fares vary from $1.50-3.50 depending on whether you take a Local, Primary or Regional bus. GoPasses are available from $10/day, $25/week, $95/month. There's a 50% discount for children, seniors, people with disabilities, medicare cardholders, and US veterans.
  • MST Trolley. daily Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. MST also runs a free trolley between Monterey's downtown and the Aquarium on Cannery Row daily during the summer months. free.

For car drivers, garage parking is available, and street parking is often free for periods of two hours on weekends and after 6PM. Many hotels offer parking for an additional charge. The Cannery Row area (where the Aquarium is located) has an aggressive, expensive parking ticket policy. A few minutes over at a meter and you will be welcomed to town with a $35 parking ticket.


Jellyfish in the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Sea lions near Fisherman's Wharf
  • 1 Monterey Bay Aquarium, 886 Cannery Row, +1 831 648-4888. 10AM-6PM. This large aquarium specializes in exhibiting local sea life in typical local habitat displays and has many spectacular exhibits. It is particularly known for its Kelp Forest exhibit, three stories high, filled with several varieties of giant kelp and a wide variety of marine animal species, and also for its million-gallon Open Sea exhibit with large blue fin and yellowfin tunas, mahi-mahis, sharks (including an occasional Great White Shark as a very temporary visitor, before being released back to the ocean), ocean sunfish (mola-molas) and sea turtles. The best exhibits include a large tank of silver sardines that swim around and around above one's head, and one of rescued sea otters deemed unreturnable to the wild and therefore kept at the aquarium. (The aquarium has rescued and released back to the wild over 500 sea otters.) Quite expensive, but for a good cause (the aquarium is privately funded, and much of the money goes for conservation research), and most visitors will consider a visit well worth the charge. $65/adult, $50/youth and seniors, $45/child. Monterey Bay Aquarium (Q1754233) on Wikidata Monterey Bay Aquarium on Wikipedia
  • 2 Monterey State Historic Park, 20 Custom House Plaza, +1 831 649-2907. Gardens open daily 9AM–5PM summer; 10AM–4PM winter; museums vary. This park is the historic downtown area known as Old Monterey, containing a number of historic buildings and gardens. Most of the buildings are from the first half of the 19th century, and most of the historic gardens are about a century old. Start at Custom House Plaza, in downtown Monterey, near the Old Fisherman's Wharf, and look for the yellow plaques that mark the Monterey Walking Path of History to take in some of the town's most intriguing buildings. Informational signs are posted at each stop. Maps and tour information are available at the Pacific House and the Cooper Molera store. Wheelchair-accessible restrooms are available near the Central Plaza in the Casa del Oro Garden and in the Cooper Molera courtyard. free. Monterey State Historic Park (Q6905350) on Wikidata Monterey State Historic Park on Wikipedia
    • 3 Custom House, 20 Custom House Plaza. Tu-Su 10AM-4PM. Oldest government building in California and first designated California Historical Landmark. First floor is a small museum and gift shop. free. Old Customhouse (Q7083808) on Wikidata Old Custom House (Monterey, California) on Wikipedia
    • 4 Pacific House Museum, 10 Custom House Plaza. Tu-Su 10AM-4PM. Offers detailed displays on local history and Native American life. free.
    • 5 Old Whaling Station. Don't miss the whalebone sidewalk. Whalebone was once a common material for sidewalks in seaside towns; it is very likely this is the last one of its kind.
    • 6 Larkin House, 510 Calle Principal. Tours on Th-Sa at 2PM. Two-story mud adobe brick home built during Monterey’s Mexican period by Thomas O. Larkin. Accessible by tour only. $10/adult, children free. Larkin House (Q6489615) on Wikidata Larkin House on Wikipedia
    • 7 Stevenson House, 530 Houston St. Tours on Th-Sa at 10AM. An 1840s adobe where famous author Robert Louis Stevenson resided in late 1879. Today the house is filled with artifacts from the author's life as well as local artwork. Accessible by tour only. $10/adult, children free.
    • 8 Cooper Molera Adobe, 506 Munras Ave. Sa Su 10AM-4PM. An adobe from 1827 which now houses a small museum, a garden, cafe, restaurant and event venue. Formerly the site was part of the Monterey State Historic Park but now is owned by National Trust for Historic Preservation. The ground floor museum exhibit is open on weekends but the rest of the museum is closed due to COVID. free.
  • 9 Colton Hall, 570 Pacific St. Sa-Su 10AM-4PM. Considered one of the most historic buildings in California, Colton Hall is the birthplace of the State of California. Home of the California Constitutional Convention of 1849, visit the site where 48 delegates debated the decisions that made California a free state. See original documents, artifacts, and even walk on the same floor as the delegates. the. free. Colton Hall (Q5149467) on Wikidata Colton Hall on Wikipedia
    • 10 Old Monterey Jail (behind Colton Hall). Sa 10AM-4PM. When California became a state in 1850, Monterey was selected as the seat of Monterey County government and this was the new jail that was built. The jail is open whenever Colton Hall is open. free.
  • 11 Maritime Museum of History. Showcases exhibits that revolve around Monterey's history as a port, and the history of both seafaring and commercial fishing, from the whaling era to the present day. Monterey Maritime and History Museum (Q6905324) on Wikidata Museum of Monterey on Wikipedia
  • 12 Presidio of Monterey Museum, Corporal Ewing Rd (from Lighthouse Blvd. heading east, follow the signs to the Museum), +1 831 646-3456, fax: +1 831 646-3917. Sa-Su noon-4PM. Gives the history of the Presidio of Monterey from pre-history through the War on Terror. free.
  • 13 Monterey Museum of Art, 559 Pacific St, +1 831 372-5477. It has two locations. The 559 Pacific Street location, across from Colton Hall, has eight galleries, with both permanent and rotating exhibitions. The La Mirada building is one of Monterey's Mexican-era adobes. Located at 720 Via Mirada, near Monterey Peninsula College, it has four galleries, plus great views of Monterey Bay. Admission is $10, with $5 admission for students and military. One Thursday a month, the Pacific Street location hosts "Art After Hours," with free admission, light appetizers and drinks. Monterey Museum of Art (Q6905328) on Wikidata Monterey Museum of Art on Wikipedia
  • Seals at the wharves. There are two piers and a breakwater that provide excellent viewing of sea lions. Monterey's original "Fisherman's Wharf" generally has a handful of sea lions lounging about, and occasionally, harbor seals on the beach next to the pier. Larger groups of sea lions can generally be found at the more industrial wharf ("Municipal Wharf #2") a short walk to the east from Fisherman's Wharf. Wharf #2 has a small fishing industry warehouse still in operation, so numerous sea lions have made it their home. Towards Cannery Row from Fisherman's Wharf, near the Coast Guard station (reached by driving on Del Monte west from Fisherman's Wharf, through the traffic tunnel and taking the first exit and then the first right turn), there is a large breakwater that is generally occupied by a huge number of sea lions, piled on the breakwater's rocks. One can walk part way down that breakwater on its paved portion and view the sea lions from only a few feet away through a steel fence at the end of that paved portion. Additionally, sea otters can often be seen in the bay, and harbor seals can often be seen at Hopkins Beach, just west of the Hopkins Marine Station (part of Stanford University) that is just west of the Aquarium, or in the calm waters next to Fisherman's Wharf, particularly resting on the tops of rocks that are just above the ocean level (sea lions can jump from the water up to places like the top of the breakwater, harbor seals can't).
  • 14 San Carlos Cathedral (Royal Presidio Chapel), 550 Church St. The oldest continuously operating parish and the oldest stone building in California. Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo (Q1756005) on Wikidata Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo (Monterey, California) on Wikipedia
    • Heritage Center Museum. Su 10AM-noon 1-3PM. Located in the Parish Offices Building east of the cathedral is a small museum which contains part of the Junipero Oak. Closed due to COVID. free.


  • 1 Dennis the Menace Park (10 minutes walk south from Fisherman's Wharf). W-M (closed Tu). A giant kids' park that includes a full sized train, numerous bridges, ducks and geese you can feed and paddle boat rentals. One of the better free municipal parks in Northern California.
  • Monterey Bay Sailing. Monterey Bay Sailing offers sailing trips on Monterey Bay and the chance to see sea otters, sea lions, and harbor seals. This is a safe and eco-friendly activity for all ages.
  • Play on the dunes and the shore at one of the city's five public beaches. Enjoy a romantic or family style Monterey bonfire on the beach.
  • Monterey Bay Coastal Trail. 29-mile-long (47-km-long) walking/biking trail. Bikes available for rent at several places along the path (and at some other places, e.g. Monterey Transit Plaza). Multi-passenger surrey bikes are particularly popular and available for rent.
  • 2 Monterey Bay Kayaks, 693 Del Monte Ave. Offers kayaking equipment rentals as well as guided kayaking tours, classes, and fishing trips.
  • 3 Wharf Theater (Bruce Ariss Wharf Theater). Shows often include local interpretations of hit musicals. Wharf Theater (Q7990665) on Wikidata Wharf Theater on Wikipedia
  • 4 Golden State Theatre. This refurbished theatre offers diverse, family-friendly shows centering around the themes of classic cinema and musical theater. It's worth a trip just to see the ornate interior of the theater. Golden State Theatre (Q16891752) on Wikidata Golden State Theatre on Wikipedia
  • 5 Monterey County Fairgrounds, Fairgrounds Rd. The fairgrounds hosts the annual Monterey Jazz Festival and hosted the one-time Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Other music festivals occur throughout the year, and the locally famous Monterey County Fair occurs every year in late August. Monterey County Fairgrounds (Q6905302) on Wikidata Monterey County Fairgrounds on Wikipedia
  • Several companies offer year-round whale watching boat tours, departing daily from Fisherman's Wharf. The area is particularly famous for sightings of gray whales as they travel to warmer waters during the winter and early spring.
  • Get your wet suit on and go scuba diving. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary has the most amazing kelp forests on the West Coast, and an incredible collection of marine life.
  • Get a panoramic view of the Monterey Bay (and Carmel to the south) from 6 Jack's Peak County Park, the highest point on the Monterey Peninsula and amazingly free of crowds.
  • 7 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, 1021 Monterey-Salinas Hwy, +1 831 242-8201. Famous Indy car and motorcycle race track. WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (Q1423481) on Wikidata Laguna Seca on Wikipedia
  • Golf at the local public courses 8 Bayonet & Black Horse, 9 Laguna Seca Golf Ranch, 10 Monterey Pines Golf Course. If you're lucky, you might be able to get a tee time at the world-renowned Pebble Beach.
  • Find out about upcoming events on the events calendar of the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau website.


  • 1 Monterey Imports (Galarie Monterey), 482 Alvarado St, +1 831 674-1773. It assembles excellent examples of Indian, Nepalese and Tibetan jewelry, statues, sculptures, incense, meditation tools, music cds, textiles (including yoga clothing, pashmina shawls and casual wear) and accessories.
  • 2 The Del Monte Shopping Center, 1140 Del Monte Center (off Highway 1 at Munras Avenue), +1 831 373-2705. Offers a selection of typical mall chain stores, as well as several local restaurants and a large cinema complex. Del Monte Center (Q14681817) on Wikidata Del Monte Center on Wikipedia
  • 3 Fisherman's Wharf (The Old Fisherman's Wharf). Provides plenty of opportunities to find that perfect Monterey postcard or souvenir (who do you know who doesn't want a plush sea otter?) You can also buy the day's latest catch fresh off the boat. Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey, California (Q5454907) on Wikidata Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey, California on Wikipedia
  • 4 Cannery Row. Sports a Pebble Beach Golf shop, where virtually every item on display somehow incorporates the famous Lone Cypress (C) logo. It also has a number of overpriced, tacky specialty shops and overpriced, mediocre restaurants, including a Ghiaradelli store. Cannery Row (Q1033387) on Wikidata Cannery Row on Wikipedia


A sampling of some sea food, available at Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf

The local specialties are artichokes and sanddabs. Artichokes can be found at nearly every restaurant - fried, grilled, broiled, boiled, in soup, on pizza and almost any other way you can imagine. The nearby town of Castroville is "the artichoke center of the world," and the local source for the wealth of artichokes. Sanddabs are a local seafood, often served fried. Clam Chowder in sourdough bread can be found at Fisherman´s Wharf. Abalone is available, too, but expensive. The area is notable for other seafood delicacies, including calamari and Dungeness crab.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium runs a "Seafood Watch" program, and keeps a list of which sea life is overfished and which are safe, and environmentally friendly, to eat. Pick a copy of the list up at the Aquarium, or around town. Many local restaurants have signed on to the Seafood Watch program.

Monterey's status as a tourist destination have provided it with a wealth of restaurants beyond what might be expected in a community this size. Almost every cuisine, from oriental to occidental, may be found represented - and usually represented well - in the local area, including the neighbouring communities of Pacific Grove, Seaside, and Carmel-by-the-Sea and the Carmel Valley.

  • 1 Ambrosia India Bistro, 565 Abrego St, +1 831 641-0610. Daily 11:30AM-2:30PM, 5-9:30PM. Authentic Indian cuisine from appetizer to dessert. Faults in the service are redeemed by the extraordinary flavors and presentation of the meal. $10-30.
  • 2 Crystal Fish, 514 Lighthouse Ave, +1 831 649-3474. A local favorite for sushi.
  • 3 Epsilon, 422 Tyler St. A truly charming restaurant - cozy, well-lit, hand-decorated, with superb Greek food and a passionate staff. The spanakopita with a Greek salad can make a meal on its own.
  • 4 Rosine's, 434 Alvarado St. A downtown, family-friendly classic serving up wonderful portions of comfort food. Famous for its spectacular cakes - make sure you have someone to share with!
  • 5 East Village Cafe, 498 Washington St.
  • 6 Tarpy's Roadhouse, 2999 Monterey-Salinas Highway. For a taste of Monterey history head to this historic former homestead, housed in a beautiful stone building nestled into a hillside. Classy atmosphere with classic California cuisine - accompany your meal with one of the many local wines on offer.
  • 7 Tabouli's Deli & Mid-Eastern, 580 Lighthouse Ave. If you are looking for a relatively cheap (particularly for Monterey prices), but great meal, Tabouli's is a great place. Tabouli's has great food and great company. The owner and cook is friendly but not overbearing. Because he's the only one running the place usually, it's not place to go if you are in a hurry.
  • 8 Pizza My Heart, Del Monte Center on Munras.. Great, cheap pizza, made with all fresh ingredients, and open until 10PM. If you're looking for a live show that night, just ask the staff; they know everything going on in town.
  • 9 Parker-Lusseau Pastries, 539 Hartnell St. Tucked away in the historic Fremont Adobe building next door to the post office, this small patisserie offers some of the best French pastries and lattes this side of the Atlantic.
  • 10 Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, 720 Cannery Row, +1 831 373-1884. Su 11AM-9PM, M-W 11AM-8PM, Th 11AM-8:30PM, F Sa 11AM-9PM. This location is the first Bubba Gump, opening in 1996. This is a more recognizable location set in the background of many smaller seafood places in the Cannery Row area - explore the options as you walk around.
  • 11 Hula's Island Grill, 622 Lighthouse Ave, +1 831 655-4852. 11:30AM-9:30PM. Hula's Island Grill and Tiki Room is an intimate local's restaurant offering a dining experience in a tropical setting. Offers fun, friendly, enthusiastic service, fresh fish, steaks, seafood, and an overall menu which includes a hint of Asian, a dash of Latin and a touch of Caribbean, all with Hawaiian inspiration. $10-20. Hula's Island Grill (Q60053753) on Wikidata Hula's Island Grill on Wikipedia
  • 12 Compagno's Market and Deli, 2000 Prescott Ave (at Taylor), +1 831 375-5987. M-F 10AM - 6PM, Sa Su 9:30AM - 5:30PM. The deli is a little out of the center of town and easy to miss, but it's worth a short car trip. They make great sandwiches with excellent quality cold cuts, delicious meatballs made in-house, very fresh vegetables, and use tasty bread in several varieties. Very popular with local military men and women and civilians. Nice service, too. Be patient; you will wait on line, and they won't rush you.


Monterey has many superb vineyards located near the town. There are a number of tasting rooms located on Cannery Row, all within an easy walk. Some, such as 1 Scheid Vineyards and 2 Bargetto Winery provide wines from only one winery. 3 A Taste of Monterey allows visitors to try wines from throughout Monterey County, while taking in a spectacular panoramic view of Monterey Bay through their windows.

Monterey-Salinas Transit's bus route Number 24, also called "The Grapevine Express", leaves from downtown Monterey and stops at all the wineries in nearby Carmel Valley. A daypass, which allows riders to hop on and off at will, is $10 as of May 2020. Maps and schedules, which detail the wineries that the route stops at, are available at Monterey County Visitors Centers.

Alvarado Street has the densest collection of bars and pubs in the area.

  • 4 Lallapalooza, 474 Alvarado St, +1 831 645-9036. 4PM–midnight. Has the widest selection of martinis.
  • 5 Sovino Wine Bar and Merchant, 241 Alvarado St (Alvarado St brick walkway next to Portola Hotel), +1 831 641-9463, . M Th Su 3–8PM; F Sa 3–9PM. Boutique wine shop and tasting room. Flight of 4 wines for $15; purchase bottles from $20 and up.
  • 6 Indian Summer, 200 Olivier St (just across the Customs House Plaza, behind the Portola Plaza Hotel), +1 831 372-4744. M 7PM-midnight, Tu-Th 5PM-midnight, F Sa 5PM-1AM, Su 5PM-midnight. A hookah bar with an exotic atmosphere, Mexican food, and local brews. Non-tobacco smoking options available.
  • 7 Sly's Refueling Station (Sly McFly's), 700 Cannery Row, +1 831 649-8050, . Burgers, steaks, and seafood. Live music and dancing most nights. $25 and up.
  • 8 Wave Street Studios (Wave Street Studios), 774 Wave St (Walk down the stairs to the bike path to get to the entrance), +1 831 655-2010. Both an intimate live venue and a recording studio, Wave Street Studios is a great place to see a show.
  • 9 Alvarado Street Brewery, 426 Alvarado St, +1 831 655-2337, . Su-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F Sa 11:30AM-11PM. Original downtown Monterey brewery with outdoor seating.
  • 10 Fieldwork Brewing Co, 560 Munras Ave (in Uptown Shopping Center), +1 831 324-0658. Su-Th noon-9PM, F Sa noon-10PM. Tasting room for the Berkeley brewery.
  • 11 Dust Bowl Brewing Co, 290 Figueroa St, +1 831 641-7002. M-Th noon-9PM, F noon-10PM, Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 11AM-9PM. Satellite taproom built in 1874 as a train depot.
  • 12 Peter B's Brewpub, 2 Portola Plaza (behind the Portola Hotel & Spa), +1 831 649-2699, . W-Su 4-10PM. The original craft brewery in Monterey, since 1996. Happy hour from 4-6PM and 9-10PM.
  • 13 Salty Seal Brewpub, 653 Cannery Row, +1 831 920-2327, . Su 11AM-11PM, M-Th noon-11PM, F noon-midnight, Sa 11AM-midnight. Bar with some local breweries' beers that opened in June 2021 with a heated patio.


This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Less than $100
Mid-range $100-$200
Splurge $200+


  • 1 Days Inn - Fisherman's Wharf, 1288 Munras Ave, +1 831 375-2168. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Affordable hotel accommodations with comfortable, clean rooms.
  • 2 Monterey Bay Lodge, 55 Camino Aguajito, +1 831 655-1900, fax: +1 831 655-2933. Grungy location next to Lake El Estero and walking distance of the beach and wharf. Featuring on-site restaurant, heated pool, and other amenities. $75–100/night.



Stay safe[edit]

Monterey is a safe, low-crime town and you should have no issues during your visit. However, if you plan on scuba diving or surfing while you're here, a wetsuit is a must as the ocean tends to be very cold year-round. Additionally, while shark attacks are rare, they have occurred before. Stay vigilant while enjoying the ocean!

Point Pinos Lighthouse, Pacific Grove, California
Oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast

Go next[edit]

Lone Cypress at 17-Mile Drive
  • Carmel - 5 mi (8.0 km) southwest of Monterey, Carmel is a beautiful oceanside town that is home to the historic Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, several large beaches, excellent restaurants and an abundance of upscale lodging. It borders the iconic Pebble Beach golf course and is the entry point to the 17-mile drive and its dramatic ocean views.
  • Salinas - 19 mi (31 km) inland, fans of Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck will want to visit the National Steinbeck Center and soak in the sights that were the inspiration for much of the author's work. The historic downtown dates back to the town's founding in the mid-1800s, while the surrounding countryside is filled with vineyards and both floral and vegetable cultivation. Events include the California Rodeo, which is held during the third week of July.
  • Pacific Grove - adjacent to Monterey, Pacific Grove is a beautiful town that is home to the oldest continually operated lighthouse on the West Coast, and more Victorian homes per capita than anywhere else in America. It is also the northern gateway of the scenic 17-Mile Drive. The town's rocky coastline is filled with tide pools that are easy to explore, seals, sea otters and sea lions are commonly seen in the waters, and adding to its bounty of natural riches, in the winter thousands of monarch butterflies gather in a grove at the town's center.
  • Seaside - neighboring Monterey to the northeast, Seaside is most often visited by those looking for lodging or restaurants close to the town of Monterey. However, the town does have a few attractions of its own, including the Bayonet & Black Horse Golf Courses, part of the former Fort Ord military base, which hosted the 2012 PGA Professional National Championship. The town is also home to Sand City, an artist community within the city limits that hosts an arts festival each August.
Routes through Monterey
Santa CruzSeaside  N  S  CarmelSan Luis Obispo
ENDPacific Grove  W  E  SalinasEnds at

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