Monterey, California

Guide to Monterey: how to get there and where to stay, what to see and where to go in the evening. The best things to do in Monterey: fresh reviews and photos, places to see, branded entertainment and shopping.

According to toppharmacyschools, the small California town of Monterey is easily confused in name with the Mexican Monterrey, “Sultan of the North”. And that would be a big mistake. Monterey, near San Jose, is an old Spanish city that was founded in the second half of the 18th century and was the capital of California until the middle of the 19th century. And now it is a charming and, as it were, enchanted city by the sea with low-rise buildings of small whitewashed houses. But moreover – with the best aquarium in the country, the best jazz festival in the country and almost the best bay with a sea canyon. Simply put, one of the most beautiful coastal cities in California.

Probably the city’s most famous landmark is one of the best marine aquariums in the world, Monterey Bay. It was founded in 1984 and occupies the site of a former sardine cannery. Today, almost 2 million visitors visit the aquarium every year.

How to get to Monterey

It is most logical to turn around in Monterey for a couple of days in your own car from Santa Cruz, San Jose or San Francisco, heading, for example, to Santa Maria, Santa Barbara or Los Angeles. The coastal paths are very beautiful. But you can, of course, go by train to Salinos or by bus from San José. And Monterey Airport receives regular flights from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver and Las Vegas.

A bit of history

In 1846, California became part of the United States after the end of the Mexican-American War, and the Union Jack was hoisted on the Monterey Customs building. After that, the city has consistently attracted creative people – artists and writers who settled here in search of peace and solitude on the beautiful Pacific coast.

Attractions and attractions Monterey

Probably the city’s most famous landmark is one of the best marine aquariums in the world, Monterey Bay. It was founded in 1984 and occupies the site of a former sardine cannery. Today, almost 2 million visitors visit the aquarium every year. Here you can see thousands of plants and animals of more than 600 species – rays, jellyfish, sea otters (the only mammals in the aquarium), many fish. This is one of the few places in the world where you can see live bluefin and yellowfin tuna. Fresh ocean water is continuously supplied directly from the bay through a system of pipes and pumps. The pearl of the aquarium is the Ocean Edge Wing, a huge 8.5 m high cistern filled with coastal inhabitants. It was in this aquarium that the California giant kelp was grown for the first time in the world.

4 things to do in Monterey:

  1. Take a trip to the coastal Pacific Grove, the “city of butterflies”, famous for its beautiful Victorian buildings and the fact that the annual migrations of Danaid monarch butterflies pass through it.
  2. Walk along the harbor and admire the many yachts in the marina – not as luxurious as in Portofino, but no less picturesque.
  3. Grab oysters at Fisherman’s Wharf as fast food and eat on the go.
  4. Get to the Thursday Party at the Pacific Street Museum of Art: once a month they organize a buffet with snacks, drinks and free admission to the galleries.

One of the city’s most famous streets is the riverside Cannery Row, “Cannery Row,” whose name refers to the street’s historic purpose: it is still lined with canned sardine factories. The factories do not operate today, the last one closed in 1973. But the name of the street, which was formerly called Ocean View Avenue, was officially fixed in 1958 with the light hand of John Steinbeck and his novel of the same name. Edward Ricketts’ biological laboratory still stands on the street, and opposite it is a Chinese store, both mentioned in Steinbeck’s novels. In addition, there are many restaurants and hotels, some in former factory buildings. Plus, from here there is access to the beaches of MacAbee and San Carlos, the most popular places for diving, kayaking and fishing.

“A cannery row in Monterey, California is a poem, a rattle and a stench, its own color, mood and character, a nostalgic vision, a dream,” Steinbeck described the street.

Another notable place in Monterey is the fishing yard. In the 60s. of the last century, there was a noisy and lively fish market here, although today the shipyard has become more of a tourist attraction, since after the Second World War the sardine population in the surrounding waters was destroyed – there was nothing to catch and preserve. But even today, Fishermans Wharf is home to the best fish restaurants in the city, open-plan bars, jewelry stores, art galleries, sweets and souvenir shops. Sea whale excursions start from here, and sea lions can often be seen right in the harbor: they sleep on pylons, buoys or overturned boats.

At the entrance to Fisherman’s Wharf is the Custom House Plaza, the historic heart of the city. Here stands the Customs House, the first administrative building in California and the very site where, in 1846, the transfer of Monterey from Mexico to the United States was formalized. The Maritime Museum is also located in this building, where you can get acquainted with the maritime and cultural life of the past in the city. There are also many other old buildings on the square. You can also see the last whalebone pavement in the United States. It is located right in front of the Old Whale Station.

Artichokes and a special kind of Pacific flounder are considered local delicacies. The former can be found in almost any restaurant – fried, stewed, boiled, baked on the grill, in soup, pizza, etc. Nearby Castroville is proud to be the “artichoke center of the world.” The second is caught only on this stretch of coast, so this type of flounder can only be tasted in the vicinity of Monterey and San Francisco. It is most often served fried.

In the Old Town of Monterey – downtown – enough centuries-old buildings have been preserved. Following the signs on the yellow tiles, you can follow the History Path to appreciate the city’s most famous buildings. Information posters are placed at each stop. Stop by the city’s art museum: it occupies two buildings – one on Pacific Street, opposite Colton Hall, with eight galleries. The second is the building of La Mirada, one of the testimonies of the Mexican past of the city, with four galleries and excellent views of the bay. Culture connoisseurs should also definitely look into, firstly, the historic city theater Wharf, and secondly, the restored Golden State Theater, if not for the performance, then at least for the richly ornamented interior.

The Monterey Bay Coastal Trail is 47 km long and offers every opportunity for cycling. Bicycles can be rented at several places along the trail, with multi-seat bikes being especially popular. The kayaking office on Del Monte Avenue offers rentals, as well as training classes and guided tours. Stunning views of the bay and Carmel can be seen at Jack’s Peak Park, the highest point on Monterey Point, where there are surprisingly few tourists.

Monterey Events

The country-famous Monterey Jazz Festival has been held in the city every year since 1958. This is one of the longest-running jazz festivals, as the tradition of holding it has not been interrupted for a year. The festival is usually held on the third weekend of September starting on a Friday and hosts over 500 world-class jazz performers. About 50 concerts are held at 9 venues, and workshops, exhibitions, discussions, attractions and food courts are also held here. Since 1992, Clint Eastwood has been on the board of the festival.

Neighborhood Monterey

In Monterey Bay there is a unique geographical formation – Monterey Canyon. Nearby there are several other fairly deep depressions, because here the marine flora and fauna are amazingly diverse. Scientists find a lot of work, and divers find heavenly underwater gardens to admire.

The road from Monterey to Carmel is very picturesque and attractive. It is privately owned and the passage through it is paid. But this attraction is worth the money: the track, about 25 km long, winds along the ocean, surrounded by rocky cliffs, then wooded plateaus, past the most luxurious private houses in the state and beautiful beaches.

Monterey, California