The city of Monterey is on the southern edge of Monterey Bay in Northern California. It’s about 8500 square miles with a population of 28,000 people.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, and Fisherman’s Wharf are some of the attractions that bring people to the city.
John Steinbeck wrote a book called Cannery Row in 1945, set during the Great Depression. The street is lined with sardine canneries, and it was known as the Sardine Capital of the World during WWII. You can still see lots of sardine canneries and shops on Cannery Row. It’s a must-see for Steinbeck fan.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
The Monterey Bay Aquarium, founded in 1984, is a non-profit public aquarium. It’s on the site of a former sardine cannery on Cannery Row. See the Giant Pacific Octopus, sea otters, jellyfish, penguins, kelp forest, Monterey Bay habitats, and more. You can also catch daily shows and feedings!
Fisherman’s Wharf is a historic wharf. In the 1960’s, it was a wholesale fish market. As commercial fishing tapered off, it became a tourist attraction with gift shops, seafood restaurants, and a large marina. It’s a great place to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of Monterey.
Monterey is a safe city with friendly people. There are many military people and retirees in the area. It gets quite foggy, although the fog tends to keep the ground warmth in. Because the water in Monterey Bay stays the same temperature year round, the average year-round temperature of Monterey doesn’t change much, holding steady around 60°F – 70°F. It doesn’t snow, but it does tend to be a little rainier in the winter. However with fog in the summer, it doesn’t make much of a difference what time of year you visit.
One of the big attractions in Monterey is whale watching. Monterey Bay Whale Watch, on Fisherman’s Wharf, will take you out on year-round boat tours to observe whales, dolphins, and other marine life. Unfortunately, the ocean was too rough during my visit so I didn’t get to go whale watching, but people who have done it said the videos of whales jumping out of the ocean aren’t edited at all – they really jump far out of the water!
Where to Eat
One of my favorite restaurants in Monterey is the Wave Street Cafe, at the very end of Cannery Row. It overlooks the bay on a pedestrian-only street. It has an authentic Mexican vibe with fantastic meals at good prices. My Baja Fish Tacos were $15 and the best fish tacos I’ve ever had! For a nice outdoor setting at a small restaurant with great views and delicious food, check out the Wave Street Cafe. 550 Wave Street (Lower Level).
Nearby, you can drive the 17-mile drive through the wealthy golf course town of Pebble Beach. You can also visit Carmel, where Clint Eastwood was mayor. Monterey is a great city to visit, whether it’s your destination or a day trip.
Have you been to Monterey? What are your thoughts on the city? Leave me some recommendations in the comments below!
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