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What to See and Do in Monterey – a guide to notable landmarks and attractions

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The stunning, historical coastal city of Monterey is one of California’s most vibrant getaways. With a spectacularly rugged coastline, an array of glistening sandy beaches, a thriving arts scene, and an abundance of first-rate restaurants and shopping experiences, you’ll be enthralled. Take a surfing lesson, play a round of golf on a pristine course, or sample prize-winning local wines in sumptuous surroundings – it's all part of the appeal.
Cannery Row

 

 

Formerly known as Ocean View Avenue, this landmark road was officially renamed in 1958, in honor of the great John Steinbeck novel that was set here. The Row’s eye-catching sardine cannery buildings have been imaginatively repurposed as trendy boutiques, gourmet restaurants, and boutique hotels, and the area now stands as one of Monterey’s premier tourist districts. Younger visitors will be delighted by Monterey Mirror Maze & Lazer Challenger – they'll explore a mind-bending labyrinth, see an incredible sound and light show, before negotiating their way through a fun laser obstacle course. Elsewhere, you can refresh yourself with a spot of wine-tasting at A Taste of Monterey, a regional wine market and bistro with jaw-dropping views of Monterey Bay.

 

Fisherman’s Wharf

 

 

This handsome, historic wharf, which dates back to the 19th century, is today a vibrant hub of tourist activity. Visitors flock here in their droves to embark on poignant whale watching excursions, fishing and sailing trips, and leisurely bay cruises. It’s the preferred hang-out spot for Monterey’s population of sea lions, so you’re likely to spot a few of these adorable creatures here, lounging around in the sunshine. The wharf is also home to the Bruce Ariss Wharf Theater, which stages productions of hit musicals performed by top local talent in a delightfully intimate setting.

 

Monterey Museum of Modern Art

 

 

This first-rate museum is devoted to celebrating the past, present and future of California’s vibrant art scene. Their extensive collections are split across 2 impeccably preserved historical buildings. In the heart of Old Monterey you’ll find the Pacific Street museum, which houses galleries showcasing contemporary art, photography, and the best of early Californian painting. La Mirada, meanwhile, is a charming Mexican-style villa surrounded by rose gardens, which plays host to an eclectic, ever-rotating program of temporary exhibitions.