Monterey travel guide

Language Capital of the World

Monterey Tourism | Monterey Guide

You're Going to Love Monterey

Monterey is one of California's most popular coastal destinations and the Central Coast town is known for beautiful beaches, historic landmarks and musical events.

If you're a nature lover, you'll be in your element in Monterey. It's the whale watching capital of the world and the scenic peninsula is home to California's largest population of sea otters.

Literature fans adore Monterey too and the town's Cannery Row, once the heart of the sardine canning industry, was the setting for John Steinbeck's famous novel, 'Cannery Row'. Other Steinbeck novels set in Monterey include East of Eden and Tortilla Flat.

Monterey is popular with weekend visitors who pop up from San Francisco as well as with tourists from around the world. Fine dining, unique gift shops and 5 sandy beaches - it's ideal for both short or long breaks.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Monterey

What to do in Monterey

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Fishermans Wharf
Pebble Beach Golf Links

When to Visit Monterey

Estimated hotel price

Monterey in {1}

1 night at 3-star hotel
Prices are not fixed and may vary with time

The summer season is from May to September, tourist attractions are open and beach life is in full swing. Monterey's population can double between Memorial Day and Labor Day, so visit in early Spring or in Fall if you prefer a quieter break. If you're hoping to spot those famous blue whales, their migration period is from January to March. May and September are the sunniest months and music fans can catch the world-famous Monterey Jazz Festival in September. Visit between November and March for spectacular sunsets and dramatic waves.

Average temperatures
Fahrenheit (°F)
When the weather is nice in Monterey

How to Get to Monterey

Airports near Monterey

SJC San Jose
OAK Oakland

Airlines serving Monterey

Good (27,715 reviews)
Good (3,595 reviews)
Good (4,149 reviews)
Good (22,780 reviews)
Good (67,538 reviews)
Good (22,875 reviews)
Good (44,504 reviews)
Good (28,537 reviews)
Show more

Where to Stay in Monterey

Choose from friendly bed & breakfast establishments, boutique hotels, affordable chains and luxury spa hotels. If you're on a budget, try Day's Inn at Fisherman's Wharf or Monterey Bay Lodge. Well-known chains like Ramada, Marriott and Comfort Inn are good mid-range options while the Portola Hotel, Old Monterey Inn and Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa and Cannery Row are perfect for luxury breaks.

Popular Neighborhoods in Monterey

Where to stay in popular areas of Monterey

Most booked hotels in Monterey

How to Get Around Monterey

The Cost of Living in Monterey

Monterey is fairly expensive with prices almost on a par with San Francisco or New York. Expect to pay $20.00 for dinner in an inexpensive restaurant and $65 for a three-course meal for 2 in a mid-range restaurant.

Monterey’s Hottest Shopping Streets

You'll find lots of independent stores like Monterey Imports (art and accessories from India, Nepal and Tibet) on Alvarado Street in Downtown Monterey. Head to Cannery Row or Fisherman’s Wharf for gift stores or visit Del Monte Mall for clothing and other goods; this attractive mall also has a large cinema complex and several restaurants.

Groceries and Other Necessities

Buy food and basics from Monterey supermarkets like Trader Joe’s, Safeway and Whole Foods Market. For terrific sandwiches and snacks try Troia’s Market in Pacific Street or visit the Wharf Marketplace for gourmet foods and wine.

Cheap meal
Cheap meal
A pair of jeans
A pair of jeans
Single public transport ticket
Single public transport ticket

Where to Eat in Monterey

Local must-try dishes are sanddabs, clam chowder and artichokes. Monterey is the artichoke capital and you’ll find them sautéed, grilled, fried or braised in sandwiches, soups and even on pizza in restaurants all over town. Try fried sand dabs or clam chowder in restaurants or at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Foodies will love landmark restaurant Rosine’s on Alvarado Street which is famous for its delicious cakes. For special meals, treat yourself to classic California cuisine at Tarpy’s Roadhouse, a hillside restaurant housed in a historic former homestead where you can choose local wines to accompany lunch or dinner.

Most popular restaurants in Monterey

Chart House Restaurant - Monterey
Excellent (374 reviews)
Montrio Bistro
Excellent (368 reviews)
Sardine Factory
Excellent (251 reviews)
Fish Hopper
Excellent (234 reviews)
Tarpy's Roadhouse
Excellent (226 reviews)
The Whaling Station Steakhouse
Prime Rib
Excellent (167 reviews)