Things to do

Festivals

Monterey Jazz Festival: Held every September, this is the longest running jazz festival in the world.

Jazz Bash by the Bay: An annual music festival held since 1980 to celebrate the roots of jazz, swing, and ragtime.

California Roots Music and Arts Festival: Held annually at the famed Monterey fairgrounds (location of the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967), this festival features reggae, folk, and hip hop acts playing alongside live painters on stage.

International Documentary Film Festival: Presented by the United Nations Association, this annual festival aims to educate and draw attention to global issues through film.

Monterey Car Week: An annual motoring event featuring display vehicles, automobile auctions, racing, and more.

Historical Attractions

California History Room and Archives: Comprehensive collection of written, visual, and audible materials related to Monterey history.

Cannery Row: Known as the most popular destination on California’s Central Coast, this area offers a wide array of historical sites, shopping, food, and natural attractions.

Museum of Monterey: Historical Monterey museum showcasing events, programs, and historic buildings.

Royal Presidio Chapel and Heritage Museum: Built in 1794, this is the first stone building and the oldest functioning church in California.

Path of History: A walking path boasting a collection of 55 historical sites, buildings, and museums illustrating the story of Monterey. Highlights include:

Colton Hall Museum: Originally built as a school and meeting hall, this building is now a museum showcasing a re-creation of the room where the first Constitution of California was drafted.

Cooper-Molera Adobe: Built in the 1800s by the John Rogers Cooper family, this adobe now serves as a museum depicting mid-1800s life in California.

Custom House: Built in 1827, this is the oldest standing public building in California and the place where Commodore John Drake Sloat raised the American flag to claim California for the United States in 1846.

Old Jail: Built in 1854, this jail was in service for over one hundred years, until 1956.

Pacific House Museum: Constructed in 1847 by David Wright, this building served as a hotel, court house, tavern, and church. The museum now illustrates Monterey history during the time that it was the capital of Spanish and Mexican California.

Presidio of Monterey Museum: Museum showcasing Monterey’s various phases of military history.

Stevenson House and Museum: Established as an adobe back in the Mexican era, it also housed author Robert Louis Stevenson in 1879 during its time as a rooming house.

Art Attractions

Monterey Museum of Art: Founded in 1959, this is the only nationally accredited art museum between San Jose and Santa Barbara.

Natural Attractions

Parks and Beaches: Monterey is home to a plethora of scenic parks and beaches, notably the following:

Window on the Bay at Waterfront Park: Beautiful views can be seen from this park that runs along the 18-mile Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, Monterey State Beach, and Del Monte Ave.

Moss Landing State Beach: Perfect for surfing, wind surfing, offshore fishing, and horseback riding.

McAbee Beach: Located at Cannery Row, this is a favorite of kayakers and scuba divers.

Veterans Memorial Park: Picturesque 50-acre park offering camping, hiking, picnicking, and basketball.

El Estero Park Complex: A 45-acre recreational area including a lake, exercise course, skate park, dog park, and the famous Dennis the Menace Playground.

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary: Covering 5,312 square miles with an underwater canyon double the depth of the Grand Canyon, this sanctuary offers some of the best wildlife viewing in the world

More Fun

Monterey Bay Aquarium: Housing over 300,000 marine plants and animals, this world-class aquarium attracts close to two million visitors annually.

Fisherman’s Wharf: Constructed in 1845, this wharf was used for passenger and freight service, sardine shipments, and – today – tourism with shopping, dining, fishing, and cruising.