Situated in the coastal mountains of California, Monterey Port is packed with historic buildings, a world class aquarium center and a scenic coastline. The Monterey port of call is heavily protected by federal and state governments due to its environmental significance; it is the home of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Because of this, the port has limited anchorage space and most cruise ships are directed at the Coast Guard Pier. The city has an efficient transport system which includes, bus, trolley and trains.
The lovely Monterey port provides a number of good shopping choices to fit your shopping mood and style. Famous brands of fashion items can be found in the American Tin Cannery, while the Cannery Row has a golf shop as well as a number of specialty shops and restaurants. Meanwhile, for a typical mall adventure, visitors can head to Del Monte Shopping Center.
If you are looking for a more unique experience, visit Monterey Imports in the downtown area. Visitors can find an assortment of finely made Indian, Nepalese and Tibetan pieces of jewelry and art works. The shops also host a number of stores selling meditation tools; these include meditation cds and yoga clothing. There are also a number of stores which specialize in beautifully made pashmina shawls and casual clothes. Interesting souvenir items such as a plush sea otter can be found at the Fisherman’s Wharf. Fresh catch off the boat can be bought in the area as well.
Things to See
Monterey port’s colorful history and its vibrant art community are made up of a number of interesting museums and district worth visiting. This includes:
- The Maritime Museum of History, located at the Custom House Plaza. It exhibits valuable artifacts from the city’s whaling era to the present.
- The Monterey Museum of Art has two locations. Visitors can either visit the Pacific Street location which hosts an “Art after Hours” on Thursdays complete with light appetizers and drinks. The Mexican era adobe styled La Miranda Building is near Monterey Peninsula College. Special admission discount are given to students and military personnel.
- The Pacific House Museum has comprehensive exhibit of local history and of Native American lifestyle.
- The Carmel Mission offers a guided tour of the remaining buildings of the Spanish mission started by Father Serra in 1771.
- Cannery Row is famous and immortalized in John Steinbeck’s novels. The area used to be a sardine packing warehouse.
- California’s first theater was built in 1847; the adobe building remnants still stand on the corner of Pacific Street and Scott Avenue near the Pacific House.
- The Monterey County Fairgrounds as hosted the Monterey Jazz Festival, since 1958 and the Monterey Pop Festival since 1967. New talent emerges at these venues; e.g. tradition Jimi Hendrix, The Who and Janis Joplin.
Monterey port is known for its abundant and diverse marine life. Visitors enjoy the sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters, pelicans and dolphins among others. Monterey Bay Aquarium is located at Cannery Row; it is among the largest aquariums in North America. Exhibits include tanks of silver anchovies, jellyfish and other marine species. It also has marine science laboratories where scientists work; its proximity to the sea makes it an ideal place for scientific research and exploration of marine life.
Visitors can also enjoy the sun and sand at the city’s public beaches. Scuba divers will also enjoy the San Carlos State Beach which is a preferred destination of divers since 1960. Visitors can enjoy sailing tips along the Monterey Bay and walk or ride a bicycle along the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail.
Restaurant and Bars
Monterey Port is the home of tempting local and international dishes. Its proximity to the sea makes it a seafood haven with a cause. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a “Seafood Watch” program which informs the locals and the visitors of which sea life to eat and those which are overfished. Most local restaurants have signed up with this program.
Artichokes and sand dabs are local specialties of the port and virtually all restaurants offer them. Clam chowder in sourdough bread and abalone are also among the favorites in town. Seafood delicacies include calamari and Dungeness crab. Local California cuisines can be enjoyed at the Stokes Adobe with its beautifully restored adobe façade. Meanwhile, Tarpy’s Roadhouse also serves hearty California dishes in a former homestead along the scenic hillside.
For a fusion of international dishes, try any of the following: authentic Indian foods are served in Ambrosia Indian Bistro and Middle Eastern cuisine at Tabouli’s Deli & Middle Eastern. Enjoy hearty pizza at Pizza my Heart, Epsilon serves good Greek foods and The Fishwife’s Turtle Bay Taqueria serves Mexican foods with a Caribbean twist in a colorful atmosphere.
This former state capital infuses culture and nature altogether which makes it an interesting place to visit and unwind.