Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row - 5 Must See Places

For an interactive map from GPSmyCity for this blog post please visit this site

So you're in Monterey and only have a day to see everything there is to see. Sorry to tell you, it just can't be done.  Even if we narrow it down to just the Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row areas, no matter what your interest -- history, site seeing, recreation, dining or just being able to play tourist -- these popular destination areas are just so jammed packed with places to see, food to eat and things to do that just getting started on a plan of attack can seem pretty daunting.  Heck we live here full time and are still making new discoveries almost every day.  But never fear, here are our top 5 "must sees" in Monterey that should more than fill up your day, and likely have you thinking about how soon you can book your next trip.

Fisherman's Wharf 

Fisherman's Wharf is comprised of three very distinct areas offering an amazing diversity of sites, sounds and smells.  

First up is Municipal Wharf II, a working commercial pier where in the early mornings you'll see dozens of fishing boats offloading their catch of the day. The wharf features a British pub,  two restaurants, a commercial abalone farm, Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club and five wholesale fish companies.

As you leave the Municipal Wharf turn right and follow the path past the Museum of Monterey (MOM) to the historic Custom House.  In 1846, Commodore John Drake Sloat landed in Monterey Harbor.  On July 7th, four days after landing, Purser Rodman Price raised the American Flag at the Custom House and read Sloat's proclamation proclaiming California for the United States.
MOM at the Stanton Center
Custom House

Next up is the Fisherman's Wharf boardwalk where tourists flock to see colorful souvenir shops, candy stores, and restaurants with hawkers out front offering samples of their wares.

Fisherman's Wharf Boardwalk

From the Wharf you can watch otters and sea lions at play and pelicans fishing.

or schedule a whale watching tour with Monterey Bay Whale Watch. 


or admire the Fisherman Monument by Jesse Corsaut, dedicated to those who made a living from the riches of the sea.

Fisherman Monument

Recreation Trail 

The Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail is a paved path that stretches 18 miles from Castroville to Pacific Grove. Go for a stroll or bike along this path and you will avoid busy roads while enjoying the beauty of Monterey Bay.  At San Carlos Beach watch Scuba divers as they prepare to enter the lush kelp forests of Monterey Bay.

Stop by Adventures By the Sea and rent a bike or family-size surrey and create an adventure of your own while burning off a few calories in preparation for lunch or dinner to come.  Riding north toward Lovers Point in Pacific Grove you will pass through Cannery Row and large expanses of scenic vistas and marine activity - such as the playful antics of the Harbor seals that have made the beach at Hopkins Marine Station their home.

Cannery Row

At the beginning of the 20th century the Monterey fishing industry was rapidly expanding.  This created a rapidly growing need for canning.  Through the 1930s and early 40s Monterey's fishing fleet supported a number of canneries along the waterfront.  Salinas author, John Steinbeck made Cannery Row his home during those years and wrote about this area in his novels Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row. Walk the Row, visit Steinbeck Plaza. Here you will find some shopping, restaurants such as Fish Hopper, and the Cannery Row Brewing Company, as well as the Cannery Row Monument, by Carmel sculptor Steven Whyte, depicting the characters of Steinbeck's Cannery Row.


Cannery Row Monument

"Doc" Ricketts' Lab

Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is located at the end of Cannery Row on the site of a former sardine cannery. It opened in 1984 and currently has up to two million visitors a year. Offering an amazing array of exhibits featuring sea life and their habitats from around the Monterey Bay area, its ever changing exhibits (including some very hands on) promise to fascinate and mesmerize . . . and they never fail to come through.

The centerpiece attraction is the Ocean’s Edge Wing, a 333,000 gallon aquarium tank where visitors can view California coastal marine life.  

With exhibits such as Tentacles, Penguins Splash Zone, Aviary, and the ever popular Sea Otter, there is something for everyone in the family at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Be careful though, you can easily spend the entire day here!

Cocktail or Coffee
at the Fire Pit
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

And finally to round out your day, stop by the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa. Pick up a Coffee and treat from their Cafe la Strada or favorite cocktail and appetizer at their Helmsman Lounge, and, weather permitting, sit out on the Monterey Plaza Hotel's 4,000 square foot Upper Terrace by the fire pit, put you feet up, and enjoy the view, you have earned it.  

Thanks for visiting.  Until next time, Happy Adventures!

For an interactive map and guided walking tour covering this and many of our other  tours please be sure to download the GPSmyCity App from the iTunes store.  The  App covers an extensive library of articles and walking tours from over 470 cities worldwide, and now features articles from  Adventures of a Home Town Tourist covering Carmel and Monterey (with more cities on the way).  Click the City Walks logo below to get your free App today. 

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All pictures by L.A. & R.M. Momboisse unless listed below:
Picture of the indoor aquarium from Monterey Bay Aquarium Wikipedia.  

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