[10 April 2014 Last updated at 11:50]

Places to visit in Monterey CA

Places to visit in Monterey CA
Northern California Beaches
There is no doubt that Monterey California is a top cultural city boasting art galleries, annual events such as the Monterey Jazz Festival; many historic houses, and family attractions such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium (pictured).

Monterey boasts some of the best beaches in southern California, and it is also one of the best places to visit along the California Coast to see marine life and enjoy the magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean.

If you’re wondering what to do and where to go in Monterey, below I have a nice handy list of places to visit in Monterey CA that everyone can enjoy:

Monterey Youth Museum


The Monterey Youth Museum is located a short walk from the State Theatre, near Jacks Park, and it’s a great place to visit with the entire family.

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Monterey with kids, you definitely won’t want to miss visiting MY Museum.

Monterey History & Maritime Museum

The Monterey Maritime Museum is one of the few free attractions in Monterey and it’s another great place to visit if you’d like to learn more about the history of Monterey.

There are loads of information and interesting exhibits such as scaled down size of Bixby Bridge, model battleships and the cool lighthouse Fresnel lens.

Old Fisherman's Wharf

A visit to Monterey wouldn’t be complete without seeing Fisherman's Wharf and enjoying a whale watching tour to catch a glimpse of the majestic whales and dolphins, and soak in the beautiful views of Monterey Bay.

The Old Fisherman's Wharf is one of the best places to book a whale watching tour since there are many whale watching companies to choose from.

You can enjoy a whale watching tour pretty much any time of the year, though if you’d like to see the migration of gray whales come to Monterey between December and April.

Presidio of Monterey Museum

The Presidio Museum is located in Presidio of Monterey Park, just a short 10 minute walk from Old Fisherman's Wharf.

If you’re a war buff, or would like to know more about Monterey as a military location, you’ll find this museum a very interesting place to visit since there are many exhibits and old photos of the Presidio.

State Theatre

The State Theatre is another of the places to visit in Monterey CA if you fancy seeng out an old fashioned style theatre. You can enjoy a fun and relaxing evening out in the oldest movie place in Monterey and soak in the theatre’s old school feel.

Pacific Grove Art Center

Pacific Grove Art Center is located in the nearby town of Pacific Grove; around 20 minutes walk from Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The Pacific Grove Art Center is another of the places to visit in Monterey CA for free, and features regular changing exhibits and three permanent art galleries.

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Visiting the Monterey National Marine Sanctuary is one of the best things you can do in Monterey with family or friends.

This marine sanctuary is located opposite Scholze Park, and it’s the biggest of its kind in the states. You’ll get a chance to either see marine life like sea lions and whales up close without even stepping on a boat, though the marine center does also offer whale watching tours.

Old Monterey Historic Houses

If you’d like to do more history-related activities while in Monterey, you can take guided tours of Monterey’s historic houses with or without a Monterey State Historic Park guide.

Two of the historic houses that can be explored independently are Custom House and Pacific House, which have been turned into museums; while Stevenson House and  Larking House can only be explore with a guide.

Point Pinos Lighthouse

If you’re looking for more interesting things to do in Monterey, Point Pinos Lighthouse in the nearby town of Pacific Grove is worth passing by. This lighthouse is the oldest on the West Coast, and if you’ve never been inside one before, you’ll get a chance here since this one is open to the public.

Museum of Natural History

The Museum of Natural History is also located in the town of Pacific Grove and it’s another of the nearby places to visit in Monterey CA.

The Museum of Natural History is located a short walk from the Pacific Grove Art Center, and it’s worth visiting if you’re looking for educational activities.

Big Sur Coastline

Big Sur is probable the most beautiful stretch of coast along the California Coast and a must see place if you’re in Monterey for the first time.

Big Sur stretches from Carmel all the way down to San Simeon, though you don’t have to drive the entire stretch to appreciate Big Sur since there are plenty of viewing spots along the way such as Point Lobos State Reserve.

If you’re using car rental in Monterey, drive south along Cabrillo Highway (Highway 1) to Point Lobos State Reserve which is an hour or so driving time.

El Estero Park

El Estero Park is located adjacent St Johns Cemetery and it’s one of the best city parks in Monterey to visit with friends and family. You can enjoy fun recreational activities like taking a ride on a paddleboat, fishing off the piers at El Estero Lake and skating.

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