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Life in still delightfully rough-around-the-edges Monterey revolves around the sea. The city's biggest draw is a world-class aquarium overlooking Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which protects dense kelp forests and a sublime variety of marine life, including seals and sea lions, dolphins and whales. The aquarium sits on the edge of Cannery Row, which made Monterey the sardine capital of the world in the 1930s. Today it's an unabashedly touristic strip lined with souvenir shops and standard eateries in faux retro buildings. For more authenticity, take a stroll past downtown's cluster of restored buildings from the Spanish and Mexican periods.

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These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Monterey.


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