Top things to do

Top Choice Aquarium in Monterey

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey’s most mesmerizing experience is its enormous aquarium, built on the former site of the city’s largest sardine cannery. All kinds of aquatic creatures are featured, from kid-tolerant sea stars and slimy sea…
Top Choice Music in Monterey

Monterey Jazz Festival

One of the world’s longest-running jazz festivals (since 1958) showcases big-name headliners over a long weekend in mid-September.
Top Choice Historic Site in Monterey

Monterey State Historic Park

Old Monterey is home to an extraordinary assemblage of 19th-century brick and adobe buildings, administered as Monterey State Historic Park, all found along a 2-mile self-guided walking tour portentously called the …
Seafood in Monterey

Monterey’s Fish House

Watched over by photos of Sicilian fishermen, dig into oak-grilled or blackened swordfish, barbecued oysters or, for those stout of heart, the Mexican squid steak. Reservations are essential (it’s so crowded), but t…
Californian in Monterey

Montrio Bistro

Inside a 1910 firehouse, Montrio looks dolled up with leather walls and iron trellises, but the tables have butcher paper and crayons for kids. The eclectic seasonal menu mixes local, organic fare with Californian, …
Museum in Monterey

Pacific House

Find out what's currently open at Monterey State Historic Park, grab a free map and buy tickets for guided walking tours inside this 1847 adobe building, where fascinatingly in-depth exhibits cover the state’s early…
Food & Drink in Monterey

Castroville Artichoke Festival

Head north of Monterey for 3D ‘agro art’ sculptures, cooking demos, a farmers market and field tours in May or June.
American in Monterey

First Awakenings

Sweet and savory, all-American breakfasts and lunches and bottomless pitchers of coffee merrily weigh down outdoor tables at this cafe uphill from the aquarium. Try the unusual ‘bluegerm’ pancakes or a spicy Sonoran…
Cafe in Monterey

East Village Coffee Lounge

Downtown coffee shop on a busy corner brews with fair-trade, organic beans. At night, it pulls off a big-city lounge vibe with film, open-mic and live-music nights and an all-important booze license.
French in Monterey

Crêpes of Brittany

Authentic savory and sweet crepes are swirled by a French expat – the homemade caramel is a treat. Expect long lines on weekends. Cash only.