Top things to do

Top Choice Museum in Salinas

National Steinbeck Center

This museum will interest almost anyone, even if you don't know anything about Salinas’ Nobel Prize–winning native son, John Steinbeck (1902–68), a Stanford University dropout. Tough, funny and brash, he portrayed t…
Mediterranean in Salinas

Giorgio's at 201

In a stately, high-ceilinged former bank, Giorgio's at 201 is the lead address in an expanding if compact enclave of restaurants and terrace cafes. Drop in for excellent pizza, pasta and Mediterranean cuisine – with…
Craft Beer in Salinas

Farmers Union Pour House

Brick-lined walls and wooden floors combine with a thoroughly modern big screen displaying the 24 different beers on tap. Food options include cheese and charcuterie boards, or you can order pizza and full meals fro…
Craft Beer in Salinas

Alvarado Street Brewery & Tasting Room

This Salinas offshoot of the Monterey-based craft brewery is another excellent recent addition to the growing beer scene around Salinas. Location-wise, it's in an industrial park around 3 miles south of downtown. As…
American in Salinas

First Awakenings

Fork into diner-style breakfasts of fruity pancakes, crepes and egg skillets, or turn up later in the day for handcrafted sandwiches and market-fresh salads. Try the Sonoran frittata, an open-faced omelet crammed wi…
Cultural in Salinas

Steinbeck Festival

This three-day festival features films, lectures, live music and guided bus and walking tours.
Rodeo in Salinas

California Rodeo Salinas

Bull riding, calf roping, cowboy poetry and carnival rides.
Craft Beer in Salinas

Monterey Coast Brewing Co

At this lively downtown Salinas microbrewery, an eight-beer tasting sampler costs just 10 bucks. The OK pub grub isn't earth-shattering, but it does come with a side order of chatty conversation from the friendly ba…
Historic Building in Salinas

Steinbeck House

Steinbeck was born and spent much of his boyhood in this house, four blocks west of the museum. It’s now a twee lunch cafe, which we’re not sure he’d approve of. Guided tours are given on select summer Sundays; chec…
Mexican in Salinas

Pica Fresh Mex

On Main St in the heart of downtown Salinas, this storefront Mexican kitchen gets a spicy stamp of approval for handmade tortillas, smoky chipotle salsa, carne asada tacos, burritos and brochetas (meat kebabs).