If you're looking for the best Monterey has to offer a visitor, try these things to do.
One of California's most popular attractions and often rated as a top family destination in the U.S., the Monterey Bay Aquarium is good for a half-day of fun.
Much of Cannery Row is not built up, giving it a rumpled kind of charm. The first several blocks coming from the Wharf still have the ruins of old canneries.
Walk from Fisherman's Wharf to Cannery RowThis half-hour stroll is a great way to enjoy the scenery and it has no shortage of places to sit and take it all in if your feet get tired. Along the way you are likely to see California sea lions (often hanging out on the rocky jetty by the Coast Guard Station), harbor seals and sea otters.
This popular tourist attraction is home to almost a dozen restaurants and souvenir shops, as well as a generous number of walk-up fish stands. Go all the way to the end to enjoy the bay view from the observation deck. Glass-bottom boat tours, whale watching tours and fishing expeditions leave from the wharf.
They have shipping exhibits and a beautiful first-order Fresnel lens that was originally in the Point Sur lighthouse.
For a taste of Monterey and California history.
A harbor cruise on the glass-bottomed boat Mermaid is the best way to get a sea lion's-eye view of the harbor. We tried it once, enjoyed seeing (and photographing) the sea lions, otters, cormorants and other critters. In fact, this simple pleasure has made it on the list of things we do every time we're in Monterey. You don't need reservations and the cruises go out about every half hour.
Created in 1956 by cartoonist Hank Ketcham, this playground is a favorite of local and visiting Dennises and Margarets alike. Whimsical equipment such as a drinking fountain inside a lion's mouth, a roller slide and a life-sized hedge maze ensure the kids will have a great time.