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This city park sprawls out over 45 acres, with lush lawns, walking paths, a picnic area with barbecues and tables, and El Estero Lake. Paddle boats are available for rental at the concession stand, making it the perfect outdoor activity for the whole family. The park also features a workout course and restrooms.
The Monterey Bay Coastal Trail is a beautiful scenic trail that runs along the coastline of Monterey Bay. Stretching over 18 miles (28 kilometers) from Pacific Grove to Castroville, this is the perfect spot to enjoy a run or a bike along the trail and take in the spectacular views. There are numerous eateries located along the way, as well as places to rent a cycle or a surfboard.
The San Carlos Cathedral, also known as Royal Presidio Chapel, was constructed in the 1770s. As the oldest functioning Catholic Church and the first stone building in the state of California, this cathedral's significance to local history is undeniable. The beautiful architectural style of this cathedral is breathtaking, with Spanish and Moorish influences.
At this hands-on museum, your kids will never be scolded or reminded not to touch anything,as the Monterey County Youth Museum was designed to encourage hands-on discovery. Children can come in and explore the many exhibits including Creation Station, The Grill, and other exhibits which allow the kids to dress up, become a chef, run their own business, or get a geography lesson. This is a great place for the entire family.
This museum is actually located in two different places, not too far from one another and in the oldest neighborhood of Monterey. At its primary location in an old adobe, the museum recently exhibited works in Chinese ceramics and textiles, paintings of Monterey 1910-1950, and bronzes by Charles Russell. The other location in the Civic Center (corner of Via Mirada and Fremont Street) has exhibited charcoal drawings by Tobin Keller, masks from Mexico and archaic vessels from Asia. This is one small town museum worth visiting.
With many excellent restaurants, guided tours, and interesting shops, this landmark has something for everybody. Whether you wish to dine on incredible seafood, go for a whale-watching tour, look at historical artifacts, or purchase exotic candy, you can do it here. Some of the best eateries in all of Monterey are found here. It can also be a great place to buy freshly caught fish or just walk around and look at all the pelicans lingering about. Various special events are held throughout the year.
The gorgeous Monterey State Beach is the perfect setting for an afternoon of family fun in the sun. From swimming, fishing, boating, making sand castles, flying kites, kayaking and more, the range of outdoor activities are endless here. Its lengthy stretch of sand and gentle breeze also makes it favorable for a healthy walk or a jog. Be prepared for cold weather, the fog rolls in quickly here, so be sure to pack an extra layer of clothing!
Cannery Row is a fantastic waterfront thoroughfare, situated a mile down the coast from the Fisherman's Wharf. Having been featured in John Steinbeck's books Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday, this iconic street is named after old sardine canning factories. Affording splendid views across Monterey Bay, this erstwhile street has rapidly snowballed into an intriguing tourist destination in recent years. While those factories are no longer operational, their nondescript facades now house a range of shops, bars, and restaurants. This area is also a marine sanctuary, where California sea lions gracefully sun themselves. The Friends of the Sea Otter shop offers information on the marine history and heritage of the place, while the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a treasured landmark of the Cannery Row. An array of marine, biological centers, and fishing companies occupy the recesses of this historic district, which is also within close proximity to a string of delightful beaches.
Tucked away amidst sprawling farms in the vast countryside, Pierce Ranch Vineyards is where some of the city's finest wines come to life. Spanning a massive 30 acres (12.14 hectares) of vineyards and farmland, everything that goes into the wine is grown on-site, which helps maintain consistency in flavor and texture. Regular tours of the vineyard offer a glimpse of what it takes to produce a fine batch of wine. Visitors can witness the various stages of production, from the picking of fruits, to the barreling and ageing process.
Walk amidst a spectacular display of contemporary works of art at Green Chalk Contemporary. Aimed at promoting contemporary art, this gallery features works by budding local artists, as well as a collection of exhibits by famous artists from around the world. Its fine mix of local and international works of art, creates a rather diverse display of different cultures. Gracing this gallery are spectacular exhibits by renowned artists such as Anne Marchand, Richard Wittaker, Francie Hester and Tom Nakashima.
Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the best-designed aquariums in the country. A rather stand-out feature of this aquarium is the two-story tank, home to a kelp forest in which one can find sunfish, sharks, and the occasional diver tasked with squeegeeing the algae off the tank walls. Sand dabs are displayed in shelf-like tanks ideally suited to the flat fish, and a school of sardines swim in an endless circle in their cylindrical tank home. If you want to interact with some aquatic dwellers, you're invited to pet the bat rays. The jellyfish display is one of Monterey Bay Aquarium's star attractions.
This museum displays and documents the natural history of beautiful Monterey County. The bulk of its exhibits showcase the native geology, aboriginal populations, plants, and animals of the region. In addition to permanent exhibits, the museum also hosts special events including a celebrated annual Wildflower Show. After a trip to the museum, check out another local attraction, the Point Pinos Lighthouse. Admission is free to both places.