Search for Otters and Steinbeck in Monterey
401 Camino El Estero
Monterey, CA 93940-3059
Phone: (888) 221-1010

Visit a spectacular aquarium, seafood restaurants, and appealing trinket shops along this historic bayfront strip.

Talk about comebacks! Monterey’s Cannery Row, once the site of a booming sardine-canning industry, fell on hard times after World War II, in large part due to overfishing. Lesson learned: Today the Pacific waters around this waterfront are protected as national marine sanctuary and now teem with sealife. And the street has reinvented itself as a lively destination with a nod towards its historic roots.

Many old cannery buildings have been refurbished as restaurants, galleries, and shops. Between browsing and nibbling, stop in to sample local wines at Bargetto Winery or Baywood Cellars. One of the most spectacularly refurbished canneries now houses the astounding Monterey Bay Aquarium , a wonderland of jellyfish, seahorses, penguins, sharks, cavorting sea otters, and other creatures. Here, you can practically dive into the life of the remarkable kelp forests that thrive in these waters—an unforgettable must-see for all.

For Steinbeck lovers, the street is a novel come to life. The Bear Flag Building (where bordello owner Dora ran a restaurant) is recognizable by its distinctive “dragon” roof. The unassuming wooden structure at 800 Cannery Row was once Pacific Biological Laboratory, the workplace of marine biologist and ecologist Ed Ricketts—the inspiration for Steinbeck character Doc Ricketts. Opposite, what’s now a gift shop still bears the sign “Wing Chong’s Market,” a.k.a Lee Chong’s grocery.

Fisherman’s Wharf is a good place to spot the creatures that make their home here: harbor seals, sea lions, sea otters, and brown pelicans. Walk, bike, or pedal a surrey
along the paved Coastal Trail to scan Monterey Bay for wildlife, and peer into the tide pools at San Carlos Beach, at the south end of Cannery Row.