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5 Amazing Things to Do in Monterey

5 Amazing Things to Do in Monterey

You’ll find plenty of adventure in this charming Central Coast town—including one epic aquarium

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Set along the curving sweep of its namesake bay, Monterey is a community in touch with both the natural world and the tides of history. On Cannery Row, you’ll find luxurious waterfront hotels and can spend the day at Monterey Bay Aquarium, which gives you close-up looks at the bay’s remarkable marine life. And just a short distance from town, some of the world’s finest golf courses await in Pebble Beach.

Stay along the bay at a posh Cannery Row hotel

Both contemporary and classic, the InterContinental The Clement Monterey hotel gives you a front-row seat to the beauty of Monterey Bay. Step out onto your balcony and scan the waters for harbor seals and sea otters, and even the occasional whale farther offshore. At night, nothing beats a drink by one of the fire pits in the hotel’s Pacific Courtyard. Or enjoy bay views as you dine on such favorites as the day scallops at the hotel’s acclaimed the C restaurant + bar.

Play a round in California’s Kingdom of Golf

Considering this legendary course has hosted five U.S. Open championships (with a sixth forthcoming in 2019) and its Par 5 18th along Carmel Bay is frequently named the most dramatic finishing hole in golf, Pebble Beach Golf Links is hardly lacking for recognition. But when legend Jack Nicklaus declares, “If I only had one more round to play, I would choose to play it at Pebble Beach,” then you know for sure that this Monterey Peninsula course is one for your bucket list.

Discover what’s beneath the surface at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium takes you into the remarkable undersea world waiting just offshore Cannery Row—all without getting your feet wet. You’ll see brilliantly colored jellyfish that resemble some kind of alien life form as they gracefully glide through the water. Go nose-to-nose with adorable sea otters, and catch glimpses of leopard sharks and schools of sardine swimming through the kelp forest exhibit. With 28-foot windows, it’s one of the world’s tallest aquariums. 

Dine at a celebrated Monterey restaurant

For more than 20 years, Montrio Bistro has served up its seasonal and sustainable cuisine in an old firehouse building that dates back to 1910. The restaurant takes full advantage of Monterey County’s bounty of locally sourced seafood and organic produce, while its art-filled, brick-walled interior makes it a perfect destination for a night out. Start with a craft cocktail, then work your way through a menu that includes such favorites as the Cabernet-braised boneless beef short rib and a king salmon with citrus risotto.

Explore the waterfront from Cannery Row to Old Fisherman’s Wharf

Cannery Row has come a long way since the days when famed novelist John Steinbeck called it “a poem, a stink, a grating noise.” Its sardine industry is long gone and now this tourist hub is filled with restaurants, boutiques, and tasting rooms pouring Monterey County wines. Take a stroll down Cannery Row and you’ll still see remnants of old cannery buildings as you walk toward Old Fisherman’s Wharf, the historic pier that juts into Monterey Bay. Set out on a whale-watching or fishing trip, and don’t miss the clam chowder at the wharf’s many seafood restaurants.

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