Art and History

Featured Videos
Cell Phone Tour
California first became a state right here at Monterey. Come and explore our history at our Museums or enjoy a walk along our historic streets.

Cell phone tour - in multiple languages!

For much more on Monterey's art and history
please visit the Museums website

«May 2016»
C-SPAN Cities Tour
C-SPAN Cities Tour
Mayor Clyde Roberson talked about the history and politics of Monterey, California, as scenes of the city and still images were shown.

C-SPAN’s Local Content Vehicles (LCVs) made a stop in their “2015 LCV Cities Tour” in Monterey, California, from November 5-12, 2015 to feature the history and literary life of the community. Working with the Comcast Cable local affiliate, they visited literary and historic sites where local historians, authors, and civic leaders were interviewed. The history segments air on American History TV (AHTV) on C-SPAN3 and the literary events/non-fiction author segments air on Book TV on C-SPAN2.
Watch the video

Click the section in the left menu to get more information about each Explore Monterey location.

Museum of Monterey (MOM) - (831) 372-2608;  www.montereyhistory.org
5 Custom House Plaza

Open daily 10 am-5 pm, Closed Wed
Learn how the history of Monterey is interwoven with the history of the bay and its maritime activities. Journey thousands of years as the Bay transitions from providing sustenance, transportation routes, military advantages, and commerce to its current state as a National Marine Sanctuary.

Pacific House Museum - (831) 649-7118;   www.parks.ca.gov/mshp
Monterey State Historic Park, 20 Custom House Plaza

Call to confirm hours
Constructed in 1847 during U.S. occupation of California, this museum interprets 150 years of Monterey’s history. Journey to the second floor to explore the Monterey Museum of the American Indian.

Cooper-Molera Adobe - (831) 649-7118;   www.parks.ca.gov/mshp
525 Polk Street

Open Mon-Sat 10 am-4 pm, Sun 12 pm-4 pm Guided tours available
As a National Trust site, Cooper-Molera’s 2 plus acres hold 3 historic properties that demonstrate life in the 1850s. Visit farm animals in the barn, tour the gardens, and shop at the store featuring reproductions of turn-of-the-century items.

Royal Presidio Chapel and Heritage Center Museum - (831) 373-2628;   www.sancarloscathedral.net
500 Church Street, Royal Presidio Chapel 
Open Mon-Sat 7 am-4 pm; Sun 7 am-5 pm (Check website for Mass times)

San Carlos Heritage Center - (831) 375-2483; Open Fri 10 am-12 pm & 1:15 pm-3:15 pm; Sat 12 pm-2 pm; Sun 1 pm-3 pm call for other days and group tours. The Royal Presidio Chapel, a National Historic Landmark, was founded by Fr. Junipera Serra on June 3, 1770. A year later, Fr. Serra moved the Mission to Carmel. The church remained as a Royal Chapel for the soldiers guarding the new Spanish Presidio of Monterey. It is the first stone building and cathedral in the state of California.

Presidio of Monterey Museum - (831) 646-3456;   www.monterey.org/museums
Corporal Ewing Road, Lower Presidio Historic Park

Open Mon 10 am-1 pm; Th-Sat 10 am-4 pm; Sun 1 pm-4 pm
Travel through the history of Monterey’s presidio from Native American use through Monterey’s military heritage. Due to the important role of the military in Monterey between 1902 and today, the museum has strong exhibits of the Presidio as a training base.

Path of History - (831) 649-7118;

Call for guided tour schedule
These guided or self-guided walking tours journey through the colorful adobes and historic gardens that are among the most historic structures in California. The full walking tour is about 3 miles long and 45 minutes long. Pick up your free Path of History map at Colton Hall or the Lake El Estero Visitor’s Center.

Custom House - (831) 649-7118;   www.parks.ca.gov/mshp
Monterey State Historic Park, 10 Custom House Plaza

Call to confirm hours
As “State Historic Monument No. 1” the Custom House is the oldest government building in California. Used by the Mexican government (1822-1846) for collecting duties imposed on foreign merchants, visit it today to inspect the goods of trading sea captains and the commerce known as the “hide and tallow” trade.

California History Room - (831) 646-3741;   www.monterey.org/library
Monterey Public Library, 625 Pacific Street

Access California History Room reading materials during library hours: Sun 1 pm-5 pm; Mon 1 pm-9 pm; Tues & Wed 10 am-9 pm; Th & Fri 10 am-6 pm; Sat 1 pm-5 pm. Access archival materials by appointment only: Sun-Th
Browse this extensive collection on early California and Monterey history. Collections encompass books, maps, images and documents including the original frog-catching permit issued for Ed Ricketts, immortalized as “Doc” in Cannery Row.

Colton Hall Museum - (831) 646-5640;   www.monterey.org/museums
Pacific Street between Jefferson and Madison Streets

Open 10 am-4 pm everyday except Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year’s Day
The place where California became a state. In 1849, California’s Constitutional Convention met in Colton Hall to establish California’s first constitution giving property rights to women and forbidding slavery. Continuously operated as a public building since it opened, Colton Hall has also housed courts, a school and influenza hospital.

The Old Jail - (831) 646-5640;   www.monterey.org/museums
Pacific Street between Jefferson and Madison

Open 10 am-4 pm everyday except Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years Day
Constructed in 1854 to serve as Monterey County’s jail, “The Old Jail” was used for more than 100 years, until 1956. No one ever escaped from its thick granite walls during that time, although “vigilante justice” caused some to perish before their trial.

Stevenson House/Museum - (831) 649-7118;   www.parks.ca.gov/mshp
530 Houston Street

Call to confirm hours; Guided tours available
Wander through the French Hotel where Robert Louis Stevenson resided in the fall of 1879. Although this beloved author’s stay in Monterey was brief, this museum’s collection is extensive including artwork by his wife Fannie Osborne, personal artifacts and first edition books.

Cemetery Historic Tour - (831) 646-3864;   www.monterey.org/cemetery
Cemeterio El Encinal, Fremont Street

Generations of Monterey families and many colorful characters rest in this beautiful setting. The Columbarium contains the ashes of Edward “Doc” F. Ricketts (1897-1948), Cannery Row marine biologist and friend of John Steinbeck.

Cannery Row -  www.canneryrow.com

Immortalized in John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, the sounds and smells of Monterey’s vibrant canning industry have faded. However, restored and replica canneries house many of the peninsula’s most enjoyable restaurants and lodging, as well as shopping at 84 specialty stores.

Monterey Fairgrounds - (831) 372-5863; 2004 Fairground Road ;   www.montereycountyfair.com

The Monterey Jazz Festival began here in 1958. Hendrix, Joplin, and The Who kicked off the “Summer of Love” at the Monterey Pops Festival in 1967. Now the fairgrounds is home to the County Fair, the Jazz Festival, the Monterey Bay Blues Festival and other special events.

Monterey Bay Aquarium - (831) 648-4888;   www.montereybayaquarium.org
886 Cannery Row ; Español: (800) 555-3656;

Regular Hours 10 am-6 pm daily; Summer (May 23-Sept. 7) & Holidays: 9:30 am-6 pm; Closed Dec. 25
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is your window to the wonders of the ocean. From amazing animals to special events with live music, there’s something here for everyone.

Monterey Museum of Art Pacific Street - (831) 372-5477; 559 Pacific Street ;
Monterey Museum of Art-La Mirada - (831) 372-3689; 720 Via Mirada ;

Wheelchair access at the Elkins Park entrance. Hours: Open Wed–Sat 11 am-5 pm & Sun 1 pm-4 pm
This museum celebrates American art, particularly the work of painters on the Monterey Peninsula such as Armin Hansen, Mary DeNeale Morgan and William F. Ritschel, as well as the work of world-renowned photographers including Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock and Imogen Cunningham.

Dennis the Menace Park - (831) 646-3866 ; Behind Monterey Youth Center at 777 Pearl Street

Open daily 10 am-dusk; closed on Tues May–September
The kind of playground that grown-ups like, too. True to Ketcham’s vision (the creator of “Dennis the Menace” was a long-time Monterey Peninsula resident), this park is creative, bright and bold.

MacAbee Beach - Cannery Row between McClellan & Prescott

The site of Monterey’s Chinese village community in the early 1900s, this sandy cove is the perfect launching spot for kayakers and scuba divers exploring the bay and for children enjoying the calm bay tides.

Old Fisherman's Wharf - (831) 649-6544; www.montereywharf.com

Monterey’s historic Old Fisherman’s Wharf is where the past meets the present. Built in 1845, and with views showcasing the antics of sea lions and otters, the Wharf plays host while you spend your day enjoying the finest fresh seafood at one of the Wharf’s many restaurants, do some shopping at the Wharf’s specialty stores, experience whale watching and deep-sea fishing, take in a live performance at the Wharf Theatre, visit fish markets featuring fresh crab and other delights from the sea, and watch salt-water taffy being made.