Salinas - Steinbeck's Birthplace
Salinas is the heart of the Salinas Valley agricultural region, and it is a huge city of some 150,000 people, making it the largest town in Monterey County. Like any town of this size, Salinas has its pros and cons, attractions and places to avoid.
Good things in Salinas include the National Steinbeck Center and the traditional American downtown with its historic theaters, variety of restaurants, and beautiful tree lined streets.
Bad things include the gang violence and drug activity that is centered on the west side of the town around West Alisal. The prime culprits in this activity are said to the Hispanic the Norteño and Sureño gangs, who are responsible for an estimated 70% of the 15-20 annual murders in the city.
Salinas was established in 1847 as a mere stagecoach stop between the much larger former Spanish mission communities of Monterey and San Juan Bautista. the city was incorporated in 1967 and named after the nearby Salinas River.