Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey

4 out of 5 stars 23 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Fisherman's Wharf
    by blueskyjohn
  • Fisherman's Wharf
    by blueskyjohn
  • Fisherman's Wharf
    by blueskyjohn
  • blueskyjohn's Profile Photo

    Check out the Seals!

    by blueskyjohn Updated May 4, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    I think the highlight of fisherman's wharf is the seal's lounging out on a dock, waiting for fisherman to through the scraps of their daily catch into the bay. Great fun to watch. Some just lounge on the dock while others swim in group and are very playful.

    The pier also has a number of restaurants and souvenir stores. A fun activity for an afternoon or evening. Their is not enough to spend the entire day here.

    There is parking available for a fee but we parked on a nearby street and walked for free.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    The Old Fisherman's Wharf

    by machomikemd Written May 6, 2012
    panoramic view
    4 more images

    The Fisherman's wharf of Monterey is smaller and less grand than it's counterpart in San Francisco but still it packs them tourists here and inside the wharf, the assorted stalls offer free small cups of clam chowder to entice you to buy and eat at their establishments and if you're an el cheapo, just take samples of each and eat them and viola! you're full and for free hehehe. Try to visit the fisherman's wharf and the municipal pier besides it since they have the same entry point. This Old Monterey Fisherman's Wharf is lined with seafood restaurants ranging from casual, open-air clam bars, to formal indoor dining with views of the bay. Along with Cannery Row, Fisherman's Wharf is one of the few areas in Monterey that sells souvenirs, so the restaurants are interspersed with gift shops, jewelry stores, art galleries, and candy shops.

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining
    • Historical Travel
    • Sailing and Boating

    Was this review helpful?

  • yo007's Profile Photo

    Fisherman's Wharf - Kiddie Ride

    by yo007 Written Jul 31, 2011

    This was a huge disappointment for me. If you've been to San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey is like going on a kiddie ride. It's made to look like something wonderful, but it isn't. Walk through, but save your money for another destination.

    Was this review helpful?

  • krissyM's Profile Photo

    Eat some Clam Chowder

    by krissyM Written Nov 5, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    1 more image

    Fisherman's Wharf is an historic wharf in Monterey, California. It was used as an wholesale fish market up until the 1960s.It is now a tourist attraction as commercial fishing tapered off.

    Fisherman's Wharf is lined with seafood restaurants ranging from casual, open-air clam bars, to formal indoor dining with views of the bay. Along with Cannery Row, Fisherman's Wharf is one of the few areas in Monterey that sells souvenirs, so the restaurants are interspersed with gift shops, jewelry stores, art galleries, and candy shops. Whale watching tours and fishing trips leave from the wharf, and Sea Lions often sleep on the pilings, buoys, and moored boats in the bay. It is accesable by foot only.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Fisherman's Wharf

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Apr 27, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Beautiful day on the wharf
    4 more images

    Fisherman's Wharf has a combination of great views, wildlife, and history, along with a lot of tourist traps; if you want to hear about the touristy shops, below average restaurants, and crowds of people, check out my tip listed under Tourist Traps.

    This is a great place to watch the sea lions in the late evening after most of the tourists have moved on. There are also some fishing boats that unload and clean their catch here while the birds watch. You will also get some great views of the marinas, Commercial Wharf, and the Bay.

    The history of Fisherman's Wharf is much more interesting than the tourist junk! After Spanish, Mexican, and finally US rule, Monterey's first wharf was constructed in 1870 by the Pacific Coast Steamship Company. The city purchased the wharf in 1916 and expanded it to include warehouses, seafood wholesalers & retailers, and its first tourist attraction--a restaurant! In 1923 a 123-foot section of the wharf broke during the loading of a ship, and the city rebuilt and expanded the wharf, adding the docking areas to the east where the whale watching boats dock today. Fisherman's Wharf really didn't become a tourist destination until after the sardine industry began to fail, but by the mid 1950s tourism was a booming business.

    This wharf's official name is Municipal Wharf I, helping to explain why nearby commercial wharf is Municipal Wharf II, or sometimes just Wharf II.

    The Monterey County Weekly "Best Of 2006 Readers' Picks" named Fisherman's Wharf as the best Place to People Watch in Monterey County!

    Was this review helpful?

  • orcoastgirl's Profile Photo

    Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey

    by orcoastgirl Updated Nov 14, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Entrance to Fisherman's Wharf
    4 more images

    It's always a pleasure to take some time while visiting Monterey to stroll through the Historic Fisherman's Wharf area. Touristy shops, candy stores, seafood restaurants and lots more can be found here.

    There is also a marina where several fishing trips leave from. The Glass Bottom Boat ride is only $10/pp for about a 25 mintue ride around the harbor and is great fun for all ages. Isabella's, Domenico's and Cafe Fina are 3 of our favorite places to eat while visiting Fisherman's Wharf.

    You can also purchase fresh seafood and sample clam chowder from the restaurant vendors. Pelicans, sea gulls and harbor seals are also fun to watch here.

    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Walking Tour of Monterey (2)

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Nov 10, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fishermans Wharf
    4 more images

    Continued from my previous Walking Tour of Monterey Tip where you were at Commercial Wharf.

    9. Cross Del Monte Street and stop by El Estero Park, where the tourist information center sits in the old French Consulate. Also in this area is Dennis the Menace Park if you have kids.

    10. Near the back corner of the park, along Fremont, is Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo, the oldest cathedral in the US.

    11. Heading back northeast into downtown, catch the Monterey Path of History Walking Tour making certain to stop at Colton Hall and the old jail.

    12. Head into downtown along Alvarado Street. If you are hungry there is no better place in town to eat: Old Monterey Cafe for breakfast, the Britannia Arms for lunch (especially if there are sports on!), Turtle Bay Taqueria for lunch, and the Crown and Anchor or Mucky Duck for dinner.

    13. Swing by Customs House Plaza and visit some of the small gardens just north as you stroll toward Pacific Street. Ensure you see California's First Theater and it hidden garden to the rear.

    14. At Pacific turn right and head to the Lower Presidio Historic Park where you will see the Father Serra Monument and enjoy a spectacular view over the Bay.

    15. Out the other side of the Presidio Park puts you on Lighthouse Ave, just a few streets above Cannery Row. This stretch has several good restaurants and bars as you head back to the parking garage.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Lhenne1's Profile Photo

    Touristy, but cute

    by Lhenne1 Written Oct 11, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fisherman's Wharf was built in 1870 for the fishing industry in Monterey. The wharf has seen a lot of history,from being a major part of the sardine industry, to a favorite stomping ground of Steinbeck. Today the pier is still acts as a dock, but mainly to whale watching cruises, not to fishing boats. Overlooking the marina, you can watch the sea lions and birds who fill the area.

    This wharf area has a definate tourist feel. Sort of like a boardwalk back East. A good number of restaurants and a few shops line the pier. The problem here are the crowds. We went back and walked along it after everything had closed up and it was a nice spot to look over the city at night. While this is a good place to see, keep it brief, there are other areas of the city worth more of your time.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Eco-Tourism

    Was this review helpful?

  • tvdandy's Profile Photo

    A must see

    by tvdandy Written Oct 8, 2006

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fishermans Wharf
    2 more images

    Fisherman's Wharf can rival San Francisco's as far as I am concerned. This has a very lively atmosphere where everybody seems to be having a blast. Very scenic as well. Food galore and boating excursions. A must see.

    Was this review helpful?

  • PorkTeriyaki's Profile Photo

    This Has It All

    by PorkTeriyaki Written May 26, 2006
    Approaching Pier #1
    4 more images

    This long pier is crammed with restaurants & shops. From here you can catch boat rides for whale watching & other water tours. Sea lions & other wildlife congregate here, so it's a good spot for nature watching. When fishermen come in & cut up their catch, pelicans & seagulls jostle for the scraps. It's a fun place for the whole family. The nearby Custom House Plaza contains two museums. To the east is Del Monte Beach, one very long strip of sand with plenty of room for many activities.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Beaches
    • Whale Watching

    Was this review helpful?

  • atufft's Profile Photo

    Fisherman's Wharf is touristy but pleasant enough

    by atufft Written Nov 26, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fisherman's Wharf and Harbor
    2 more images

    The wharf at Monterey has lost all of it original authenticity, so don't get your hopes up on a freshly caught fish dinner. The seafood at the restaurants are sometimes local, but they are part of the same global fish distribution system any fish monger would have along the coast. The souvenir shops are full of kitch--logo sweatshirts, sea shells, etc,--non of which are really produced locally, but are nevertheless Monterey Logo junk. A walk out to the end of the pier offers a view of the sea lions on the rocks beyond although it's also possible to walk around to see the animals up close. Whale watching tours leave every hour from the wharf, but see my "tourist traps" warning about this activity. Also, see my recommendation about restaurants here. There are quite a few to choose from and the menu outside can be deceptive. The restaurant business is competitive, so don't forget to ask for the window table before you step inside and commit yourself.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Food and Dining
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    Boat cruise

    by Tom_Fields Written Oct 23, 2005

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Tour boats at Fisherman's Wharf
    4 more images

    A visit to Monterey is just not complete without a boat cruise. I happened to miss the whale migration. But on a good day, you'll see plenty of marine mammals, birds, fish, and other wildlife. At least you'll see the top of the kelp forest, growing in Monterey Bay. Have plenty of film on hand!

    The tour that I took was called Bay Watch Cruises. As luck would have it, no one else showed up, as the big tourist season was over. So I had my own private one-on-one tour.

    Related to:
    • Cruise
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Beaches

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    Fisherman's Wharf

    by Tom_Fields Written Oct 23, 2005

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fisherman's Wharf
    3 more images

    Fisherman's Wharf is a pier that juts way out into Monterey Bay. With plenty of good shops and restaurants, it's an excellent place to go hang out. It also provides some great views of the bay and marina.

    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Beaches

    Was this review helpful?

  • MarvintheMartian's Profile Photo

    Wonder around the Fisherman's Whalf

    by MarvintheMartian Written May 8, 2005
    The Fisherman's Whalf

    This is a very relaxed and enjoyable town to spend some time in and around. The Old Fisherman's Whalf area is in the historic part of town and makes an excellent start to a walk along the coastline towards the Cannery area.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Fishing
    • Sailing and Boating

    Was this review helpful?

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Waterfront in 1964

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 16, 2005
    Gas station at the waterfront.

    When we moved to Monterey in 1964, we had two cars, a 1932 Plymouth and a 1964 Ford station wagon. This is my husband at a gas station on the waterfront with the 1932 Plymouth which we drove out to Monterey to find housing.

    In those days, I think Fisherman's Wharf was less all encompassing than it is today. It had begun to be converted to a tourist-oriented operation and by 1956 included restaurants, gift and candy shops, a theater, an aquarium, snack bars, boat rental businesses, fish markets, marine machine shops and a marine service station. Wharf II was still serving the wholesale fish businesses. I do not remember if we visited it or not. We probably did, but I don't have any pictures.

    The website the details the history of the area says:
    "In the 1950s the demand for a small craft harbor or marina became increasingly urgent. In 1957 construction of a new marina was placed on the ballot, but divided Monterey citizens failed to approve the project until a 20-year, low-interest loan for half the construction cost was obtained from the State. Construction began in 1959. Upon completion in 1960, the Marina provided 367 berths at a construction cost of slightly over $600,000. A protective sea wall extended from Wharf II to the Marina entrance next to Fisherman's Wharf. The Monterey Municipal Marina was dedicated on September 11, 1960. The berthing facilities were constructed by Granite Construction Company of Watsonville, CA. The launching ramps were added in 1962."

    This was right before our visit.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Road Trip
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Monterey

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

95 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near Fisherman's Wharf
4.0 out of 5 stars
3 Reviews
0 miles away
Show Prices
3.5 out of 5 stars
2 Reviews
0.1 miles away
Show Prices
4.0 out of 5 stars
7 Reviews
0.1 miles away
Show Prices

View all Monterey hotels