Visit Fisherman's Wharf. Here you will find side by side restaurants, shops, seals, seagulls, pelicans, boats and more. This is also the place to go if you want to do some whale watching.
We went whale watching on Memorial Day, May 29 2004, and boy did we
make the totally wrong choice to spend a precious long weekend. We booked
our tour with Sam's Fishing Fleet at the Old Fisherman's Wharf,
Monetrey Bay: the 9:00 AM tour costs $41 PP. The tour lasted five hours and
the only whale "watching" we did was for all of 10 minutes and it was
nothing more than the faint outline of the backs of a few blue whales and
humpback whales from a distance....the most we saw was the air spouts
from the blow holes.
Now comes the most miserable part : we spent 4 hours just going to and
coming from the canyon where the whales were supposed to be feeding on
krill, fish, anchovies, etc. We spent those hours watching almost all
the people on board throw up on the side of the boat. Constantly! A few
were violently sea-sick and spent the entire time just moaning and
trying to make it through the trip, counting the minutes until it was over.
To be fair, we were warned of this before and the wife and I took
motion sickness tablets, but we still felt queasy the whole time.
There are other tour operators who provide the same service for less
money (less time too) and this review is not against the Tour Operators:
just against the whole idea of whale watching.
San Diego's Sea World was far far far better, and we got to see a lot
more of whales there than in the open ocean in their natural habitats.
OK, this is pretty touristy, but I even met some locals there and it is a fun place to wander around. There are some wonderful restaurants here, and when we were visiting people were standing outside of their restaurant handing out free samples of their clam chowder to entice you into their establishment. You will also find a variety of shops, whale-watching tours, and at the end of the Warf you can watch the seal lions that frequent the area. When we were there we could hear them barking and roaring. Three laid on one float all afternoon. They hardly moved while we watch them, except for occasionally rubbing their faces against their companion or scratching with their hind tail fins. We also watched some swimming about in the water below us. You will also see birds in the area, so bring binoculars.
Fisherman's Wharf is a must see in Monterey. The shops, the restaurants, the sounds, the views, and the smlls: this is what Monterey is all about. The wharf is a pier extending out into the bat for about 1000 feet (approximately), and there are many small shops filled with touristy souvenir like items--shells, postcards, tshirts, etc.
Fisherman's Wharf was built in 1846 for many trading vessels bringing goods from around Cape Horn. During that time, Monterey California was the major port on the Pacific Ocean. In the following years, the booming whale industry took over and dominated the pier. But it was the tiny sardines that made Monterey an industry leader. Although, sardines did not have a monopoly on the wharf. Daily catches of salmon, albacore, mackerel, rock cod, squid and shellfish were also abundant.
There are also a great number of restaurants on the wharf, and they are pretty much all seafood. There is a good website with a complete listing of wharf restaurants if you think you might want to dine out for seafood in Monterey (which I do recommend). Mike's Seafood and Rappa's are particularly well known.
You can also catch whale watching trips as well as fishing trips from here. Check the website for more info.
This old wharf has many restaurants and little shops to choose from. The wharf is walking distance from downtown and views are incredible and the food is delicious. Try the fresh clam chowder in a bread bowl. Mmmm good!
Don't forget to bring a warm jacket. This picture was taken on an exceptionally warm day. The fog tends to dominate this side of the bay and if the sun is out then the cold ocean winds blow. You have been warned :)
Similar to Cannery row, this downtown attraction is a series of Shops and restaurants catering to tourists
This long wharf with wooden houses was built during the 19e century by whales fishermen.
Now, each house shelters a restaurant or a shop. It is the paradise for tourists and for otters.
Not as big and tacky as the one in San Francisco. There are some quite decent restaurants down here. The picture was taken in December, hence the lack of people.