Also known as San Carlos Cathedral, this church, built in 1794, was originally used for the soldiers stationed at the Presidio. Today its still a functioning church but is not associated with the modern Presidio site.
Address: 500 Church St
This adobe house was built in the Mexican era, and later served as the temporary home for American Author Robert Louis Stevenson who is said to have gotten his inspiration for Treasure Island while living here.
Address: 530 Houston Street
This state park consists primarily of historic buildings around Fisherman's wharf with a series of other buildings throughout downtown. The sights can be seen via a well marked 2.5 mile trail winding through the downtown area.
This nice 45 acre park on the eastern edge of old town Monterey along Del Monte Ave has a large lake, walking paths, benches, rental boats, a snack bar, and lots of weird bums, including a guy who is either dead or in a coma laying under a tree in a sleeping bag (oops, he was removed in 2006/2007). In the middle of the park, separated from the bums by a wide moat, you will find Dennis the Menace Park, fishing piers, a skateboard park, a dog park, and some ball fields, while the end of the park furthest from the bay has two cemeteries.
And if you know who stole our brass Dennis the Menace statue let 'em know were comin' after 'em. Those bastards!
Good news... March 2006, we got a new Dennis: (http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/16991937.htm)
Directions: In the center of Monterey at Del Monte Avenue and Camino Aguajito, Fremont Avenue and Camino El Estero.
This beautiful theater was built in 1926, during the heyday of great movie houses in the US. The eclectic Moorish/Spanish style is not unlike the elaborate design of other beautiful movie houses of the time in other cities. Many of these grand buildings fell into disrepair in the decades after the 1930s, and some were lost forever. This one and others (Paramount in Oakland, Castro in SF, California in San Jose) have been fortunately saved from the wrecking ball. Today you can come to Monterey and enjoy the beautiful architecture and decor while seeing one of the great variety of shows and events that take place here year round.
Address: 417 Alvarado Street
Phone: (831) 372-4555
Dennis the Menace Playground is Monterey's best place for children to get some exercise and fresh air. The park was designed in 1956 by Carmel cartoonist Hank Ketcham, who also created the Dennis the Menace comic strip. The playground is always busy and it includes a drinking fountain inside the mouth of a lion, a great swinging rope bridge, a kid-sized hedge maze, a mini climbing wall, various slides, and much, much more. The centerpiece of the playground is a real locomotive that was donated by Southern Pacific Railroad, and is designed for kids and adults to climb all over.
Near the entrance to the playground is a kid-sized bronze Dennis the Menace statue holding a small teddy bear. In October 2006 the 125 pound, 20 year old statue was stolen, probably for the metal which could be worth as much as $30,000. Luckily a replacement statue was created and installed in April 2007.
This huge playground sits in the middle of the the El Estero Park Complex. Also in the park are the Monterey Youth Center and Dance Studio, Frank E. Sollecito, Jr. Ballpark, El Estero Boating Concession, El Estero Exercise Studio, El Estero Fishing Piers, El Estero Snack Bar, Monterey Skate Park, and the new Monterey Dog Park. The Sollecito ballfield was named after the son of Monterey city council member Frank Sollecito, who died of leukemia in 1990.
I was somewhat surprised to see Dennis the Menace Playground listed as the third most popular attraction in Monterey on TripAdvisor.com.
Address: Pearl Street and Camino El Estero, Monterey, CA
Directions: Between Del Monte Avenue & Fremont Street
The architectural focal point of historic Monterey, the Customs House Plaza sits at the entrance to Fisherman's Wharf and at the end of downtown's main streets (Calle Principal and Alvarado) and is crossed by the coastal running path, which follows the old railroad grade. This is also the starting point for the Monterey Path of History.
The Custom House itself, built in 1827 by Mexico then replaced in 1841, is the West Coast's oldest government building. Also on this square you will find the Maritime Museum, Pacific House Station, Monterey's first brick house, Old Whaling Station and California's First Theater.
The plaza is a wide flat area covered with red bricks in the center and surrounded by varying heights of white concrete walls all decorated with local history and animals. In the area is also a slight grassy incline with trees and picnic tables perfect for a picnic downtown. Because the main road (Lighthouse Street) actually runs under this plaza, the lack of automobile traffic makes this spot peaceful and quiet.
The area was built in the 1970s when Lighthouse Ave was routed through a tunnel under the plaza, and Custom House Plaza itself was created as a pedestrian-friendly zone between Fishermans Wharf and downtown. Previously, this was an industrial area with warehouses and docks between the rail line and the water. Oh how things have changed!
Directions: Between Fishermans Wharf and downtown Monterey
Monterey has a farmer’s market that is held near Fisherman’s Warf every Tuesday from 3:00 to 8:00. Varado Street is closed for three blocks so that booths can be set up. Booths at the market include crafts, fresh cut flowers, fresh produce, breads, pastries, and cooked foods of many different national cuisines, such as Greek, East Indian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Chinese, and others. While we were camping in the area we purchased all of our produce at this farmers market, which included a 10 pound bag of super sweet oranges and fresh farm eggs along with the items on my grocery list. One time we ate a delicious, Greek Gyros at the market, another time a delicious Chicken Indian curry dish. They were both delicious!.
Directions: Near Fisherman’s Warf beginning at the corner of Del Monte Ave. and Varado Street. Turn down Varado.
This old adobe-style house was built by David Wight in 1847 as a home for his family, the house was based on Wight's own Scottish home.
It was later used as a "headquarter" for shore whaling operations and as a residence for the workers of the Old Monterey Whaling company, in 1855.
What you can see are the large iron pots where the whale oil was stored and the whole paving in the front is made of whale bones, cut into diamond patterns!
Address: Scott and Pacific
Built in 1849 as a public school and town meeting hall, this is the place where the first California State Constitution was signed, in 1849.
It is now a museum, open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Closed New Years Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). Admission is free.
You can read a bit more about the history of the Hall on the website.
Address: Pacific Street, between Madison and Jefferson stre
Monterey is a lovely town. You can walk along the center and admiring nice buildings such as Colton Hall where the California Constitution was signed in 1849. The Fisherman's Wharf is also a very nice place to see.
The old Spanish customs house dates back to the 18th century, making it one of the oldest structures in California. Inside are displays showing how customs officials performed their duties.
Address: Downtown Monterey
Directions: Point of contact is for the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau, at:
P. O. Box 1770
150 Olivier St.
Monterey, CA 93942-1770
Phone: 888-221-1010 (toll free)
Near Fisherman's Wharf is the Old Customs House, supposedly the oldest government building in California. It was here that the stars and stripes was raised in 1846 claiming Monterey for the US.
Site of the California Constitutional Convention in 1849. 48 delegates from all parts of California met here to write the Constitution of California.