Monterey, California is home to about 30,000 people, located on the southern edge of the scenic Monterey Bay and sharing the Monterey Peninsula with the towns of Carmel and Pacific Grove.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is the area's most famous tourist attraction. This world-class institution focuses on the bay's diversity and promotes ocean conservation. Along the waterfront, Cannery Row's converted canneries now house shops and restaurants, and a short walk along the bay leads to Old Fisherman's Wharf, a favorite tourist spot and popular hangout for California sea lions and sea otters. Whale-watching tours leave from the wharf in winter.
The Monterey State Historic Park preserves a number of historic buildings in the city's center.
The famed 17-Mile Drive winds south from Monterey through upscale neighborhoods, past scenic Pebble Beach and the iconic Lone Cypress tree, ending in Carmel. A drive further south leads to a trio of scenic state parks: Point Lobos, popular with sea otters, harbor seals and human scuba divers; Andrew Molera, a hiker's favorite and Julia Pfeiffer Burns, a good place for whale-watching.
The best rooms with a view in Monterey are the Monterey Plaza, Doubletree, Inn at Spanish Bay and Best Western Beach Resort. The Monterey Bay Lodge, Monterey Bay Inn, Colton Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Hotel Pacific also provide a good night’s sleep.
Fresh Cream and Abalonetti are the top Fisherman's Wharf restaurants, and Cannery Row's The Fish Hopper attracts a loyal crowd. In between is old standby The Chart House. Other highly-rated Monterey restaurants include Montrio Bistro, housed in a converted historic firehouse, Duck Club at the Monterey Plaza Hotel and Epsilon Greek Restaurant. Down the road in Carmel, the bar and restaurant at Highlands Inn are the best place in the area to watch the sunset.