Situated at the heart of the Monterey Peninsula with Monterey Bay to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west and Carmel Bay to the south is the City of Monterey. Claimed for the king of Spain by Spanish soldiers in 1770, Monterey retains its original bilingual heritage and has expanded to become a multicultural and multilingual center now known as the "Language Capital of the World". Historically home to military facilities of vital strategic importance, Monterey still hosts the "cream of the crop" of all branches of our armed services, as well as those from dozens of other nations, at the Naval Postgraduate School and the Defense Language Institute. As the first capital city of California, host to California's first constitutional convention, center of a booming fishing and canning industry at Cannery Row and the inspiration for many of the works of John Steinbeck, Monterey is truly a historical gold mine. Its rich history and cultural diversity, combined with the unique beauty of the Peninsula have earned Monterey world renown and status as one of the premier travel destinations in the United States.
The breathtaking beauty of the natural environment surrounds you on all sides: the sparkling sapphire waters traversed by blue and California gray whales, the sandy beaches, lush, green forests, and the rolling hills of Steinbeck's "Pastures of Heaven". The Monterey Peninsula is home to some of the most magnificent scenery on earth and truly a feast for the eyes. A healthy respect for wildlife habitats and the environment is evident here at facilities such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, one of the largest in the world, the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary and the Moss Landing environmental research laboratory.
Celebrate history, culture and diversity at a variety of annual festivals or take a self-guided tour along Monterey's Path of History to get a sense of the history and culture of this city. You'll see some of the city's original adobe buildings, Steinbeck House, the quaint ambiance of Fisherman's Wharf, a pictorial history of Cannery Row, and more of the highlights that give Monterey its own special flavor. Another worthwhile stop is historic Colton Hall, site of California's first constitutional convention and signing of California's state constitution in 1849. Whether your interest lies in revisiting history or celebrating multiculturalism, Monterey offers a richly varied smorgasbord of activities and historic sites.
A thriving academic community exists here, with stimulating opportunities for undergraduate study, teaching and research at every level, including Monterey Peninsula College, California State University's Monterey Bay campus, the Naval Postgraduate School, the Defense Language Institute, the prestigious Monterey Institute for International Studies and more.
A small-town atmosphere with an international flavor pervades the diverse assortment of shops, restaurants, galleries and wineries located downtown along Cannery Row. This area is a browser's dream come true, with hundreds of opportunities to shop, eat, taste and explore the Monterey lifestyle.
One of the world's most beautiful playgrounds, recreational opportunities abound in Monterey, with everything from rollerblading and sailboarding to whale-watching and hiking. You name it, and it's probably available!