No matter where I go in life, a part of me will always remain in Monterey, California.

After Josh and I finished up in San Francisco, we made our way down the 101 to my second hometown.

I first came here in 2007 after I’d graduated Yosemite High School. When I finished California State University Monterey Bay in 2011, I couldn’t leave. After some time, I needed space, which resulted in my New Zealand trip. Once I was abroad, however, I learned how special a place it truly is.

Which is exactly why I couldn’t wait to show Josh around.

Cannery Row

When people think of Monterey Bay, they oftentimes think immediately of Cannery Row. The literary fans recognize it as a work from John Steinbeck. Outside of that, Cannery Row needs no further introduction.

A walk along the beach under all of the businesses allows visitors sweeping views of the bay itself. On a clear day, if you’re lucky, you can even see all the way to Santa Cruz.

The Row has changed since its original days of being a tin cannery. Now, it’s lined with shops, restaurants, candy stores, mirror mazes, laser tag, and, most importantly, the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

One of the more popular activities on Cannery Row, albeit Monterey itself, is the aquarium.

Hailed as one of the best in the country, if not the world, the aquarium is the center of all sea life on the bay. Marine biologists come from all corners of the globe to study our sea creatures, and the displays that come with it are incredible.

A personal and fan favorite is the jellyfish room, where thousands of jellyfish in all different sizes glow and produce all of the light in the room. Right next to that is the million-gallon tank of water filled with a school of fish that constantly swims in circles.

A tidepool section lets you sit under a window as a timed tidal wave courses over the windows. If you’re lucky, you can even pet sting rays.

Other aquarium activities include viewing a feeding of the otters, checking out the penguins, and the current featured exhibit (which was in transition when we visited. Last I heard, it was sea horses.)

Iron Crown Tattoo

I’m a fan of tattoos.

Personally, I rock six (sorry mom.)

When Josh made his way into Monterey and expressed interest in getting a tattoo of his own, I couldn’t pass an opportunity to take him to Iron Crown Tattoo.

Iron Crown is owned and operated by the insanely talented Orlando Ferron, who is the mastermind behind most of the ink on my body.

Orlando isn’t like a lot of the tattoo artist’s I’ve met in my life. He’s not about being in competition with anybody but himself. He has a true love for tattooing, and his clients return to him time and again because of the warmth he brings and how he makes his clients feel wanted and welcome.

If you’re ever in Monterey and feel like getting something permanently attached to your body, go to the Iron Crown.

Central Coast Events


Everyone has different reasons for visiting Monterey. Most choose to visit for the nature aspect of the mountains-meeting-the-sea.

A lot of people choose to get married here.

If you’re coming to Monterey for a few days, or you have a specific event in mind you’re planning, check out the Beach House with Central Coast Events.

Executive Chef Claire Hulstrom nails every meal she makes, and the customer service has guests coming back for any event they can think of. With a grill directly on the beach and a reception hall the size of a football field, Central Coast Events will slay every event you have in mind.

Work with coordinator Victoria to ensure your experience is as top notch as it can be.

The building may be tucked away and look small from the outside, but don’t let that fool you. Within the walls of the Beach House lies a majestic hall ready to host whatever party you have in mind.


Other Ideas

The same as most places we’ve visited, there’s never a shortage of activities to do in the Monterey area. Outside of Cannery Row and the Aquarium, here are a few other activities/locations to consider for your visit:

  1. A picnic at Point Lobos in Carmel.
  2. Choosing from the best restaurants in town.
  3. Visiting Lover’s Point in Asilomar.
  4. Taking a drive through the 17-Mile Drive.
  5. Having a hike in Garland Park.
  6. Checking out Pacific Grove.
  7. Heading to Downtown Monterey and enjoying the nightlife on Alvarado Street.

Have you ever been to Monterey? The aquarium? The candy store? What was your experience on Cannery Row like? Share your adventure in the comments!