Skip to main content

A Local's Guide to Monterey

12 May 2023

A gorgeous coastal town with rich history and so much to explore. Monterey is a lovely destination for family vacations, romantic getaways, trips with friends, and corporate retreats. To get the most out of your next adventure to Monterey, we created a guide so that you can explore like a local in Monterey! 


Where to Eat


Start your day of right with a delicious hot breakfast at Jacks Monterey. This on-site restaurant at Portola Hotel & Spa offers inspired Monterey dining with natural light and live trees. It's the perfect place to start your day, and has a breakfast menu that everyone will enjoy! There are also many great breakfast restaurants along Alvarado Street like Old Monterey Café, Rosine's Restaurant, or Crepes of Brittany.


Head to Fisherman's Wharf for lunch restaurants with a beautiful view of the harbor, and taste fresh local seafood. Café Fina and Old Fisherman's Grotto are among local favorites on the Wharf.



There are no shortage of amazing restaurants to try in Monterey. Peter B's Brewpub has delicious pub food and craft beer, and Jacks Monterey has California Cultural Cuisine emphasizing in local ingredients. Both are located at the Portola Hotel & Spa. If you want to venture outside the hotel, there are many fantastic restaurants just a quick walk away. Try alejandro's, Montrio, or Cella Restaurant & Bar all less than a 10 minute walk from Portola Hotel & Spa.


While going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, and Fisherman's Wharf are fun and popular attractions, there are many other activities you should put on your list. Exploring Monterey by boat is a must since you are sure to see marine life which is one of the things that makes Monterey so special. Try kayaking, sailing, or whale watching to enjoy this experience. Another gem to visit is the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. This scenic trail stretches from Castroville to Pacific Grove, and is a popular spot for jogging, walking your dog, and biking. Portola Tip: You can walk this trail from Portola Hotel & Spa all the way to Cannery Row in 18 minutes! A great option if you choose not to bring your car.

Best Beaches

No matter where you turn in Monterey, there is bound to be beauty, so you're almost sure to end up somewhere with scenic views. If you need some recommendations however, Carmel-by-the-Sea Beach and Asilomar State Beach are two great places to start. Carmel beach is a great place to have a beach day, pack a picnic, and enjoy getting in the water. Asilomar on the other hand is great for taking pictures of the landscape, taking a walk, and exploring. Both are wonderful places to visit depending on what you want to do.


Though Monterey averages 267 days of sun per year, its climate is very mild. In the late fall to early spring temperatures can range from 40s to low 60s, in the late spring to summer you can see temperatures in the 50s to 60s, and in the late summer and early fall (our warmest season) temperatures will range from the 50s to 70s. Portola Tip: Pack items to wear in layers to stay the most comfortable throughout the day.



While brining your car is a great option for traveling in Monterey, it's not necessary. Depending on where you stay, you will be able to walk to all attractions. (Read more about where to stay below!) Portola Tip: Use the free trolley run by the Monterey-Salinas Transit in the summer months. There are many stops around the Portola Hotel & Spa making it so easy to take advantage of this service.


Things to Avoid

Avoid these things while visiting Monterey, and people may even think you're a local!


Monterey locals are serious about protecting our gorgeous landscapes and beaches. When you're here, you'll notice that we do our best to keep our beaches pristine and litter free. Remember after enjoying the beach, leave it better than you found it!


Harassing Wildlife

Monterey has so much amazing wildlife, and it's always exciting to see these creatures out and about, but it's important to never disturb the animals. Whether you see deer on land, sea lions on shore, hermit crabs in tide pools, or sea otters in the water, please respect these animals by leaving them be and admiring from a safe distance.

Where to Stay

The Portola Hotel & Spa is centrally located to Monterey's most popular attractions including many of the places mentioned in this blog post. It's only a 5-minute walk from Fisherman's Wharf, and right at the end of bustling Alvarado Street, making it the perfect hotel to stay at while you explore Monterey. Complete with a spa, pool and jacuzzi, two onsite restaurants, fitness center, and more our hotel has all the amenities with the perfect location. To book your room, visit our website or call us at (888)-222-5851.

Find more readings








Form Sucess Message will Come Here