Cannery Row

people walking outside the Monterey Canning Company building in Cannery Row.
The Monterey Canning Company building in Cannery Row.

Cannery Row, the historic section of Monterey which was the center of the Monterey sardine industry, has undergone a process of gentrification which has turned the district into a beautiful waterfront promenade and shopping district.

Cannery Row is renowned for several reasons; prominent among them is its use in the novel by John Steinbeck, Cannery Row. But more than that, Cannery Row is known for its long history, including being the location for the Pacific Biological Laboratories and as the center of the early 20th century fishing industry. Before the collapse of the industry in the mid-50s, the Monterey fishery was one of the top producing fisheries in the world. Now, the fishery is home to a marine sanctuary and to a rising population of California sea lions. Monterey’s allegiance with the sea continues in modern times, although in a dramatically different manner. Also, the Monterey Aquarium is located at the end of Cannery Row. The Aquarium is a fun and educational way to spend the afternoon at any age.

Cannery Row has also become a known and respected shopping center, filled with over 150 specialty boutiques. A large variety of products is offered, including shoes, clothing, luggage, jewelry, food and wine. High-quality craftsmanship and individualized production mean that nearly everything you will buy on Cannery Row will be unique and personal. Cannery Row is a great place to buy souvenirs, gifts for people back home, or a special item for that special someone that will stand out in memory. From Nine West to Let it Bead, Himalayan Gifts to Sunglass Hut, Ghirardelli Chocolate to Baywood Cellars, nearly all needs and most desires can be fulfilled within the piers and promenade of Cannery Row. Within walking distance on Cannery Row, you find 150 boutiques and stores catering from the first time visitor indulging in ocean-themed trinkets to the savvy purchaser of fine foods or jewelry.

Cannery Row also features world-class eateries. Over 25 high quality restaurants dot the length of Cannery Row, and the variety of foods and reasonable prices satisfy a broad range of customers. Amongst them is The Crown and Anchor Pub. It offers an authentic British atmosphere, a selection of over 20 international beers, and a wide selection of well-priced appetizers and entrees, including a children’s menu. Lunch and dinner are served all day, and features a heated outdoor patio. A final recommendation for dining is the Stokes Restaurant and Bar. Regional foods combined with Mediterranean style; local growers of vegetables, cheeses, fruits, and meats play a role in every dish. From wild mushrooms to organic herbs, a surprising variety of local produce is incorporated into the Stokes Restaurant menu. Many of the dishes are inspired by the regional dishes of Spain, Southern France, and the North Italian coast. The Stokes Restaurant is set in a two-story adobe building dating from 1833. It has managed to incorporate a public dining space with the warm, comfortable atmosphere of the home it used to be.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium, located at the end of Cannery Row is a comprehensive, state of the art museum exploring California’s relationship with the Pacific Ocean. Exhibits on fish and sea mammals, like jellyfish, octopi, whales and sea otters educate visitors about habitats, habits, and wildlife protection. Part of what makes the Monterey Bay Aquarium so exciting is its interactive nature; kids and adults get to develop a new bond with the animals they took for granted before. People unfamiliar with sea life get to experience a whole new environment, and learn about all types of animals.

Cannery Row in Monterey is a beautiful seaside district, with plenty of outdoor plazas, great shopping, and renowned dining. Cannery Row can accommodate the whole family, or just a romantic duo, or a group of friends. Beautiful weather and scenery add to Cannery Row’s appeal, and make it a lovely, fun, relaxing piece of California.