One of the top travel destinations in the U.S., Monterey is known for its unrivaled beauty – ranging from the clear waters of the Monterey Bay to quiet pine forests – as well as its endless supply of cultural sites, attractions and recreation. Located on the Monterey Peninsula, Monterey is 120 miles south of San Francisco, 60 miles south of San Jose and 345 miles north of Los Angeles. Monterey Bay is to the north, Pacific Ocean to the west and Carmel Bay to the south, making Monterey one of the absolute best locales for taking in breathtaking water views. It's no surprise that Monterey is one of the country's most-visited and most-loved destinations; visitors can take a surfing lesson, sip handcrafted wines and play on legendary golf courses – all within the same day. Monterey event venues and nearby feature some of the country's best.
Getting to Monterey is as easy: Located just four miles west of downtown Monterey, the Monterey Peninsula Airport provides regular service to and from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver and Las Vegas. The region also features the Monterey-Salinas Transit bus system, which runs throughout a 280-square-mile service area, providing direct access to the Monterey Regional Airport and Monterey Conference Center. While in Monterey, attendees may wish to rent a car – the region is home to one of the most spectacular coastlines perfect for pleasure driving.
Among the convention centers in Monterey is the Monterey Conference Center, which is the largest of its kind on the coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Located adjacent to two hotels, together, the center and hotels feature 61,000 square feet of meeting space, spread throughout a ballroom, theater, meeting rooms, patios and terraces – allowing guests to soak up some California sun, even when in the middle of a meeting.
Monterey is home to a number of unique spaces perfect for group outings or meetings. Known the world over for its interactive exhibits and marine research and conservation work, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is home to not only such exhibits as a three-story living kelp forest and walk-through wave experience, but also a number of rentable spaces tailored for private events. Aquarium events can be held in such spaces as the 400-person Outer Bay Wing, home to the largest window in North America, looking into a million-gallon exhibit of sharks, tuna and sea turtles.
Additional Monterey unique facilities include the National Steinbeck Museum, which celebrates the life and work of Salinas-born John Steinbeck, as well as the beautiful Monterey Museum of Art. For a truly unforgettable meeting or outing, look to The Lodge at Pebble Beach, which wraps around the 18th hole at this legendary public golf course. Meeting participants can gather within more than 10,000 square feet of meeting space in The Lodge at Pebble Beach and then step out to the links or enjoy the Pebble Beach Resort's numerous restaurants and lounges.
Monterey is a quintessential California locale, bursting with sunshine, natural beauty, culture and a temperate year-round climate. Known for its preservation of history, culture and the natural environment, this waterfront community is one of the most historic cities in the state, with original adobes still found on many street corners. Many of Monterey's attractions and neighborhoods explore the region's historical and agricultural significance. Perhaps one of the most historic and popular neighborhoods in Monterey, Cannery Row was once known for its sardine trade. Today, this lively waterfront district, named in honor of John Steinbeck, is known for its numerous restaurants, shops, art galleries, hotels and wine tasting rooms. Cannery Row is a wonderful place to explore local art and fare, as well as walk or run along the miles-long Monterey Bay Coastal Recreational Trail. Another historic and popular neighborhood, Fisherman's Wharf was an active fishing market until the 1960s, but is now a pedestrian-friendly area perfect for strolling, sightseeing, and enjoying fresh seafood.
Cultural attractions in Monterey include the Monterey County Youth Museum, known for its interactive exhibits that encourage creativity and curiosity. The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History is a living field guide to the California central coast, home to a sprawling native plant garden and butterfly garden and even a life-size sculpture of an adult female Gray Whale. Locals and visitors alike – as well as many a movie producer – appreciate Monterey's natural beauty. Visitors can climb aboard a luxury motor coach to partake in Monterey Movie Tours. This multimedia tour takes guests along the landscapes and scenes from some 200 movies filmed in Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel, as well as along the famous 17-Mile Drive by Pebble Beach.
With Monterey's beautiful waterfront location comes a wealth of fresh, delicious seafood that can be enjoyed at many of the city's renowned restaurants. A local and celebrity favorite since 1968, Monterey's Sardine Factory in Cannery Row specializes in sustainable seafood and USDA prime beef, while the Whaling Station Restaurant, run by celebrity chef John Pisto, also serves a bounty of seafood and steaks. Just a short drive from Monterey, Pacific's Edge, located within the Highlands Inn in Carmel, serves contemporary American fare – and an award-winning view, as the restaurant is perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Also offering spectacular views (from 1,200 feet above the surf), as well as delectable fare, Sierra Mar Restaurant at the Post Ranch Inn at Big Sur specializes in utilizing seasonal, local and garden ingredients to craft a daily-changing four-course prix fixe menu.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
One of Monterey's greatest attractions is its spectacular climate. The Monterey Peninsula enjoys cool, dry summers and wet, mild winters. With an annual average temperature of 57°F, Monterey's warmest month is September, with an average high of 71°F and average low of 53°F, while Monterey's coolest month is January, with an average high of 60°F and average low of 43°F. Monterey gets about 19 inches of rainfall per year, with the majority of rainfall occurring in November and April.
Monterey Conference Center
Located in the heart of downtown Monterey, the Monterey Conference Center is a modern, award-winning meeting facility perfect for conferences, trade shows and meetings of up to 1,700 people. The waterfront Monterey Conference Center is within walking distance of numerous shops, hotels and restaurants, and is connected to the Monterey Marriott and Portola Hotel and Spa. Alone, the three-level conference center features 41,000 square feet with a 19,500-square-foot exhibit hall, ballroom and 500-seat theater; together with its two adjacent hotels, the center features a total 61,000 square feet of meeting space and 700 hotel rooms. Amenities include on-site catering and a self-service business center, while guests can utilize 900 parking spaces in a city parking structure just one block away, or an additional 600 parking spaces at the adjacent hotels.
Monterey Peninsula Airport (MRY)
Approximate taxi fare: 20 USD
The Monterey Peninsula Airport is located just four miles west of downtown Monterey. Accommodating more than 40 daily flights, the airport provides regular service to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver and Las Vegas. Airport amenities include full-service dining and shopping, as well as an 880-square-foot boardroom, accommodating up to 45 people, which is available for rental. Parking at the Monterey Peninsula Airport costs no more than $24 per day.
Airline carriers serving Monterey Peninsula Airport
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
Located 14 miles south of downtown San Francisco, San Francisco International has been ranked as one of the world’s 30 busiest airports, serving more than 33 million passengers every year. The three-terminal, 90-gate airport debuted a $383-million renovation of Terminal 2. The renovation project resulted in a new 575,000-square-foot terminal with 14 gates, 33,633 square feet of retail space – including 12 restaurants, nine retail stores, a gourmet market, wine bar and spa – and a pedestrian bridge to the airport’s fully automated people mover.
Currently, San Francisco International is committed to showcasing its home city. Nearly all of its eateries are branches of local restaurants, bars and cafes, so passengers can get a true taste of San Francisco even if they can’t leave the airport. Much of the airport’s eclectic mix of bookstores, gift shops, travel outfitters and luxury boutiques has ties to local purveyors as well.
San Francisco International is also home to the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, a 7,000-square-foot public exhibition space with various historic transportation artifacts. Admission is free and groups of up to 250 people are welcome to hold private events in the sprawling space.
San Francisco International offers parking in hourly, daily and long-term areas. The airport also provides direct service to the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Rapid Rail and San Mateo County Transit (samTrans) bus system.
Traveling between terminals is easy thanks to AirTrain, a fully-automated people mover that runs 24 hours a day. AirTrain’s Red Line connects all terminals and terminal garages, as well as provides direct access to the BART station. AirTrain’s Blue Line connects all terminals and terminal garages, as well as provides direct access to the BART station and the Rental Car Center.
Airline carriers serving San Francisco International Airport
Formed in July 2010, Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) provides bus service to the greater Monterey and Salinas areas. The system runs 58 routes throughout a 280-square-mile area with a fleet of 30 buses. MST provides direct access to the Monterey Conference Center, Monterey Peninsula Airport and most major attractions. Bus fares are determined by route length and range from $1 to $10.
Located about 20 miles outside of Monterey, the Salinas Amtrak station serves the Coast Starlight route, which provides daily service from Seattle to Los Angeles. The station hours are 10 AM to 2 PM and 3 to 8 PM; the station street address is 11 Station Place.
The Salinas Greyhound stop, located at 19 West Gabilan in Salinas, is located approximately 20 miles outside of Monterey. The stop is open daily from 9 AM to noon and 1 to 4 PM.
The Monterey Peninsula Airport features rental car counters for Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz and National. Rental car counters are located outside of the baggage claim area.
Monterey Peninsula Airport passengers may access taxi companies outside of the airport. Taxi fare from the airport to downtown Monterey should cost about $15 to $20.
Photo Credit : Kerrick James
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