Nestled on California’s stunning central coast, Monterey is a vibrant place to reside. Known for several major festivals and attractions, including the Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Old Fisherman’s Wharf, the city is famous nationwide. The city is also well-known for its exceptional seafood (much of it caught locally), gorgeous beaches, and for being the center of the John Steinbeck novel Cannery Row.
Individuals living in Monterey enjoy unparalleled conveniences and amenities. In addition to its bustling commercial districts, residential neighborhoods are peaceful and affluent. Area roads feel ultra-private thanks to the abundance of lush plant life and towering trees. Nearby, locals can quickly reach several sprawling parks, multiple golf courses, and top shopping and dining establishments.
Where Is Monterey?
Monterey is located in Monterey County. Situated directly on the coast, the city encompasses Del Monte Beach and San Carlos Beach. Neighboring cities and communities include Carmel-By-The-Sea, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach (famous in the golf world), and Del Monte Forest.
To the north, residents can travel to some of California’s most popular cities. Monterey to San Francisco is a 113.5 mile one-way drive. This equates to about two hours in average traffic. Additionally, Monterey to San Jose is a 72 mile trip.
Monterey Population & Demographics
The population of Monterey is 28,575, bringing the city’s population density to about 3,305.4 people per square mile. Since 2010, there has been a small population increase. However, population figures have remained almost unchanged over the last decade.
Compared to surrounding locales, Monterey is an affluent and well-educated community. The median annual per capita income is $50,603, and the median household income is $80,908 per year. Both of these figures are higher than the Salinas, CA Metro Area. 94.3 percent of residents have attained a high school diploma (or higher), while 55.7 percent have earned a bachelor’s degree (or higher).
- Percent of men vs. women: 49 percent male, 51 percent female
- Median age: 36.9
- Race and ethnicity: 68 percent White, 17 percent Hispanic, six percent Asian, five percent two or more races, four percent Black
- Foreign-born population: 13.7 percent
Notable individuals who’ve lived in Monterey include revered authors John Steinbeck and Beverly Cleary, film actor Clint Eastwood, artist Salvador Dalí, and musician Frank Zappa. Additionally, the show Big Little Lies was set and filmed in Monterey.
Monterey is a safe place to live. Although the overall Monterey crime rate is slightly elevated, certain types of crime are significantly lower. The latest statistics reveal that the rate of violent crimes is 37.7 percent lower than the state average, and 25 percent lower than the U.S. average. Keeping the city safe are the 49 officers and staff at the Monterey Police Department.
Cost of Living in Monterey
As is true with most cities in California, Monterey cost of living figures are higher than the national average. According to the latest data, the city’s cost of living composite index is 174.9 (U.S. average = 100). The Economic Policy Institute estimates that a family of four would need to earn $114,198 per year to afford to live in Monterey.
Typical Monterey Living Expenses:
- Average Monterey utilities per month: $222.54
- Full-day private preschool: $3,300/month
- One gallon of milk: $4.33
- Meal for two, mid-range restaurant: $100
- Fitness club monthly fee: $41.40
When planning on moving to Monterey, it is extremely helpful to know the typical cost of housing. The median home price in Monterey is $1,037,500. Find your dream property by exploring Monterey CA homes for sale.
Thinking about renting an apartment or townhouse? The average monthly rent in Monterey is $2,323 for a 786 square foot residence.
Monterey Neighborhoods | Where to Live in Monterey
Not sure where you should live upon relocating to Monterey? Discover the best neighborhoods in Monterey for all individuals.
Cannery Row – Family-friendly community with a notable history
Known as one of the best neighborhoods in Monterey for families, Cannery Row is a charming and historic place to reside. Once the site of booming canning businesses through the mid-1900s, the area is now known for its world-class shopping, dining, and recreation. Alongside the neighborhood’s luxurious resorts and commercial establishments, there are lovely homes that span a range of architectural styles.
Downtown Monterey – Bustling and vibrant center of it all
Encompassing all of the city’s top attractions and beaches, Downtown Monterey is a great place to live. Families and individuals who want to reside near top-rated restaurants, the aquarium, and the beachfront will be pleased with this part of town. Never travel far to go swimming, sightseeing, golfing, or boating.
Mar Vista – Established, centrally-located residential neighborhood
Running along Mar Vista Drive, the Mar Vista neighborhood is an established and peaceful Monterey community. Nestled in the inland part of the city, the area is fully residential and lined with charming homes of varying sizes. Mar Vista features scenic views, as well as easy access to nearby shopping complexes.
Monterey Weather & Climate
Monterey is known for its comfortable Mediterranean climate. During the summer, weather conditions are dry, clear, and mild. Winters are cool and damp, with the coldest temperatures logged between December and February.
The best time to visit Monterey is between July and October. During this span, the weather is ideal for bringing out the sunscreen, swimsuits, and beach towels. Average high temperatures during this time hover in the upper 60s, while average daily lows rarely dip below the high 50s. Although the city experiences cool temperatures throughout the year, it does not snow in Monterey.
Plan on swimming at one of Monterey’s top beaches? Click here to see Monterey tide times before heading out.
Things to Do in Monterey
Monterey overflows with fun things to do, see, and experience. Explore the many activities available to people of all ages in this vibrant city.
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Hands down, the most kid-friendly activity in Monterey is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This top-rated attraction is known throughout the nation, and features a myriad of hands-on exhibits, educational programs, and ocean animals. Visitors can check out the touch pools, Coral Reef Kingdom, The Open Sea exhibit, the Into the Deep exhibit, and the Great Tide Pool.
886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940, 831-648-4800
Want to go swimming in Monterey? One of the area’s best beaches is Del Monte Beach. Situated in Downtown Monterey, visitors can also go kayaking, biking, or boating. Del Monte Beach features a boardwalk and breathtaking vistas.
653 Del Monte Ave, Monterey, CA 93940, 831-646-3860
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Art enthusiasts should take time to explore the many thrilling exhibits at the Monterey Museum of Art. The museum is known for displaying a permanent collection of artwork from California artists, as well as traveling exhibits. Locals can also attend special events at the museum, including family-friendly programs, art camps, and lectures.
559 Pacific St, Monterey, CA 93940, 831-372-5477
More things to do in Monterey:
Searching for more things to do in Monterey? Monterey Parks & Recreation manages local parks, beaches, youth camps, preschool programs, and more. Also, be sure to stay up-to-date on all coming events in Monterey by checking out the community calendar.
Want to know where to find the best restaurants in Monterey? From casual eateries to fine dining, options abound for visitors and residents.
- Monterey’s Fish House. Listed in the 2021 Michelin Guide, the culinary team at Monterey’s Fish House are proven experts in all things seafood. Indulge in a delectable and robust menu of oak grilled oysters, calamari, clams, seafood pastas, and fresh fish entrees. Monterey’s Fish House, 2114 Del Monte Ave, Monterey, CA 93940, 831-373-4647.
- Montrio. Delight in a sustainable menu of elevated California cuisine. From the first craft cocktail (or mocktail) to the dessert finale, even the most discerning diners will adore Montrio’s palate-pleasing menu. Montrio, 414 Calle Principal, Monterey, CA 93940, 831-648-8880.
- Bistro Moulin. Inspired by charming European bistros, this restaurant features a cozy, intimate setting and tasty dishes. Order from a menu of European wines, comforting sides, and savory meat-centric entrees. Bistro Moulin, 867 Wave St, Monterey, CA 93940, 831-333-1200.
Jobs in Monterey
Searching for jobs in Monterey? Major employers in the area include the City of Monterey, Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, and Dole Fresh Vegetables. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, common positions in the greater metro area include various management occupations, chief executives, marketing managers, and general managers.
Data from Payscale.com shows that the average yearly base salary in Monterey is $75,000. Hourly base rates in Monterey average $22.57.
Monterey is part of the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, which serves kindergarten through 12th grade. Many of the area’s public schools are highly rated on GreatSchools.org, including Big Sur Charter School and Bay View Academy.
Students and residents in the city have access to the Monterey Public Library, which is located at 625 Pacific St.
Monterey Statistics & Information
- County: Monterey County
- Area: 12.27 square miles
- Zip codes: 93940–93944
- Area code: 831
- Elevation: 26 feet
- Time zone: Pacific
- Closest airport: Monterey Regional Airport
Monterey CA Map
Explore more things to do, restaurants, and amenities with this map of Monterey.
Pros & Cons of Living in Monterey
- Pro: Abundance of family-friendly attractions.
- Con: High cost of living.
- Pro: Historic Cannery Row.
- Con: Long drive time to San Francisco and San Jose.
- Pro: Mild weather throughout the year.
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