Monterey Bay's Fisherman's Wharf can be found Downtown Monterey at the end of Alvarado Street. Yes it is very touristy but hey I am a tourist and I spent a pleasant afternoon and evening here with my family. There are some good places to eat. Some restaurant staff hand out free samples of their clam chowder to entice you into their establishment. It was wasted on me as I do not like fish.
The highlight for me was the ability to get close to wild sea lions who frequent the end of the wharf and pier. You can here them barking and roaring. There are lots of sea birds to see including large pelicans resting on the boardwalks and building roofs. Bring your binoculars or camera with a long telephoto lens.
Today the pier is still acts as a dock, but mainly to whale watching cruises and sea fishing charters. The Pacific Ocean can be rough once you leave the sheltered waters of the bay. If you suffer from sea sickness do not go on any of these boat trips. It can some times take a few hours to get to where the whales have been sighted and then there is the journey back. Do you really want to feel ill for over four hours with no way of getting off? If you do not get sea sick the ability to see whales in their natural environment is amazing.
Monterey's first wharf was constructed in 1870 by the Pacific Coast Steamship Company. Many trading vessels bringing goods from around Cape Horn used the port. Monterey California was a major port on the Pacific Ocean. The booming whale industry took over and dominated the pier, but it was the tiny sardines that made Monterey an industry leader. The city of Monterey purchased the wharf in 1916 and expanded it to include warehouses, seafood wholesalers and retailers.
Daily catches of salmon, albacore, mackerel, rock cod, squid and shellfish were also landed. When the sardine industry began to fail after world war two due to over fishing Fisherman's Wharf went into decline. It become a tourist destination after mid 1950s with the introduction of shops and restaurants in the old disused industrial buildings
Originally settled by Chinese immigrants in the 1850s, the 1900s brought the factories and canning industry to the area. The main fish here was sardines but massive over fishing during the Great Depression and World War II depleted the sardine population and ended the canning industry. In 1945 local author John Steinbeck wrote the novel Cannery Row, describing the rough-and-tumble nature of Cannery Row at the time.
Today Cannery Row is still known for its wide variety of restaurants, hotels and shops. It is a bit like an outdoor shopping mall. Hundreds of shops line the street as well art galleries. You will find Cannery Row near downtown Monterey. Go through the tunnel past Fisherman's Wharf and take the first right onto Foam St. The next right is Cannery Row.