The customhouse was built by the former Mexican administration in 1827 for the purpose of collecting taxes on imported goods. It was here that the flag of the United States was first raised over California in July 1846. The Customhouse became the first California Historical Landmark in 1932 and a National Historic Landmark 1960. The plaza is part of the Monterey Old Town Historic District, which is itself a part of Monterey State Historic Park.
Elsewhere in the plaza, you will find the Maritime Museum, which houses an antique yet still functioning lighthouse prism light, as well as landscaped gardens and bocce ball courts – it is a great place to spend a lazy afternoon taking in the views across the Monterey coastline. Several big events are held in the plaza, including the annual Monterey Greek Festival at the end of summer.