Set on California’s central coast, Fisherman’s Wharf is famous for its ocean views, resident sea lions and sea otters, and sourdough bowls of clam chowder. Souvenir shops, candy stores, street performers, and seafood restaurants line the seafront. Nearby, you can watch as trawlers unload the day’s catch at Fisherman’s Wharf II.
Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf is a jumping-off point for exploring the Pacific Ocean via deep-sea fishing cruises, sailing tours, glass-bottom boat tours, and whale-watching tours. Day trips to Monterey from Santa Cruz, San Jose, or San Francisco typically include a stop at Fisherman’s Wharf along with coastal highlights such as Carmel-by-the-Sea, 17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, or Pacific Grove. Segway tours and Sea Car tours are fun ways to explore Fisherman's Wharf and the surrounding area on your own.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Fisherman’s Wharf is a must-see for first-time visitors to Monterey.
- Food options are extensive and vary from white-tablecloth restaurants to classic deli take-out joints.
- The wharf is a great place to take kids; head here to peruse souvenir and candy shops before visiting the nearby Monterey Bay Aquarium.
- The wharf is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers; handicap-accessible parking spots are available nearby.
How to Get There
Fisherman's Wharf lies within walking distance of most downtown Monterey hotels. The free MST Trolley runs year-round on a loop past Monterey sights including Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row. There are several parking lots adjacent to Fisherman’s Wharf and metered parking on most nearby streets.
When to Get There
Fisherman's Wharf is open year-round and is busiest in summer. Many visitors are surprised to learn that summer is the coldest, foggiest season here; dress in layers and prepare for some blustery summer days. Monterey is warmest from August through October.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium
A 7-minute drive from Fisherman's Wharf, the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium is perched on the edge of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Dedicated to inspiring conservation of the ocean, the aquarium showcases marine life including sea otters, giant Pacific octopus, and African penguins. The Rocky Shore tank, where visitors can touch bat rays, is a perpetual favorite.
There are several parking garages right beside Fisherman’s Wharf, but you can save on fees by grabbing a free spot on Figueroa Street, which is just a few blocks away.