In Monterey, the old houses are connected in a "Path of History." Many of the houses are open to the public. Among them is the Custom House where the United States flag was first raised by Commodore John Drake Sloat in July 1846.
Colton Hall played an even greater role in the history of California. In 1849, it housed the Constitutional Convention when California, as the first Pacific coast state, was admitted to the Union and where the California constitution was written. Monterey has beautiful gardens that are in blossom year-round. By Colton Hall is "Friendly Plaza," and right below is a little memory garden. The Stevenson House and the California First Theater, both state monuments, also have gardens around them.
Best loved is "Memory Garden" in the patio of the Pacific Building, where every year in June Monterey residents celebrate the Merienda, a birthday party for the city. People who have read John Steinbeck’s "Cannery Row" and "Sweet Thursday" can follow many of the stories in Monterey’s Cannery Row. The canneries are closed now, but the spirit of the old times lingers. Today it is a popular tourist area that includes: the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, galleries, shops, wine tasting rooms, a factory outlet center, specialty stores, restaurants, hotels and inns.
Fisherman’s Wharf is a picturesque spot for tourists and artists. It is the colorful home base for both fishing and pleasure boats. The wharf is lined with souvenir shops and excellent restaurants featuring seafood. It’s quite a sensation to enjoy a seafood plate while a live sea otter stares at you from the bay. Commercial boats provide deep-sea fishing and excursions along the coast. The list of interesting places in Monterey is long and exciting. Try to see them all while stationed here. A good starting point is the Custom House at the foot of Wharf #1, the place where California began.