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Things to do in Monterey Bay

Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.
Pedestrian Plaza
“Local amusement park, literally on the beach with ocean views - its a fun afternoon!”
  • 319 locals recommend
Aquarium
“World renown Aquarium offers one of the most unique coastal experiences that will provide hours of fascination for the whole family in a most spectacular setting.”
  • 293 locals recommend
American Restaurant
$$
“It's in walking distance, it's on the beach, and they have great happy hour specials! ”
  • 145 locals recommend
Beach
“Nice beach, tide pools, nature center. Also is a monarch butterfly migration destination Oct-Feb each year.”
  • 128 locals recommend
Park
“The starting point for many of our amazing trails, Wilder Ranch leads you to the UCSC trails and offers endless options for epic riding.”
  • 103 locals recommend
American Restaurant
$$$
“The Shadowbrook is probably the oldest and most famous of any restaurant in Santa Cruz County. It is truly amazing and you'll definitely need reservations!”
  • 106 locals recommend
Route
“walk, bike, jog, push stroller, skateboard (or drive if you have to) from the wharf to natural bridges state park along the edge of the cliffs that drop down to the bay, watching (or joining!) surfers at the famous steamer lane along the way.”
  • 93 locals recommend
Museum
“Great little museum, be sure to stop at the attached Abbott Square market for lunch or a snack afterwards.”
  • 71 locals recommend
Natural Feature
“Another local favorite!! Great little beach surrounded by cool shops and delicious restaurants!! Very chill little spot, love love love it! ”
  • 65 locals recommend
Bakery
$$
“OMG, the best place for pastries and pies and cakes. They also have delicious breakfast and lunch plates to enjoy in the cafe or patio or to go. ”
  • 78 locals recommend
Bakery
$$
“It's a local staple and the pastries are truly eye candy (not for the diet-conscious ;-)”
  • 62 locals recommend
Bar
$
“Both indoor and outdoor seating, higher end pub food. Located in alley with other breweries/wineries ”
  • 63 locals recommend
Pier
“Don't miss the sea lions at the end of the pier. And clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl at the next door kiosk.”
  • 66 locals recommend
Mediterranean Restaurant
$$
“Some of the best Mediterranean Afghan Cuisine you'll ever have! But be sure to make reservations!”
  • 57 locals recommend
Café
$$
“Great breakfast! Walking distance. Always hopping! Be prepared to wait for seating :)”
  • 47 locals recommend
Route
“a walk up and down Pacific Garden Mall in Santa Cruz will show you why many people believe in the slogan - Keep Santa Cruz Weird this is the VW Bug and Tiedye capital of the world. Many homeless but that is part of the local culture.”
  • 53 locals recommend

Top restaurants

Pedestrian Plaza
“Local amusement park, literally on the beach with ocean views - its a fun afternoon!”
  • 319 locals recommend
American Restaurant
“It's in walking distance, it's on the beach, and they have great happy hour specials! ”
  • 145 locals recommend
American Restaurant
“The Shadowbrook is probably the oldest and most famous of any restaurant in Santa Cruz County. It is truly amazing and you'll definitely need reservations!”
  • 106 locals recommend
Bar
“Both indoor and outdoor seating, higher end pub food. Located in alley with other breweries/wineries ”
  • 63 locals recommend
Mediterranean Restaurant
“Some of the best Mediterranean Afghan Cuisine you'll ever have! But be sure to make reservations!”
  • 57 locals recommend
Café
“Great breakfast! Walking distance. Always hopping! Be prepared to wait for seating :)”
  • 47 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Wonderful organic wood fired pizzas. This is a very popular restaurant and can be very busy.”
  • 47 locals recommend
Café
“The best breakfast. No contest. Be prepared for long waits the later you arrive. My advice is to get there on weekends right at 9:00am. The first eating turn over is happening and you can usually get right in. ”
  • 55 locals recommend

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