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An Anniversary Toast

Early in October, 48 years ago, two friends flipped on the lights of a restaurant they established in a then-neglected Monterey neighborhood. Though Cannery Row’s fishing industry had collapsed, the pair saw opportunity in the district’s empty processing plants and workers’ cabins.

Ted Balestreri and Bert Cutino opened The Sardine Factory in a former cannery worker mess hall, creating a cozy, 72-seat restaurant on a Wave Street hillside. Though some community members were skeptical of the location, guests gave the place a try. Nearly five decades later, The Sardine Factory has evolved into a 220-seat destination known for culinary excellence, first-class service and an award-winning wine list. It’s also been central to the revitalization of Cannery Row.

From the start, The Sardine Factory team made fresh ingredients and hard-to-find wines a priority. Master sommelier and 1984 Krug Cup winner Fred Dame helped build the prestigious bottle list, which now features more than 1,800 labels and 32,000 bottles. The extensive wine selection, housed in an elegant, 28-seat cellar available for private events, has earned the restaurant national recognition for an experience that marries food, wine and music. Upstairs, the glass-domed Conservatory and maritime-inspired Captain’s Room set a unique backdrop for memorable dinners. The food, wine and ambiance also attract celebrity clients, with guests ranging from chef Julia Child to sportscaster Jim Nantz to Prince Albert II of Monaco.

The Sardine Factory’s success paved the way for local attractions and noteworthy restaurants that now upscale dining options throughout the neighborhood. Just down the block, The Whaling Station specializes in USDA Prime cuts and cocktails. The C restaurant + bar, at the InterContinental The Clement Monterey, features Monterey Bay views and a seasonal menu of sustainable seafood. At the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar also builds menus around sustainable seafood, and the wood-fired mains pair well with Monterey County wines.

Thanks to hardworking local culinary experts, Cannery Row’s reputation as a fine dining destination continues to grow. And, the philosophy that Balestreri and Cutino adopted when they opened The Sardine Factory in 1968 still holds true today.

When it comes to service, says Balestreri, “Every customer has to be treated like the most important person on earth.”

Click and discover the sights, sounds & great times waiting for you. add a few to your must-do list.

Event Calendar

In addition to the views, attractions, pubs and restaurants, Cannery Row hosts several exciting events throughout the year guaranteed to be fun for the whole family.

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Fire Pits

Two of nature’s most mesmerizing elements—ocean and fire—come together in Cannery Row in a beautiful way at these four fire pits you don’t want to miss. The Monterey Bay’s moderate climate makes the Row an ideal place to cozy up next to a warm fire while you savor the sights and sounds of the ocean.

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Fun and Games

When you think of Cannery Row, you probably don’t picture blacklights, billiards, mazes and lasers. If this is true, then you’ve been missing out. Beyond the shopping, eating and ocean, there are activities galore to keep the whole crew occupied.

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Sand In Your Shoes

The entire length of Cannery Row runs parallel to the coastline of the Monterey Bay, which means you’re never more than a few minutes from the water. This might be why Coastal Living magazine recently named Monterey as the “Happiest Seaside Town in California.” There are so many ways to enjoy the bay that it would be a shame if you didn’t try to tear yourself away from the shops and restaurants to get in some quality time with the Pacific.

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Small Bites

Cannery Row is home to over 25 different restaurants, but don’t be intimidated by all the options. Instead view it as an opportunity to embrace variety by trying small bites at several different spots.

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Wine Tasting

Cannery Row wine tasting offers the ultimate California experience, bringing together the tastes of wine country with the beauty of the bay. Monterey County boasts over 39,000 acres of wine grapes, almost half of which are devoted to its award-winning Chardonnay grape. Here you can taste an impressive variety of this regal grape, from those with bright tropical flavors to fuller, more buttery notes.

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From Grape to Glass

With nine appellations nurturing a variety of grapes, and more than 60 tasting rooms welcoming guests, Monterey County is a destination popular with both winemakers and wine drinkers.

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Marine Wonders on Cannery Row

Wildlife watchers will find a surprising array of animals and aquatic plant life on Cannery Row, ranging from marine mammals to stunning seabirds to captivating kelp beds.

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Active Endeavors

With a scenic waterfront location, convenient trail access and spas catering to sports-minded individuals, Cannery Row makes a great home base for active travelers. Here are five can’t-miss athletic endeavors to try this season.

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Premium Cigars

Cigars and cigar smoking have come a long way since explorer Christopher Columbus and his men discovered the natives of Hispaniola smoking rolled up sticks of tobacco in the 1490s.

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Exotics on Exhibit

Every August, Monterey Car Week brings some of the world’s most stunning automobiles to the Monterey Peninsula. As part of the gathering, Cannery Row hosts rare super, hyper and exotic cars during the annual Exotics on Cannery Row event. Guests can mingle with drivers and view one-of-a-kind vehicles modified for power and performance – plus, the Cannery Row festivities are free to the public.  

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Savor the Season

Monterey County is known for its fresh-caught seafood and produce straight from the nearby Salinas Valley, known as “the Salad Bowl of the World.” The region’s verdant valleys and sun-drenched hillsides also nurture grapes pressed into award-winning reds and whites known nationwide.

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Pokémon Go Cannery Row Map

Catch 'em all on Cannery Row with this map of Pokémon Go Gyms and PokéStops.

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Instagramming on Cannery Row

With a prime Monterey Bay setting and unique architectural highlights from the area’s once-thriving sardine canning industry, Cannery Row promises photo opportunities unlike any others in Monterey. To capture compelling, share-worthy shots, grab your phone, follow this Instagram guide to Cannery Row and start brainstorming your best hashtags.

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Monterey for Millennials

Monterey is known for its rich history and small-town charm, which might not sound like a major draw for trendy young travelers. But, Cannery Row brings together buzz-worthy food and fun in a lively, walkable setting – think craft beer, local wines, seasonal fare and hip boutiques, plus popular activities like stand-up paddling and cycling.

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Cool Coastal Escapes

When the temperatures top 100 in California’s Central Valley and around the country, coastal Monterey offers a cool, convenient alternative. Plan your escape with these beat-the-heat itineraries, and then make the short drive over the mountains to Cannery Row.

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Americana on Cannery Row

You’ll find all the patriotic gear and goods you need on Cannery Row, along with ocean view hotels and restaurants to call home base. Prepare for the fireworks!

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Giving Thanks

The holidays are an ideal time to gather family and friends for a celebration of all that’s truly important. Cannery Row restaurants take the fuss out of these get-togethers, offering menus and settings to suit any taste. Whether you’re planning an intimate, white-tablecloth dinner for two, or a casual buffet for a large group, you’ll find affordable and unique alternatives that can be tailored to your specific needs. Need some inspiration? Start planning your party here.

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Monterey for Movie Lovers

A dramatic coastline, historically significant structures and bustling atmosphere have earned Cannery Row a starring role in several major motion pictures – and, those features also make it a star-studded destination when the cameras aren’t rolling. The district’s renowned attractions draw an A-list crowd that includes actors, artists, athletes and international leaders. Lucky visitors can explore many of Cannery Row’s silver screen connections any day of the year.

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Shop Small on Cannery Row

When it comes to buying gifts, small businesses are a big draw. Here are just a few great places to shop small with locally based retailers on Cannery Row.

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Snack Attack

With so many activities, attractions and shops along Cannery Row, it’s easy to work up an appetite while exploring. And, given that there’s so much to see and do, it’s important to stay fueled up for adventure. Plan your day around quick stops at Cannery Row’s casual cafes and snack shops with this at-a-glance guide.

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The Buzz About “Bleisure”

On Cannery Row, bleisure is more than a buzzword. With waterfront wine tasting, one-of-a-kind restaurants and upscale resorts that double as serious event venues and serene retreats, planners will find plenty of enticing options here. Make the most of a business trip by booking time at these places that embrace both work and play.

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Winter Wellness

As we begin a new year, many of us will pause to evaluate the last 12 months and plan for the year ahead. With a full slate of daily responsibilities, however, finding time for self-care can be a challenge.

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Winemaker for a day

Tasting wine is one thing, but why stop there? As producers in some of the country’s premier grape-growing regions unveil custom wine blending classes for both casual fans and seasoned enthusiasts, one business is bringing that trend to Cannery Row.

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Celebrating Steinbeck

Pulitzer Prize-winner and Nobel laureate John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902, in the Monterey County city of Salinas. While the region’s sprawling countryside inspired Steinbeck’s agricultural tales, his observations on the local fishing industry – and Monterey’s canneries, in particular – informed some of his most famous characters.

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Snowless Winter Weekends

While some people wait all year for snowflakes, ski trips and ice skating, not everyone feels like bundling up for winter weather. Cannery Row offers a snow-free alternative to the traditional winter getaway, complete with mild temperatures and walkable activities for all tastes.

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Relaxation Resolutions

Whether you’re planning a long weekend getaway or a quick afternoon escape, Cannery Row’s resorts and spas offer a range of treatments and accommodations designed to ease stress and help you relax.

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New Faces on Cannery Row

This year, Cannery Row welcomes several new businesses to the district. Joining the neighborhood’s already enticing mix of dining, retail and entertainment venues in recent months are seven can’t-miss newcomers.

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A Sanctuary Celebration

Twenty-five years ago, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary received federal designation under the authority of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. The country’s 11th national marine sanctuary is one of its largest, covering an area that’s bigger than Yosemite National Park. It was recognized—both then and now—for its biological richness, rare habitats, threatened species and other cultural relics.

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