Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea, California audio tour: Monterey, California:  Historic Cannery Row and John Steinbeck Walking Tour

Monterey, California: Historic Cannery Row and John Steinbeck Walking Tour

Walking Tour

75 mins

About the Tour

This Monterey, California Historic Cannery Row and John Steinbeck Walking Tour is a collaboration by Lynn Momboisse and Dale Byrne.

Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.

So goes the opening line from John Steinbeck’s seminal novel, Cannery Row, about a bygone era and the characters that filled it.

On this walk we’ll trace the seam of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. Along the way we’ll discover the real-life people he drew from in order to create his vivid characters.

We’ll hear about the marine biologist Ed Ricketts, the man who was perhaps the greatest influence on Steinbeck’s life, and the basis for one of the main characters in the book. We'll also pass by some of the real locations Steinbeck used as backdrops for his stories.

We’ll explore how Cannery Row went quickly from a quaint fishing village to the center of a booming sardine industry filled with many canneries, and how that ultimately ended in economic collapse, fire and rusted ruins, only to be reborn into the commercial tourist hub it is today.

On this walking tour we will explore Cannery Row and the surrounding area which includes the Steinbeck Plaza, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey Plaza Hotel, Monterey InterContinental Hotel and San Carlos Beach.

This tour is about 2 miles and begins at the Sardine Factory restaurant at Wave Street and Prescott Avenue and ends at the Steinbeck Plaza located at the intersection of Cannery Row and Prescott Avenue in Monterey. If walked at a leisurely pace the tour should take about two hours. However, if you decide to do any shopping, wine tasting or dining the tour will take longer. We encourage you to take the time if you have it to explore the area and make new adventures.

There are two public restrooms along this walk, one at San Carlos Beach and the other at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Tour Producer


Lynn Momboisse

Hi! My name is Lynn and I am a native of California and have resided in Northern California for most of my life. For many years I lived in beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea where I co-authored the book Historic Homes and Inns of Carmel-by-the-Sea. My love of history and passion for discovering the beauty of the Golden State has led me to create a fun little blog titled "Adventures of a Home Town Tourist" where I recount many of my walking tours and hiking adventures throughout the world. I currently live in the majestic Sierra Foothills and will be exploring and writing about my adventures throughout this gorgeous country. And now I'll be able to further share my travels with you through the power of the new VoiceMap tour app. I can't wait for you to join me. Happy Adventures!

How VoiceMap Works

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Major Landmarks

  • Steinbeck Plaza

  • Ed Rickets Biological Laboratories

  • Monterey Plaza Hotel

  • San Carlos Beach

  • Monterey Bay Aquarium

Directions to Starting Point

There are two options for parking along Cannery Row. Parking along the street of Cannery Row is metered. Each meter lists the hours of enforcement. These accept dollar coins, quarters, dimes and nickels and runs about $1.50 per hour. If you prefer a parking garage, we suggest the Cannery Row Parking Garage. The entrance is 601 Foam Street between Hoffman and Prescott Streets. Foam is a one way street so enter Foam from Hoffman in order to get to the Cannery Row parking Garage entrance. A flat rate is charged at entry, cash, Visa or MasterCard are accepted. At the time of this writing the rate was $10 per day, no in and out privileges.

The starting point is diagonally across the street from the Sardine Factory restaurant (701 Wave Street) at the corner of Prescott Avenue and Wave Street. Directions from the Cannery Row Parking Garage to this location:

If you exit on to Prescott Avenue, turn right and walk to the corner of Prescott Avenue. Cross Wave Street and stop at the corner of Prescott and Wave diagonally across the street from the Sardine Factory restaurant. If you exit the parking garage on Wave Street, turn left on to Wave, walk to the corner of Prescott and Wave and turn right. Cross Wave and stop at the corner of Prescott and Wave diagonally across the street from the Sardine Factory restaurant.

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Places to stop along the way

Steinbeck Plaza, Ed Rickets Biological Laboratories, Monterey Plaza Hotel, InterContinental Hotel, San Carlos Beach, Coast Guard Pier, Bruce Ariss Way, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Best time of day

Day time hours after 9:30 am when most stores open.


Though much of this tour is on sidewalks, some is on the Monterey Recreational Tail which is shared with bicyclists. Please be mindful and carefully look before crossing over or entering the Monterey Recreational Trail for oncoming bicyclists.

On this tour there will be numerous photo opportunities. Note that using the video setting on your phone will shut down the VoiceMap app and you will need to reload your tour. Also when using VoiceMap with ear buds, it is not necessary that you have your phone out of your bag, but we have found that having your phone in front of you during these tours helps visitors stay on track. In map mode, there will be a blue dot on the map showing your location at all times. If you venture off the course you may use the blue dot to assist your getting back on the tour path. The blue dot will show your position in relation to the tour as well as upcoming stops that will trigger related audio content.

And finally, if you do venture into any of the shops or wine rooms or decide to take time in the middle of your tour for a meal break, you may pause your tour and restart it from your last location when you are ready to resume the tour.


Awesome tour, thank you for your research. the locations worked perfectly.

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , about 2 months ago

Wow - thank you for your comment - really appreciate - if you could leave this review on TripAdvisor for this tour I would greatly appreciate - also happy to send you a free tour if you are still in the area maybe Carmel to Big Sur you decide - [email protected]

Posted by Lynn , about 2 months ago

Thank you Claire for taking the time to leave a kind comment! So glad you enjoyed the tour. Hope you might have time to check out some of our other tours. Happy Adventures!

Posted by Lynn , almost 2 years ago

I loved this tour! Thanks.

Posted by Claire , almost 2 years ago
Preview mode limited to first 3 locations.
Monterey, California: Historic Cannery Row and John Steinbeck Walking Tour