Where to Stay in Monterey, CA – The 3 Best Areas to Stay from Luxury to Budget

Welcome to another of California’s charming cities, Monterey! You are about to witness spectacular coastal views, taste mouth-watering food, and have so much fun. Believe me, you’ll have so many nice memories here!

I think that it’s rare to find cities that offer stunning beaches, great landscapes, historical attractions, and amazing food scenes at the same time. In Monterey, you will find everything from epic golf courses to fun attractions such as Monterey Bay Aquarium, wine tasting rooms, and good-quality restaurants. Doesn’t it sound like a unique place?

In this blog post on where to stay in Monterey Bay, I will talk about the 3 best areas to stay with the top hotels for all budgets. Before we start, I just want to remind you that in order to get better deals on hotels and secure your place, do not forget to make a reservation in advance. Many Monterey Hotels have free cancelation, so don’t worry if you change your mind!

Are you ready to discover the beautiful Monterey Bay?

If you are in a hurry

Here are the best hotels where to stay in Monterey, California from luxury to budget. They all have very good reviews and great locations!

luxury hotel

Portola Hotel & Spa

Best luxury hotel

airbnb

Modern Beach House

An Airbnb with amazing reviews

mid-range hotel

Best Western Plus

Best value for money

budget hotel

Stage Coach Lodge

Best affordable accommodation in the center

Cannery Row
for foodies
Pacific Grove
the coolest area

1. Downtown – where to stay in Monterey Bay for the first time

Downtown Monterey is the heart of the city and where you will find the most historic sites, museums, fun attractions, and great restaurants. Other than that, you will still get to see the epic coastal landscapes here. So whether you are a museum enthusiast, outdoor lover, or sightseer, there is no better place where to stay in Monterey for the first time than Downtown!

In Downtown Monterey, the first place that you should go is the historic Old Fisherman’s Wharf. This old wholesale fish market is now a famous tourist attraction where you can enjoy delicious seafood and take a lot of Instagrammable photos.

Continue discovering the streets of downtown with their cute historic buildings, chic cafes, and local shops. If you want to get a suntan (let’s face it, who doesn’t?) head to beautiful beaches such as Del Monte Beach and Monterey State Beach. You see, I promised you there is something for everyone here!

Thanks to its proximity to main attractions you will find a great selection of hotels in Downtown Monterey. As it is the most famous location to stay in the city, do not forget to make your reservation in advance so you don’t miss out on the best of the best hotels that I’ve picked for you. While you’re at it, if you are planning to continue your holiday in California, check out the best places to stay in San Jose.

Portola is the best hotel to stay in Downtown Monterey with its beautiful architecture and amazing bay views. This hotel has contemporary rooms with modern amenities, room service, a nice outdoor pool, and on-site parking. I love the on-site restaurant of this hotel that is surrounded by indoor trees and the fabulous spa where you can pamper yourself with a great massage. Talk about luxury! What’s more, the Old Fisherman’s Wharf and historic Cannery Row is just a five-minute walk away.

Luxury hotel

Portola is the best hotel to stay in Downtown Monterey with its beautiful architecture and amazing bay views. This hotel has contemporary rooms with modern amenities, room service, a nice outdoor pool, and on-site parking. I love the on-site restaurant of this hotel that is surrounded by indoor trees and the fabulous spa where you can pamper yourself with a great massage. Talk about luxury! What’s more, the Old Fisherman’s Wharf and historic Cannery Row is just a five-minute walk away.

Other accommodation in Downtown Monterey

Mid-Range

This hotel features, a large swimming pool, complimentary breakfast, free parking, modern rooms, and is within walking distance of restaurants

Budget

Having a fantastic location in downtown, this hotel offers comfortable rooms, free continental breakfast, a swimming room, and free parking

Airbnb

This Centrally located Airbnb has spacious rooms with modern amenities, free parking, and easy access to the main attractions

Things to do in Downtown Monterey

  • Go for a walk at the historic Old Fisherman’s Wharf and have a delicious seafood meal
  • Visit the Monterey Museum of Art and Monterey County Youth Museum
  • Learn about history at Monterey State Historic Park
  • Go for a stroll and let kids have fun at the Dennis The Menace Playground
  • Chill on the sand at Del Monte Beach and Monterey State Beach
  • Have a beer and delicious snacks at Alvarado Street Brewery & Grill
  • Take a golf lesson at the Del Monte Golf Course
  • Go to Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

2. Cannery Row – where to stay in Monterey Bay for foodies

Cannery Row is a street located on Monterey’s waterfront and is 1 mile (2 km) north of downtown. If you want to explore local wines, California cuisine, and vibrant nightlife, you will love Cannery Row!

Cannery Row is a foodie heaven where you can find tons of wine tasting rooms, seafood restaurants, and local cafes. Thanks to numerous trendy pubs it also offers the best nightlife in the city. How does that sound?

Apart from the amazing food and drink scene, you will find many nice attractions in Cannery Row. Have a walk along the historic street and check out the beautiful shops, then head to San Carlos Beach Park to relax. Before your leave, you have to pay a visit to the most famous attraction in Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It just looks awesome!

FUN FACT: The Monterey Bay Aquarium is visited by 2 million people each year and there are 300,000 marine plants and animals that live in this world-class aquarium!

There are very nice accommodation options in Cannery Row and I’ve already chosen the top 4 for you. In order not to miss your favorite place, do not forget to make a reservation in advance. Speaking of good food and wine and fun attractions, if you are looking for another city with a similar vibe, check out the best places to stay in San Francisco.

Now, let’s have a look at the best hotels to stay in Cannery Row.

Set by the ocean, Monterey Plaza Hotel is the best hotel to stay in Cannery Row. This hotel features comfortable rooms with amazing bay views, a rooftop gym, and complimentary parking. There is a chic restaurant offering gourmet foods with an amazing ocean view. If I were you I wouldn’t miss the sunset in the terrace bar! And of course, the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium is just a five-minute walk.

Luxury hotel

Set by the ocean, Monterey Plaza Hotel is the best hotel to stay in Cannery Row. This hotel features comfortable rooms with amazing bay views, a rooftop gym, and complimentary parking. There is a chic restaurant offering gourmet foods with an amazing ocean view. If I were you I wouldn’t miss the sunset in the terrace bar! And of course, the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium is just a five-minute walk.

Other accommodation options in Cannery Row

Mid-Range

Centrally located in Cannery Row, this hotel offers air-conditioning and rooms with balconies, complimentary continental breakfast, and on-site parking

Budget

This hotel is a very good value for money with its spacious rooms that have balconies overlooking the ocean and free parking

Airbnb

This Victorian-style house features a beautifully decorated room with a fireplace, a relaxing lounge ara, and a nice garden

Things to do in Cannery Row

  • Discover the underwater world at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Go for wine tasting at A Taste of Monterey – Wine Market & Bistro
  • Have cocktails and delicious foods with Pacific Ocean views at Schooners Coastal Kitchen and Bar
  • Try local wines at the Carmel Ridge Winery Tasting Room
  • Indulge your taste with fresh seafood at The Sardine Factory
  • Get a suntan at San Carlos Beach

3. Pacific Grove – the coolest place to stay in Monterey Bay

Pacific Grove is located just 1 mile (2 km) north west of Cannery Row and is a very lovely neighborhood that offers amazing hiking trails, scenic beaches, and historical museums. If you want to do outdoor activities, go to trendy cafes and enjoy nature all in a single day, Pacific Grove is the coolest part of the city for you!

Pacific Grove is also famous for its epic golf course. Here you will find the most famous golf course in Monterey, Pebble Beach where you can take lessons, enjoy the scenic beach, and experience the 17-mile drive with amazing cliff coastal views. You have to be ready to take a photo at all times because every corner of Pacific Grove will surprise you with an amazing view! So don’t forget your camera!

In Pacific Grove there are more than enough accommodation options but here are the best of the best places to stay in this lovely town. 

Set by the ocean, this gorgeous hotel offers amazing bay views. You will love the beautifully decorated rooms overlooking the ocean and marble bathrooms. There is a private beach entrance, on-site parking, and free wifi in the hotel. The main attractions and restaurants are within walking distance.

Luxury hotel

Set by the ocean, this gorgeous hotel offers amazing bay views. You will love the beautifully decorated rooms overlooking the ocean and marble bathrooms. There is a private beach entrance, on-site parking, and free wifi in the hotel. The main attractions and restaurants are within walking distance.

Other accommodation options in Pacific Grove

Mid-Range

This boutique hotel offers spacious rooms, on-site parking, complimentary continental breakfast, and is within walking distance to the beach

Budget

Pacific Gardens Inn is within walking distance to the beach and has spacious rooms with a fireplace and hot tub, free continental breakfast, and on-site parking

Airbnb

Right on the beach, this Airbnb has spacious rooms with balconies overlooking the ocean, private parking, and a very nice garden

Things to do in Pacific Grove

  • Visit the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
  • Go for a stroll and check out stunning views at Lovers Point Park
  • Visit the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary
  • Go to the Jameson Classic Motorcycle Museum
  • Have a walk to the Point Pinos Lighthouse
  • Go hiking at the Kissing Rock
  • Get a suntan at the Asilomar State Beach
  • Take a golf lesson at Monterey Peninsula Country Club Golf Course and Pebble Beach
👑 Luxury price:$500
💵 Mid-range hotel:$250
🛏️ Budget:$160
🏠 Airbnb:$350
💰Accommodation prices:High
📍Best Area:Downtown Monterey
🛎️ Best luxury hotel:Portola Hotel & Spa
👛 Best budget hotel:Stage Coach Lodge

BONUS: The best places to stay in Monterey Bay for families

Monterey is a nice holiday destination to travel with families where you can enjoy having picnics in lush green parks, spend time on relaxing beaches and visit kid-friendly attractions such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Dennis The Menace Playground. In this bonus section, I would like to talk about the top family-friendly hotels from luxury to budget for you to have a memorable holiday with your families.

Luxury
InterContinental Clement Monterey – Located right on the beach in historic Cannery Row, InterContinental Clement Monterey has spacious family rooms overlooking the ocean. I love the private balcony that has comfortable seats where you can watch stunning views. There is an upscale spa with a hot tub, a fully equipped gym, and a nice swimming pool. While your kids are having fun at the swimming pool, you can use the modern business center or have a great massage at the spa (I vote for the 2nd option).

Mid-range
Wave Street Inn – This 4-star hotel is located in Cannery Row and has everything you need for a family holiday. Beautifully decorated rooms have enough space for families and modern amenities such as a coffee machine and flat-screen TV with kids’ channels. There is on-site parking and a nice courtyard where you can chill and have a drink. The beach and Monterey Bay Aquarium are within walking distance making it super easy to explore with the little ones.

Budget
Bide-A-Wee Inn & Cottages – This hotel is a very good value for money with its spacious family rooms and convenient location in Pacific Grove. In this pet-friendly hotel, there is a very nice garden area where you can have your breakfast in nature and the family room has a fully equipped kitchen and a fireplace. The restaurants, beaches, and city attractions are within walking distance and free parking is available for guests.

Airbnb
Three Mermaid’s Cove – This centrally located Airbnb has an epic ocean view and spacious rooms that can accommodate up to 5 people. There is a big kitchen and a nice dining area where you can have a family dinner while watching the spectacular views. I love the big terrace and beautifully decorated living room which has a real home feeling. Shops and restaurants are around the corner and free parking is available.

Frequently asked questions about Monterey Bay

🗺️ What is the best area to stay in Monterey CA?

If you are visiting Monterey, CA for the first time Downtown Monterey is the best area to stay thanks to its proximity to main attractions such as the Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Some of the best hotels here are Portola Hotel and Best Western Plus

☀️ What is the best time of year to visit Monterey CA?

The best time to visit Monterey is between April and May when the weather is warm and it is not very crowded. 

❓ Is downtown Monterey safe?

Downtown Monterey is a safe place to travel. You can safely walk during the night as well.

🏖️ Best places to stay in Monterey on the beach?

Monterey Plaza Hotel in Cannery Row and Seven Gables Inn in Pacific Grove are located right on the beach and are some of the best places to stay in Monterey. 

✨ What are some unique places to stay in Monterey?

Located near the Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Portola Hotel & Spa offers a unique stay with its impressive interior design, and right on the beach in Cannery Row, Monterey Plaza Hotel offers stunning Pacific ocean views is also one of the more unique places to stay in Monterey. 

📷 What should I not miss in Monterey, CA?

Here are some of the main landmarks that you should not miss in Monterey, CA:
● Monterey Bay Aquarium in Cannery Row
● the Old Fisherman’s Wharf
● Monterey Museum of Art
● Monterey State Historic Park

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed reading this tour in Monterey Bay and are ready to start the countdown until your trip. In this blog post on where to stay in Monterey, I talked about the best hotels from luxury to budget as well as Airbnbs in each area. I also gave you some information about the things you can do there so you could pick the perfect one for you!

As I’ve already mentioned, being close to all tourist attractions, Downtown Monterey is the best area to stay for first-timers and Connery Row is perfect for foodies. However, if you like a hotel in a specific area I say go for it as distances between attractions are not too far in Monterey Bay.

I would like to remind you again that in order not to miss your favorite place in Monterey and get better deals on hotels, do not forget to make a reservation in advance!

For those who are having difficulty picking among the many hotel options, let me sum up. Here are the best 2 hotels in Monterey, CA that have convenient locations as well as good reviews. I definitely recommend you to stay in one of these if you can’t decide between the awesome options in this list!

  • Portola Hotel & Spa – The best hotel in Monterey downtown that has a fantastic location near the Old Fisherman’s Wharf and amazing design with a swimming pool and gym
  • Victorian Inn – A great place to stay in Cannery Row with modern rooms

If you have any other suggestions or questions about Monterey California please do not hesitate to leave a comment below. I’ll be glad to leave a reply to them!

Have a nice time in Monterey,

Eylul

Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links on this page might be affiliate links, which means that at absolutely no extra cost for you we will earn a small commission for a sale generated through the website. We only recommend the things we actually use ourselves and never accept useless sponsored crap. Thank you so much for supporting this project!

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Follow @misstourist on Instagram!