With the sweeping ocean vistas of Big Sur to the south, the beaches of Santa Cruz and Capitola to the north, the green fields and hillsides of Salinas to the east and the mighty Pacific Ocean to the west, few areas offer such majestic, easily-accessible diversity as the Monterey Peninsula.

Nicknamed California’s “First City,” it was over the Monterey Custom House the American flag first flew in 1846 in the wake of the Mexican-American War, proclaiming California part of the United States.

Rich in history, with a vast and textured artistic legacy, the city houses an eclectic variety of things to see and do—from learning about the surrounding seas at the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, to shopping in the numerous boutiques and markets of Cannery Row, the Del Monte Center or New Monterey, to whale-watching and kayaking adventures out over some of the most unspoiled, active waters on the planet.

Living in Monterey one finds oneself at the very nexus of the peninsula, at once sweepingly idyllic and ceaselessly active. Whether it’s strolling the Tuesday night Farmer’s Market on Alvarado Street, clam chowder sampling on Fisherman’s Wharf, watching the spotted seals and sea otters at play in the harbor, or walking to dinner in the pearlescent twilight—a light described so eloquently by writers such as John Steinbeck and rendered so beautifully in countless paintings and sketches, such as you might find in the Monterey Museum of Art, or the Museum of Monterey—there is truly a little bit of something for everyone in this small, busy, picturesque city by the sea.