About a week ago, Bryan surprised me with an overnight trip to Monterey & Carmel and I couldn’t be more excited. We go about once a year, as Monterey is about a 2 hour drive from the Bay Area, making it such an easy and fun weekend getaway. We’ve been many times and still continue to explore new places to eat while also continuing to go back to some of our go-to favorite spots. Monterey is one of those relaxing places where you can just sit on a bench with a latte and watch the water or walk the colorful wharf and sample some of the best clam chowder you’ve ever had in your life. Definitely one of my favorite spots for a spontaneous weekend getaway.
Where We Stayed in Monterey:
We stayed at the gorgeous and centrally located Portola Hotel & Spa. We’ve stayed there before and always love the location of being walking distance from anything downtown. (About a 5 minute drive to Cannery Row.) Hotel Pacific is also another great hotel option if you are choosing to stay downtown and away from Cannery Row. We have stayed on Cannery Row before at The Intercontinential Hotel, which was a great location with beautiful views of the water. Multiple different hotels are available depending on whether you want to stay downtown or on Cannery Row. We’ve grow to love staying downtown because it’s less touristy and we are able to walk to our favorite restaurant for dinner.
Where We Ate In Monterey:
Cannery Row Brewing Company : We never go to Monterey without a stop at The Cannery Row Brewing Company. Not only does it have an amazing beer selection but THE PRETZEL. It might be one of my favorite appetizers EVER. They have a cute little outdoor patio with fire pits and the food is always delicious.
A Taste Of Monterey : A fun little wine tasting spot with beautiful views of the water. You can sip away on a glass of white or red wine while watching sea otters and sea lions play away. A couple of times we’ve even seen whales!
Peter B’s Brew Pub : Oh Peter B’s! One of Bryan’s favorite spots. Your typical pub but located right outside the Portola Hotel. A great happy hour menu and outdoor fire pits. This place is always a must stop for us while in Monterey.
Restaurant 1833 : If you are one of my good friends, you’ve heard me talk about this restaurant. Hands down one of my top favorite restaurants and I’m so lucky that it’s just a 2 hour drive from home. It’s basically an old mansion house that they have turned into a restaurant. You can have dinner and drinks downstairs in the library or upstairs in the Governor’s room. It always makes me feel like I’m in a real-life version of the game of Clue but instead of figuring out the murder mystery, I’m eating delicious food and drinking craft cocktails. Such an amazing atmosphere!
Water and Leaves : This was a new find for us this time around as it is a new spot on Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Such a cute and darling coffee and tea house with a small outdoor patio that overlooks part of the bay. A great stop for a cup of coffee and a pastry.
The Perfect Crumb : We didn’t eat here, but stopped in because it just looked so cute on the outside. Serving coffee, pastries and dessert, and full of vintage chic charm. Such a fun little spot.
Lilify : Ok, another new coffee spot for us that we LOVED. Not only was the pour over coffee amazing, but the shop inside full of handmade goodies, trinkets and cards was such a fun added detail to explore and shop while sipping on our coffee.
What We Explored In Monterey:
The Wharf Marketplace : This was our first time stopping in here and we were so glad we did! What a cute spot! A little grocery store that has wine tasting, a deli and tables outside if you want to have a picnic lunch.
Old Fisherman’s Wharf : Right next to our hotel, walking the Old Fisherman’s Wharf is one of our favorite things to do. Tons of fun shopping stores and places to eat. It’s definitely just entertaining to walk up and down and people watch. Oh, and taste the free clam chowder samples of course!
Cannery Row : If you’ve ever researched things to do in Monterey, Cannery Row is first on the list of tourist attractions. Full of cute little shops and tons of places to stop and grab a bite to eat, all while walking along the water. If you don’t like touristy spots, definitely go and see what it’s all about then find a spot NOT on Cannery Row to enjoy a really delicious dinner.
Downtown Monterey : Ok, you want some good places to eat away from all the tourist?! Downtown is your spot. A little more full of life at night, you can walk downtown and find multiple delicious spots for dinner or lunch and bars to grab an after dinner drink or sing karaoke.
One of the best things about a trip to Monterey is that Carmel is only about a 20 minute drive away. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Monterey, but I REALLY love Carmel. Talk about a little European style town full of charming alley ways and some of the cutest boutique stores around. (And if you are a dog lover, dogs are EVERYWHERE in Carmel!)
Carmel Bakery : Every time I walk in here, I want everything. And by everything, I mean, macaroons, biscottis, caramel apples, etc. You get the point. Everything I’ve ever ate from the Carmel Bakery has been absolutely amazing. This past trip we got a HUGE hostess-like cupcake with cream filling. Let’s just say, it was really hard to share.
Scheid Vineyards : One of our new favorite spots. Not only is the tasting room right downtown, but the wine is VERY good. It’s always nice to shop around downtown then pop in for a little wine tasting.
The Treehouse Cafe : Oh man, this place. I actually felt like we were on a European vacation and had escaped to Greece. A Mediterranean inspired restaurant that has a beautiful outdoor patio upstairs surrounded by trees. Such a great ambiance to enjoy lunch or dinner. We will definitely be back there!
Looking to get away from the Bay Area for the weekend? Are you taking a California road trip? Always keep Monterey and Carmel on your must stop and visit list. Such an easy drive, delicious food, ocean air and fun shopping. Now doesn’t that sounds like the perfect weekend getaway?!