Monterey State Historic Park

Find out about California’s Spanish, Mexican and American past with a tour of this park’s restored historical houses and museums.

The Monterey State Historic Park comprises the city’s old town district with restored buildings from the state’s early days. The complex has 17 historic edifices, including the Monterey Custom House, the state’s First Theater and the building in which the first Californian constitution was drafted. Learn about the region’s development from a small Spanish outpost to a U.S. state.

Wander through this vast, open-air museum for a sense of 19th-century Monterey. The oldest building is the Custom House, which was built in 1827. Admire the Spanish-colonial style of this adobe structure, where the American flag was first raised in 1846.

The building stands on Custom House Plaza. Here you will also find the Casa del Oro where miners deposited their finds during the gold rush.

Take a tour of the nearby Colton Hall Museum to see the period furniture and décor showing the main room as it was when the state constitution was drafted here. Admire the majestic pillars and pediment that flank the door, beneath an array of U.S. flags.

Follow the Monterey Walking Path of History to embrace the rich tapestry of Monterey’s past. Among the most intriguing relics is one of the country’s last remaining whalebone sidewalks. These are pathways made from whale vertebrae.

See California’s First Theater, which was built by an English sailor in 1845. It is on the same street as California’s First Brick House that was constructed two years later.

The park itself is open at all times, except select holidays. Entrance hours and fees for the individual houses vary. Get current information and purchase tours from the Pacific House Museum. It offers informative maps and cellphone tours. Note that many of the houses are only accessible via a guided tour.

The Monterey State Historical Park covers a fairly large area in the downtown district of the city. Start in the Pacific House Museum, which is next to Custom House Plaza just south of Fisherman’s Wharf. Ride a bus to the wharf and get around the old town district on foot.

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