view of Monterey Bay Aquarium looking over the pacific ocean with sunset in background

New things to do in Monterey California include the Aquarium’s 40th Anniversary ©Monterey Bay Aquarium

It was settled hundreds of years ago, yet there are always new things to do in Monterey California

There is nothing quite like the wild beauty of California’s central coast. The rugged terrain drops into the ocean, and golden sands shift with time and seasons. It’s dotted with some of the most beautiful towns and vistas in America. During countless drives along this captivating coastline, I often imagined being among the first settlers, cultivating the land, coaxing riches from the soil, and shaping its diverse history.

An Important Port

At a time when the American colonies were declaring independence from British rule, Monterey served as the Spanish capital of California. Eventually, Mexico won its independence from Spain and assumed Monterey as their capital. Afterwards, Monterey thrived as British, American, and South American ships flocked to its port. When California officially became a state in 1848, Monterey was a cosmopolitan city.

Throughout Monterey you will find the past, present, and future woven together seamlessly in an area that stretches from Pebble Beach to Carmel Valley. In addition, the landscapes are diverse, ranging from the sand dunes in Marina and Pinnacles National Park in Soledad.

Culinary, Cultural, and Outdoor Experiences

Visitors can dive into culinary pleasures harvested from California vines, farms, and ranches, immerse themselves into cultural experiences, and explore the great outdoors along 99 miles of coastline the show off nature’s beauty, abundant wildlife, and sealife.

Nobody does California the way Monterey does.

“The diversity and depth of Monterey County experiences beckons continual exploration,” said Rob O’Keefe, President and CEO of See Monterey. “With the new year comes another layer of soul-inspiring experiences that are grounded in authenticity. Monterey is the home of the best quintessential California experiences and 2024 offers abounding opportunities that are life-enriching and reinvigorating.”

New things to do in Monterey California

Here’s a glimpse of some new places to stay, dine, and do in Monterey County…be sure to add them to your California bucket list for the Central Coast!

*We added a map at the end of this article with the places mentioned. You can use the link for easy navigation and travel planning on your next trip to Monterey, California.

What’s New, What’s Renovated: Where to Stay in Monterey

luxury hotel room in warm colors-news things to do in monterey ca-renovated hotel

Opening in the heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Stilwell Hotel will offer 42 meticulously designed guest rooms, ocean views, in-room fireplaces ©SeeMonterey

Monterey County has several new hotels and a hostel opening this Spring, 2024:

Monterey Hostel (Monterey) | Opening Spring 2024

Located one block from bustling Lighthouse Avenue, the newly renovated Monterey Hostel will provide an affordable haven for guests while offering travelers educational and conservation opportunities. 

Stilwell Hotel (Carmel-by-the-Sea) | Opening March 2024

Opening in the heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Stilwell will offer 42 meticulously designed guest rooms, ocean views, in-room fireplaces and complimentary breakfast and parking, by Lark Hotels. 

Home2 Suites by Hilton (Marina) | Opening February 2024

A family and pet-friendly accommodation, the 93-room, all-suite hotel is perfect for extended stays and will feature in-suite kitchenettes.

*see map below

CARMEL beach hotel-new things to do in monterey california-hotel stay

A stone’s throw from the beach, Carmel Beach Hotel has 26 guestrooms that span seven historic buildings… ©BONJWING LEE

La Playa Hotel (Carmel-by-the-Sea) | Full Renovation October 2023

Known as The Grand Dame of Carmel,” this historic 74-room hotel underwent a $15 million renovation to enhance the heritage of this former artist retreat built for Angela Ghirardelli. Renovations included all 74 guestrooms, three new one-bedroom suites and over 6,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor space.

Hilton Garden Inn (Monterey) | Full Renovation October 2023

Located in the center of Monterey, Hilton Garden Inn completed a $17 million full renovation, inclusive of all public spaces and common areas, all guest rooms, its pool, bar and restaurant.

Le Petit Pali Ocean Ave & Le Petit Pali 8th Ave (Carmel-by-the-Sea) | Opened July 2023

Two sister properties located two blocks apart, Carmel-by-the-Sea welcomes the newest brand, Le Petit Pali, by Palisociety. Bespoke design is featured at both properties, with 34 rooms at the Ocean Avenue location and 24 rooms at the 8th Avenue location. Guests have access to both properties, each with small luxuries like Champagne breakfast and daily social hours spotlighting beloved local businesses.

Carmel Beach Hotel (Carmel-by-the-Sea) | Opened June 2023

A stone’s throw from the beach, Carmel Beach Hotel has 26 guestrooms that span seven historic buildings, offering ocean views and private decks. The luxury hotel features a guest-only spa and Secoya Restaurant, helmed by Michelin-starred Chef Justin Cogley.

New to Monterey’s Culinary Scene

fresh baked rustic bread on wood cutting board-monterey ca

Otto Kramm will open his first shop in downtown Salinas this spring offering an array of sourdough bread loaves, dinner rolls and pretzels, along with pastries and hot food.    ©Otto’s Bread Co.

Monterey County’s ever-evolving culinary scene is embracing diverse flavors and experiences with a range of new restaurants and bars, each with its own story to tell:

Mainlander’s Tropical Cocktail Lounge (Salinas) | Opening Summer 2024

Located upstairs from the newly opened Live @ Heirloom Pizza Co., Mainlander’s Tropical Cocktail Lounge will offer rum-based drinks in a tropical lounge.

Sweet Reba’s (Salinas) | Opening Summer 2024

Sweet Reba’s, a small Carmel bakery run by a Food Network Cake Wars alum, will expand bringing its beloved sweet treats into Oldtown Salinas. With a larger location, Sweet Reba’s Salinas will offer additional savory items and lunch items to its menu.

Jeju (Carmel-by-the-Sea) | Opening Spring 2024 

Carmel Plaza will welcome Jeju this spring, offering authentic cuisine from South Korea and Jeju Island; meanwhile, enthusiasts can savor a preview at Carmel Burger Bar until Jeju’s full-fledged launch.

Otto’s Bread Company (Salinas) | Opening Spring 2024

Otto Kramm will open his first shop in downtown Salinas this spring offering an array of sourdough bread loaves, dinner rolls and pretzels, along with pastries and hot food.

woman in apron holding a wood charcuterie board with fruits and cheese

Lady & Larder’s co-owners and twin sisters Sarah and Boo Simms return to their roots of Carmel Valley to open the second outpost. Highlighting local produce and cheese.  ©Lady & Larder

Hops and Fog Brewing Company (Pacific Grove) | Opening Spring 2024

Opening in Pacific Grove this spring, Hops and Fog is a brewpub complete with a wood-fired oven.

Solstice (Big Sur) | Opening April 2024

As the flagship restaurant of The Village, Solstice treats every day as the longest day of summer with its celebratory vibe and approachable but inspired cuisine fashioned with the bounty of local produce, fish and game, with a live fire at the hands of Chef Tim Eelman (formerly of Big Sur Bakery, Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn, The Perennial and Aster). 

The Village (Big Sur) | Opening April 2024

Located at the entrance to the Big Sur Valley, alongside the Big Sur River, The Village hosts a trio of progressive hospitality offerings including Big Sur Bodega, Solstice and Word of Mouth Yoga that invite visitors to immerse themselves in Big Sur’s majestic history, inspired flavor and community-centric spirit.

Lady & Larder (Carmel Valley) | Opened December 2023

Los Angeles cheese and sandwich shop, a media darling and beloved by locals and celebrities alike, Lady & Larder’s co-owners and twin sisters Sarah and Boo Simms return to their roots of Carmel Valley to open the second outpost. Highlighting local produce and cheese, charcuterie boards will be available for catering, and a cheese counter, natural wine and sandwiches in-store.

Nicolás Cocina de Herencia (Carmel-by-the-Sea) | Opened November 2023

By Chef/Owner Susana Alvarez of the beloved Villa Azteca in Salinas, Nicolás Cocina de Herencia honors Alvarez’s heritage, serving specialty Michoacán dishes and incorporating three generations of family recipes through an inventive lens. Located in Carmel Plaza, the chic and upscale space is meticulously designed with traditional Mexican elements.

interior of modern wine bar with display case and seating area-new things to do in monterey ca

Bringing a vineyard wine garden into the heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea, The Annex offers local wines by the Folktale Group.  ©Folktale Group

Chalone Vineyard Tasting Room (Carmel-by-the-Sea) | Opened November 2023

Internationally acclaimed after its third place ranking in the 1976 Judgement of Paris, Chalone Vineyard opened its newest tasting room in the Carmel Plaza offering a warm, wood-laden atmosphere. Explore a selection of award-winning wine from Monterey County’s oldest producing vineyard, alongside a caviar pairing or cheeses.

Live @ Heirloom Pizza Co. (Salinas) | Opened October 2023

Specializing in deep dish and thin crust pizzas, Heirloom Pizza Co. brings their coveted pies and late-night dining to the booming Main Street of Salinas, along with a live music venue in a 10,000 sq. ft. art deco space.

Ad Astra (Monterey) | Opened August 2023

Ad Astra Bread Co., prized by locals and restaurateurs, debuted its new headquarters in the heart of downtown Monterey, offering naturally leavened sourdough bread and artisanal baked goods in a 3,000 square-foot space including al fresco dining.

The Annex (Carmel-by-the-Sea) | Opened August 2023

Bringing a vineyard wine garden into the heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea, The Annex offers local wines by the Folktale Group and curated small plates in the new courtyard and interior attached to esteemed Seventh & Dolores restaurant.

Post No Bills (Carmel) | Opened August 2023

The second location of Post No Bills is located at The Barnyard with two patios and a spacious interior with water buffalo couches and beer keg chandeliers. The full kitchen offers pub fare, served late, to accompany the over 14 taps of local brews.

Compact Disco (Monterey) | Opened July 2023

Livening up downtown Monterey is the newest day and nightclub featuring a tropical disco atmosphere, a HiFi listening room by day that is transformed into a discotheque-inspired lounge by night.

New Places to Play in Monterey

treasure hunt ride - new things to do in monterey california

Treasure Hunt: The Ride is a first-of-its-kind story told through an immersive, interactive dark ride about Pirate Captain Hippolyte Bouchard…  ©Sally Dark Rides (Sally Corporation)

Monterey offers a plethora of entertainment for all age ranges, with new attractions this year including:

Tipsy Putt  (Monterey) | Opening February 2024

The indoor mini golf-sports bar is adding a Monterey location steps from Cannery Row, offering local craft beer and wine, casual Mexican food and a variety of interactive games.

Treasure Hunt: The Ride (Monterey) | Opened July 2023

Monterey’s newest entertainment destination, Treasure Hunt: The Ride is a first-of-its-kind story told through an immersive, interactive dark ride about Pirate Captain Hippolyte Bouchard, the only pirate to attack Monterey in 1818. The pirate-themed experience includes competition and excitement as guests ride Cavern Cars together as they seek lost treasure, battle skeleton pirates and evade a mighty kraken. Treasure Hunt: The Ride is Cannery Row’s only theme park ride.

High Scores Arcade (Monterey) | Opened July 2023

An homage to 80s arcade games, High Score Arcade offers over 170 vintage games, from Donkey Kong and Pac-Man to Street Fighter. Unlimited plays with hourly or all-day admission options with canned beer are available.

What Monterey is Celebrating in 2024

Black lab dog at the beach in Venice with golden sunset

Monterey Bay Aquarium reflects on four decades of unparalleled marine conservation, groundbreaking exhibits and transformative public engagement…   ©See Monterey

This year, Monterey County celebrates momentous milestones and anniversaries:

Return of Pebble Beach Food & Wine | April 4-7, 2024

After a four-year hiatus, Pebble Beach Food & Wine returns next spring to bring the country’s most creative epicurean minds to Pebble Beach to showcase their talents for a one-of-a-kind culinary festival.

90th Anniversary of Big Sur River Inn 

Big Sur’s first hotel and restaurant, originally called Apple Pie Inn, is a beloved gathering place nestled in the majestic redwoods alongside the Big Sur River. Locals and visitors alike stop for a riverside stay, provisions at the general store and famed burrito bar, a leisurely lunch at the restaurant or a sit in one of the chairs installed in the river itself.

40th Anniversary of Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium reflects on four decades of unparalleled marine conservation, groundbreaking exhibits and transformative public engagement, solidifying its commitment to oceanic preservation and education.

25th Anniversary of Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program

The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program commemorates a quarter-century of pioneering sustainable seafood initiatives, empowering consumers, chefs and businesses globally to make environmentally responsible choices for a healthier ocean, with its impactful guidelines implemented globally.

65th Anniversary of the Artichoke Festival

California’s official state vegetable has a colorful history: even Norma Jean Mortenson, better known as Marilyn Monroe, was named California’s first honorary Artichoke Queen in 1948. Eleven years later in 1959, the official Artichoke Festival began as a harvest celebration and ode to the region known as the “Artichoke Center of the World,” and today continues to support the heritage of Castroville’s dynamic farming community.

==>Discover U.S. Marine Sanctuary Locations on the West Coast

==>Discover California Lighthouses

Ready for What’s New In Monterey California?

bowl of delicious international food

Carmel Plaza will welcome Jeju this spring, offering authentic cuisine from South Korea and Jeju Island.  ©JeJu

Just reading this list of new things in Monterey California for 2024 should make you excited to visit the Central Coast. 

If you haven’t been there yet, put it on your bucket list and book the first ticket you can. If it’s been a while since you’ve visited the coast, don’t you think it’s time to return? And, if you already live in California…now you have a great excuse for a road trip!

Personally, I’ve added an alert for nonstop flights from here to there so I can experience what’s new in Monterey, California. See you there!

*see map below

 

Save this for later…

Image of Monterey Bay Aquarium with text overlay-24 new things to do in Monterey California

See Monterey, the area’s tourism board, recently released a list of what’s new in Monterey for 2024.