What to do in Monterey in January 2024

Why you should visit Monterey in January

Monterey, California, offers a delightful experience in January, making it an ideal destination for travelers seeking a serene and picturesque getaway. With fewer crowds and pleasant weather, visitors can indulge in the region’s natural beauty and captivating attractions without the usual hustle and bustle. Additionally, January in Monterey provides the perfect setting for those looking to explore the city’s cultural, culinary, and outdoor offerings at a leisurely pace.

Monterey Weather in January

January brings comfortable weather to Monterey, with average temperatures ranging from 45°F to 59°F (7°C to 15°C). While the mornings and evenings might be crisp, the afternoons are usually mild, making it an excellent time to enjoy outdoor activities in the region. Visitors can expect occasional rainfall, so it’s advisable to pack a light waterproof jacket and comfortable walking shoes to explore the diverse landscapes of Monterey.

Monterey Events in January

Whale Watching Tours

January marks the peak of the gray whale migration season along the California coast. Numerous tour companies offer excursions to witness these majestic creatures as they journey south to the warm breeding grounds, presenting an unforgettable opportunity for nature enthusiasts. Be sure to book a whale watching tour for an awe-inspiring experience in the open waters.

Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Jazz Festival

Music aficionados visiting in January can immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of the Next Generation Jazz Festival, showcasing talented young jazz musicians from across the country. This event features performances, competitions, and workshops, offering a unique insight into the future of jazz music.

First Night Monterey

First Night Monterey is a renowned New Year’s Eve celebration that extends into the early hours of January 1st, with local artists, performances, and a colorful parade. This family-friendly event creates a joyful atmosphere, welcoming the new year with live music, interactive art installations, and a spectacular fireworks display, making it an ideal way to kick start the month of January in Monterey.

Monterey’s top places to visit in January

Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a captivating destination throughout the year and provides a fascinating indoor experience, making it an excellent option for days when the weather may not be conducive to outdoor activities. Visitors can marvel at the diverse marine life and immersive exhibits, which offer a mesmerizing insight into the world beneath the ocean’s surface.

Old Fisherman’s Wharf

Exploring Old Fisherman’s Wharf in January offers a unique perspective, as the diverse seafood restaurants and charming shops exude a relaxed ambiance. Strolling along the wharf and indulging in gourmet seafood dishes while enjoying the stunning views of the bay is an experience not to be missed.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

January presents an excellent opportunity to visit Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, renowned for its breathtaking coastal scenery, diverse hiking trails, and picturesque coves. The reserve’s tranquility allows visitors to immerse themselves in the stunning natural surroundings and observe the rich marine life that thrives in its protected waters.


Venturing to the nearby town of Carmel-by-the-Sea during January offers a serene escape. This quaint and picturesque destination boasts charming streets lined with art galleries, boutique shops, and cozy cafes, providing an ideal setting for leisurely exploration and relaxation.

Big Sur

Exploring the dramatic cliffs and rugged coastline of Big Sur in January is a breathtaking experience, as the natural beauty of this iconic stretch of California’s coastline remains awe-inspiring regardless of the season. Visitors can embark on scenic drives, discover hidden beaches, and revel in the sheer grandeur of the landscape.

17-Mile Drive

The 17-Mile Drive offers a scenic route through the picturesque Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove, showcasing iconic landmarks and stunning coastal vistas. January’s tranquil atmosphere provides an excellent opportunity for a leisurely drive, with ample photo opportunities and panoramic views that are sure to captivate all who embark on this iconic journey.

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