Top Historical Landmarks Near Monterey, CA

August 12, 2022
Historical Landmarks in Monterey, CA - Monterey Landscape

Everyone knows you cannot beat Monterey's seaside views, shopping, and dining. But did you know that Monterey was once the capital of California and that Spanish, Mexican, and US flags flew here?

Here's a list of some of the most notable historical landmarks near Monterey, CA. You can make your own tour, or you can book and tour Monterey, CA, with electric scooters for a fun day outdoors.

Top 4 Historical Landmarks Near Monterey, CA

As the first capital city in California, Monterey is bursting with history. Beautiful buildings from the Spanish, Mexican, and US periods are all over town. But, start in Old Town for the best introduction to the area's past.

The Monterey Custom House

old picture of Monterey

If you're looking for a taste of the local history, your first stop should be the Monterey State Historic Park. The state park, located in Old Town Monterey, offers a look at several preserved buildings from when Monterey was the state's capital under Spanish, Mexican, and US military rule.

California's oldest public building is the Custom House, built by Mexico in 1821. Here, ships entering the state would stop paying duties and tariffs on the goods they carried. That meant this lone building was a center for trade for the entire West Coast.

In 1846, the US flag was hoisted over the Custom House, and Commodore John Drake Sloat claimed California for the US.

The Larkin House

The Larking House

The Larkin House is a two-story adobe house built during the Mexican period. Thomas O. Larkin was a powerful figure in Californian politics at the time. He sailed to California from Massachusetts in 1831 and quickly became one of Monterey's most affluent citizens as an importer/exporter. In 1834, he built this house as his first home and his first store.

Larkin worked as a diplomatic agent for the US government and assisted the efforts in California to become a state. The house he built was one of the first two-story residences in the state, and the colonial style and use of local materials soon became the local standard. It became known as Monterey Colonial.

Carmel Mission

Properly called the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rico Carmelo, the Carmel Mission is five miles south of the Carmel River. Padre Serra moved it here for the water and farmland--and to get distance from the military in Monterey.

The original wooden church was replaced by the adobe structure that stands today, which was dedicated in 1797. The mission is still an active parish and a school, with a museum worth checking out.

San Carlos Cathedral, The Royal Presidio Chapel

San Carlos Cathedral, The Royal Presidio Chapel

Inside the original Presidio from Spanish times is the oldest church in all of California. The San Carlos Cathedral was built in 1794. This is the first mission that Padre Serra built in Monterey before building the Carmel Mission.

Today, the cathedral still stands proud. It is the only surviving building from Monterey's original Spanish Royal Presidio. It is the oldest stone building in the state and one of the earliest that an architect designed. And it's still an active parish and has recently been restored to its original glory.

Find Something Old and Something New in Monterey

Monterey has so much to offer beyond the seaside views and amazing beaches. The history and culture of the area are fascinating, so dedicate a little time of your visit to check out some of these great historical landmarks.


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