Travel Stories

Monterey: Strolling Cannery Row

Few cities have been so entirely linked to a literary figure as Monterey is with John Steinbeck.

The Nobel Prize-winning author set three of his most popular novels here, including the whimsical Cannery Row, which he wrote after moving back from New York to California in 1944. The title setting for the book was a colorful waterfront lane officially called Ocean View Avenue, whose inhabitants had long included Spanish, Japanese, and Italian fishermen.

Few cities have been so entirely linked to a literary figure as Monterey is with John Steinbeck. The Nobel Prize-winning author set three of his most popular novels here, including the whimsical Cannery Row, which he wrote after moving back from New York to California in 1944. The title setting for the book was a colorful waterfront lane officially called Ocean View Avenue, whose inhabitants had long included Spanish, Japanese, and Italian fishermen.

In 1958, Ocean View Avenue was officially renamed Cannery Row after the bestselling book, and many of the rusting canneries were saved and restored, starting with the Sardine Factory Restaurant in the 1960s. Today, the waterfront is one of the most beloved attractions in California. Steinbeck’s character, Doc, would no doubt have approved that the ocean offshore is now a marine reserve—and also that, if he so chose, he would have little difficulty in finding the ingredients for his beloved Beer Milkshake in the Monterey waterfront bars.