Monterey Jazz Festival Pro Tips

Monterey Jazz Festival Guide
Photo by Kazuho Okui

One of the premier jazz events on the West Coast, the Monterey Jazz Festival brings some of the genre’s biggest names to the small coastal city of Monterey, California. So that you can enjoy the world-class music and take in the best of Monterey, we’ve created a list of festival pro tips that will help you find your way.

(Read: Monterey Jazz Festival Event Guide)

1. Check out the Bay

The Monterey Bay is world famous for its incredible diversity of marine life. The deep water canyon in the bay and the upwelling of nutrient-rich cold water supports an ecosystem that includes everything from sea otters to great white sharks to Blue Whales. Whale watching trips are a great way to see it all.

2. Or just the aquarium

If you’re not the seafaring type, you can check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is widely recognized as one of the best aquariums in the world.

3. Study the festival lineup

Monterey Jazz Festival ticket options are plentiful. So study the festival lineup to know when your favorites take the stage.

4. Use the shuttle

Shuttles run between the festival and Monterey Peninsula College every five to ten minutes. A weekend parking pass at Monterey Peninsula costs $45 compared to the $100 pass at the festival venue itself.

5. Cannery Row

The street famous for providing the setting and lending its name to John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, this landmark is a must-see for visitors. After checking out the old canneries, you can stop at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. or Lalla Oceanside Grill for fresh seafood.

6. Be ready to adapt the weather  

Weather can change rapidly in Monterey. It may be foggy one moment and then the sun might break through. Plan accordingly.

7. Eat up

From local beers and wines to BBQ ribs, the food vendors come out in numbers. The festival is much better on a full stomach.

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