Location: Off Del Monte Avenue and Figueroa Street, Monterey
Fisherman's Wharf is a place to get a candy apple, a free sample of hot clam chowder, a Monterey sweatshirt, a fresh-fish dinner, a boat charter, all against a picturesque backdrop. But close your eyes, take a deep breath of the salty air, listen for the sounds of sea gulls and sea lions, and you might be able to step back in time to the historic version of Fisherman's Wharf.
According to a history put together by the Fisherman's Wharf Association, it took shape in 1870, when the Pacific Coast Steamship Co. built a wharf for passenger and freight service. By 1913, about the time the structure actually became known as Fisherman's Wharf, traffic had grown enough that the city of Monterey assumed ownership to make sure it was kept in good repair.
By 1920, it was home to nearly 20 fish outlets, warehouses, a marine service station, a restaurant, and an abalone shell grinding business, cementing its place as the focal point of the area economy. Traffic continued to grow so much that the city built a cargo wharf, Municipal Wharf No. 2, in 1926. The conversion from working wharf to visitor attraction began after World War II as the sardines began to disappear. Businesses aimed at replacing the fish trade with the tourist trade began springing up. By 1956, wharf tenants included restaurants, gift and candy shops, a theater, an aquarium, boat rental businesses, fish markets, marine machine shops and a marine service station, according to the association. That kind of mix remains today, while nearby Wharf No.