The City of Monterey in Monterey County is located on the southern edge of Monterey Bay, in the Northern Portion of California's Central Coast. It stands at an elevation of 26 feet (8 m) above sea level. The 2010 census recorded a population of 27,810.
Monterey was the capital of Alta California under both Spain and Mexico. It was the only port of entry for taxable goods in California. In 1846 the U.S. flag was raised over the Customs House, and California became part of the United States after the ensuing Mexican - American War.
The city had California's first theater, public building, public library, publicly funded school, printing press, and newspaper. The city and surrounding area have attracted artists since the late 19th century and many celebrated painters and writers have lived there. Until the 1950s, there was an abundant fishery.
Among Monterey's notable present-day attractions are the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, Fisherman's Wharf and the annual Monterey Jazz Festival.
The cornucopia of marine life makes Monterey a popular destination for scuba divers of all abilities ranging from novice to expert. Scuba classes are held at San Carlos State Beach, which has been a favorite with divers since the 1960s. Monterey is home to one of the largest aquariums in North America, namely the Monterey Bay Aquarium, as well as several marine science laboratories, including Hopkins Marine Station.
Monterey is home to several museums and more than thirty carefully preserved historic buildings. Most of these buildings are adobes built in the mid 1800s, many are museums, but only open during Monterey's adobe tour. Adobes and historic structures that are open regularly are the Cooper Molera Adobe, Robert Louis Stevenson House, Casa Serrano, The Perry House, The Customs House, Colton Hall, Mayo Hayes O'Donnell Library and The First Brick House. Monterey boasts a very active art museum, the Monterey Museum of Art and it's annex museum LaMirada, which specializes in Early California Impressionist painting, photography, as well as, Contemporary art. Other youth oriented art attractions include: MY Museum, a children's museum, and YAC, an arts organization for teens.