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Les's avatar

What are good areas to live in and around Monterey, CA?

Asked by Les (9596 points ) December 29th, 2009

Hello Collective. As some of you older Jellies know, I live in the wild wild west of Wyoming. But, I recently got a job, and will be moving to Monterey, CA. I’ve never really been there before (just a little in San Francisco, but that doesn’t count), and don’t know what the area around Monterey is like.

Where are good communities, apartment complexes, neighborhoods to avoid, etc in and around Monterey?
Thanks for the help.

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13 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

If there are bad areas of Monterey and Pacific Grove, I have never seen them. I’ve never looked for housing there, but I’ve visited many times. It’s such a beautiful place to live, right there on a gorgeous stretch of Pacific coastline, that even a modest frame house on an ordinary street looks desirable to me.

Cotton101's avatar

if money is no object, anywhere on the 17 mile drive!

Judi's avatar

Monterey? It’s ALL GOOD!!!

Cotton101's avatar

@Judi Spent two months in that area in 1989 working the earthquake…and loved it! Wow…beauty has no object there!

Les's avatar

How about Salinas? Good/bad place?

Jeruba's avatar

Plenty of good in Salinas. Different. Farm country, but not without culture and beauty.

rednikki's avatar

Hi, Les!

I live here in Monterey. If you are actually working in Monterey itself, the closest towns are Carmel, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Seaside and Marina.

Carmel, Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove are the highest-priced towns in the area, all west (and sort of south-ish – see a map to see what I mean) of Monterey. They are also more prone to fog than the other towns on the list. Pebble Beach is known for its legendary golf course and multi-million dollar homes. Carmel has these amazing fantasy cottages – it was an artists colony in the 1920s and still is very strong in the arts. Pacific Grove was once a Methodist summer camp (I kid you not!) and has a number of teeny-tiny Victorian cottages. It’s very picturesque. Carmel has a reputation for a more mature population. Pacific Grove tends to be extremely quiet at night.

This recent article from the Telegraph gives some idea of the safety of Carmel and surrounding areas: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/6890726/The-secret-behind-Clints-crime-free-Pacific-paradise.html

Seaside and Marina, both north of Monterey, were the bedroom communities for people tied to the Fort Ord military base. Fort Ord was decommissioned in the ‘90s. A number of the houses for rent there are former military housing (in fact, two friends of mine moved into one of these buildings over the weekend). These towns have a reputation for being more “blue collar” than Pebble, Carmel or PG, with a more ethnically diverse population. The rents here are generally lower.

The tiny town of Sand City is about one square mile in a corner of Seaside; there’s a lot of artists living there.

Monterey is split in half by the Presidio. Old Monterey has the Del Monte Center, the Naval Postgraduate School, and Fisherman’s Wharf, and most of the historic buildings. It shares a border with Seaside. New Monterey shares a border with Pacific Grove and has Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Costs in New Monterey are theoretically lower, but when we moved here we actually found our best deals near the Del Monte Center, so YMMV.

If there is a bad neighborhood in Monterey itself, I don’t know of it. The one piece of advice I would give is, if you plan to drive rather than bike or walk to work, you should live on the same side of the Presidio as you work on. The Presidio is the town’s big traffic choke point; your two choices to get around it are Lightouse and Hwy. 68.

Cotton101's avatar

@Les, seems like you have a great source to give you all the answers you need.

Great answer Rednikki!

Les's avatar

@rednikki: Yay! Thanks for the info. I will probably send you a PM later asking more specific questions. Searching for apartments in a place I have never been is kinda scary.

Thanks all, and keep the suggestions coming.

taffygrrl's avatar

Salinas had the highest number of homicides on record this year:
http://www.thecalifornian.com/article/20091219/NEWS01/912190303/1002

They even had a shooting at a peace vigil:
http://www.thecalifornian.com/article/20091221/NEWS01/912210306/Salinas-peace-vigil-marred-by-shooting

This map will show you all the violent incidents in Monterey and Salinas:
http://www.thecalifornian.com/article/20091221/NEWS01/90807034
As you can see, most of the violence happens east of Highway 101, but there have been two murders right by Hartnell College, which was generally thought to be one of the good neighborhoods.

Also, the commute from there to Monterey is a pain. 68 gets jammed up in the morning and afternoon, and it’s really the only way to get to Monterey.

filmfann's avatar

Congrats on being able to consider living in one of the priceyist and most beautiful areas in the world!
There are no bad areas in Monterey, and Carmel By The Sea and, my favorite, Big Sur are very close.
I doff my chapeau to you!

DominicX's avatar

Carmel Valley.

That’s where my vacation home is. I’m kind of biased, but I have to recommend it. It’s beautiful. :)

I have to agree with @filmfann, though. Having been all over that area, I can say that there are pretty much no bad areas in the Monterrey Peninsula area. It’s one of the most amazing places in California.

tincansailorforever's avatar

I envy you. Monterrey and surrounding areas have great beauty and an endless supply of activities. Have not been there in many years but the “Monterrey Jazz Festival” was Tops!
You’re close to many intriguing areas of the Goldon State. San Francisco is just the beginning. If you’re an oenophile, The California Wine Institute in San Francisco is a ‘Must’.
On Fisherman’s wharf “Scomas” has excellant dining and superb wines. Enjoy!

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