Monterey Museum of Art: Tips to Visit This & Other Top Museums in Monterey, CA

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by Jill Loeffler  •

Updated: May 23, 2022

A visit to the Monterey Museum of Art offers you the chance to see everything from early California paintings to magnificent photography. During your visit, you will also see contemporary pieces and popular visiting exhibits.

You will find the museum in two locations within Monterey, CA.

Monterey Museum of Modern Art

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Monterey Museum of Art - Pacific Street

This three-story landmark building in the downtown area houses eight galleries. All of the pieces at this location focus on American and early California contemporary art, painting, and photography.

This location also offers an art reference library where visitors can read and research during museum hours.

Monterey Museum of Art - La Mirada

The second location is less than two miles away on a beautiful, historic property. The La Mirada galleries sit in an elegant home in one of Monterey's oldest neighborhoods.

This location features more contemporary galleries and the visiting exhibits. Make sure you also step outside to see the museum's gorgeous rose garden.

Permanent Collections

Here are just a few more details on the permanent collections at the Monterey Museum of Art.

  • American Art: Pieces in this collection include paintings and works on paper from the North American art historical movement of the late 19th century to 1945. Find pieces by Thomas Eakins, John Slone, and Childe Hassam. Other notable artists include Grant Wood, Davis Alfaro Siqueiros, and Rufino Tamayo.
  • Asian Art: This collection includes textiles, woodblock prints, and jade, as well as ceramics from Japan, China, and Korea. Most pieces are modern. Other highlights on display include a selection of Japanese netsuke, 19th and 20th century Chinese snuff bottles, and fan ornaments from the 17th - 19th century.
  • Contemporary Art: Pieces from 1945 to the present, including paintings and works on paper. Many Bay Area artists are represented, including George Abend, Nathan Oliveira, and Joan Savo. The museum also owns pieces from notable artists such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dali.
  • Early California Paintings: Works from 1875 - 1945 that celebrate the Monterey Peninsula's history and this community's influence on the art world. The most notable pieces include works from artists such as Jules Tavernier, Raymond Dabb Yelland, and impressionists E. Charlton Fortune and Evelyn McCormick. Most pieces are from the 1920s and 1930s.
  • Photography: A 19th century collection that features pieces from Carleton Watkins and William Henry Jackson. The 20th century collection features works from artists such as Anne Brigman and John Hagemeyer. Other notable photographers whose works are represented include Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and Garry Winogrand.

Admission, Hours & Locations

Admission fees for the Monterey Museum of Art (Pacific Street location):

  • Adults: $15
  • Students & Active Military w/ ID: Free
  • 18 & Under: Free
  • 50% off on Thursdays for cyclists with their helmets

Admission to La Mirada by appointment only.

Insider's Secret: Before your visit, ask your hotel or look around town for the Monterey Museum of Art pamphlet. On the back, they often feature a 2-for-1 admissions coupon.


These hours are for the Pacific Street location only.

  • Thursday - Sunday: 11 am - 5 pm
  • Monday - Wednesday: Closed

The Monterey Museum of Art closes on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. The museum may be closed for winter break between December 23 to January 2 depending on the year.


The downtown location is at 559 Pacific Street, Monterey, CA. The La Mirada location is at 720 Via Mirada, Monterey, CA.

Other Top Monterey Museums

Although most people talk about the Monterey Museum of Art, this waterfront town also houses several other interesting museums. Many focus on the events that occurred in the area prior to and shortly after the time when California became a part of the United States.

Here is a quick overview of the other top museums you can enjoy during your stay in Monterey.

Colton Hall Museum

Originally built as a school and town hall, its rooms were used by the state's early leaders to draft the first California Constitution in October 1849. Today, you can visit this landmark and see a re-creation of the meeting room used to draft this important document. The Colton Hall Museum also offers a handful of exhibits on the early days of Monterey.

Location: City Hall on Pacific Street between Madison and Jefferson Streets

Hours: Thursday - Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm

Admission: Free

Custom House

The Custom House is the oldest government building in California and is State Historic Landmark #1. In its early years, the government used it as a point of entry into Alta California from Mexico. It's also the location where Commodore John Drake Sloat claimed over 600,000 miles of territory for the US by raising the American flag.

Today, you can walk through this building to see what it looked like in the 1840s and take a look at several artifacts from that time. It's one of the buildings in the Monterey State Historic Park group.

Location: Custom House Plaza near Fisherman's Wharf

Hours: Every day 10 am - 4 pm JILL: The hours of the building are incredibly limited

Admission: Free

First Brick House (Closed website is a 404)

Another museum included as part of the Monterey State Historic Park is the First Brick House. This is where Gallant Dickinson introduced a new, more permanent method of building houses. Prior to 1847, all houses were made of adobe and didn't last long. Gallant built his house out of brick. Stop by to visit his original house and the Monterey history exhibits in the main room.

Location: Heritage Harbor next to the Old Whaling Station

Hours: Everyday 10 am - 4 pm

Admission: Free

Monterey County Youth Museum - MY Museum

If you are traveling with kids, you will want to stop at this hands-on children's museum. Exhibits here include My Build-a-House, My Theater, and My Go-Fore Golf. Each exhibit targets a specific age group so your kids can find an activity that's perfect for them.

Location: 425 Washington Street

Hours: Wednesday - Friday 10 am to 3 pm; Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 5 pm

Admission: Adults $10; Children $10; Children under 2 free

Pacific House Museum

The Pacific House Museum is one of several museums and historic buildings that make up the Monterey State Historic Park. Built in 1847, this Monterey Museum features exhibits that tell the story of Monterey when it was the capital of California under Spanish and Mexican rule. It also houses the Monterey Museum of the American Indian where you will see pottery, baskets, and other Native American artifacts.

Location: Custom House Plaza just south of Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf

Hours: Every day from 10 am to 4 pm JILL: The hours of the building are incredibly limited

Admission: Free

Presidio of Monterey Museum

The Presidio of Monterey Museum houses exhibits featuring the history of military development in the area. It starts with the indigenous period, transitions to the time when Spain and Mexico ruled the area and ends with the present. Due to the area's importance starting in 1902, much of the museum focuses on the development of this Presidio as a training base.

Location: Corporal Ewing Road, Building 113 in Lower Presidio Historic Park

Hours: Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm; Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Day

Admission: Free

Stevenson House & Museum

The final building that makes up the Monterey State Historic Park group is the Stevenson House & Museum. Over the years, this historic adobe building housed artists, writers, fisherman, and government officials. Its most famous resident was writer Robert Louis Stevenson.

At the time, it was a rooming house called the French Hotel. He lived here for a few months in 1879. During his stay in Monterey, he wrote "Old Pacific Capital". Today, you can visit the restored house and see several rooms dedicated to Stevenson.

Location: 530 Houston Street

Hours: Saturday afternoons, and the last Sunday of the month in the summer

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