Monterey Museum of Art: Tips to Visit This Wonderful Art Museum

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

Updated: March 28, 2023

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

The museum has two locations within Monterey, CA.

Monterey Museum of Modern Art

Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

Monterey Museum of Art - Pacific Street

This three-story landmark building in the downtown area houses eight galleries that showcase permanent collections and traveling exhibitions.

The organization's mission is to "engage community with the diversity of California art - past, present, and future." Therefore, you'll find a range of early American and Californian paintings, photography, and contemporary and modern art.

The focus on local artists allows you to explore California's history and landscape through a unique, in-depth lens that spans from 1875 to the present.

This location hosts several events throughout the year, including after-hours access on first Fridays, block parties, and summer art camps for the community. It also offers an art reference library where visitors can read and research during museum hours.

Monterey Museum of Art - La Mirada

The La Mirada galleries sit in an elegant home in one of Monterey's oldest neighborhoods. This beautiful, historic property is less than a mile away from the Pacific Street location.

The building got its start as a modest stone adobe in the Mexican period and was later transformed into a lavish estate that entertained the stars of the silent film industry.

Since this location is only open for special museum events, you'll want to check ahead to see if they're offering a program while you're in town.

If you get the chance to go, you'll find more contemporary galleries and visiting exhibits here than at the downtown location. Make sure you also step outside to enjoy the museum's gorgeous rose garden.

Permanent Collections

Here are just a few more details on the permanent collections you'll find at the Monterey Museum of Art on Pacific Street.

  • Classic 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 Sloan, and Childe Hassam. Other notable artists include Grant Wood, David 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 (miniature sculptures), 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 M. 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, right across from Friendly Plaza and the historic landmarks Colton Hall Museum and Jail. It's easy to get to, and there is free street parking.

The La Mirada location is less than a mile east of the downtown museum at 720 Via Mirada, Monterey, CA. There is complimentary limited on-site parking here.

>> More great Monterey museums to visit

More Fun Things to Do Around Monterey

Museum of Modern Art Pinterest Pin

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?

I would love for you to join me in my private Facebook group

It's a great place to interact with me and others who know the area well.

You can ask questions, get advice for your upcoming stay, and then share your photos and advice with others when you return home. It's a great community and the fastest way to get answers to those nagging questions about your visit!

Come join the fun here!

Monterey Museum Pin

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Exclusive Member of Mediavine Travel

Copyright © 2009-2024 by All rights reserved.

This website does not sell any personal information. (See privacy policy)