Steinbeck Center

Steinbeck Center

John Steinbeck

Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck was born and raised in Salinas. His novels East of Eden, Tortilla Flat, Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday are among the stories that depict Monterey County.

John Steinbeck's Books and Monterey County

John Steinbeck's novels reflect his deep-seated roots in Monterey County. He first received attention with a novel set just after World War I in Monterey, titled Tortilla Flat. Uniquely for the time, this book focused on Monterey residents of Mexican descent. His work at ranches and farms in Salinas informed his "California novels" set in the Depression-era farmland of the Central Valley, including Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath.

His friendship with noted marine biologist Ed Ricketts, meanwhile, provided the foundation for his novels Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday, both of which used Monterey's canning industry as their setting. Ricketts was also the driving force behind two of John Steinbeck's non-fiction works, Sea of Cortez: A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research and The Log From the Sea of Cortez, both of which document a research trip Ricketts and Steinbeck took to the Gulf of California in 1940.

The National Steinbeck Center Museum, Salinas

The National Steinbeck Center Museum in Salinas is a tribute to the life and work of Steinbeck. The interactive museum brings his stories to life, and gives visitors a full sensory experience as they walk in the author's footsteps. Recently the museum expanded, adding a wing dedicated to the history of the agricultural industry in the Salinas Valley. It is now a perfect marriage of John Steinbeck's writing and the history of the Salinas Valley's "green gold."

The Steinbeck House

A few blocks away, volunteer docents at The Steinbeck House serve up gracious prix fixe luncheons daily at the author's boyhood home. Reservations are required for lunch, but browsing the gift shop is free.

John Steinbeck and Cannery Row

Cannery Row featured prominently in two of John Steinbeck's most famous novels, Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday. You'll find a bronze bust of John Steinbeck in Cannery Row's Steinbeck Plaza, at Cannery Row and Prescott Avenue in Monterey. Live music is often played at this historic site that once bustled with sardine factory workers, and became the setting for one of John Steinbeck's most colorful novels, Cannery Row. The nearby Spirit of Steinbeck Monterey Wax Museum recreates scenes from California's past, including scenes from Steinbeck's novels. Open 9am-9pm daily.

 

Lay of the Land

click to enlarge map

Lay of the Land

LayoftheLand

VIEW MONTEREY COUNTY MAP

County Map

VIEW DETAILED MAPS

Click on the links for high-resolution maps of Monterey County communities, suitable for printing: Monterey, Carmel and Carmel Valley, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Salinas, Seaside, Marina, Sand City and Moss Landing.

WANT TO GET HERE FAST?

Fly direct from these five airports:
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
McCarran International Airport (LAS)
Phoenix Skyharbor International Airport (PHX)
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
San Diego International Airport (SAN)

x
Sign up for our eNewsletter!
Monterey County's monthly newsletter keeps you up-to-date with upcoming event information, itinerary ideas, occasional contests & more.

more

Free Travel Guide
Get your digital guide now!
Find out everything there is to see and do with the 2015 Official Travel Guide. more

 

Monterey Spotlight
 
 

Featured Events

Apr
18
2015

54th Annual Wildflower Show

Apr. 17-Apr. 19
The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History hosts the 54th annual Wildflower Show…more
Apr
18
2015

Sea Otter Classic

Apr. 16-Apr. 19
A four-day "Celebration of Cycling," the Sea Otter Classic is regarded as…more
Apr
26
2015

Big Sur International Marathon

Apr. 26
The Big Sur Marathon is 26.2 miles of the most beautiful coastline in the world -…more
May
1
2015

TUDOR United SportsCar Championship

May. 1-May. 3
This new series created by the merger between the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series…more
May
1
2015

Wildflower Triathlon

May. 1-May. 3
One of the premier triathlons nationally and internationally, this course will test…more
May
2
2015

The Language Capital of the World Cultural Festival

May. 2-May. 3
Held in the heart of Old Monterey, this inaugural "Language Capital of the…more
May
2
2015

Winemakers' Celebration

May. 2
Over 30 Monterey County wineries from 9 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) will…more
May
10
2015

Mother's Day Brunches in Monterey County

May. 10
Score some points with Mom this Mother's Day and treat her to a fabulous brunch in…more
May
14
2015

Carmel Art Festival

May. 14-May. 17
Carmel-by-the-Sea highlights its artist colony origins with the Carmel Art Festival.…more
May
14
2015

Salinas Valley Fair

May. 14-May. 17
Enjoy the atmosphere of an old-fashioned county fair, complete with carnival,…more
May
15
2015

Monterey Rock n' Rod Festival

May. 15-May. 16
Featuring hundreds of 1975 and older classic and custom hot rods, street rods,…more
May
22
2015

California Roots Music & Arts Festival

May. 22-May. 24
The 6th annual California Roots Music and Arts Festival is a three-day event packed…more
May
23
2015

MayFest Monterey Bay

May. 23-May. 25
This FREE admission 3 DAY FESTIVAL created for the community at large will occur…more
May
30
2015

Artichoke Festival

May. 30-May. 31
In 2015 the Castroville Artichoke Festival will celebrate it's 56th year at the…more
Jun
6
2015

Monterey Wine Festival

Jun. 6-Jun. 7
With hundreds of wines offered for tasting, wine lovers will lfind an embarrassment…more
Jun
6
2015

Spartan Race

Jun. 6
Spartan RaceTM, the global leader in Obstacle Racing since 2005, was designed by…more
Jun
13
2015

Monterey Beer Festival

Jun. 13
The Monterey Beer Festival is celebrating its 14th year. Breweries from across…more
All

Activities

Carmel Valley Wine Discovery

Stonepine Estate
Carmel Valley Wine Discovery 2 Nights in One of Stonepine’s Houses or Cottage…

FREE APPETIZER or 1 HR of POOL

Blue Fin Cafe & Billiards
Choose a FREE APP or 1Hr of Pool with any $20 purchase on selected items *Mention…

Estate Experience

Stonepine Estate
Estate Experience 2 Nights in One of Stonepine’s Houses or Cottage Accommodations …

Enjoy the Wonders of the Wharf VIP Card

Fisherman's Wharf Association
The “Enjoy the Wonders of the Wharf VIP Card and Special Offers Campaign includes a…

Equestrian Encounter

Stonepine Estate
Equestrian Encounter 2 Nights in One of Stonepine’s Houses or Cottage…
All