Discover Pacific Grove

Pacific Grove has been called “Butterfly Town U.S.A.,” “The Most Romantic City in the U.S.,” “A Dreamy California Destination, ” as well as an idyllic place to get married, to honeymoon or to just hang out. Some of it is self-proclaimed, some the acclaim of people who have actually visited Pacific Grove.

Most recently, VIA magazine (an American Automobile Association publication) dubbed Pacific Grove as the “Best Seaside Sanctuary.”

You will find Pacific Grove on the very tip of the scenic, tree-shrouded Monterey Peninsula with a rocky coastline and an ambience of charm, grace and beauty.  

Founded in the 1870s as a Methodist summer retreat, Pacific Grove still bears the look and feel of yesteryear. The original retreat area remains with homes dating back to the late1800s and early 1900s. Each of the vintage homes – and the newer ones as well – display their individuality. In street after street around town, the homes differ widely in size and architectural style. The downtown looks more at home at the turn of the last century than it does at the start of the new millennium.

As you stroll the residential streets admiring the charm of home after home, you will notice little plaques on many of the homes that bear the name of the original owner and the year in which it was built. Many people ask why the homes have predominantly women attached to them. It is believed that the women of this period were the primary occupants of many of these homes and were responsible for their upkeep while their husbands were away. The homes became associated with the women who were in them and many deeds of ownership were issued to women as the primary occupants of these homes. To quality for a plaque from the Heritage Society of Pacific Grove, a structure must look like it did when it was originally built.

Among the historic buildings in Pacific Grove are stately Victorian mansions that have been converted into bed and breakfast inns.

Annual special events showcase Pacific Grove’s historic homes and bed and breakfast inns, allowing the public to tour the buildings. In addition to the Victorian Home Tour in October and Christmas at the Inns in December, there are other annual events that celebrate Pacific Grove’s history, including Good Old Days in April and the Feast of Lanterns in July.    

Among its visitors are brightly colored orange-and-black Monarch butterflies, who overwinter in Pacific Grove after traveling up to 2,000 miles, arriving by the thousands starting in October, peaking around Christmas and departing by March.

In a remarkable sight, the Monarchs cluster on trees that they have selected, presumably because of the right combination of shelter, elevation, temperature and whatever other atmospheric or geographic factors are to their liking. They look like lush leaves on the tress, fluttering in sunlight. The butterflies gather at the Monarch Grove Sanctuary on Ridge Road, off Lighthouse Avenue.

Besides its scenic beauty and idyllic neighborhoods, Pacific Grove offers an eclectic downtown experience, with small boutiques, gift shops, art galleries, antique stores and more. Other vibrant shopping areas are along Central Avenue at the entrance to Pacific Grove from Cannery Row and at the top of Forest Avenue on Forest Hill.       

For more information, click on the links down the left side of this page, phone the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce office at 831-373-3304, or visit the Tourist Information Center, located at 100 Central Ave. at the entranced to Pacific Grove and is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.