For much of the city's history it was famous for the successful fishery in Monterey Bay. That changed in the 1950s, when the local fishery business collapsed. The famous Cannery Row has now been turned into a tourist attraction, with restaurants and shops in the historical site.
The city is now famous for having one of the largest aquariums in North America, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and for hosting several important marine science laboratories. Monterey's geographic location gives marine scientists access to the deep sea within hours. Just miles off the shores of Monterey is an underwater canyon 2 miles deep.
Other famous tourist attractions nearby:
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 30.4 km² (11.7 mi²). 21.9 km² (8.4 mi²) of it is land and 8.5 km² (3.3 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 28.05% water.
As of the census of 2000, there are 29,674 people, 12,600 households, and 6,476 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,357.5/km² (3,516.9/mi²). There are 13,382 housing units at an average density of 612.2/km² (1,586.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 80.83% White, 2.52% African American, 0.57% Native American, 7.43% Asian, 0.29% Pacific Islander, 3.91% from other races, and 4.45% from two or more races. 10.86% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 12,600 households out of which 21.8% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.5% are married couples living together, 8.4% have a female householder with no husband present, and 48.6% are non-families. 37.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.13 and the average family size is 2.82.
In the city the population is spread out with 16.6% under the age of 18, 13.1% from 18 to 24, 33.8% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 96.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $49,109, and the median income for a family is $58,757. Males have a median income of $40,410 versus $31,258 for females. The per capita income for the city is $27,133. 7.8% of the population and 4.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 6.5% are under the age of 18 and 4.8% are 65 or older.