Salinas, California - Steinbeck Country Photos & Info

Located 9 miles inland from Monterey Bay's beaches and golf courses, Salinas (pronounced sah-lee-nahs) Valley sits between the Gabilan and Santa Lucia mountain ranges and received it's title as "Valley of the World" from famed author and native, John Steinbeck.


The city paid tribute to this literary legend in 1998 with a grand opening of the National Steinbeck Center located on Main Street. Home to a $2 billion agriculture industry supplying 80% of the nation's lettuce and artichokes, other crops such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, flowers and wine grapes are also produced in abundance here. 


Gourmet dining and docent-guided tours are just a few steps from the Center at the Steinbeck House, John Steinbeckk's boyhood home.  The city offers many other choices for fine dining as well,  such as the Salinas Valley Fish House pictured.


The secret to the fabulous tasting gourmet meals served in restaurants locally and on the nearby Carmel and Monterey coast, comes from the freshness of the food supply.  If you live in the large cities of the United States and have grown accustomed to grocery store produce, it's easy to forget that vegetables can taste so appealing. 


The residents of  Salinas are determined to preserve the local farm economy, despite enormous pressure from developers. Monterey County has some of the highest housing costs in the country. Long popular with tourists and wealthy retirees, the area has also begun to attract commuters from Silicon Valley. Agricultural land that currently sells for $20,000 an acre could be sold for many times that amount if it were rezoned: there are fields full of lettuce, grapes and strawberries overlooking the Pacific Ocean. 


The Spanish influence is predominant in a city with migrant and full time farm laborers who work these fields year round. In striking contrast to the lifestyle "over the hill" on the wealthy coast, life in the valley is modest, generally speaking.  It's not unusual to see some locals sleeping under a tree near the downtown Salinas region or filling the parking lot of the nearby bus station for journeys to other places.  You might also enjoy a strolling troubadour who sings  Spanish love songs for passers by on Main Street. 


More "down to earth" than some neighboring communities, Salinas is every bit as charming with stately and ornate buildings which are home to antique stores, restaurants, shops and banks.  While visiting the Steinbeck Center, take a stroll down the street to enjoy century-old architecture in Oldtown district.


Other items of interest in Salinas include: California Rodeo, California International Air Show, Cherry's Jubilee Classic Car Show, Salinas Valley Salad Days, Salsa Festival, El Grito Festival and Steinbeck Festival.

Steinbeck Center

"Valley of the World" in Monterey County   (831) 424-7611 

salinas downtown buildings
salinas downtown buildings