DSH - Salinas Valley: About the Area

Airports | Arts | Attractions | Shopping | Food and Wine | Annual Events | Outdoors | Golf | Guided Tours and Walks

On this page, we will provide information on the many entertainment and cultural opportunities available in the Salinas area. Close to the beautiful Monterey Bay and Carmel Coast, there are myriad recreational options. Home to John Steinbeck, Salinas houses the Steinbeck museum and is steeped in history.

DSH - Salinas Valley seeks dedicated individuals in the professional disciplines of Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychiatric Social Work, Rehabilitation Therapy, Nursing, Dietetics, Pharmacy and Medical Technical Assistants to join the psychiatric program at Department of State Hospitals, Salinas Valley. Please look below for information on the benefits of living and working in this beautiful area.


Arts & Culture

  •  Bach Festival: Held each year from mid-July through early August, the Carmel Bach Festival attracts performers and attendees from around the world.
  • Forest Theater: Founded in 1910, this is the oldest operating outdoor theater west of the Rockies. Live plays and some films are presented through their May through August season.
  • Golden Bough Theater: Home of the 100 year old Pacific Reparatory Theater, a variety of live performances is presented throughout the year.
  • Monterey County Symphony: Often performing at the Sunset Center, the Monterey County Symphony performs throughout the year.
  • Monterey Museum of Art: Dubbed the “best small town museum in the United States," the Monterey Museum of Art is home to works by famed artists Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso and photographer Ansel Adams.
  • Sunset Center: This center for the performing arts recently underwent a $21 million remodel and offers an elegant setting for performances throughout the year.


  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
    One of the top family attractions in the country, the aquarium provides a fascinating journey through our sea life and the conservation of it. Summer hours are 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Winter hours are open 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  The aquarium is open every day of the year except Christmas.
  • National Steinbeck Center
    Located in John Steinbeck’s hometown of Salinas, Calif., a scenic 17-mile drive from Monterey in the heart of Steinbeck Country. The Center offers three distinct visitor experiences in literature and history, agriculture and art, as well special events and educational programs.


Food & Wine

  • Aubergine
    Executive Chef Justin Cogley’s and Executive Pastry Chef Ron Mendoza’s cooking philosophy is built first and foremost on spontaneity. With access to an array of outstanding local products as well as ingredients and artisan purveyors from around the world, Cogley and Mendoza focus on incorporating these elements into their ever-changing menus.
  • Cantinetta Luca
    The popular restaurant offers the pure flavors of an authentic Italian trattoria in a casual, modern setting. Cantinetta Luca’s ingredients are always fresh and seasonal; presentations are rich and rustic. Chef Balestrieri sources the best available ingredients from local farmers, fishmongers and purveyors. Many items on the menu are made in-house including the breads, many cheeses, artisanal salumi and fresh pastas. Specialties include wood-oven baked pizza, as well as a wide array of antipasti, whole fire-roasted fish and grilled meats, served family-style.
  • Carmel Valley
    Renowned vineyards and wineries large and small call Monterey County home. The Valley offers a pleasant country road dotted with tasting rooms and vineyards.
  • Monterey Wine Country
    Approximately 85 vintners and growers call Monterey Wine Country “home”. Monterey County’s lifestyle and wines are defined by the cooling influence of the ocean and especially of Monterey Bay and its very deep marine canyon.
  • Visit SeeMonterey.comor Carmelcalifornia.com for more a complete list of restaurants

Annual Events

  • AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, February 12-15, 2015
    The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is a 72-hole PGA TOUR golf championship dating back to the 1930's when Bing Crosby gathered a few friends to raise money for charity... and have a little fun. Top TOUR professionals team with Hollywood celebrities, world renowned musicians and the captains of industry as they compete for a $6.1 million purse.
  • Pebble Beach Food & Wine
    Enjoy four days of the best in food and wine with an epic epicurean event, Pebble Beach Food and Wine. Over 90 celebrity chefs and over 200 wineries assemble at Pebble Beach to bring you the culinary experience of a lifetime. Enjoy lunches, dinners and wine tastings. Educate yourself with cooking demonstrations. Experience the most legendary grand tasting the California coast has ever seen. And it's all surrounded by the most beautiful scenery in the world.
  • Sea Otter Classic, April 16-18, 2015
    A four-day “Celebration of Cycling” that welcomes nearly 10,000 athletes and 50,000 race fans and other bicycle enthusiasts.  Professional and amateur athletes make the annual pilgrimage to participate in cycling's best competitive events in various mountain and road bike disciplines. Hundreds of pro cyclists, including national and world champions, come to Sea Otter to race, sign autographs, and share their racing techniques with fans.
  • Big Sur International Marathon, April 26, 2015
    The Big Sur Marathon is 26.2 miles of the most beautiful coastline in the world - and, for runners, the most challenging. Named "Best Marathon in North America" by The Ultimate Guide to Marathons, the Big Sur International Marathon continues to sell out earlier and earlier each year and, as a major destination marathon, draws entrants from all over the world. Related marathon-day events include a 21-mile power walk, 5K run, 9-mile walk, 10.6-mile walk, marathon relay, and Just Kids 3K.
  • Monterey Wine Festival, June 6-7, 2014
    With over a thousand wines offered for tasting, wine lovers will find an embarrassment of riches awaiting them at the Monterey Wine Festival.
  • California Rodeo Salinas July 17-20, 2014
    2011 was another successful year for the California Rodeo and 2012 is already shaping up to be even better. There will be trick riders back on the track this July along with 2010 Rodeo Clown Slim Garner who is back by popular demand. The top cowboys and cowgirls will once again converge upon Salinas to compete for our coveted gold & silver buckle. http://www.carodeo.com/
  • Carmel Bach Festival, July 19-August 2, 2014
    Set amidst the stunning architectural and natural landscapes of Carmel, California, the Festival is a 15-day world class celebration of music and ideas inspired by the historical and ongoing influence of Johann Sebastian Bach in the world. The Festival offers a compelling array of rich musical experiences featuring national and international artists in a variety of settings enjoyed by 22,000 attendees each year coming from local, regional, national, and international locales.
  • Concorso Italiano, August 16, 2014
    Celebrate all things Italian with displays of Italian fashion and art and great Italian food and music, as well as over 800 Italian cars.
  • Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, August 14-17, 2014
    Described as a museum springing to life, he Rolex Monterey Motorsports
    Reunion is a cornerstone of the Monterey Peninsula’s Classic Car Week. Approximately 550 vehicles will be accepted to compete in the world’s premier motoring event, based on the car’s authenticity, race provenance and period correctness.
  • Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, August 17, 2014
    A tradition going back over half a century, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance is where the world's collector cars meet and compete. Only the 200 best collector cars in the world roll onto the legendary 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links, and only a handful of those will receive official recognition for style, technical merit and historical accuracy.
  • 57th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, September 19-21, 2014
    The Monterey Jazz Festival is the longest running jazz festival in the world. It is held annually on the 20-acre, oak-studded Monterey Fairgrounds, located at 2000 Fairground Road in Monterey, California. This has been the site of the Festival since its inception in 1958. More than 500 top jazz artists perform throughout the weekend on 9 stages spread throughout the grounds.
  • California International Air Show, September 27 & 28, 2014
    It’s going to be show you and your family don’t want to miss. Put September 23 & 23 on your calendar and bookmark us so you can get your tickets as soon as they go on sale. Find us on Facebook so you know all the details as soon as possible. The California International Air show has become one of the premier Air shows in North America.
  • BLUE Ocean Film Festival is a global film festival and conservation summit for underwater filmmakers and marine researchers. A simultaneous community festival will share the best of the film competition with the public and will include presentations from the filmmakers and scientists who created them. Following the festival, a selection of winning films will tour the world, providing those who may not otherwise have access to these great films a chance to learn more about our oceans. 
  •  6th Annual Carmel Art & Film Festival, October 15-19, 2014
    Contemporary art and independent film collide for five days in Carmel-by-the-Sea during the Carmel Art & Film Festival. The festival features art in almost every medium including music, fine art, photography and, of course, film. Events will be scattered throughout the artist’s haven of Carmel-by-the-Sea with the Sunset Cultural Center as the hub for the event.
  • Big Sur Food & Wine Festival, November 6-9, 2014
    Indulge in fantastic food, great wines and exquisite scenery at the Big Sur Food and Wine Festival. Local restaurants, resorts and wineries from all over California will team up for dinners and tastings that showcase area produce and wines. Proceeds from the event benefit health, safety and educational programs in the area.


  • Big Sur
    Some of the most beautiful coastline views in the world are within this 89 mile stretch of Highway 1.
  • Carmel Beach
    It's locally renowned for good surf and excellent dog-walking conditions, as well as breathtaking sunsets. An annual sandcastle contest is testimony to the quality of the silvery sands, which are punctuated by outcroppings of rock.
  • Hiking
    Coastal and inland trails abound in Monterey County.
  • Horseback riding
    Pebble Beach, Carmel Valley, and Big Sur all offer horse riding trails.
  • Point Lobos Natural Reserve
    This beautiful state park is only three miles south of Carmel. Take a moderate hike around the point and look for coastal sea life, including sea otters, jelly fish, seals and whales.


  • Pebble Beach Golf Links
    Named greatest public golf course in America. Par 72, 6828 total yards. Reservations: 48 hours prior to desired tee time.
  • Links at Spanish Bay
    Scottish style links golf course with rolling hills and deep valleys. Par 72, 6821 total yards. Reservations: six months prior to desired tee time.
  • Spyglass Hill Golf Course
    Spyglass Hill golf course takes its name from Robert Lewis Stevenson’s classic novel, Treasure island, published 1863. Spyglass Golf Course is one of the toughest golf courses in the world from Championship tees. Opened in 1966, Spyglass features two distinctly different kinds of terrain – the first five holes roll through sandy seaside dunes. The following 13 holes are cut through majestic pines and elevated greens. Par 72, 6960 total yards. Reservations: one month prior to desired tee time.
  • Del Monte Golf Course
    Opened in 1897, Del Monte is the oldest course in continuous operation west of the Mississippi. Par 72, 6365 total yards. Reservations: six months prior to desired tee time.
  • Peter Hay Golf Course
    Opened October 1957 Peter Hay is the only public 9-hole par-3 golf course on the Monterey Peninsula.
  • Quail Lodge and Golf Course
    Opened in 1963. Par 71, 6500 yards.
  • Carmel Valley Ranch Golf Course
    Due to Carmel Valley’s unique microclimate, Carmel Valley Ranch Golf Course sees 300 days of sunshine. Signature holes 11 and 13 provide views of the valley below. Par 70, 6234 total yards.
  • Poppy Hills Golf Course
    Zagat Survey ranked Poppy Hills “12th most popular course” in the U.S. Opened in 1986 and is home to the Northern California Golf Association (NCGA). Par 72, 6857 total yards?
  • Rancho Canada
    Rancho Canada presents an outstanding golf club facility with two 18-hole courses that meander back and forth over the Carmel River. These mature venues were once a prized portion of a 4,366 acre California Rancho named, “Canada de la Segunda.” The 6,125 yard East Course is more a matter of skill than of length. The Carmel River comes into play five different times as you negotiate a front nine with holes that start out deceptively open in nature. The 6,357 yard West Course will test your golfing skills. Fairways range from deceptively broad to needle narrow as you traverse the Carmel River three different times. Par 71, East Course 6,125; West Course 6,357.
  • Bayonet and Black Horse
    Bayonet named after the Army's 7th Infantry Division - the first major unit to occupy Fort Ord, as well as the last. The famed Light Fighters (nicknamed the "Bayonet Division") marched for the last time during inactivation ceremonies in 1993 as part of the Base Realignment and Closure Act. Black Horse named in honor of the 11th Cavalry Regiment (nicknamed "Black Horse") which was stationed at the Presidio of Monterey from 1919-1940. Par 72, 6533 yards.

Guided Tours & Walks

  • Carmel Walks
    Discover the special charms of Carmel-by-the-Sea on a 2-hour guided walking tour. Walks are held Tuesday through Saturday at 10:00 a.m. with an additional walk at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.
  • Carmel Mission
    San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission is considered the most authentically restored Franciscan mission, and despite its many events and services, the Carmel Mission's courtyard and gardens are peaceful places to meditate or rest. Self-guided and docent-led tours are available.
  • Monterey Movie Tours
    Since 1897, the dramatic beauty of the Monterey Peninsula has attracted directors and cinematographers from around the world.
  • Historic Monterey
    Self guided tours