15 Best Things to Do in Salinas, CA

Salinas, CA
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Nestled in the county seat of Monterey is the bustling city of Salinas that continues to charm visitors for its rustic atmosphere.

Salinas City is the gateway to many historical explorations.

Explore a plethora of outdoor recreation spaces like parks, indoor entertainment centers, and so on, that will truly delight the whole family.

Shop and dine with the eclectic combination of historic establishments in Oldtown Salinas, which serves as the community hub of the city.

If you're planning a trip to this charming city in Monterey County soon, read on for the 15 best things to do in Salinas!

See the Works and Life of John Steinbeck at the National Steinbeck Center

National Steinbeck Center
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If you enjoy going on educational trips where you can immerse and engage in fascinating exhibits, then head out to the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas.

The museum is dedicated to commemorating the life and works of the American author John Steinbeck, who grew up in Salinas.

The National Steinbeck Center is home to a collection of artifacts and archives related to the creative life of the giant of American letters.

Front View of National Steinbeck Center
Kingofthedead, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can walk through the interactive museum where you can learn a lot about John Steinbeck and Salinas, the land he called home.

If you're visiting with the youngsters, you can let them have their time doing the activities for young visitors while the adults immerse themselves in the museum.

Make sure to visit the National Steinbeck Center for an enjoyable yet educational day of exploration at the museum.

Spend a Fun-filled Day at Tatum's Garden

If you're visiting Salinas with the youngsters, a trip to Tatum's Garden is a must!

This charming park in Salinas boasts an expansive play area where all kids of all ages and abilities can have the best time.

Tatum's Garden is named after Tatum Bakker, whose parents are the visionary in bringing a fully inclusive and accessible play area into the city.

This play park makes for an idyllic bonding time for families with younger kids to spend hours of interactive play.

Don't forget to bring some snacks and drinks for the tots and let them play for hours on end in this expansive play park in Salinas.

Go on a Nature Walk at Natividad Creek Park

A trip to the Natividad Creek Park makes for an idyllic outdoor bonding trip with the entire family.

The park features walking trails that will take you through lush greeneries, where you can see a variety of native plants and wildlife thriving in the city.

Don't forget to pack some snacks and set up a BBQ lunch out at the picnic area while enjoying the blow of fresh air.

The park also features a playground and ball courts to delight the youngsters if you're visiting the park with the entire family.

Stop by this expansive park in Salinas for a laid-back outdoor trip on your weekend getaway.

Shop for the Freshest Produce and Learn about Local Farming at The Farm

The Farm
David A Litman / shutterstock.com

Spend a vibrant day surrounded by the fascinating sight of planted crops with the panoramic sight of the mountains at The Farm in Salinas.

The Farm is an agricultural education center, and the local farming area is located on the outskirts of Salinas.

Shop for the freshest organic produce grown at The Farm's store and delight your taste buds with their selection of hearty pies from their bakery.

The Farm
Guntsoophack Yuktahnon / shutterstock.com

The Farm also organizes tours and special family activities for a fun experience on this charming farm in California.

Make sure to stop by at The Farm, and don't forget to bring home the freshest produce for a healthy snack.

Be Fascinated with the Mechanism of Trains at Monterey and Salinas Valley Railroad Museum

Are you obsessed with the mechanism of trains and all things railroading?

Then stop by and marvel at the fascinating railroad exhibits at the Monterey and Salinas Valley Railroad Museum.

This train museum showcases all things about trains ranging from railroad history, photographs of old trains, model trains, and more!

A visit to this interactive train museum offers plenty of interesting stuff you can do like blow the train horn, ring the bell, manipulate the model train, and more!

Don’t forget to bring your curiosity and learn lots of train facts at the Monterey and Salinas Valley Railroad that will truly delight both the young and the young at heart.

The best way to get a glimpse of the rich culture of a city you've never been to before is to see its locals' artistic works.

Marvel on the fascinating works of art made by Salinas Valley and Steinbeck County artists at the Salinas Valley Art Gallery.

The gallery showcases a range of artworks in different mediums like fine art paintings, photography, handmade crafts, pottery, and more!

This quaint gallery in Salinas is an abode for artists and art enthusiasts to channel their artistic gifts.

Don't miss out on a fascinating glimpse of the city's art scene, so visit the Salinas Valley Art Gallery.

Hang Out with the Family at El Dorado Park

Are you looking for the perfect spot in Salinas where you can hang out and get active?

Head out for a fun day at the vibrant El Dorado Park features a play area, sports courts, playing fields, and a walking path for a day brimming with fun activities.

Don't also forget to pack some snacks paired with cold drinks and have a picnic in the dedicated picnic areas of the park.

An afternoon spent at El Dorado Park makes for a chill family bonding time in the city.

Stop by and get active in this expansive park for a fun picnic get-together with the family on your trip to Salinas.

Visit the First Mayor’s House of Salinas City

First Mayor’s House of Salinas City
Sully art at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This charming house located along East Ronnie Place is a must-visit for the history buffs!

The First Mayor's House is the oldest home in Salinas that has been standing for over 1000 years.

This old house served as the family home to the Harvey-Baker family, and the house now serves as a history, art, and cultural center for the community.

This quaint home is preserved to showcase the rich historical background of Salinas up to its development in modern times.

This little historical gem in Salinas features all the original furnishings and historical items that fill the rooms of the home.

A visit to the First Mayor's House will take you back in time where you can delve deeper into the history of the city.

Test Your Lucky Stars at Bankers Casino

If you're feeling a bit lucky and you want to splurge some of your disposable cash for some winnings, head out for a night of games at the Bankers Casino.

Enjoy the premiere gaming experience at Bankers Casino, where you can play Texas Hold’em and Omaha Hi-Low Split Poker games along with plenty of Vegas-style games.

Find a comfortable seat, get betting, and be elated as you count your game winnings from the casino.

After cashing in your winnings, don't forget to enjoy a hearty late-night grub paired with a relaxing drink from the restaurant.

Don't miss out on a fun night surrounded by the buzzing atmosphere at the casino if you're looking to kill some time on your trip to Salinas.

Take Down the Pins at Valley Center Bowl

Nothing compares to the classic family entertainment offered by the Valley Center Bowl.

The Valley Center Bowl features 30 bowling lanes with an animated scoring to test your skills and enjoy a bit of competition with your friends and family.

Aside from bowling, you'll surely have the best time in their arcade where you can win lots of prizes or play billiards with the family.

Get an energy boost from their bar and grill, where you can get some delightful grubs while hanging out with the family and watching sports games on the big screen.

This fun indoor family-entertainment center will keep your trip to Salinas brimming with fun activities whatever the weather!

Meet the Animals at Monterey Zoo

Nothing beats the classic family-friendly adventure at a zoo where you can get an up-close interaction with the animals.

Check out the Monterey Zoo of Salinas to meet a wide array of wild and exotic animals that are well taken care of.

This quaint zoo in Salinas is dedicated to rehabilitating and protecting majestic animals.

Monterey Zoo also offers educational programs to educate all visitors about the welfare of animals.

A trip to Monterey Zoo makes for a unique adventure with the animals, and you'll also be supporting their cause for the protection of animals.

Shop and Dine at Oldtown Salinas

Oldtown Salinas
James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

A trip to Salinas wouldn't be complete without strolling through the historic Oldtown Salinas, where you can shop, stroll, and dine.

Oldtown Salinas is the shopping and community hub of the city where you can connect with the community.

A casual stroll through Oldtown Salinas will give you a glimpse of the rich history and culture of the city, where you can see the combination of historical buildings and contemporary structures.

Whether you're looking for something trendy, quirky, or unique, you can scour through the shops that line the main street, which offers a variety of items for all your needs!

After your tiring shopping spree and a casual stroll through the main street, get your grubs from the amazing restaurants and hang out at the cozy coffee shop to relax.

Tee Off at Salinas Fairways Golf Course

Is your definition of a well-spent day swinging your golf club on well-manicured fairways?

Then head out for a tee time at the Salinas Fairways Golf Course to fill your day with a chill game.

This municipal golf course in Salinas is perfect for golfers of all skill levels; whether you're a beginner or a pro golfer, you'll surely enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the place.

The expansive fairways boast smooth greens with a windy challenge due to the weather in the area and some sand traps to amp up your game.

After your tiring round of golf, you can stop by the cafe to get some delightful snacks and cold beverages for an energy boost.

Don’t forget to book your tee time at Salinas Fairways Golf Course and enjoy a fun day of golfing with the marvelous sight of the city.

Sip and Swirl the Finest Wines from Odonata Wines

Are you looking for a charming, rustic place where you can enjoy a sip of the finest wines from California?

Check out the Odonata Wines located along River Road, which offers Nouveau-style wines made with a blend of old and new-world techniques.

This winery in Salinas is dedicated to making high-quality wines from organic and sustainably-grown grapes from local vineyards.

Whether you're looking for something sweet and rounded, rich and complex flavors or an oaky character, the Odonata Wines have a wide selection of wines to delight your taste.

Aside from the finest wine tasting experience in Odonata Wines, you'll surely be relaxed with the rustic setting of this winery in Salinas.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Hit the Salinas River State Beach

A trip to Monterey County in California wouldn't be complete without hitting up the beach.

Bask under the sun and enjoy a walk along the white dunes of Salinas River State Beach, located just 20 minutes away outside of Salinas.

The Salinas River State Beach is the perfect spot for fishing, birdwatching, surfing, and relaxation.

Have a picnic by the beach while enjoying the relaxing sight and sound of water crashing through the shore.

A trip to Salinas River State Beach is a must if you're looking for the perfect escapade from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Final Thoughts

A weekend getaway to Salinas is a memorable experience brimming with exciting activities, thrilling adventures, and educational experiences.

Don’t forget to reference this list if you’re planning a trip to the charming city of Salinas soon!

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