It stands at an elevation of 26 feet (8 m) above sea level, on a land area of 8.466 sq mi (21.93 km2). The 2010 census recorded a population of 27,810. Monterey had a big herring industry, which went bust because of overfishing. Cannery Row in Monterey was where the fish were packaged.
Cannery Row was the setting of John Steinbeck's novels Cannery Row (1945) and Sweet Thursday (1954). Both were the basis for the 1982 movie Cannery Row, starring Nick Nolte and Debra Winger. It is also mentioned in Bob Dylan's song "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands". Sea otters still dive for abalone shellfish
Pacific Biological Laboratories, a biological supply house, was located at 800 Ocean View Avenue (now 800 Cannery Row) from 1928 to 1948. It was operated by Edward F. Ricketts. He was the inspiration for several characters in Steinbeck novels. The laboratory is still preserved.
There is a variety of natural habitats in Monterey: the closed-cone pine forest has pines whose cones only open after a fire (this is called "seroteny"). The idea is that the seeds drop onto ground with few occupants, so have the best chance of developing into trees. Coast live oaks often grow nearby.