23 Best & Fun Things to Do in Salinas (CA)

Are you in search of the best and most fun things to do in Salinas, CA?

Salinas is a city located 12 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean in Monterey County, California, United States.

Known as the largest city in Monterey County, it has a population of one hundred and sixty-three thousand, five hundred and forty-two according to the 2020 census.

The city is blessed with rich soils, making it stand out as one of the agricultural cities in California.

Salinas has many places to visit, some of which include Monterey Bay Equestrian Center, Allen Berg Racing Schools, Salinas Valley Art Gallery, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, and many more.

Are you planning an exploration of Salinas? here are the top things to do in Salinas, CA.

Things to Do in Salinas, CA

1. Toro County Park

Toro County Park
Credits: Sundry Photography / Shutterstock
Toro County Park

Toro County Park is a popular destination for many families who want to come outside and have fun in Salinas.

The park was officially opened to the public in 1971 and stretches to almost five thousand acres with many exciting facilities.

Toro County Park features a pastoral setting making it an excellent place for friends and family to spend time outdoors.

This park features a stunning playground with many play structures for little children to enjoy a great time.

Toro County Park features horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, and two softball fields great for the athletes or those who just want to have fun.

There are more than twenty miles of well-paved routes ideal for horseback riding, mountain biking, and hiking. Toro County Park is a nice place for picnicking and sightseeing as you get a glimpse of coyotes, deer, eagles, and more.

Address: 501 Monterey-Salinas Highway 68, Salinas, CA 93908, United States

2. Maya Cinemas

Maya Cinemas
Credits: PunkToad / Flickr
Maya Cinemas

Are you in for a wonderful movie experience? Add a Maya Cinemas to your list of fun things to do in Salinas, CA, especially with your family and friends.

Maya Cinemas is a nicely designed theater with a seating capacity of one thousand, two hundred seats made with comfortable plush leather.

The theater was established in 2005 and has gone through series of renovations with a 360-degree acoustic system and digital 3D.

Maya Cinemas guarantee patrons a unique movie experience through its large Flat Screen Tvs and highly comfortable seats with a clean environment.

The concessions serve delicious and freshly made popcorn, handmade pizzas, hot dogs, teas, and other nice meals.

Address: 153 Main St, Salinas, CA 93901, United States

3. National Steinbeck Center

National Steinbeck Center
Credits: Stephen Gough / Flickr
National Steinbeck Center

If you’re someone with an open mind and always willing to learn something new, add a visit to National Steinbeck Center to your list of top things to do in Salinas, CA.

National Steinbeck Center was established in 1998 as a non-profit organization committed to promoting the works of John Steinbeck.

Steinbeck is a Nobel Prize winner and a well-known author who wrote several novels and other writings. National Steinbeck Center showcases a wide range of newly released books, artifacts, newspapers, and interviews relating to John Steinbeck.

National Steinbeck Center is focused on inspiring, educating, and giving the people the chance to participate and relate to one another.

The exhibition hall is uniquely designed and gives insight into the places he wrote about, visited, and lived during his lifetime.

National Steinbeck Center is open to all who would like to explore the museum and go through some of John’s popular books and talks.

Address: 1 Main St, Salinas, CA 93901 United States

4. Monterey Bay Equestrian Center

Monterey Bay Equestrian Center
Credits: Igor Normann / Shutterstock

Are you a fan of horseback rides? Add a visit to Monterey Bay Equestrian Center to your checklist of things to do in Salinas, CA.

Monterey Bay Equestrian Center offers the public an exciting experience through rejuvenating horseback rides.

The Equestrian Center was founded in 1981 and offers intriguing horseback rides along the beach in a beautiful horse-drawn carriage.

Monterey Bay Equestrian Center takes visitors along Monterey Bay on amazing rides while enjoying the scenic views.

Whether you are a novice or an expert, these rides are ideal and can last from one hour to 2½ hours, depending on how long you want to go.

Address: 19805 Pesante Road, Salinas, CA 93907, United States

5. Monterey Zoo

Monterey Zoo
Credits: Denise Allison Coyle / Shutterstock

Whether you’re a fan of wildlife or not, visiting Monterey Zoo should be on your list of fun things to do in Salinas, CA.

Monterey Zoo provides a natural setting with a wide variety of wildlife animals and is open to all visitors regardless of their age grade.

You get a chance to come close to many exotic animals that will blow your mind, including alpacas, black bears, zebras, African lions, Bengal tigers, African elephants, camels, and more.

Monterey Zoo offers daily tour of about 60 minutes where visitors are taken on a guided walk through items displayed, while the Pachyderm Tour takes tourists closer to the elephants.

You will find more than one hundred well-trained animals on how to approach strangers. Monterey Zoo is great school field trips as well as educational programs open to kids and adults.

Address: 400 River Road, Salinas, CA 93908, United States

6. Boronda Adobe History Center

Boronda Adobe History Center
Credits: TheJonesy [CC BY-SA 3.0], Wikimedia Commons
Boronda Adobe History Center
The Boronda Adobe History Center is a place every history aficionado will love to visit in Salinas.

The center was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it secures the Spanish Colonial adobe.

This house was formerly the home of Jose Eusebio Boronda, established in 1846; Boronda Adobe History Center is a place you should visit.

You will find a World War II Bataan monument, the little Red Lagunita Schoolhouse, and the Filipino Farm Labor Bunkhouse open for you to explore.

It features the Robert B. Johnson Archival Vault, which houses about a million pieces and more than eighty thousand photographs.

Visiting the Boronda Adobe History Center is one of the best things to do in Salinas, CA for history buffs.

Address: 333 Boronda Rd, Salinas, CA 93907, United States

7. Salinas Sports Complex

Salinas Sports Complex
Credits: Amy Marbach / Flickr
Salinas Sports Complex

Are you an athlete or simply a sports enthusiast? Visiting Salinas Sports Complex is one of the best things to do in Salinas, CA.

Salinas Sports Complex was founded in 1911 as a horse race ground in Sherwood Park; it is currently run as a full-time sports complex.

There are two baseball diamonds, five softball fields, an eighty-stall equestrian barn, and a soccer field open for training.

Salinas Sports Complex is an excellent venue for different kinds of gatherings and community events, mostly festivals and concerts.

This complex is well known as the base of the California Rodeo Salinas, including other occasions like freestyle bullfights, horse shows, the Professional Rodeo, and more.

Salinas Sports Complex is also a venue for numerous social events like cultural shows, beer festivals, garden exhibits, cooking competitions, and more.

Address: 1034 N Main St, Salinas, CA 93906, United States

8.WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
Credits: Gateman1997 [CC BY-SA 3.0], Wikimedia Commons
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca was originally built in 1957 and is currently a 2.2 miles, 11-turn track in Salinas.

The track is just beside the incredible central coast of California; WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca is often referred to as The Corkscrew.

The WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca has a unique combination of the hard-left, hard-right with a 59-feet drop starting with the first turn at the passageway to the second turn at the exit.

This is a place that every outdoor enthusiast will love to spend, and the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca offers you the opportunity to watch many thrilling events like SportsCar Championships, Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey, and Pre-Reunion Races.

Address: 1021 Monterey Salinas Hwy, Salinas, CA 93908 United States

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9. Salinas Fairways Golf Course

Salinas Fairways Golf Course
Credits: photoinnovation / Shutterstock

The Salinas Fairways Golf Course is a popular destination for golf players in Salinas due to how incredibly beautiful and well-designed the golf course is.

It is found in the Salinas Valley, offering picturesque views of its surroundings, including the Galibean Hills and the Pacific Ocean.

The Salinas Fairways Golf Course was constructed in 1957 as a fantastic championship, 18-hole course designed by Jack Fleming, a famous golf course architect.

This golf was listed by Golf Advisor on the ‘Top 10 Value Golf Course’ in the United States due to the well-laid out greens.

The Salinas Fairways Golf Course features several essential facilities like a fantastic practice range and practice green.

There is a full service eatery that serves delicious and healthy meals with delightful beverages. The well-stocked PGA-staffed pro golf store with lots of golf equipment is a must-see.

Salinas Fairways Golf Course hosts a variety of tournaments and events in which everyone can take part and show off their skills.

Address: 45 Skyway Blvd, Salinas, CA 93905, United States

10. Allen Berg Racing Schools

Allen Berg Racing Schools
Credits: Allen Berg Racing Schools / Facebook
Allen Berg Racing Schools

Are you to test your driving skills? Add a visit to Allen Berg Racing Schools to your list of fun things to do in Salinas, CA.

Allen Berg Racing Schools houses the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, a popular race track worldwide.

The track is immensely rich in history and stands out due to its sensational track of approximately 2.238 miles.

Allen Berg Racing School offers you a chance to control the wheel and speed off on the track, characterized by challenging technical corners, fast straights, severe elevation changes, and more.

This location is a haven for drivers and racing fans from around the world who come to try out the popular Corkscrew track.

Address: 1021 Monterey-Salinas Hwy, Salinas, CA 93908, United States

11. Fort Ord National Monument

Fort Ord National Monument
Credits: Zack Frank / Shutterstock
Fort Ord National Monument

A perfect addition to your list of things to do in Salinas, CA is spending the day at the Fort Ord National Monument.

The Fort Ord National Monument is a seven thousand acre park located on what was once the United States Army post.

The Army post was shut down in 1994 and converted into a beautiful park with well-paved trails.

These trails are great for horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking, surrounded by beautiful flora and fauna, including Oak trees and wildflowers.

The Fort Ord National Monument is for visitors who would like to explore the trails according to the rules and regulations; there are different companies that take visitors on a tour around this region, including the areas with restrictions such as the former prison and training structures.

Address: Toro Creek Rd, Salinas, CA 93908 United States

12. First Awakenings

For the foodies, dining at First Awakenings is one of the best things to do in Salinas, CA if you want to enjoy an old-fashioned American dish.

First Awakenings is known for serving delicious meals made using the typical all-American home-cooking techniques.

Every meal served is prepared with high-quality ingredients; the more reason it is always flavorful, fresh, and healthy.

First Awakenings has been in business for more than twenty-five years and has consistently served the people with the best dishes.

One popular food is the Easy Rider sandwiches built with pulled pork, chipotle sauce, walnuts, Asian sesame dressing, and red grapes, which make up the Asian Harvest Salads.

Make sure you also try out homemade Belgian waffles and blue lagoon burger; you won’t regret you did.

Address: 171 Main St, Salinas, CA 93901, United States

13. Tatum’s Garden

Tatum's Garden
Credits: FamVeld / Shutterstock

Tatum’s Garden is a wonderful park built majorly for children with any form of disabilities, well designed to be easily accessible.

This playground was named after Tatum Baker, who suffered from Spina Bifida and was restricted to a wheelchair.

Tatum’s Garden serves as a platform for differently-abled children to play together with other children in a much safer and more exciting setting.

Right in the center of this big playground, you will find a beautiful tree house with play equipment like slides and many others.

Tatum’s Garden is also an excellent place for picnics with several picnic tables; come with your snacks and drinks as you also enjoy the environment.

Address; Tatum’s Garden, 1 Maryal Drive, Salinas, CA 93901 United States

14. Escapee Room Salinas

Escapee Room Salinas
Credits: Reddogs / Shutterstock

Escape Room Salinas is a family-friendly fun center in Salinas consisting of five different rooms, each with a unique theme.

You and your teammates will be locked in a room and given 60 minutes to search for clues, ideas and solve puzzles to help you escape the room in time.

Escape Room Salinas is a place that helps in building and strengthening relationships between spouses, colleagues, friends, and more.

You and your teammates might choose the Spellbound room with the need to destroy the curse of the witch or the Bank Heist, where you get to join a team of detectives.

Escape Room Salinas offers visitors an opportunity to unite and learn new things while also having fun.

The staff is polite and highly knowledgeable about the escape rooms; they teach you all you need to know before playing the game.

Address : 737 S Main St, Salinas, CA 93901-3233 United States

15. Salinas Valley Art Gallery

Salinas Valley Art Gallery
Credits: PhaiApirom / Shutterstock

The Salinas Valley Art Gallery was founded in 1976 and has since become a significant part of the city of Salinas.

This gallery is a forum committed to bringing amazing artworks to the doorstep of both visitors and residents as they get to explore different kinds of art.

The Salinas Valley Art Gallery houses several beautiful sculptures, pottery, photographs, jewelry, glassworks, paintings, textile made by famous artists like Susan Dunklau, Ruth Carroll, Ed Avila, and Ruth Carroll.

This gallery encourages persons from different parts of the world to come and glance through exceptional artworks.

Salinas Valley Art Gallery organizes different types of activities ideal for everyone, like the Salinas First Friday Art Walk, which features a famed artist.

During this visit, guests are allowed to partake and learn about the tales behind some of the artworks and the techniques in making them.

Address: 218 Main St, Salinas, CA 93901, United States

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16. The Steinbeck House

Steinbeck House
Credits: Kit Leong / Shutterstock
Steinbeck House

The Steinbeck House was the original childhood residence of John Steinbeck, where the author was born and raised here.

The house was built in 1888 in a Queen Anne Victorian style, later acquired in 1900 by the Steinbeck Family.

The Steinbeck House features a lovely restaurant open for guests to relax and dine on a delicious meal in any of the rooms where John Steinbeck grew up.

There are innovative tours open to everyone, both adults and children; they get to browse through several artifacts and furniture belonging to the Steinbeck Family.

When you’re done exploring the house, check out the Best Cellar gift shop, where you can shop for beautiful souvenirs and books written by Steinbeck.

Address: 132 Central Avenue, Salinas, CA 93901 United States

17. Elli’s Great American Restaurant

Elli's Great American Restaurant
Credits: Elli’s Great American Restaurant / Facebook
Elli’s Great American Restaurant

Another fun thing to do in Salinas is visiting Elli’s Great American Restaurant, a nice restaurant with a homey feel and beautiful interior.

Elli’s Great American Restaurant is a unique restaurant that offers a comprehensive food menu featuring different cultures and cooking styles.

The meals offered were first prepared by immigrants in Ellis Islands who came from different parts of the world. Elli’s Great American Restaurant uses a variety of recipes passed down from generation to generation.

Elli’s Great American Restaurant prepares every meal from scratch for better tastes and freshness with a twist to it.

They serve bread budding, fish tacos, California Chicken Sandwich, Huevos Rancheros, Blackened Chicken Fettuccine, Enchilada Bowl, strawberry pizza, Mexico City Chilaquiles, steak, Elli’s meatloaf, and more.

Elli’s Great American Restaurant staff is friendly and nice, known for offering the best customer service and ensuring everyone is well satisfied.

Address: 1250 S Main St, Salinas, CA 93901, United States

18. Pessagno Winery

Pessagno Winery
Credits: Vania Zhukevych / Shutterstock

Pessagno Winery is a popular winery well known for producing some of the best wines in Salinas and California.

There is a cozy tasting room that offers visitors a unique experience as they learn and try out the different kinds of wines produced.

Pessagno Winery offers some recently produced collections like the 2013 Pinot Noir, 2012 ‘Due’ Premium Red Blend, and a 2006 sweet Valley Port.

The winery hosts series of events all year round, including the Passagno’s Summer Concert Series, which includes live music performances, drinking of wines, and devouring delicious meals.

Address: 1645 River Rd, Salinas, CA 93908, United States

19. The Farm in Salinas

The Farm in Salinas
Credits: KYONGSOO OH / Shutterstock

The Farm in Salinas is a locally run business in Salinas offering a wide variety of freshly grown and quality farm produce.

The farm also serves as an agricultural education center, offering educational farm tours and other fun activities and events.

The Farm in Salinas grows more than thirty variety of crops, including lettuces, tomatoes, strawberries, pumpkins, and more.

All the various crops planted grow adequately due to the nature of the soil and weather of the Salinas Valley; about eighty different kinds of vegetables and fruits are grown here annually.

The Farm in Salinas offers group tours that last from 45 minutes to about 60 minutes, enough to enlighten the public about Farming in the Salinas Valley.

You can also take a peaceful walk through the fields and a fun hayride, both included in the tour.

The Farm in Salinas allows you to shop for fresh organic produce, including freshly made cookies and pies, as well as soap and kitchen wares from the Farm Store and bakery, respectively.

Address: Exit off Hwy 68, Spreckels Blvd, Salinas, CA 93908, United States

20. Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge

Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge
Credits: elakazal / Shutterstock
Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge

One fun thing to do in Salinas is visiting the Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge with your family and friends for an incredible adventure.

Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge spans three hundred and sixty-seven acres, serving as a wildlife refuge.

This refuge consists of coastal dunes, saline ponds, riparian habitats, beaches, salt marshes, and grasslands.

Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge was opened in 1973, and it features breathtaking flora & fauna and other species exposed to danger.

The National preserve is one of the few number of wetlands remaining on the central California Coast, where you can also find the western snowy plover, the Monterey spineflower, and Smith’s blue butterfly.

Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge is a perfect place for bird watching, especially during the fall and spring migrations.

Address: Salinas, CA 93908, United States

21. Salinas City Barbecue

Salinas City Barbecue
Credits: Alexander Raths / Shutterstock

Salinas City Barbecue is a great barbecue joint that offers deliciously smoked barbecue in Salinas with tastes that will certainly blow your mind.

They use quality and locally sourced meats spiced with flavorful California and Texas-inspired ingredients.

Salinas City Barbecue prepares the barbecue using special techniques in which the meats are smoked slowly for a long period on an oak wood.

This procedure optimizes the taste and flavor of the meats for better enjoyment; Salinas City Barbecue serves mouthwatering pulled pork ribs brisket and potato salad.

Salinas City Barbecue also serves the best baked beans, garlic bread, berry cobbler, Santa Maria tri-tip salad, pork tacos, pulled pork sliders, and more.

Address: 700 W Market St, Salinas, CA 93901, United States

22. California Rodeo Salinas

California Rodeo Salinas
Credits: Henry Zbyszynski / Flickr
California Rodeo Salinas

California Rodeo Salinas is an event that began many decades ago in 1911, 1st of August, in the Salinas Sports Complex.

The rodeo is now held in July, on the third week all year round; it is recognized as the largest outdoor bull-riding show in the whole state.

California Rodeo Salinas attracts visitors from different parts of the country and the world, with more than seven hundred cowgirls and cowboys in participation.

The talented bull-riders come to fight for the prize money of $400, 000. California Rodeo Salinas also hosts additional events, line Kiddue Kapers Parade, cowboy poetry, and a carnival.

One of the event’s major highlights is when participants are awarded for being the best-dressed Cowboys and cowgirls, respectively.

23. Odonata Wines South

Odonata Wines South
Credits: allstars / Shutterstock

An outstanding winery where you try out tasty wines is Odonata Wines South and should be added to your Salinas things to-do list.

Odonata Wines South is a family-owned and operated winery built through the passion of Denis Hoey for winemaking.

The winery owner used ancient techniques when he traveled to Europe from his mentors, combining them with contemporary skills and the best ingredients.

Due to production procedures, every wine produced in Odonata Wines South is characterized by distinctive tastes and quality.

Odonata Wines South produces the wines from scratch, starting with harvesting grapes, fermentation, barrel selection, and aging.

Whenever you visit Salinas, do well to stop by Odonata Wines South, your winery, and try out samples of new products.

Address: 645 River Rd, Salinas, CA 93908, United States

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Plan a Trip to Salinas

Salinas is a great place for nature lovers, history buffs, adventure seekers, and fun lovers because there are plenty of things for everyone irrespective of what they want.

There are lots of fun things to do in Salinas, CA, like watching a movie at Maya Cinema, witnessing California Rodeo Salinas, touring the Steinbeck House, visiting the famous WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, golfing at Salinas Fairways Golf Course, and many more.

Salinas is a city that will exceed your expectations, start planning a trip to Salinas.