The City of Monterey in Monterey County is located on the southern edge of Monterey Bay, on Central California's Pacific coast. It stands at an elevation of 26 feet (8 m) above sea level, on a land area of 8.466 sq mi (21.927 km²). The 2010 census recorded a population of 27,810.
Monterey was the capital of Alta California under both Spain and Mexico. It was the only port of entry for taxable goods in California. In 1846 the U.S. flag was raised over the Customs House, and California became part of the United States after the ensuing Mexican-American War.
The city had California's first theatre, public building, public library, publicly funded school, printing press, and newspaper. The city and surrounding area have attracted artists since the late 19th century and many celebrated painters and writers have lived there. Until the 1950s, there was an abundant fishery.
The climate of Monterey is regulated by its proximity to the Pacific Ocean resulting in a cool-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csb). Monterey's average high temperature ranges from around 16 °C (61 °F) in winter to 22 °C (72 °F) during the summer months. Average annual precipitation is around 19.5 inches (500 mm), with most rainfall occurring between October and April, with little to no precipitation falling during the summer months. There is an average of 70 days with measurable precipitation annually. Summers in Monterey are often cool and foggy.
During winter, snow occasionally falls in the higher elevations of the Santa Lucia Mountains and Gabilan Mountains that overlook Monterey, but snow in Monterey itself is extremely rare. A few unusual events in January 1962, February 1976, and December 1997 brought a light coating of snow to Monterey. In March 2006, a total of 3.2 inches (81 mm) fell in Monterey, including 2.2 inches (56 mm) on March 10, 2006. The snowfall on January 21, 1962, of 1.5 inches (38 mm), is remembered for delaying the Bing Crosby golf tournament in nearby Pebble Beach.
The record lowest temperature was 20 °F (−7 °C) on December 22, 1990. Annually, there are an average of 2.9 days with 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs, and an average of 2 days with lows reaching the freezing mark or lower.