Welcome to the Steinbeck District!

The historic center for arts, culture and cuisine in Salinas.


Stroll along any street in Downtown Salinas to discover the many treasures – some hidden, some in plain sight – hip art, eclectic boutiques, jewelry, music, fashion, shoes, antiques, gifts, books, records, furniture, wine and even trophies, barbers and a tailor. Be sure to pamper yourself with facials, reflexology, massage, nails and hair during your visit! 


No matter what you are hungry for, we have the place for you to relax and recharge. Downtown Salinas is known for its world-class, locally-owned dining spots.  From our historic steakhouse to seafood to Italian, sushi to Mexican to Mediterranean, California cuisine to delis and bakeries. We even have great bar food!


Live music, cinema, theater, art galleries, and museums line the streets, and on the 1st Friday of every month there’s an Art Walk!  Don’t forget to ask for local wine (viticulture counts!) – our Santa Lucia Highlands are famous for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  See our event calendar for more info.

Downtown is the still the historic center for arts,culture, and cuisine in Salinas – visit us soon!

About Downtown Salinas

Founded quite by accident: a lumber wagon bound for construction of a stage stop broke down and the driver decided to build the structure right on the spot “at the bend in the slough” where the Taylor Building sits now.  It was the intersection of the El Camino Real, the King’s Road, and the road connecting Monterey with San Juan Bautista.

As with many crossroads, a town built up around the stage stop and the rest is history.  Salinas City was incorporated in 1874, then never looked back. Salinas is most famous as the birthplace and childhood home of Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck.  Also known as the “Salad Bowl of the World” a phrase coined by hoteliers, the Cominos brothers. – whose hotel sat at the very spot where Salinas was founded – now the Taylor Building.

What is the Steinbeck District?

The Steinbeck District is a Cultural District, an area of Downtown Salinas made famous by local author and Nobel Prize winner, John Steinbeck, through his writings. His boyhood home and birthplace are here, as is the National Steinbeck Center, a museum dedicated to his life and writing and he is buried just a mile from the Salinas’ Downtown core.

Although Steinbeck took many of his characters and story ideas from his youthful experiences growing up in Salinas, two works stand out as featuring the downtown area: “East of Eden” and “Always Something to do in Salinas”, collected in the book, “America and Americans”. A visit to the Steinbeck Cultural District is a step back in time and literature.

The Steinbeck District is also a 501c(3) not-for-profit public benefit organization comprised of business people and residents of Downtown Salinas. We encourage tourism, local visitation, and produce monthly events which keep our guests coming back again and again. Our cool, hip, and historic downtown is vibrant and fun – and we want it shine even more on the global stage!

Why was it formed?

A group of local professionals, residents, and landlords wanted to provide a comprehensive marketing program, as well as address beautification, cleanliness, parking, and other important concerns in our beautiful downtown. We are governed by a five-member board of directors: Jay Cohen, Yesenia Navarro, Ruth McWherter, Trish Triumpho Sullivan, and Paul Wilcox are the founding board members.

How is it funded?

Our funding is through tax deductible donations, sponsorships, grants and bequests. Anyone can contribute towards improving our downtown – after all, it is the heart of our community – the historic center for arts, culture and cuisine in Salinas.

How can I get involved

We encourage volunteers to be on committees and task forces to accomplish our goals.

Monthly events such as the 1st Fridays Art Walk, 3rd Thursdays Music, 2nd Saturdays Family Day, Wine Down Wednesdays on the 4th Wednesday of the month, and annual events like Small Business Saturday, Downtown Trick or Treat, Downtown Easter Hop, Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), and more all could use a volunteer or two – contact information is below – climb on board help make our downtown even more awesome!


Downtown Visitor Center, 222 Main Street, Downtown Salinas, CA 93901

Trish Triumpho Sullivan, Board President