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National Steinbeck Center

One Main Street, Salinas, CA 93901
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Ranked #2 of 16 attractions in Salinas
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Specialty Museums, Art Museums, History Museums
Activities: Hiking
Description: A celebration and exploration of the well-known author's work through multi-sensory exhibits, priceless artifacts and live theater performances.
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100 reviews from our community

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English first
San Bernardino, California
Top Contributor
161 reviews 161 reviews
70 attraction reviews
199 helpful votes 199 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2014 NEW

We made a point of going from the Monterey area to Salinas to see the Steinbeck Museum. The museum has many interactive features and there are many videos of movies or plays that have adapted his works. The museum give you a complete overview of his works and of the area that influenced his writing career. It is well worth... More

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Sacramento, California
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2014

The National Steinbeck Center leaves no stone or technology unturned when it comes to delivering on Steinbeck's life and writings. From old pictures to videos/films to print media to physical artifacts, the whole experience is a feast for the senses & intellect. One leaves inspired to read the works or to watch the film adaptations of this great American writer.... More

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San Francisco, California
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
10 attraction reviews
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2014

I admit that I didn't read all the John Steinbeck I was supposed to read in school. And what I read, I don't really remember. So I was thinking of this visit as the obligatory cultural stop on my foodie weekend on the Central Coast of California. But I was wrong. I loved the museum and how they used art... More

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Tri Cities, TN
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
11 attraction reviews
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2014

Way back in 1997 I visited the temporary space for the growing number of Steinbeck items that were being collected for the future center. To show up 17 years later to see the National Steinbeck Center was truly an amazing experience. These people have done an excellent job. Reading reviews prior to visiting I was somewhat concerned that The Grapes... More

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Alexandria, Virginia
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
6 attraction reviews
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2014

If you're a Steinbeck fan, this is a must for your Northern/Central California trip! As you know, John Steinbeck based his books on times and places he knew well, and the museum that is part of this center fleshes out his work beautifully. It sets all his books in historical context and fills in a lot of facts from his... More

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Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
17 attraction reviews
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2014

The National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, CA is, in a word, wonderful. The museum contains various exhibits (one is about agriculture in the Salinas Valley, for instance, and another is about the Dust Bowl refugees), but the main gallery, naturally, is about John Steinbeck, one of America's finest writers. I recommend that you begin our visit with the short film... More

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Santa Rosa, California
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
15 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2014

I found the cutouts in the lobby of different workers very interesting, and I was also impressed by the exhibits regarding the Dust bowl and valley agriculture. There was a lot of good information about how hard it had been for minorities to succeed and survive.

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santa fe
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
15 attraction reviews
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2014

They call this the "National" Steinbeck Center, but I'm pretty sure this is a locally funded facility, as they offer a discount to local residents (determined by zipcode). I'd say its a very professionally done interactive type museum, although it seems just a bit over-the-hill. The most interesting thing to me is what is not in the museum, namely, significant... More

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Dallas, Texas
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
11 attraction reviews
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2014

Good museum in Salinas, about a 30 minute drive from Cannery Row in Monterey. Not overly large, and the amount of time it takes depends on how much you read. If you're a Steinbeck fan and in the area, this museum is worth a visit.

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Irvine, CA
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
7 attraction reviews
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2014

This is a small museum but we spent more time there than we expected (we're kind of nerds). I would not recommend for children. It's mostly a lot of reading, not a lot of interactive things although they did have clips of the old movies made from Steinbeck's books. I don't know that I would reroute my trip to include... More

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