Start with one of the museums, such as Pacific House, where the exhibitions begin with Native American village life in the Monterey Museum of the American Indian and continue up to days when the city served as the capital of Spanish and Mexican California. Pacific House is a cornerstone of Monterey State Historic Park; across the spacious plaza from it stands the Maritime Museum of Monterey, surveying every aspect of the region's relationship to life on the ocean wave, and Custom House, where a typical day's goods from ports around the world await inspection...
Pacific House is also a great starting point for a walk along the Path of History, a somewhat circular route laid out by the Monterey History & Art Association and marked by brown and yellow round disks in the sidewalks of Old Monterey. Along the route: the Presidio of Monterey Museum, Colton Hall, first civic building of the American period and site of California's constitutional convention, plus dozens of handsomely restored adobe buildings of all periods.
Two additional if more specialized sources of information on Monterey's history can be found at the City of Monterey's website. The Cemetery Historic Tour page details the final resting places of many Monterey notables. The California History Room offers an extensive collection on early California and Monterey history, as well as links to other documentary resources in the county. A similar resource can be found at the Monterey County Historical Society's website.