Although it's a small residential town, Carmel is known for hosting world-class events ranging from classical music, to theater, to art, to food, to car shows. The list and links below will give you an idea of "what's on" in town but on any given weekend there are bound to be unique events (wine walks, gallery openings, surf contests, concerts) that you might not hear of unless you live here in town. If you are going to be in town in the coming days, weeks, or even months, drop us an email with the dates of your trip and what interests you and we will email back with our suggestions for when you are here.
Things to do
Carmel Bach Festival (CBF): Started in 1935, this two-week annual summer festival celebrates the works and inspiration of Johann Sebastian Bach through concerts, classes, and lectures.
Carmel Art and Film Festival: Founded by Tom Burns and Erin Clark, the Carmel International Film Festival is an annual event showcasing films and filmmakers from all over the world.
Carmel Arts Festival: Held annually in September, this free festival highlights art of all forms created by over 130 artists.
San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission: Founded by Father Junipero Serra in 1770, it is only the second California mission and a registered National Historic Landmark. While still an active parish, it offers visitors four museum galleries including the Harry Downie Museum, the Munras Family Heritage Museum, the Jo Mora Chapel Gallery, and the Convento Museum.
The Welcome Center at The First Murphy House: Built in 1902 by 17-year-old Michael Murphy, the center serves as the headquarters for the Carmel Heritage Society. It provides visitors a wealth of information about the community’s history, culture, and sights, and is a great starting point for all things Carmel.
Mission Ranch: Originally owned by Juan Romero in the 1800s, it subsequently changed hands 16 times, most recently being purchased by actor Clint Eastwood in 1986. Enjoy a meal with a spectacular view, or book a room at the charming inn.
City Hall: Originally built as a church in 1921, it now houses the local governing body and was the site of Mayor Clint Eastwood’s term.
Tor House: A home constructed of granite boulders gathered from the seashore by poet Robinson Jeffers in 1919. Most of his major works were authored here. In 1924 he added the Hawk Tower as a den for his wife and sons. Both can now be toured on Fridays and Saturdays.
Courtyard Tours: Discover charming courtyards and hidden passageways touring some of the many courtyards dating back to the 1920s
Forest Theater: Founded by Herbert Heron in 1910, it is considered one of the oldest outdoor theaters west of the Rocky Mountains
Sunset Center: Originally built as a public school in 1926, the structure has evolved into an intimate performing arts center known for its gothic architecture and world-class performances.
Carmel Art Association: Founded in 1927, the city’s oldest art gallery showcases pieces for sale from top local artists.
Center for Photographic Art: Founded in 1988, the center promotes photographic art appreciation through exhibits, publications, and education.
Dr. Seuss Art Gallery: An exhibit showcasing over 60 years of Dr. Seuss’ artistic talent. Guaranteed to bring back memories of your childhood.
Carmel Beach: This dog-friendly beach offers free parking, restrooms, surfing, and volleyball. The Scenic Bluff Path overlooks the beach for a peaceful walk along the landscape.
Carmel River State Beach: A scenic mile-long protected state beach park including a lagoon formed by the Carmel River, Monastery Beach, and a bird sanctuary.
Point Lobos State Reserve: A picturesque protected natural reserve offering hiking, diving, and camping in specified areas.
Devendorf Park: Located at Ocean and Junipero Avenues, this shady park hosts special events and celebrations throughout the year.
Wine Tasting: Browse the many local wine bars or take advantage of the Carmel Wine-Walk-by-the-Sea, offering a wine tasting passport good for flights at nine tasting rooms. The best part? They’re all within walking distance.
Cottage of Sweets: Originally built in 1922, this shop embodies the quintessential Carmel fairytale style cottage architecture. Any sweet tooth can be satisfied at this favorite of young and old alike.
Ocean Avenue: Carmel’s commercial hub and primary shopping mecca – perfect for finding anything you can imagine.
Carmel Plaza: THE place to visit for high-end shopping and dining.