Consider all top 10 options as verbs, and you will go far! Enjoy!
1. Dine – The 1×1 square mile of Carmel has over 50 restaurants to choose from.
Some sure things:
At Cantinetta Luca, the look, feel, and taste of Old Italy come tantalizingly to life in this classic yet contemporary establishment where everything is fresh and home-made. Watch your food being prepared in a 4-sided, open kitchen with an authentic, wood-burning pizza oven. Much of the menu is served family-style.
Grasings, Master chef Kurt Grasing offers creative coastal cuisine paired with outstanding Central Coast wines and a newly expanded lounge.
Just a stroll across Ocean Avenue, Aubergines’ Executive Chef Christophe Grosjean focuses on making the most of fresh, natural farm products delivered daily-with spontaneity being a key ingredient. The intimate, 12-table restaurant features an underground wine cellar with a 4,500 bottle collection.
2. Drink (wine)- More than an ocean lover’s paradise, Carmel is also heaven for the wine epicurean. A host of local wineries, wine merchants, restaurants, and gourmet markets offer superior wines and champagnes from around the corner and around the world. Take a self-guided walking tour that lets you sample a cornucopia of vineyard riches. All of the following establishments feature daily tastings.
The Cheese Shop is world renowned for their expertise cheese, coffee, gourmet food, wine and spirits.
Vino Napoli is an Italian wine bar with a cozy fireplace, tapas menu, and selection of fine wines to enjoy at your leisure.
Mundaka, a tapas-centric restaurant inspired by northern Spain, offers international wines at their hip, standing-room only bar where every night is like a dinner party.
Cima Collins, hand-crafted, small-lot wines from the family that owns the Carmel Valley and Monterey County Vineyards.
La Bicyclette, serving rustic European family-style cuisine along with tastings of cheese, pate, and local wines.
Galante Vineyards, known for producing ultra-premium, 100% estate-grown wines since 1994.
Nielsen Brothers Market, an old-fashioned grocery store with an extensive wine room, features rare wines, fine foods, fresh produce, and meats and cheeses.
3. Walk- Unwrap over 60 hidden courtyards by taking a fascinating self-guided Courtyard Tour through the less-explored parts of enchanting Carmel-by-the-Sea that invites visitors to explore. With many of them leading to surprising gardens, restaurants, theatres and galleries tucked away among the shops. Window boxes, garden benches and potted and hanging baskets flourish, adding a gift of Mediterranean color year round.
4. Beach- Take an early morning stroll along pristine Carmel Beach, ranked as one of the nation’s cleanest and most beautiful. The remarkable blue water and white sand beaches transport visitors to the captivating coast. If surfing is more your style, there are local hot spots at Scenic and 8th, but don’t tell them we mentioned it.
5. Hunt for history- Tour the beautifully restored Carmel Mission, a historic landmark since 1771. Visit famed poet Robinson Jeffers, Tor House and Hawk Tower, that he built stone by stone for his wife Una in the early 1900’s.
6. Celebrity Spotting – Head over to former Carmel Mayor Clint Eastwood’s nearby Mission Ranch for an unforgettable dinner or drink — and to take in the majestic mountain and ocean views. Continue along the “Clint Eastwood Trail” with a visit to Carmel-by-the-Sea’s City Hall, originally built in 1921 as All Saints Church. It was here that Mayor Eastwood served his term.
7. Art – Guests will be beguiled by the city’s artistic roots which are a century old . With over 100 art galleries featuring the likes of, local son, Ansel Adams, Carmel-by-the-Sea boasts the works of innumerable artists seduced by the land and light. All of this is offered in a neat bundled package in a one-by-one square mile. The continental village is a glistening jewel box in the heart of the Central Coast of California waiting to be opened.
8. Performing arts – Performing arts are in the blood in Carmel-by-the-Sea; once a school auditorium, the Sunset Center, http://www.sunsetcenter.org, is a converted state-of-the-art cultural center hosting world-class performances. Other venues include the Golden Bough Playhouse and Circle Theatre that host ongoing lineups of symphony, ballet, plays, and more.
9. Shop – From outdoor malls to family-owned boutiques, Carmel offers a shopping environment that wants for nothing but infinite time to explore it. Be sure to stop in and let Carmel Plaza’s White-Glove Concierge Center make your visit here a true celebration. Stroll Ocean Avenue and experience the finest shopping this side of The Riviera or Rodeo Drive. Fashion, jewelry, antique, gift, and furniture boutiques are yours to explore along tree-lined streets, secret passageways, charming courtyards, and curlicue-roofed shops.
10. Spa- Carmel spas and salons are purveyors of the town’s most abundant resource— rejuvenation. They each afford an opportunity to be reawakened and realigned in a place reputed for its harmonic convergence of land and sea. Carmel has an array of well-appointed facilities, offering a range of facials, body treatments, massages and salon services.
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