Carmel-by-the-Sea, California is one of the most enchanting places to spend the holidays. From the charming twinkling lights and festive holiday decorations to live entertainment, fun leisure activities, and boutique shopping, there’s something magical about celebrating Christmas time in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Celebrating Christmas in Carmel-by-the-Sea
To inspire you to visit our beloved coastal town (or to just play “tourist for the day”, if you’re a local resident), today’s travel guide gives you a tour of Carmel-by-the-Sea during Christmas.
During the holidays, Carmel-by-the-Sea comes to life with live entertainment, musical performances, and holiday celebrations (like the annual Christmas tree lighting along Ocean Avenue).
As an example, Carmel Plaza (featured above), is one of the most popular places to visit, as they offer a bevy of great shops and eateries, plus they regularly stage small concerts, which are an added attraction.
One of our favorite things about Carmel-by-the-Sea is the fact that it’s dog-friendly. From white sandy beaches that allow dogs to run free without wearing a leash, to dining al fresco at numerous restaurants, there are so many great places that dog owners can enjoy with their furry friends.
Where to Shop in Carmel-by-the-Sea
During the holidays, the boutiques and stores are decorated for Christmas. Plus, they carry a wide assortment of beautiful and inspiring gifts, ranging from home and entertaining pieces to fashion, jewelry, and accessories.
A few of our favorite places around town to find designer fashion and accessories include Augustina’s Designer Boutique, GBG/Paloosh, The Club, Anthropologie, the Coach outlet and Kate Spade New York.
For gorgeous home goods, Carrigg’s of Carmel is always a fabulous store to find lovely pieces.
For fine jewelry, Fourtané Estate Jewelers is one of the best places in town for rare vintage gems and luxury timepieces (like Rolex watches).
When it comes to shopping for trinkets and mementos from Carmel-by-the-Sea, two great options are Carmel Bay Company and Laub’s Country Store. If you’re shopping for your four-legged friend, take Fido to Diggidy Dog, one of the premier places for posh pooches to shop.
Where to Eat in Carmel-by-the-Sea
While you’re walking around Carmel-by-the-Sea, you might work up an appetite. To satisfy your hunger pangs, there are dozens of wonderful places to eat.
From cozy coffee shops and bakeries (like our favorites, Carmel Bakery, Carmel Valley Coffee Roasting Company, and Cafe Carmel) to fine dining and casual restaurants (such as Il Tegamino, Vesuvio Trattoria-Bar-Pizzeria, Dametra Cafe, Pescadero, and Anton & Michel), Carmel-by-the-Sea is known for lots of great places to eat.
Art Galleries in Carmel-by-the-Sea
If you’re an art collector or have an appreciation for art, then you’ve hit the right place. Founded by a community of artists, Carmel-by-the-Sea is home to dozens of spectacular galleries. From contemporary and abstract artwork to mesmerizing classics, unbelievable life-sized sculptures, and California landscape oil paintings, there are so many wonderful art galleries to visit in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
A few of my personal favorites include Meuse by Simon Bull, Robert Knight Gallery and Photography, Zantman Art Galleries, and Richard MacDonald Studio.
Wine Tasting in Carmel-by-the-Sea
In addition to shopping, dining, and exploring this charming town by the sea, there are also lots of beautiful and inviting wine tasting rooms to visit.
From award-winning sparkling wine (at Caraccioli Cellars) to sumptuous Chardonnays, fruit-forward Pinot Noirs, and lush Cabernets at our faves, Silvestri Tasting Room, De Tierra Vineyards Tasting Room, and Albatross Ridge Tasting Room, there’s no shortage of great places to swirl, sniff, and sip in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Hotels in Carmel-by-the-Sea
Since Carmel-by-the-Sea is also known for quaint inns, charming bed & breakfasts, and award-winning historic hotels, one of our favorite things to do during Christmas time is to hop around to the hotels.
From the dog-friendly Cypress Inn (which is co-owned by legendary Hollywood actress, Doris Day) to La Playa Carmel (which boasts views of the ocean) and the picturesque Pine Inn (located on Ocean Avenue), we enjoy grabbing a bite or a cup of coffee at these gorgeous hotels during the holidays. If you’re from out of town, these are definitely a few of the hotels in Carmel-by-the-Sea that we’d recommend booking a stay at.
As you can see, spending the holidays in Carmel-by-the-Sea is one of the most enjoyable places to be for Christmas. Whether you’re planning to take the kids, gather with friends and family, or even tote along your favorite furry pals, there’s no shortage of fun things to do and places to visit in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
To learn more about this enchanting coastal town, check out the Inspirations & Celebrations’ Guide to Carmel-by-the-Sea. For more inspiring photos, make sure to follow I&C on Instagram.
Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season!