Top things to do

Top Choice Church in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo

Monterey's original mission was established by Franciscan friar Junípero Serra in 1770, but poor soil and the corrupting influence of Spanish soldiers forced the move to Carmel two years later. Today this is one of …
Top Choice State Park in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

They bark, they bathe and they’re fun to watch – sea lions are the stars here at Punta de los Lobos Marinos (Point of the Sea Wolves), almost 4 miles south of Carmel, where a dramatically rocky coastline offers exce…
Historic Building in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Tor House

Even if you’ve never heard of 20th-century poet Robinson Jeffers, a pilgrimage to this house built with his own hands offers fascinating insights into both the man and the bohemian ethos of Old Carmel. A porthole in…
Cafe in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Corkscrew Cafe

Just possibly Carmel Valley's coziest eatery, the Corkscrew Cafe combines a rustic wine-country vibe and a Mediterranean-influenced menu – think wood-fired salmon, pizza, and mushroom and lamb pasta – with a stellar…
Craft Beer in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Valley Greens Gallery

One part funky art gallery and two parts craft-beer bar, Valley Greens is a stand-out destination amid Carmel Valley's laid-back main drag. Four rotating beer taps deliver some real surprises from smaller California…
Mexican in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Cultura Comida y Bebida

Located near art galleries in a brick-lined courtyard, Cultura Comida y Bebida is a relaxed bar and eatery inspired by the food of Oaxaca in Mexico. Pull up a seat at the elegant bar and sample a vertical tasting of…
Tapas in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Mundaka

This stone courtyard hideaway is a svelte escape from Carmel’s stuffy ‘newly wed and nearly dead’ crowd. Taste Spanish tapas and housemade sangria while world beats spin. Partner the garlic prawns or grilled octopus…
French in Carmel-by-the-Sea

La Bicyclette

Rustic European comfort food using seasonal local ingredients packs canoodling couples into this bistro, with an open kitchen baking wood-fired-oven pizzas. Excellent local wines by the glass. It's also a top spot f…
Wine Bar in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Barmel

Shaking up Carmel's conservative image and adding a dash of after-dark fun is this cool little Spanish-themed courtyard bar. There's live music from 7pm to 9pm from Thursday to Saturday, robust cocktails and an ener…
Wine Bar in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Scheid Vineyards

Pop into Scheid Vineyards' wine-tasting room to sip a prodigious range of grape varietals, all grown in Monterey County. Red wine varietals including Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon are local stars.