How to Spend a Day in Downtown Carmel

How to Spend a Day in Downtown Carmel

  • Cheryl Heyermann
  • 05/2/22

Nestled in Monterey County, Carmel-by-the-Sea — often referred to simply as Carmel — is a charming seaside village placed prominently on California’s Central Coast. This picturesque little town may only be one square mile, but it is certainly not lacking in fun things to do.

With nearly 20 wine rooms, 50 restaurants, 100 art galleries, upwards of 40 hotels, and a vast  selection of boutiques, bars, and coffee shops, there is something for everyone in Carmel.

Carmel has that small-town charm that many find appealing. Visitors looking at Carmel real estate fall in love with its cobblestone alleyways, creeping ivy vines, tree-lined streets, and cottages straight out of a storybook. This walkable town is a delight to wander in every season.

Explore secret alleyways, sip delicious wine in the beautiful gardens and courtyards, and hunt for antiques as you explore this iconic coastal California town.

Spend your day in downtown Carmel

Downtown Carmel is a destination

Photo Courtesy of See Monterey
Visitors looking at homes for sale in Carmel will delight as they discover Carmel Plaza, the downtown area’s one-of-a-kind shopping center. Along Ocean Avenue, you can browse galleries to add to your art collection, uncover unique gifts in specialty boutiques, and partake of many delicious fresh food and drink offerings.

The sculptures that dot Carmel’s relaxed yet sophisticated landscape only add to the artistic charm of a town “where every day is a work of art.”

Downtown Carmel is also home to many historic inns, upscale bed-and-breakfasts, and beautiful hotels. Their central location means you won’t have to go far to look at your dream Carmel real estate, explore the area, and take in the breathtaking scenery. 

Carmel is ideal for shopping excursions and fine dining

Shopping in Carmel is an all-day experience. You can find everything from family-owned boutiques to well-recognized brands like Tommy Bahama to outdoor malls.

Bringing your furry friend along while you look at homes for sale in Carmel? Don’t worry. Carmel is an extremely pet-friendly destination and is a top spot for those looking for a coastal vacation with their furrier family members. There are plenty of pet-friendly shops to accommodate you.

If you work up an appetite while shopping, you can enjoy a full range of culinary options. Carmel’s restaurants feature international, regional, and local cuisines. There are casual options, fine dining options, and of course, pet-friendly options as well.

Wine tasting in Carmel is an experience

Can you consider a trip to California complete without a little wine tasting? With approximately 20 wine tasting rooms to choose from, plus wine bars, bottle shops, and an annual wine festival, Carmel has no shortage of options.

Taste some of the region’s premium wines on your trip to find your ideal Carmel real estate, or go on a wine walk as the sun sets behind you.

Famous Carmel Beach is a must-see

A visit to Carmel-by-the-Sea wouldn’t be complete without an excursion to its stunning beach. A crescent of soft white sand stretches around Carmel Bay. Rocky bluffs and cypress trees give this famous beach a secluded feel that is difficult to achieve in a popular tourist destination.

Carmel Beach is situated at the end of Ocean Avenue. This dog-friendly beach is home to a gorgeous scenic pathway that meanders through the cypress trees overlooking the bluffs. While it is surf-friendly, it is not recommended that you swim there. Rip currents can be strong, and there is no lifeguard on duty. If you’d like to swim in the ocean, there are plenty of other beaches within a short distance.
Carmel River State Beach is another beautiful beach option while you take a break from looking at homes for sale in Carmel. This mile-long beach along Carmel Bay is also home to a bird sanctuary on a lagoon. Visitors are cautioned to be extremely careful while walking, wading, and swimming near the sanctuary. Instead, you may want to focus on the stunning, panoramic views of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Living in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

In addition to being a high-end vacation destination, Carmel is home to some of California’s best schools, making it a popular option for families with children.

Located south of Pebble Beach and just a few hours' drive from San Jose and San Francisco, this romantic, European-style town is in an idyllic location. With something for everyone, Carmel is a popular choice for individuals and families at many different life stages.

Being only one square mile in size, homes for sale in Carmel don’t come up often, and when they do, they often go quickly. Today’s aggressive market makes Carmel real estate an even more competitive commodity than usual. This is a seller’s market through and through.

It’s fair to say that Carmel's market for homes for sale probably won’t be cooling any time soon. Compared to just one year ago, home prices in Monterey County have risen by 18.3%. Options for Carmel real estate may be limited, but don’t let that stop you from getting your dream home. Having an experienced luxury Carmel real estate broker in your corner can give you the competitive advantage to buy your ideal property even in the most challenging markets.

Tips for buying in a seller’s market

Trying to buy a new home in Carmel’s hot real estate market is already complicated. Don’t  complicate things further by not preparing in advance and having the best real estate professionals helping you.

For example, did you know that prequalification may be acceptable in a buyer’s market, but it is recommended that you obtain pre-approval before considering an offer in a hot market like Carmel?

Other tips:
  • Have a solid understanding of what you want in your next home, and note what is an absolute must-have versus a “want.”
  • Be prepared to bid. Bidding wars should be expected, with multiple offers coming in on many homes.
Since this is a seller’s market with limited homes for sale in Carmel, you will want to work with an experienced luxury real estate broker like Cheryl Heyermann when preparing for your move. Whether you have questions about the area and process or are ready to buy or sell your home now, contact Cheryl today.

*Header photo Courtesy of TripAdvisor

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