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“Very unique and pleasant area” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea

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Downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea
Ocean Avenue, On Ocean Ave. Between Lincoln and Monte Verde, Carmel, CA
831/626-2913
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Ranked #8 of 152 restaurants in Carmel
Cuisines: Coffee Shop
Restaurant details
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Very unique and pleasant area”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2013

We walked around for a couple hours just to explore and do some light shopping. Very pleasant and peaceful place with many nice stores and restaurants. The Fire Station is really cool and basically paints the picture of what this downtown is like.

Highly recommend walking around and finding some places to eat lunch and dinner. The beach is great and we wish we had more time to spend there.

Try Lula's chocolate store - on Mission street - very nice operator, offered multiple samples that were freshly made locally. We also had a meal at Il Fornaio, very good italian spot.

The roads have different elevation changes throughout, nothing major, but if you head downhill, expect a moderate uphill walk.

Visited September 2013
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33 reviews from our community

93% Recommend
    23
    8
    2
    0
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Ohio, USA
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Delightful little village”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

A fun way to spend the day--we did the historic walk around the village (download it from the Carmel website), & really enjoyed it. We loved the "Hansel & Gretel" houses, which we never would have known about if it hadn't been part of the historic walk program--definitely the highlight of our Carmel visit!

Visited March 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio, Texas
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Can't wait to return!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2013

Charming tree lined area only a few blocks from the ocean. Ambiance created by surrounding restaurants, shops (some very reasonably priced and some that might stretch your limit) and weather is ideal -- the kind about which stories are told. Can't wait to go back!

Visited July 2013
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Valencia, California
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“Wasn't impressed @ all!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2013

My boyfriend and I just returned from a 7 day trip to Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, Santa Cruz and had a really fabulous time. We live in SoCal and these places just further demonstrated why I truly love my home state. On the day we visited Carmel, I was sincerely looking forward to it as I've heard some wonderful things about this "fabulous" town. I was told about it's unique charm, various hidden alley ways and corridors to explore, the wonderful eateries, beautiful beach, it's a dog loving community etc. Well, when we arrived to downtown Carmel and began to explore, I have to say that other than it being REALLY pretty, my boyfriend and I weren't really all that impressed with Carmel at all. If anything, we got bored rather quickly!

We spent a good chunk of the day here and almost every other store was an art gallery. Don't get me wrong, my boyfriend and I love art and we enjoy the communities that embrace it. However, when almost every gallery is filled with one ocean painting after another (think Thomas Kinkaid which a Kinkaid gallery was there as well), it fails in providing true artistic diversity. It's as if a bunch of people retired and decided to take up art as a hobby and opened up a store. I understand that Carmel is mostly where many wealthy go to retire but there is nothing that original about this town. It just felt very commercial even though they tried to create a unique setting with cobblestone type architecture that didn't even feel authentic.

Even the clothing stores, you can tell they market more towards the more matronly conservative type woman (which is totally fine btw) because the clothing seemed more for retired women than anything else. I'm 31 years old and there wasn't one clothing store that compelled me to want to go in after seeing what was displayed on the mannequins. Now don't get me wrong, my boyfriend and I still had a nice time as it was our first time visiting and the one thing they offered that we really enjoyed was the wonderful eateries. They do have diversity on the restaurant front and we found ourselves going back to Carmel over the next few days not to revisit the town but to try out their eateries.

Overall, it's definitely worth experiencing at least once, especially their beautiful beach that was truly gorgeous. But unless you have money, like to see the same art everywhere, and like to turn in @ around 9:00am, then Carmel doesn't really offer much except great food and less than stellar window shopping.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Weatherford, Texas
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Great Shopping and Eating”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013

Lots of fun shops and restaurants and art galleries- something for everyone. Thinker Toys is great for kids - they can try our many of the toys and no one rushes you or pressures you to buy (but of course, we did buy some great toys).

Visited June 2013
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