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“Come for the Cheese Shop”
Review of Carmel Plaza

Carmel Plaza
Ranked #17 of 110 things to do in Carmel
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Carmel Plaza is three level outdoor shopping center with over 40 stores, restaurants, art galleries and wine tasting rooms set in a lush garden. Nationally known stores located in the Plaza as well as specialty boutiques featuring internationally known designers. Events are scheduled throughout the year, such as fashions show, cooking demonstrations, concerts and pop up markets.
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Come for the Cheese Shop”
Reviewed May 30, 2012

We came to the plaza for Flying Fish Grill (wow!). We found The Cheese Shop while there. What a fabulous place! Kyle in the Cheese Shop is very engaging and knowledgeable about cheese (movies & t.v as well!). They offer as many varieties as a fromagerie in France! Worth the trip here.

Visited May 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank Robin D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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74 reviews from our community

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denver, colorado
Level Contributor
59 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“mall”
Reviewed April 27, 2012

lame.

Compared to everything Carmel has to offer, this shopping area offers nothing that can't be found at any other high end mall.

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
Thank gary m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kolkata (Calcutta), India
Level Contributor
94 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
“Very European”
Reviewed January 3, 2012

Most charming drive in my life.Driving through pine forest and mountains with the Pacific ocean on one side...a dream come true.
You also get to buy unique stuff l on this route like strawberries dipped in chocolate right from the farms...100% juicy and tasty.

Visited January 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank FannyIllinois
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Townsville, Australia
Level Contributor
23 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Take the time to stay for awhile”
Reviewed November 25, 2011

On our drive from San Francisco to LA, we had decided to stay overnight in Cambria, stopping along the coastal towns. We were so delighted with Carmel, we wished we had booked our night there. It is such a lovely little town with lots of character.

Visited September 2011
Helpful?
3 Thank narelle524
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
carmel p, Concierge at Carmel Plaza, responded to this review, June 9, 2015
Thank you for visiting! We hope you stay in Carmel and visit us again on your next trip :)
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SF Bay Area
Level Contributor
16 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Boring, one-note mall ... used to have personality and variety”
Reviewed November 1, 2011

I've been coming to Carmel for 25 years. The shopping in this beautiful town has been hard hit by the economic downturn. Lots of the really special, one-of-a-kind shops Carmel used to boast have closed. Arts and crafts have been particularly hard hit .... glass, artisan jewelry, ceramics, etc. I really miss "Concepts" on Ocean. "Ladyfingers" on Dolores is still worth a look, though out of most people's price range. But the Plaza, much like Doud Craft Studios, has become quite dull. We only visit it now for the public restrooms on the third floor.

The Plaza used to have interesting, trendy restaurants. I remember a kite shop, and a wonderful "light" gallery with amazing glass-and-light sculptures. There used to be a bookstore downstairs, and a mix of eclectic tourist shops side by side with the standard "anchor"-type clothing stores. The place was a really enjoyable mix of the unique and the ubiquitous. Even if you couldn't afford something, you could always count on there being interesting things to see. Now it's just three floors of either empty storefronts or the same old chain stores I can find at any mall anywhere in northern CA. Clothes, clothes, and more clothes. Yes, these are purportedly "high-end" shops, but that mostly means you're paying a ridiculous markup for clothes that are made in China for very little.

Across the street, "Doud Craft Studios" has also become quite boring. Gone are the whimsical ceramic shops, the wonderful wood-and-glass gallery, the Christmas store, and an amazing kitchen-esque shop that was a great source of whimsical and functional gifts.

I know that part of this is the dragging economy of the last 10 years. But part of it, too, seems likely to be decisions on the part of commercial landlords to set rents at a level that dictates a bland, grey, one-note retail experience in a town that used to have so very much more to offer.

Still, Carmel itself is well worth the trip. Still some wonderful restaurants, and the beach is glorious. I'll just keep my fingers crossed that sometime in the next 10 years, the economy ... and the artists' shops .... will return to what used to be a mecca for good craft.

Visited October 2011
Helpful?
4 Thank ojimon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
carmel p, Concierge at Carmel Plaza, responded to this review, June 9, 2015
We are sorry to hear you didn't enjoy your visit to the Carmel Plaza. We have new retailers, galleries and restaurants - something for everyone! We do hope you will visit us again next time you're in Carmel.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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