Local Culture

Carmel-by-the-Sea Is a Shopper's Paradise

From books to bicycles, fashion to antiques, you’re sure to find something to treasure in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Carmel-by-the-Sea is a true village, with plenty of charm and cobblestones to spare. But there’s more to Carmel than fairy tale cottages and pristine beaches. There’s also the shopping. USA Today readers named Carmel third on their list of the 10 Best Destinations for Shopaholics.

With chain stores explicitly not allowed along Ocean Avenue — Carmel’s main thoroughfare — the local boutique thrives in Carmel and has given rise to many a unique shop featuring vintage, one-of-a-kind, and handmade goods. From books to bicycles, fashion to antiques, you’re sure to find something to treasure in this seaside village. And don’t forget to stop by the Concierge Desk to pick up a Local Discount card which you can use at select vendors to receive special discounts and promotions.

The Pilgrim's Way Bookstore

The last remaining bookstore in Carmel, Pilgrim’s Way is so beloved by locals and tourists alike that it has not only survived the rise of ebooks and Amazon, it has thrived and grown. In 2001, owners Paul Fridlund and Cynthia Fernandez expanded into The Secret Garden shop, creating an enchanting literary and cultural hub amidst fountains and greenery.

The Hat Shop Carmel

Despite being stuffed to the rafters with thousands of different hats, you won’t find any wacky, novelty hats in this 400 square foot shop. From floppy brimmed beach hats to fashionable fascinators, every chapeau here is well made, on trend and wearable.

Robertson's Antiques*

This well-known shop has been buying and selling antiques in downtown Carmel since 1987. Whether you’re searching for that perfect piece to complete a room or just browsing until some newfound treasure catches your eye, you’re sure to find it here.

Ms. Fabulous*

This trendy yet affordable boutique specializes in wearable fashions for hip moms and chic daughters alike. Stop by for one of their seasonal open house wine nights to get to know both the fashions and the local fashionistas.

Nielsen Brothers Market*

This longtime specialty wine shop is a Carmel institution that carries rare vintages, unique wines from boutique vineyards, and made-to-order gift baskets to compliment your vino. You can order delivery from the online wine cellar or go in and get personalized recommendations from experienced consultants.

Lula Lund's Chocolates*

Handmaking chocolate the old-fashioned way, owner and resident chocolatier Scott Lund prepares his decadent creations from scratch using his grandmother Lula’s very own recipes.

Mad Dogs & Englishmen Bike Shop

A bicycle can be the best way to see Carmel-by-the-Sea but climbing hills can be a bit of a challenge. That’s why this shop specializes in e-bikes – regular bikes with motor assist to help you get up those hills. You can buy, rent by the hour or day, or have your current bike serviced.

The Cheese Shop

This local favorite typically offers visitors their choice of 200 to 300 varieties, including Canadian cheddar, manouri from Greece and a locally made raw cow’s milk cheese. Plus, the shop offers more than 850 bottles of wine to accompany your selections. Feel free to ask the staff for a sample of any cheese.


Wallow in the by-the-sea spirit of Carmel-by-the-Sea at Boatworks. Pick up a pair of Sperry Top-Sider boat shoes, snag a Carmel Yacht Club jersey, and let everyone know who’s in charge with “Skipper” embroidered baseball cap. You’ll look like a true local after this shopping spree.
Owners, visit The Lounge for more information or to book a reservation.
* Accepts Local Discount card.

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