Carmel is the perfect spot along the PCH to create lasting holiday memories with your friends and family. Carmel is filled with unique opportunities that will leave your family wanting to come back every year to spend the holidays by the sea and in lovely downtown, so if you’re spending Christmas in Carmel CA, then this is the right place to be!
Always remember to double-check dates, opening times, and weather conditions before traveling.
Top Things to Do in CARMEL CA Christmas
Carmel has a little bit of something for everyone, including your furry pal, that will help bring your entire family a little closer during the holidays.
Carmel Christmas Tree Lighting
- Address: Junipero Street and Ocean Ave
- Date: 1st Friday in December
Head out to Carmel’s major crossroads, Juniper Street and Ocean Ave, where you and the entire family can enjoy holiday tree lighting. The event will also have carolers and the Carmel Plaza Holiday Open House. The mayor always flips the switch to light the grand tree and the holiday seasoning throughout Carmel.
- Address: Sunset Center
- Date: 1st weekend in December
The first weekend in December, The Nutcracker Ballet will be held at the Sunset Center in Carmel-by-the-Sea. You can catch three performances, all of which feature 150 dancers’ interpretations of the holiday classic. You can go online to reserve your tickets to the ballet, one of the most traditional events in Carmel for Christmas.
Carmel Inn Holiday Tour
- Dates: 2nd week in December
Carmel’s Heritage Society will host the Inns of Distinction Tour. Visitors can discover the finest inns and hotels in Carmel that are decorated in their finest holiday décor for the season. While enjoying your tour, you will be treated to light bites and local Monterey County Wines.
Santa Fly-In and Parade
- Address: Carmel Valley Airfield
- Date: 3rd week in December
Christmas in Carmel CA also mean that Mr. and Mrs. Claus will appear at the Carmel Valley Airfield via helicopter to an annual event. The duo will board a vintage firetruck where they will be headed to Carmel Valley Community Youth Center Hall. There’s a parade that will commence with festive food and entertainment. Children can take a photo with Santa while visiting. The event is from 10:30 am until 2 pm.
King’s Brass Christmas Concert
- Address: Carmel Presbyterian Church
- Date: 3rd week in December
The King’s Brass is returning once again to perform their belove Christmas Concert for the people of Carmel. The concert is free to the public, no tickets are needed, and it is held at the corner of Juniper and Ocean Ave, the same place where the Carmel Christmas Tree lighting occurs. You can get more information about the concert online. The show is held from 7 pm to 8:30 pm.
Carmel’s Dog Shop’s Photo with Santa Paws
- Address: Lincoln Street between Ocean and 7th
- Dates: Every Sunday starting on Thanksgiving through Christmas
Fido needs to get in the holiday spirit too, and you can bring them to Carmel Dog Shop for a photo with Santa. Starting on Thanksgiving, your dog can dress up and get their picture taken with Santa for a $20 fee, and 100% of the proceeds are donated to Peace of Mind Dog Rescue. The event happens weekly from 11 am to 2 pm.
Rio Grill’s 32nd Resolution Run
- Date: New Year’s Day
Rio Grill is holding their 32nd annual 5k, but it will be virtual this year. Any time on January 1, participants can complete a 5k (3.1 miles) or a 10k (6.2 miles) walk or run for their traditional race.
Typically, the race begins at Rio Grill in the Crossroads Shopping Village, where participants can enjoy views that include trails and water. You can register for either distance online, and your registration includes a t-shirt, digital bib, and opportunities to win prizes. One of the most traditional Carmel Christmas events, and certainly one you don’t want to miss.
The holiday season is the perfect time to explore new places and create lasting memories with your family. You will love your time around Christmas in Carmel especially when you spend the holiday season by the beach and enjoy a nice glass of wine.
Do you want to know about Christmas in California? Head to these articles!
- Amazing things to do during Christmas in Monterey
- Your ultimate guide to Christmas in Newport Beach CA
- Amazing things to do in Christmas in San Francisco
- Ultimate guide to Christmas in Solvang
- Ultimate things to do at Christmas in Santa Barbara
- 10 Festive Things to do at Christmas in Huntington Beach