Breathtaking views, fine dining, artists and wine all come to mind when I think about Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, not Courtyards & Passageways! Yet, there they are, dispersed throughout the streets of Carmel, often hidden and undiscovered by the casual passer-by-er.
I have strolled past many in previous trips to Carmel over the years and I would never have discovered these hidden jewels if not the map distributed by the Carmel Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center. One of perhaps a hundred pamphlets available in the small storefront they occupy at Ocean Ave. btwn Junipero & Mission, Carmel Plaza, Second Floor Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.
Interesting tidbit: they do not use street addresses in Carmel! “San Carlos between Ocean & 7th” or “Corner of San Carlos & 7th”
A quick inquiry of the friendly volunteer produced a virtual treasure map listing 42 amazing Courtyards & Passageways, filled with unique shops, businesses, galleries, restaurants, and hidden experiences.
Hidden Courtyards & Passageways of Carmel
Built in 1926, the Tuck Box is Hugh Comstock’s only commercial building.
Many of these Courtyards & Passageways were created back in the 1920’s when Hugh Comstock’s fairy tale houses and shops were built. Walking through them brings you back in time to the charming meandering alleys and pathways dotted throughout villages in Europe. Many are charmingly named: “Secret Garden Passageway”, Cinderella Lane”, “Court of the Golden Bough & Passages”, “Court of the Fountains & Passageways”, to name just a few.
You might be hard pressed to visit all 42 Courtyards & Passageways in Carmel and take in all of the other amazing things Carmel has to offer. I couldn’t, though I encourage you to try, here are some of my favorite Courtyards & Passageways in Carmel:
Mark this location on your map. It has a (hidden from the street view) restroom located at the end on the left!
Piccadilly Park offers a shaded respite from the massive oak tree that dominates this courtyard.
Su Vecino Courtyard
With dining in front of a fire on the Courtyard, Su Vecinois a perfect spot to enjoy delicious Mexican food from “Cultura” restaurant.
Secret Garden Passageway
Located alongside “Pilgrim’s Bookstore” and leading back into their hidden sanctuary and garden with the only Geodesic dome in Carmel.
You will also see where the owners shared their wedding vows!
Pilgrim’s Bookstore has been a Carmel locals favorite for over 40 years.
Stone House Terrace
Located in the treetops above the street is a restaurant with great views on their terrace.
Walk deeper into the terrace to find “The Pasta Palate” making fresh pasta. You can watch them make it through the large glass window in front of the shop.
Several shops can also be found at the Stone House Terrace.
Reminiscent of an alley through an old English village.
Morgan Court with its dark wood window trim and hanging flowers pots overs a nice place to rest your feet and take a break from strolling the streets of Carmel.
Named after artist Mary De Neale Morgan who located to Carmel in 1909 and purchased one of the buildings and opened her studio.
La Tiendas & Passageway
Hidden in the back of this Spanish themed passageway and past beautiful greenery lies a Carmel favorite, the Carmel Coffee House, with relaxing outdoor seating.
La Tiendas was built-in 1930 by Carmel designer and contractor M.J. Murphy for Ray De Yoe, a former California State Assemblyman.
Courtyard of the Fountains
Named appropriately after it two fountains is relaxing and meditative Courtyard of the Fountains.
Recently remodeled restaurant, featuring “Classic food that meets California fresh”, Anton & Michel offers commanding views of the Courtyard of the Fountains.
Dotted with whimsical shops, Courtyard of the Fountains is a great place to enjoy lunch or a relaxing cup of coffee.
42 Amazing Courtyards & Passageways
You will be challenged to find a favorite Courtyards & Passageways in Carmel or even visit them all in one day and I hope you don’t try. Carmel is a place to enjoy over a course of a weekend or even a lifetime of exploration, with its amazing scenery, culture, shopping, and food scene.
Just trying to visit Carmel’s 42 Amazing Courtyards & Passageways will keep you exploring for a couple of days and I hope you get the chance!
For a complete listing of all 42 Carmel Courtyards & Passageways: http://www.carmelcalifornia.com/courtyards-in-carmel.htm
Available in the Visitor Center:
Maps of the Area
Carmel Restaurant Map
Carmel Inns Map
Wine Tasting Map
Wine Walk by-the-Sea™ Passports
Postcards & Merchandise
Brochures for whale watching, aquarium, attractions, parks, wine tasting, recreation, bikes, kayaks, theaters, spas, tours and everything you want to know.