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Carmel is a cultural Mecca – the home of the venerable Carmel Bach Festival, as well as the Carmel Music Society, Chamber Music Monterey Bay and the Monterey Symphony. All perform at the Sunset Center in Carmel-by-the-Sea, a fine arts center that puts on performances, lectures, and serves as venue for city events.

Three theatre groups, Pacific Repertory Theater, The Forest Theater Guild and the Cherry Center for the Performing Arts all put on year-round productions.

Carmel is known for its art galleries, which include painting, sculpture, and photography and there are cultural events such as the Carmel Art & Film Festival, the Carmel Art Festival, and numerous food and wine events.