Sunset Theatre

Catch local up-and-coming acts and international superstars in one of America’s most intimate theaters. 

The Sunset Center is a classic American theater located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, just a 15-minute drive from Monterey. Built in 1931 as a school auditorium, the center is now a major art institution and the creative hub of Monterey County. 

Carmel became a thriving artistic community when scores of artists, writers, poets and playwrights relocated from San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. By 1910, it was estimated that 60 percent of the town’s homes had been built by residents involved in the arts. The city has long enjoyed a thriving theater culture. In 1910, the Forest Theater was built, a beautiful outdoor venue that has staged the works of Shakespeare. 

The Sunset Center’s design was influenced by the daring and often idiosyncratic architect who was given free rein in this bohemian enclave. The striking roofline and the vaulted gothic interior are famous. Soaring ceilings in the performance hall complement the wonderful acoustics. Locals will tell you there isn’t a bad seat in the house. 

Productions staged at the center vary in style and genre, and include local and international acts. Take your pick from contemporary dance, country rock, chamber music and comedy. The center also hosts annual cultural events, including the Carmel Art and Film Festival, and the Carmel Author’s and Ideas Festival. Check the website or local newspaper for details about performances and to purchase tickets. 

Sunset Center is located on a quiet street in the heart of downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea, a 15-minute drive from Monterey. Free parking is available for theater patrons. Enjoy a drink or dinner, pre- or post-show, at one of the many nearby bars and restaurants. 

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