FaceBook Twitter Flickr Youtube Google+ Pintrest Blog Instagram
CURRENT WEATHER
FaceBook Twitter Flickr Youtube Google+ Pintrest Blog Instagram
Destinations
Bixby Bridge, Big Sur

Bixby Bridge, Big Sur

BIG SUR ARTS & CULTURE

Big Sur has a culture all its own. It is a community of artists, authors and naturalists, drawn to the area's beauty, sense of transcendence and peace, and in turn supporting each other in their creative pursuits. The landscapes of Big Sur have been inspiring artists, musicians, writers and even actors for decades. Visitors can experience the fruits of this inspiration at galleries, studios, festivals and gathering places all along the drive south on Highway 1.

Henry Miller Library

Big Sur is home to the Henry Miller Library, namesake of the author who called Big Sur "the first place (he) felt at home in America" after arriving in 1945. It serves as a gathering point for local artists, with regular open mic nights and gallery shows. It also presents workshops for musicians, artists, writers and children with an interest in the arts, serves as a performance space for local and national musical and spoken word acts, and even hosts film festivals.

Galleries

Galleries and artist studios dot the Big Sur landscape. They're free-standing by the side of the road, incorporated into hotels, and tucked in between restaurants and meditation gardens. Stop at any venue and you're bound to see local artists' work. Most galleries are concentrated in a strip of Highway 1 between the Big Sur River Inn and the Henry Miller Library. In between stops, the breathtaking coastline views comprise their own kind of art exhibit.

Big Sur Artists and Writers

Big Sur has been immortalized in literature. Jack Kerouac's autobiographical novel about his mental breakdown, Big Sur, takes place in part in the area. Henry Miller wrote about his life in the area in the book Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch. Poet Robinson Jeffers set many of his works in Big Sur. Counterculture writer Richard Brautigan's first novel was A Confederate General From Big Sur.

Writers aren't the only artists who have tried to capture Big Sur with their work. The Beach Boys sang about Big Sur on their album Holland, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers commemorated the area in their single Road Trippin'. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton's classic film The Sandpiper was filmed in Big Sur.

Big Sur: Celebrity Hideaway

Stars have also used the area to escape the pressures of Hollywood. Nepenthe Restaurant was once the home of Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth. Other luminaries that have made or currently make their homes in Big Sur include Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Emile Norman, Edward Weston, and even (briefly) Hunter S. Thompson, whose first magazine feature was about the arts scene in Big Sur. Big Sur is also a popular place for secret celebrity weddings. Recent high-profile elopements include Jack Black and Tanya Haden, Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter, and Ashley Jensen and Terence Beesley.

Lay of the Land

Lay of the Land

VIEW MONTEREY COUNTY MAP

County Map

VIEW DETAILED MAPS

Click on the links for high-resolution maps of Monterey County communities, suitable for printing: Monterey, Carmel and Carmel Valley, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Salinas, Seaside, Marina, Sand City and Moss Landing.

WANT TO GET HERE FAST?

Fly direct from these five airports:
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
McCarran International Airport (LAS)
Phoenix Skyharbor International Airport (PHX)
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
San Diego International Airport (SAN)

×

Free Travel Guide

Free Travel Guide
Find out everything there is to see and do in Monterey County with the 2015 Offi...

more

Monterey Highlights

  • Scenic Drives

    Monterey County's scenic drives range from the legendary to the little-known, from Highway One to...more

  • Monterey Bay Aquarium

    The Monterey Bay Aquarium is consistently ranked #1 in the United States for its innovative...more

  • Fisherman's Wharf

    This is a great place to take in the sights, sounds and smells of Monterey....more

  • Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

    Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is an 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course best known for The Corkscrew and...more

  • Carmel Mission

    The Basilica of San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission (Carmel Mission) was founded in 1770, making...more

  • Cannery Row

    Cannery Row houses an eclectic blend of specialty shops, local artists' galleries, more than 25...more

  • Art Galleries

    Home to museums, galleries and performing arts venues, Monterey County is a hub for artistic...more

  • Monterey Adobes

    The antique restored adobes make Monterey the most historic city in California....more

  • Shopping in Monterey

    Monterey County's shopping scene is full of great deals and extraordinary surprises, from fine art...more

Get Our eNewsletter

Get Our eNewsletter

Monterey County's monthly newsletter keeps you up-to-date with upcoming event information, itinerary ideas, occasional contests & more. more

Monterey Spotlight

Featured Events

All
  • Jul 10 2015

    Aerosmith at the Salinas Sports Complex

    Legendary and iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Aerosmith will kick off Big Week in a BIG way with...more

  • Jul 16 2015

    California Rodeo Salinas

    Each July, the West comes alive in Salinas with the California Rodeo Salinas at the Salinas Sports...more

  • Jul 17 2015

    FIM Superbike World Championship

    The sounds of motorcycles will again roar through the central California hillsides as the FIM...more

  • Jul 18 2015

    78th Annual Carmel Bach Festival

    Carmel Bach Festival, a world-class festival of music and ideas celebrating the works, inspiration,...more