Carmel, Indiana: A Very Nice Place to Hang your Chapeau

Carmel, Indiana is a prosperous, growing suburb of Indiana state capital Indianapolis. In recent years, it has grown to be a tourist powerhouse completely independent of Indy. The Carmel arts scene, Carmel music, and Carmel attractions have all been exploding over the past several years, and Carmel is starting to turn into a fine place to visit.

Things to Do in Carmel

Carmel, Indiana is a real center of activities for the body, mind and spirit. Ongoing Carmel events, such as the extremely popular Carmel Fest every July 4th and the prestigious Carmel International Arts Festival held the last weekend in September, attract thousands of visitors every year. The weekly Carmel Farmers Market, convened in Carmel’s City Hall in the south parking lot every Saturday morning, offers some 50 vendors of fresh, homegrown and homemade everything, plus events galore. Different live music groups perform there every week, and contests, such as the “Veggie Art Contest,” are organized weekly too.

Video highlights of CarmelFest in Carmel, Indiana

 Carmel Arts

Carmel, Indiana, like its counterpart on the west coast, is an elegant, upscale community. And like the other Carmel, the town displays a lively interest in all the arts. The new Carmel Arts & Design District, situated in Old Town Carmel, occupies the favored place in the heart of town, as befits a preferred district. It consists of a unique blend of Carmel art and culture, Carmel restaurants and other specialty stores, as well as some of the best Carmel real estate properties.

Home to the Carmel International Arts Festival, the Carmel Arts & Design District draws vibrant and creative people who produce live events all year round. Fine art galleries in Carmel, Indiana include the Evan Lurie Gallery, Magdalena Gallery of Arts, Soori’s Gallery, Art & Soul, and CW Mundy Fine Art. The brand new Performing Arts Center of Carmel, still in the works, is scheduled to be one of the premiere centers for performing arts in the state. Carmel also boasts a respected academy of music. And let’s not forget the theater, well represented by the Carmel Community Players.

Video of artwork on display at the Magdalena Gallery in Carmel, Indiana

 Carmel Attractions

Chief among the attractions that this comely community has to offer is its inspiring Monon Trail, which connects the town of Carmel to nearby Westfield, downtown Indianapolis, and Broad Ripple Village. This fairly new section follows the main railroad line of yore, abandoned in 1987. More than 4,000 active folks use the Monon Trail every day, as a conduit for hiking, biking, and trail walking. The Carmel Monon Center is a water park extraordinaire, with several pools, indoor and outdoor, a gymnasium, an indoor track for running and a childcare center.

The Carmel City Center is also still receiving large infusions of funds and, when finished, will certainly be one of Carmel’s main attractions. Situated next to the new Carmel Arts & Design District, a huge attraction itself, it is slated to contain some 230,000 square feet of restaurants, retail stores and services, and apartments and offices, an outdoor amphitheater and an indoor stage, plus a performance hall that will seat 1,600 people.

Home video of a bike ride down the Monon Trail in Carmel, Indiana

Carmel Bars

From Woody’s Library to the Fox & Hound Downtown Grille, bars in Carmel represent the diverse character of Carmelites, and at the same time, they cater well to Carmel’s many visitors and sightseers. These pleasant getaways offer everything from sumptuous gourmet pub fare to an opportunity to sit around with the guys and cheer on your favorite Indianapolis sports team. The spiffy Carmel downtown district houses several excellent choices in pubs and restaurants with bars; it’s a real treat to relax in one after taking in the new Arts & Design district all day. There are also abundant pub choices all around the fun city of Carmel.

Carmel Children

One of the reasons Carmel, Indiana is such a prosperous city is because the community provides so many fun play and learning activities for Carmel children.

Though Indianapolis is just a glance away, there is seldom any real need to look farther than one’s own back yard for kids in Carmel who want to find fun. The big Laser Flash center in Carmel, for example, is party central for many active Hoosier kids.

Downtown Carmel

Old Town Carmel is in the process of getting an expensive facelift that will make the area a major jewel of Midwest America. Projects underway include the new $80 million Performing Arts Center and the Arts and Design District. The city overseers have also recently renovated downtown Carmel, placing distinctive street lamps with planters for live flowers all along the new brick sidewalks, and pouring funds into new residential and retail space developments within the Old Town sector.

Carmel Events

CarmelFest, which takes place every July 4 in the Carmel Civic Square, brings together families and friends from not only Carmel but many nearby cities in Indiana, especially Indianapolis. There’s a big parade, a Gala Fireworks Show and music, dancing, games and food, food, food in between.

The Carmel International Arts Festival is a prestigious juried art show where artists exhibit paintings, sculptures, mixed media, pottery, photographs, glass and jewelry. Live entertainment, food stands and children’s activities are featured in this popular event, occurring in late September along Main Street in the Arts & Design District.

Video of Jon McLaughlin performing at Rock the District in Carmel, Indiana

Geography of Carmel

Nicely situated in Hamilton County, Carmel offers easy access to state capital Indy via a short ten-minute drive due south. Carmel is one of the largest suburbs around metropolitan Indianapolis, along with Fishers, Zionsville and Lawrence. The city is built on about eighteen square miles of space, and is presently home to some 70,000 residents. Carmel’s population count is one of the fastest-growing in the nation.

Carmel Health

When it comes to health, Carmel residents are very well taken care of. Aside from the many excellent clinics and hospitals right next door in Indy, there are lots of facilities right inside the town of Carmel itself, including the American Health Network, BehaviorCorp, Carmel Health and Wellness Center, and the Chiropractic Neurology Center.

Carmel History

Officially platted in 1837, the city of Carmel, Indiana was originally known as Bethlehem, Indiana. The name was not changed to Carmel for another full generation. Fur traders, farmers and small business people took over the land after a treaty was signed with the local Delaware Indians. The Monon Railroad brought prosperity with it, connecting the newly forged hamlet with others in the vicinity.

Carmel was one of the first towns in the United States to put up an automatic traffic signal. These days, the city is growing at a rate most appropriately described as explosive.

Carmel Hotels

Some of the finest greater Indianapolis hotels reside in Carmel, Indiana, the jewel of Indy. From the triumphant SpringHill Suites by Marriott to the spacious and homey Hilton Garden Inn to the striking Renaissance Indianapolis North Hotel, the hotels in Carmel are a collection of some of the best hotels in Indiana and across the United States.

Carmel Media

Numerous marketing and advertising companies take care of the publicity needs of this upscale community. Local news is covered by the local newspaper, The Carmel Star, which is connected to the metropolitan newspaper, The Indianapolis Star.

Carmel has a local office for Radio Disney 983 FM. And just next door in Indianapolis are no less than four radio stations, five newspapers and four television stations. Indianapolis media, in fact, are considered local to Carmel.

Carmel Nightlife

Nightlife in Carmel, Indiana offers a whole array of choices. You could go to a formal wine tasting event at Woody’s Library Restaurant on Main Street, smack in the middle of Carmel’s new Arts and Design District. While you’re there, take in the latest exhibition of local art on their walls.

You could also go see a live stage play put on by the Carmel Community Players, a truly absorbing cultural experience. The Carmel Symphony Orchestra performs on a regular basis, speaking of culture. They keep their musical offerings family-friendly, presenting a fun blend of classical and popular pieces.

Video of the Carmel Symphony Orchestra performing in Carmel, Indiana

Notable People of Carmel

Carmel, Indiana has produced several notable residents thus far, including Jake Lloyd, of TV shows such as “E.R.” and movies such as Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace; Steve Inskeep, a radio host who made it big with NPR; Tommy O’Haver, a screenwriter and film director; Dorothy Mengering, better known as David Letterman‘s mom; and Ted Allen, who carved a niche in television as a judge for “Iron Chef America,” among other shows, and who presently hosts Food Network’s popular show, “Chopped.”

Carmel Parks and Recreation

One of the main reasons Carmel, Indiana is considered a top place to make a home anywhere on the planet is its extensive parks and recreation system. With no less than fifteen parks, including the huge family favorite, Central Park, and a vast network of trails connecting to the Monon Greenway, this town offers the very best in activities, enrichment and simple communion with nature.

Home video of the skate park at Central Park in Carmel, Indiana

Carmel Real Estate

There are more than 800 Carmel homes for sale in this busily growing city. Prices range from low to high, and one can find anything from low-end studio apartments to high-end homes with 10,000 or more square feet. There are a couple of places where you can see homes for sale by subdivision.

Restaurants in Carmel

Carmel restaurants constitute an important proportion of the fun activities in Carmel, a city which has attracted some of the finest eating establishments in Indiana. This upscale community boasts dining rooms that rival even the greatest restaurants in Indianapolis for the style, verve and mouth-watering flavors that keep diners coming back for more, no matter what city they came from.

Carmel residents are no strangers to fine dining, and the restaurants in town provide some of the finest culinary venues to please them. From unique attention-getters such as the sumptuous albondigas at Abuelo’s Mexican Food Embassy to chicken Manchurian at the Amber Indian Restaurant to sushi at the Sansui Japanese Restaurant to the ever-popular and historic Woody’s Library Restaurant, these Carmel restaurants are sure to offer something tasty to love.

Promotional video for Bistro de Paris, a restaurant in Carmel, Indiana

Carmel Schools

The excellent school system is a big attraction for relocating to Carmel. The Carmel Clay educational system consistently wins an eye-popping number of awards and recognitions. Carmel High School, for example, has almost 90 state championships under its belt in sports.

The local schools regularly score more than 30 to 50 points higher than the average for the state in math and verbal skills. There are nine elementary schools, three junior high schools, and one high school, not to mention the eleven private schools, including University High School, in the area.

Video of a pep rally at Carmel High School in Carmel, Indiana


Carmel Shopping

Dotted throughout the city are numerous strip malls and shopping areas, especially in the new Old Town district and thereabouts, where antique and specialty stores abound. Or if you get a serious shopping craving, join the throng at Clay Terrace Mall, one of the favorite shopping centers in Indiana and one of the best Indianapolis shopping malls.

Carmel Sports

The community of Carmel is an active one, an obvious fact when one realizes the enormous number of recreational opportunities it offers. From the city’s Aqua Park, basketball courts, fitness center and Kid Zone at the Monon Center, to the various golf, hockey, laser tag and skating venues all over town, the citizens, young or old, never lack for the comfort of playtime.