A booming and bustling mixture of urban and suburban life interspersed with the relaxation of nature, the city of Carmel truly showcases Indiana’s thriving heart and all this great state brings to the table in terms of entertainment, recreation, food, and more!
If you’re looking for things to do in Carmel, IN, our quick and comprehensive guide is here to help you pick the best activities, eats, and adventures to make the most of this beautiful city and all it has to offer!
Restaurants in Carmel, IN
1. Vitality Bowls
If you’re on the hunt for great, clean eats at an affordable cost, and a menu with enough variety that the whole family can enjoy their dining experience, then pay a visit to Vitality Bowls in Carmel! This scrumptious location offers acai bowls, wraps, salads, toast with toppings, smoothies, juice, and a great kid’s menu, too—all with well-sourced, fresh ingredients at a great rate, so you don’t have to sacrifice savings OR your clean-eating goals during a jaunt around Carmel!
2. Fork + Ale House
Hungry for some classic American eats alongside some hand-crafted ale, beer, or a house-made cocktail? Stop in at Fork + Ale House and enjoy the best of it all! This fresh, engaging eatery offers delicious, locally-sourced products cooked from scratch on site, including in-house smoked meats and homemade pizza dough, all delivered up in a family-friendly atmosphere.
Order a wonderful, comforting meal and a drink to enjoy inside while watching your favorite game on the numerous TVs, or out on the patio enjoying the bustle of the city—wherever you are, you’re sure to enjoy your visit to Fork + Ale House!
3. Savor Restaurant
It’s time for a classy, delicious meal in the Carmel area—and you don’t need to look any further than Savor Restaurant! Showcasing some of the best eating Carmel has to offer, this popular restaurant boasts the best classic dishes, including chicken, steak, seafood, sandwiches, pasta, pizza, cakes, bread pudding, and more—all made with ethically-sourced, clean ingredients prepared woodfire-style! You’re sure to find something you absolutely love on Savor’s diverse, delectable menu!
4. BRU Burger Bar
It doesn’t get much better than burgers at BRU Burger Bar! From its sleek, refined, yet casual atmosphere to its array of drinks and cocktails and a variegated menu including burgers, chicken, sandwiches, and more, this is rapidly becoming one of the most popular burger joints in central Indiana.
BRU is especially known for its variety of burgers with upscaled ingredients, including spicy cheeses, truffle aioli, and more. If you’re looking for a burger that’s a class above the standard, you’re certain to find something to satisfy your palate at BRU Burger Bar!
5. Rose and Lois Café
If all the shopping, exploring, and hiking around Carmel has you beat, stop in at Rose and Lois Café for a delicious pick-me-up! This beautiful, friendly coffeeshop features places for parents to relax and kiddos to play, all while offering your classic caffeinated favorites and then some! Order a drip coffee, espresso drink, or cold brew (which can all be scaled up with your milk of choice, including oat!); or try something new, like a Dalgona whipped coffee, a coffee-and-biscotti or milk-and-cookie flight, or one of the non-coffee drinks like their signature teas, lemonade, or hot chocolate!
You’ll also find delicious, quick eats on the menu, including pastries, ice cream, breakfast sandwiches, soups, and more. This café is the perfect place to fuel up for your Carmel adventure!
Family-Friendly Activities in Carmel, IN
6. Monon Trail
A popular trail converted from a railroad into a paved path for walkers, joggers, and runners, bicyclists, rollerbladers, and those who enjoy both nature and urban views, the Monon Trail winds through much of central Indiana and boasts a 5.2 mile stretch within Carmel’s city limits known as “The Monon Greenway”. Maintained by the city, this length of the Monon reaches from 96th Street to the boundaries of Westfield, IN.
It’s a fantastic place to get in a good walk on well-kept asphalt, see the sights, and enjoy those beautiful Indiana days! (Note: Trailheads with free parking, restrooms and water are located at 1430 East 96th Street and 1201 Rohrer Road.)
7. Carmel Farmer’s Market
If you’re on the hunt for a fun family outing on the weekend, stop by the Carmel Farmer’s Market for some fantastic fun! Held May-September at Carter Green, this outdoor farmer’s market boasts a vast array of vendors selling so many wonderful things, including fresh-made pastries, farm-grown-and-raised fruits, vegetables, and meats, coffee, kombucha, prepared meals from a variety of cultures, and so much more!
After you’re done shopping, grab some food and drink and sit near Carter Green’s amphitheater, where live music and entertainment are provided throughout the season. Admission is free, and this is a market you don’t want to miss!
8. Central Park
Looking to burn off some energy as a family in a clean, safe, and fun environment? Visit Central Park of Carmel for all that and more! Featuring a new, well-maintained and absolutely beautiful playground, it’s a great option to help little ones burn off their energy as they scale the soaring towers, scale netting, and more; or you can visit the splash Pad, waterpark, trails, skatepark, dog park, or one of the other amenities this gorgeous park has to offer. Whatever activity you choose, this is the perfect place for your whole crew to play at any time of the year!
9. Midtown Plaza
Midtown Plaza is a trendy, urban revitalization of Carmel’s old industrial district—and there’s no shortage of things to do here! Beneath the sprawling blue awnings, you’ll find free amenities such as community tables and benches, a spray plaza, public art, ping-pong tables, bocce ball courts, pool, and corn hole. Available to the public as well are events including live music, movies shown every Monday at noon, 3pm, and 6pm from May-October and every Saturday in November and December, and even singing auditions for Midtown’s Got Talent!
10. Cool Creek Park
If you’re looking for more nature-based things to do in Carmel, IN, Cool Creek Park might just be calling your name! This popular 90-acre park has a variety of activities the whole family can enjoy, including a basketball court and soccer field, bike and nature trails, a nature center, a playground, and so much more! Scenic and serene, this park is a great place to get some distance from the bustle of the city and soak in the beauty of nature with your loved ones!
Educational and Recreational Activities in Carmel, IN
11. Shopping At Carmel City Center
Eager for a shopping experience with boutiques and stores you won’t find just anywhere? Carmel City Center is the place for you! With a variety of international and intergenerational shops, this marketplace is the perfect spot to find unique items for your personal home or wardrobe, as well as gifts, entertainment, food, and more!
12. Carmel Clay Historical Society Museum
Are you a history buff? Want to learn more about how beautiful Carmel and nearby Clay County came to be the behemoths of architecture, culture, and urban life they are today? Drop in for a visit at the Carmel Clay Historical Society Museum!
Here you’ll learn all about how this city grew and flourished, with a variety of resources including tours of the Monon Railroad Depot Museum, historic home tours where you can view local architecture and antiques, and archives with genealogical records and various letters, diaries, newspapers, documents, and artifacts pertaining to the city’s history.
13. Museum of Miniature Houses and Other Collections
There aren’t many museums devoted to the fine art of crafting miniature houses, but the Museum of Miniature Houses and Other Collections in Carmel is famous for it! This is a fantastic place to explore the unique art of miniature houses, observing their intricate design up close.
With both permanent exhibits and special ones, you’ll always find there’s something new and fascinating to observe in this one-of-a-kind museum; and if you’re interested in miniature house-making yourself, be sure to drop by the museum shop for items you can purchase for your own miniature collection!
14. Shopping at Clay Terrace
Boasting some of the most trendy and popular shops out there, including American Eagle, Torrid, Altar’d State, Bath and Body Works, GameStop, and more, Clay Terrace is a fantastic place for the whole family to go shopping!
Everyone is sure to find a shop to duck into for their personal shopping preferences, and afterward you can indulge at one of the many restaurants on the Terrace; or, depending on the time of your visit, you may want to check out one of the on-site events such as the Art Walk, or Shop with Your Pet day at one of the dog-friendly stores!
15. Carmel Arts and Design District
Located in the heart of Old Carmel, the Carmel Arts and Design District is home to countless artistic venues, including interior designer shops, art galleries, showrooms, antiques stores, specialty shops, and much, much more. Here you can purchase the work of local artists, commission specialty pieces for your home, or simply admire the breathtaking showcase of Carmel’s artistic spirit as you walk this pleasant, stunning district and take in all the sights it has to offer!
The question isn’t whether you’ll find something fun to do in Carmel—it’s how you’ll fit all the fun into any given trip! We hope this guide on things to do in Carmel, IN has you pumped up and excited to visit, explore, play, shop, and eat your way through one of the Hoosier state’s most popular cities! We know Carmel is excited to have you visit!
And once you have enjoyed all the sites there is to see in Carmel, why don’t you take a quick trip over to Fort Wayne and enjoy everything it has to offer as well.