25 Best Things to Do in Carmel (IN)

Source: Flickr / Carmel Central | CC BY-SA 2.0

Carmel is located in Hamilton County, the fifth-largest city in Indiana, with a population of over 100,000 people. Carmel is also one of the most affluent suburbs of Indianapolis and has been named one of America’s Top 25 Places to Live by Money magazine for six consecutive years (2011-2016).
Carmel town was initially called Bethlehem, and in 1846 a post office was established here, but because Indiana already had an office called “Bethlehem”, this one was named “Carmel”. Finally, in 1874, 28 years later, the town was officially renamed and has since been called Carmel.
Here one of the first electronic automated traffic signals was installed. In addition, the city has constructed 140 roundabouts since 1998 and has the “Roundabout Capital of the U.S.” name.

Carmel is home to several major corporations’ headquarters and serves as the national headquarters for companies such as Allegion, CNO Financial Group, MISO, KAR Global and Delta Faucet.

Interactive Map of 25 Best Things to Do in Carmel (IN)

Source: Map data @2023 Google

1. Monon Trail

The Monon Trail is more than a 20-mile paved pedestrian and bike trail that starts in Carmel, Indiana and ends in downtown Indianapolis. It is named after the famous Monon Railroad that once connected Indiana to Chicago.
The paved trail goes through multiple towns and offers stunning countryside views. Several parks and top attractions are also located along the route, making it the perfect place for a day trip or weekend getaway!

2. Carmel Arts & Design District

The Carmel Arts & Design District is a vibrant, walkable district in the heart of Carmel, Indiana, celebrating the arts and design. The neighborhood is home to more than 60 art galleries, studios and businesses, and some of the best restaurants in town!

The district covers nearly 30 blocks and spans from City Center Drive to Range Line Road.
One of the most visited places in the area is the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts – one of the most prestigious performing arts venues in Indiana state.
In addition to its many art galleries and studios, the district also offers many shopping stops, cozy cafes and main sightseeing points of the town.

3. Museum of Miniature Houses and Other Collections

The Museum of Miniature Houses & Other Collections brings you all the charm and beauty found in miniature works from around the world. Established in 1993, this unique museum has since become a popular destination for visitors who come to admire its over 1,000 intricate models. These replicas include historically accurate representations such as a mini White House and an assortment of dolls crafted with extreme precision that range across different cultures; not forgetting its model train exhibit too!

As one of few museums featuring miniatures on display nationwide, it’s no surprise more than 107 thousand people have experienced them up close ever since it opened.

4. Flowing Well Park

Flowing Well Park is a beautiful 15-acre park offering stunning countryside views and is perfect for a day trip or weekend getaway! One of the must-see attractions here is The Artesian Well, which was founded in 1800, and has provided water to the locals for more than 200 years! This well is interesting because it does not have a pump – water from underground rises to the surface naturally due to pressure conditions.
Even though water from the well is not purified, it is tested regularly and is safe to drink, so bring your sterile water bottle!

5. Peace Water Winery

People looking for the perfect wine to commemorate a special occasion or just unwind after work can find their ideal bottle at this family-owned winery in Carmel, renowned for its award-winning wines crafted with only premium grapes. Here you’ll be spoiled by choice and have access to knowledgeable staff who will happily provide advice on which drink is best suited – from culinary pairings all the way through extraordinary events!

6. Coxhall Gardens

Coxhall Gardens is a modern 125-acre paradise, boasting two majestic 90-foot bell towers and an expansive recreation lake. Jesse & Beulah Cox’s 1999 donation of the property to Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Department has been put to good use; visitors can explore the numerous gardens by foot or bicycle (bike trail included!), take part in fishing activities, book guided tours around the park – with its historic Victorian home constructed using bricks made onsite back 1865!

7. The Center for the Performing Arts

The Center for the Performing Arts is Indiana’s premier performing arts venue, showcasing a dazzling selection of Broadway shows, concerts and more. Each year hundreds of events are presented to an audience eager to embrace new experiences in music, theatre and art.

At Palladium – its showpiece 2.500-seat auditorium with beautiful views over downtown Indianapolis – audiences can enjoy intimate performances from renowned artists or explore any number of classes and workshops, such as book club lectures, camps for kids, plus music & dance classes!

8. The Waterpark at the Monon Community Center

A family-friendly oasis, the Monon Community Center offers guests of all ages a variety of recreational options. Enjoy an aquatic adventure in our expansive waterpark featuring slides and pools; work up a sweat at one of our gym facilities or on the courts during basketball or racquetball games; skate your cares away at our skate park while youngsters explore their imaginations through daycare programming.

Our center is open seven days per week to ensure everyone can take advantage – plus, special events make each visit more magical!

9. Clay Terrace

Clay Terrace is truly an experience for the whole family! Located in Carmel, Indiana’s first outdoor lifestyle center spans 80 stores and restaurants like Apple, Banana Republic and The Cheesecake Factory. Plus, you’ll find various services such as a hair salon, bank and car wash to make it one-stop shopping.

Don’t forget about the Children’s Play Area or Dog Park – perfect additions to this fun spot! And cap off your day at Clay with community events or gather round the fire pit when visiting during opening hours of 10 am–9 pm Monday via Saturday.

10. Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre

Step into the historic Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre, where over a century of classic performances have graced its stage. Celebrities such as John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart are just some of the stars who’ve shared their talent at this esteemed venue – but that’s not all!

The theatre also offers an extensive range of classes and workshops for every age group to discover something new or explore their creativity.

11. Cool Creek Park

Cool Creek Park is a 90-acre family paradise with a plethora of activities and amenities such as 4-mile wooden trails, scenic paved roads for biking or rollerskating, jogging paths, soccer fields & basketball courts. Nature lovers can explore the wetland’s natural habitats while birdwatching peacefully in its prairies.

With regular events like concerts and holiday celebrations plus open daily hours to suit all ages – Cool Creek has something beautiful just waiting to be explored!

12. Carmel Farmers Market

Experience the bounty of Carmel with a visit to its weekly outdoor Farmers Market every Saturday morning from May through October! Enjoy an abundance of fresh produce, meats and cheeses, baked goods and arts & crafts offered up by local artisans. The festive atmosphere includes live music performances as well as fun family activities like face painting and balloon animals.

Celebrate special occasions throughout the year in this unique community gathering place – get to know your neighbors while savoring all that Carmel has to offer!

13. River Road Park

River Road Park, a spectacular attraction in Carmel, IN, is open all week long and invites visitors of any age to experience its 4-mile wooden trails and scenic paved roads. Whether you’re looking for an afternoon jog or simply some time on the playground with your family, this park has it all!

Despite being amazing enough already as it is – River Road doesn’t stop there; each year, special events like concerts and holiday festivities are organized within the confines of these beautiful grounds. Join us at River Road Park, where fun never ends & memories last forever!

14. Midtown Plaza

Midtown Plaza is an upscale shopping center that invigorates Carmel’s historic industrial area. It links the Arts & Design District and City Center, unifying them with lush green spaces for residents to congregate in comfort or try their hand at various interactive activities like ping-pong tables, bocce ball courts and even a spray plaza!

And when it comes time to take a break from all this fun – grab yourself some local grub while you indulge in what the downtown has always promised; convenience coupled with quality experiences.

15. Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael

Feinstein‘s is a classic dining with a creative and sophisticated atmosphere where you can enjoy lively entertainment programs.
Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael was inspired and designed after the legendary 54 Below in NYC and offers fine dining while enjoying live music performances. There are up to 4 events weekly, accommodating up to 135 people in the central area with the exclusive menu – handcrafted cocktails, best wines, and a special menu.
Feinstein’s is located on Carmichael Square and offers parking spaces. So if you’re planning to visit, make sure to purchase tickets via their official website.

16. Westermeier Commons at Central Park

When visiting this 159-acre park, you’ll get a chance to explore and connect with nature while hiking 6 miles of trails through native prairies, wetlands and woodlands.
The area was formerly named “West Commons” but was renamed after Mark Westermeier, a director of Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation, for 15 years.

Park has a futuristic design with over 25 thousand square feet of play space, incorporating universal areas for different needs. Everything in the Westermeier Commons brings you closer to nature and gives you a perfect getaway.

17. Trinity Ballpark

With its stunning 6,500-seat capacity and premier natural grass playing surface, Trinity Ballpark is a Minor League Baseball fan’s dream. Established in 1996 as the home of Indianapolis Indians – Triple-A affiliate to Pittsburgh Pirates – fans have been enjoying all that it has to offer ever since.

From batting cages and mini golf courses during game days through to arcades open year-round, plus thrilling firework displays throughout summer along with regular special events, this ballpark offers something for everyone!

18. Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve

Located in the heart of Carmel, Indiana, Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve is a 300-acre haven for nature lovers. Whether you’re seeking an escape from city life or looking to explore with your family and friends, this natural oasis has plenty to offer – six miles of trails just waiting to be explored on foot or bike; playgrounds for younger ones; batting cages for athletes; plus concerts and other events held throughout the year. From dawn till dusk, it’s an open free of charge to all who wish to come to bask in its beauty!

19. Westermeier Commons Playground & Splashpad

Westermeier Commons Playground & Splashpad is the perfect destination for families to make memories! Keep cool in summer with its exciting splash pad and enjoy plenty of activities, including swings, slides and climbing structures – all great ways to get those kids outside.

Don’t forget a picnic lunch either; with pavilions onsite, you can turn your day into an adventure complete with tasty treats!

20. Carmel Clay Veterans Memorial Freedom Circle

The Carmel Clay Veterans Memorial Freedom Circle is a tribute to our heroes located in the heart of Carmel, Indiana. The circle serves as an all-encompassing patriotic monument dedicated to those who have served – and continue to serve – in defense of this great nation.

This inner sanctuary features multiple monuments honoring veterans from every branch, available for free visitation 24/7; it’s often used by locals and visitors alike for peaceful strolls or reflective meditation on sacrifice and freedom.

21. Crooked Stick Golf Club

Established in 1964, Crooked Stick Golf Club has made its mark on the global golfing scene. It is a prestigious club that continues to host major tournaments like the PGA Championship, Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup – some of the most coveted events in professional golf.

With two championship courses at your fingertips and tailored membership options available, this revered club offers an unparalleled experience for true enthusiasts of one of life’s greatest games

22. Sun King Spirits 

Sun King Spirits is a craft distillery in Carmel, Indiana, that has been crafting award-winning vodka, whiskey and gin since 2009. The facility offers exciting tours for visitors to explore the brewing process as well as tastings of their varied selection of spirits – all followed by souvenirs and gifts from Sun King’s ‘treasure trove’!

23. Porchfest

Porchfest is the perfect way to explore Carmel and join in on a day full of entertainment! Celebrate all that this amazing city has to offer with music performances by local musicians, food stands featuring delicious cuisines from around the world, and art exhibitions showcasing unique works across mediums―all while basking under the beautiful Indiana sun. With free admission plus optional refreshments available for purchase, there’s something here for everyone; make sure you don’t miss out on one of Carmel’s best annual attractions!

24. Conner Prairie

Discover the days of old at Conner Prairie, a remarkable living history museum where visitors can step back in time to experience life from centuries past. Spanning over 100 acres, this interactive attraction offers everything from working farms and Native American villages to replica airplanes – taking you on a journey through 18th and 19th-century America!

Whether your visit is for educational or entertainment purposes, relax amongst lush grounds with daily concerts & festivals; tickets are available both online & at the door.

25. AFCA Antique Fan Museum

Unlock centuries of fascinating fan history with a visit to the AFCA Antique Fan Museum! From models from 18th-century Europe up to today’s contemporary fans, come explore more than 1,000 antique designs.

Educational offerings and events provide an opportunity for everyone – whether you are a budding historian or just curious about antiquity – making it easy to learn something new every time you stroll through this museum hall!