Thank you so much to Visit Hamilton County for bringing me and my husband to Carmel and sponsoring our stay! As always, all opinions are my own.
We had a wonderful weekend in Carmel, Indiana this past weekend, and it quickly became one of my favorite midwest cities! I absolutely loved everything about this town, from the adorable B&B we stayed in and the incredible food we sampled, to the plethora of activities the city offers and endless kindness of the residents. If you’ve never been to this Indianapolis suburb, you should add it to your list! Consistently voted and rated as one of or the very best place to live in the United States, Carmel has so much to offer residents and visitors alike. Below are my favorite parts of the city, in no particular order.
Where to Stay
We stayed at the Old Towne Bed & Breakfast in Carmel, and it was the most charming Bed & Breakfast we’ve ever been guests of. Joe & Kelly, the owners, were so kind and welcoming and made us feel right at home. They made sure we had everything we needed to enjoy our stay, and made sure we knew that we could help ourselves to snacks, drinks, and tourist info in the main dining room, plus they were around whenever we had questions about the area and were a wellspring of knowledge.
Our room was beautiful, bright, and so comfortable with our own AC system, a ceiling fan, plenty of blankets and pillows, and a bathroom fully stocked with anything and everything we could need during our stay. If you’re visiting Carmel, I highly recommend staying here if you want a wonderful, cozy experience!
Where to Eat
Carmel had lots of incredible food options, my favorite being Eggshell Bistro, an eclectic, internationally inspired brunch spot voted the Best Brunch in Indiana multiple years in a row. I highly recommend trying the Caprése Strata, which is a savory egg and brioche dish featuring roasted sweet cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, basil pesto, fruit, edible flowers, and sprouts baked into an incredible savory and naturally sweet breakfast dish that I can’t stop thinking about. The Truffled Egg Brioche was also delightful, which consisted of a poached egg in a thick slice of brioche bread, topped with a generous helping of grilled asparagus, fresh herbs and edible flowers, truffle oil, preserved lemons, bottarga, and fontina cheeses. My husband couldn’t get enough of this dish! The N’Orleans Iced-Coffee was the most authentic NOLA iced coffee I’ve ever had outside of NOLA, and the way they poached their eggs and covered them in edible flowers and herbs was truly unforgettable!
Rail Epicurean Market was another one of our favorite restaurants in the nearby city of Westfield. Their menu changes to reflect the seasons and utilizes the finest local and seasonal ingredients to highlight their culinary experiments and unique takes on traditional dishes. Situated in a massive red barn in downtown Westfield (just outside of Carmel), this community-centric restaurant is full of delightful flavors like their Blackened Spring Salmon with raspberry mustard vinaigrette, yellow squash, pickled fennel, fresh raspberries, asparagus and a beautiful pieces of blackened wild caught salmon, the Strawberry Spinach Salad with tulip tree nettle, cucumbers, lemon poppyseed vinaigrette, red onion, The Challah Melt served with brie, cucumbers, apricot preserves, spinach, local stoneground mustard all on a fresh baked challah bun with a potato salad side, and the Lime Curd Tart A La Mode for dessert.
A few other fantastic places to eat in Carmel:
Divvy Small Plate
Prime 47 Steakhouse
Kona Grill Sushi & Cocktails
Convivio Italian Artisan Cuisine
Reggae Jamaican Grill
Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream
Main Street Poké
Fresh Indian Grill
What to Do
Carmel, IN is famous for its dedication to the arts, and as such, there’s no shortage of art galleries, art competitions, sculptures around the city, and performances around town. We stayed near the Arts & Design District during much of our stay, and enjoyed browsing through locally created art galleries, and looking at the awesome architecture of buildings like the Palladium, Carmel’s performing arts center. We saw Straight No Chaser at the Palladium, which was so a fun and unique experience. The performing arts center itself is absolutely stunning, and if you’re able to see a show or performance during your stay, I highly recommend it! The Palladium always has something going on, so click here to check the schedule and watch a show or concert there. The theater is run by volunteers and is one of the only non-profit theaters in the midwest!
The Monon Trail is a great place to run, walk, or bike with the city’s Zagster bike sharing program, and it stretches 23.1 miles from Sheridan to Indianapolis. We strolled along the path and took photos, but I wish we would’ve had enough time to bike it, because it was beautifully covered by a canopy of shady maple and oak trees, and I would’ve loved to have seen more of it.
The shopping in Carmel was great too, and we popped into some local stores in Clay Terrace, downtown, and in the nearby mall in Indianapolis called “The Fashion Mall” when Robin realized he’d forgotten socks.
If you enjoy beer and wine tasting, there is no shortage of places to imbibe in the area, and there are lots of places like The Pint Room, Old Town Tavern, Union Brewing Company, and many others that serve up local and regional beers and drinks.
Where to Park
There is ample free parking around the city, and parking on the streets during certain days of the week. Many businesses also offer valet parking as well. If you’re riding bikes during your visit, there is a bike sharing program where you can park and swap bikes at different locations, and most businesses have spots for bikes to park as well.
We loved our time in Carmel, and I hope this guide helps you love your visit as well! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or contact Visit Hamilton County here.
Explore the World with Me:
Complete Traveler’s Guides: Baden-Baden, Germany | Beverly Hills | Carmel, IN | Chicago| Colmar, France | Grand Rapids, MI | Greenland | Heidelberg, Germany | New Orleans | New York City | Niagara Falls | Querétaro | Toronto| Traverse City, MI | Tucson | Tulum | Vatican City | Venice |
Luxury Hotels of the World: Amway Grand Plaza: Grand Rapids | Casa de la Marquesa: Querétaro | Der Kleine Prinz: Baden-Baden | Grand Hotel: Mackinac Island | Hotel Monteleon: New Orleans | Radisson Blu Aqua: Chicago | SchlossHotel HugenPoet: Essen | Titanic Chaussee: Berlin | Townsend Hotel: Birmingham| Weber’s Boutique Hotel: Ann Arbor | Zamna: Tulum |
Luxury Restaurants of the World: Barrel Back: Walloon Lake | Hinoki & the Bird: LA | Kin Toh Treehouse in the Jungle: Tulum | Kitchen Table: Tulum | Ladurée Paris | Matcha Mama: Tulum | Prost Wine Bar & Charcuterie | The Real Coconut:Tulum | Rosa Negra: Tulum | Sushi Grand: Mackinac Island | What to eat Grand Hotel Mackinac Island | 10 Best Places to Grab a Drink on Mackinac Island | 15 Best Places to Eat in Grand Rapids | 20 Best Places to Eat in Tulum | 50 Best Places to Eat in Michigan |