Plenty of locally owned restaurants dot the landscape in the downtown area of Carmel. Look for these choices surrounding Main Street and Rangeline Road, and then again at 126th Street and Rangeline Road. Other restaurants sit on the west side of the neighborhood near U.S. Highway 31 and Carmel Drive. If you love standard ethnic cuisine, Carmel contains plenty of those restaurants with Mexican, Italian, American and Asian establishments. National chains also have locations in this neighborhood.
You can find a popular live/work/play development, Carmel City Center, at City Center Drive and S Rangeline Road. Dining options include Eggshell Bistro, which specializes in brunch, and a sharing plates restaurant called divvy, which was voted one of the 25 best restaurants in Indianapolis by Indianapolis Monthly. There are also several pubs, and a craft ice cream shop, Graeter's Ice Cream.
Bub's Burgers & Ice Cream , on Main Street, prides itself on hand-patted burgers made from fresh ground chuck. Start with the Big Ugly, a 1-pound burger cooked to order. Add cheese and bacon to this gigantic, beefy delight. Each burger comes with lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles on the side. If you eat a Big Ugly in one sitting, you get your picture on the wall. You can also order the Big Ugly with ground elk meat if you want something exotic. For smaller appetites, order the 1/2-, 1/4- and 1/8-pound varieties. Lighter fare includes chicken sandwiches, mahi mahi on a bun and a salad. As the name of the place suggests, Bub's focuses on hamburgers.
Woodys Library Restaurant , also in the heart of downtown Carmel on Main Street, inhabits a Carnegie-style library built in 1913, and the building became a restaurant in 1998. Owners Richelle and Kevin Rider—the same owners of divvy—specialize in many types of food with a pub atmosphere. Dive into appetizers including white cheese fondue, seared Far East tuna, bison meatballs, layered nacho dip and chicken wings. Choose from seven different types of salads, or build your own with greens, protein and dressing. Classic dinner entrees get a boost of exotic fusions, such as bison meatloaf served with chipotle honey barbecue sauce, and quinoa primavera that contains mushrooms, peas, broccoli, tomatoes and other vegetables. Add chicken, shrimp or salmon to the primavera for a real treat. The extensive drink menu makes happy hour totally worth it. Specials change daily, and check out Woodys' create-your-own taco menu.
Pad Thai Restaurant represents one of several ethnic cuisines along Main Street. This establishment opens for lunch and dinner seven days per week. Eleven appetizers range from chicken satay and coconut shrimp to golden tofu and Thai dumplings. Chicken satay arrives at your table in skewers with peanut sauce and cucumber relish. For dinner, choose from one of 12 specialties of the house that let you indicate the level of spiciness you want, from mild up to Thai hot. Seafood Panang contains shrimp, mussels, calamari and scallops mixed with Panang curry sauce and mixed vegetables. Seven curries tempt your palate, such as the mango curry made with sliced meat, red curry sauce, bell peppers, green beans, tomatoes and mango.
Several bar and nightlife options exist in Carmel, including Muldoon's and Upland's Carmel Tap House. Perhaps the best bar experience happens at Brockway Public House . Enjoy Irish favorites to eat and drink, from chowder, Scotch eggs and beef stew to shepherd's pie, fish & chips and the classic Reuben. Drop back a pint of Guinness or Irish whiskey at happy hour when you relax after a hard day's work. There's live music every Tuesday and Friday night as one of Carmel's hippest night spots for food, drink and fun until 1 a.m. most nights on Old Meridian Street.
Carmel's history dates back to settlements of Native Americans associated with the Delaware tribe. Quakers came to the area in 1837, and European settlers built the first post office in 1846 in the town known as Bethlehem. In 1874, citizens voted to change the name to Carmel. The Monon Railroad came through town in 1882, and Carmel grew quickly from there as an industrial and corporate center.
The Museum of Miniature Houses displays more than 600 room boxes, dollhouses and other unique miniatures. Exhibits change quarterly at this local treasure.
The Center for the Performing Arts anchors the arts scene in Carmel with a world-class theater venue that hosts various live productions. Every year in September, the Carmel International Arts Festival invites more than 130 artisans to display their wares at the Art and Design District.
Residents of Carmel have several ways to get around town. Most, but not all, streets have sidewalks for leisurely strolls during the day or at night. As an official Tree City USA, huge trees give you plenty of shaded sidewalks during warm summer months.
Houses usually have driveways, so bicyclists can get around residential streets with ease. Many larger streets have bicycle-friendly speed limits and roundabouts that slow traffic. There are some dedicated bike lanes on 116th, 126th, Main and 136th Streets going east and west. For north-south thoroughfares, bicyclists can take Towne, Ditch, Spring Mill and Oak Ridge Roads. Old Meridian Street also has a special bike lane.
For cars, businesses and city services have plenty of free public parking. Access Keystone Parkway, on the east side of the neighborhood, from Main, 126th and 116th Streets. Reach U.S. Highway 31, on the west side, from Main and 116th Streets. Get to Interstate 465, the east-west highway along the southern corridor of Carmel, by traveling south on Keystone Parkway or U.S. Highway 31. If your car breaks down, Uber and taxi services have options to take you anywhere in the metro area.
Hamilton County Express represents the only true public transportation in Carmel. Call the service for point-to-point pick-up and drop-off services.
Living costs more in Carmel as compared to downtown Indianapolis, mostly due to expenses related to housing. Expect to pay approximately $1,040 per month, on average, for a one-bedroom apartment in this neighborhood.
A pint runs you about $3.50 during happy hour at your favorite local watering hole. A gallon of gasoline runs approximately 11 percent lower than the national average. A one-way pass on the Hamilton County Express costs $5 to go anywhere in the county.
Enjoy plenty of spots for retail therapy in Carmel. Carmel City Center has a variety of shopping from Briades of Carmel, a bridal boutique, to Bath Junkie, which sells bubble bath products, moisturizers and exfoliating salt scrubs. House of Z specializes in children's clothing. Addendum offers hand-crafted art and gifts.
Just south of the neighborhood, along Keystone Parkway, sits The Fashion Mall at Keystone. This upscale shopping center has several national chains with high-end stores and restaurants. Clay Terrace, towards the north of Carmel, represents the best shopping in the neighborhood thanks to this outdoor mall. Check out plenty of high-end stores and restaurants here as a bookend to The Fashion Mall. Clay Terrace has national chains and local boutiques.
Oliver's Twist, in Clay Terrace, specializes in stationery and invitations for any occasion, whether you need to say "Happy Birthday" or "Congratulations" with the right touch of class. Seasonal items include cards for winter holidays and Valentine's Day.
BeDazzling Boutique on Rangeline sells tons of jeans, opulent necklaces and dresses for any look. Check out the store's selection of wall hangings and rugs for anyone who wants to complete the final touches on any room of the house.
Grocery stores abound in Carmel. There's a Whole Foods in Clay Terrace, and Earth Fare features organic and health foods as well. Regional chain Market District has a store on North Illinois Street, while Marsh Supermarkets has three locations in Carmel to serve you. Carmel Farmers Market runs year-round and every Saturday morning. The winter market is located at Founders Park.
Several parks and golf courses await you in Carmel. Golf lovers indulge in Plum Creek Golf Club, Prairie View Country Club, River Glen Country Club, Woodland Country Club and Crooked Stick Golf Club. Bicyclists love the Monon Trail as a way to travel north and south through the center of town.
More than 500 acres of park land allow you to play, run, swim and walk all around the city. Coxhall Gardens serves as an outdoor wedding venue, and residents can also walk along paved trails, fish in a stocked pond and listen to music at the outdoor pavilion. A playground contains a space for kids to romp around on some equipment. West Park has a huge playscape for kids. Founders Park features a pavilion, playground and walking trails on the east side of Carmel. Bring your leashed pooch to these parks for some fun time with Fido. All of these recreational parks are free unless you rent a facility.
Concerts in the Centerpiece at Coxhall Gardens occur every September. Fans of jazz and blues pack the outdoor pavilion on warm Sunday nights to listen to regional and national acts. Bring a lawn chair and blankets to enjoy the night sky and some great music.