Enjoy a night at the Carmel Christkindlmarkt

Carmel Christkindlmarkt – A Holiday Tradition

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Just a few years ago, the nearby town of Carmel, Indiana created a new winter event – the Carmel Christkindlmarkt. For those of you who travel in Europe (especially Germany), this isn’t a new idea, in fact, Christkindlmarkts have been around for hundreds of years.

Stroll the booths at the Carmel Christkindlmarkt

A Christkindlmarkt is a street market that pops up during the Christmas season. A Christkindlmarkt typically has crafts, ornaments, and decorations associated with the holiday season for sale, delicious foods (often German or Swiss), and comforting drinks such as Glüwein (warm spiced wine).

The Carmel Christkindlmarkt is set up around a large ice-skating rink so not only can you enjoy the market, you can get a little fun winter exercise at the same time.

Christkindlmarkt ice skating rink

My son and I had the opportunity to attend the media day for the Carmel Christkindlmarkt in 2018 and for the last two years, my husband and I went.  Even though temperatures have always been incredibly cold, and the skies were grey, we had a marvelous time.

Thanks to plenty of parking on the street and several nearby (and free) parking garages, we had no trouble finding a close spot – I love that Carmel was very thoughtful in thinking about parking for their frequent events when planning the city center area.

If you arrive when the market is just opening, it will be less crowded to walk around the booths and chat with the various vendors. We found some adorable decorations and ornaments that would make delightful and unique stocking stuffers and Christmas gifts.

Items for sale at the Carmel Christkindlmarkt

Our teens love the ice skating rink, and we end up visiting it several times during the season. The rink is large, and you can bring your own skates or rent a pair. Sessions fill up quickly on the weekends. I highly recommend pre-purchasing a session so you won’t be disappointed. 

Also although the market closes on December 24th, skating lasts through January, so it would make a fun outing next year too!

👉 Looking for more fun holiday events in central Indiana? Check out this related post: Hamilton County Holiday Fun

The market has dozens of heated lamps and firepits scattered everywhere, which makes it easy to stop for a moment to warm up before continuing your journey. You can also warm yourself up with hot chocolate, yummy coffee drinks, or Glüwein.

At first, I wasn’t sure I liked the Glüwein – the first sip was pretty different, but after a few more I decided it was delicious! Each Christkindlmarkt has a unique mug that can be purchased for your Glüwein. If you were visiting a number of Christkindlmarkts or went back each year, it would be fun to purchase one from each and have a little collection.

I know quite a few local residents who purchase a new mug each year so they have a record of their annual Carmel Christkindlmarkt visits!

Gluwein mug at the Carmel Christkindlmarkt

We also had the opportunity to sample some of the scrumptious food that is offered at the market. Our favorite by far was the raclette. A big wheel of cheese is heated and then scraped onto a fresh baguette along with prosciutto, spiced mustard, onions, and pickles. So yummy. In addition, we enjoyed warm waffles, yummy potatoes, and schnitzel.

New in 2019: Amazing flatbreads in a brick oven – YUM! New in 2022: local wineries, including Sugar Creek Winery

Delicious pork schnitzel & sauerkraut at the Carmel Christkindlmarkt

As you stroll the booths, a variety of carolers and interesting characters are out and about to entertain you!

Christkindlmarkt entertainers

New in 2019 was a Glüwein Pyramid- a beautiful structure towering over one end of the market. It is also the place to order your Glüwein, cider, beer, and even a few unique drinks for the kids.

Carmel Christkindlmarkt gluwein pyramid

Also new in 2019: A very interesting and informative museum – I learned quite a bit and it was a welcome break from the cold!

Speaking of kids, near the Glüwein pyramid you’ll find the kids’ corner. Inside we learned about some of the traditional decorations and Christmas traditions in Germany and had the opportunity to make our own creations. It’s a welcome respite from the cold wind, and a fun place to exercise your creativity.

Kids corner at the Carmel Christkindlmarkt

The Carmel Christkindlmarkt officially opens in mid-November and will remain open until December 24th.  Admission is free, but bring money as you’ll want to sample the Glüwein and other goodies.

I’m already scouring the calendar for a night the whole family can visit. It will be a wonderful everyday adventure for the month of December!

Have you ever been to a Christkindlmarkt? What did you think?

Carmel Christkindlmarkt, 10 Center Green, Carmel, IN  (317) 559-6608

👉 Ready to book your stay in Carmel to fully enjoy the Carmel Christkindlmarkt? Check rates at Booking.com for the gorgeous Hotel Carmichael – you’ll be minutes from downtown Carmel as well as the Christkindlmarkt.

*Thanks to Carmel Christkindlmarkt for inviting us to the media event. All opinions, thoughts, and pictures are my own.*

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Enjoy the Carmel Christkindlmarkt in Carmel, Indiana. With tasty food, yummy drinks, ice skating and unique crafts it's the perfect way to kick off your holiday season!
Holiday Fun at the Carmel Christkindlmarkt! Enjoy delicious food and a fun atmosphere. It's the perfect way to kick off the holiday season.

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  1. I will have to tell my son about this! They live nearby and are always looking for new adventures to share with their soon-to-be 4-year-old daughter. The ice skating would be my favorite part!

    1. I agree – ice skating is so fun. It would be a great afternoon or evening adventure – tell them to go on Wednesday or Thursday and it’ll be less crowded.

  2. How fun! I did not know that Carmel did a Christkindlmarkt. I was just in Indiana, I’m sorry I missed this. I had planned to visit the Christkindlmarkt in downtown Chicago but the reviews mentioned that it is super crowded so I ended up not going. This would be a great alternative!

  3. Oh, goodness!! Schnitzel and walking around with hot chocolate ~ brings me back to when I stayed a few months in Germany with my uncle and aunt. Great post!!! Wish I lived close to something like this.

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