Just a few years ago, the nearby town of Carmel, Indiana created a new winter event called a Christkindlmarkt. For those of you who travel in Europe (especially Germany), this isn’t a new idea, in fact, Christkindlmarkt’s have been around for hundreds of years. 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.
My son and I had the opportunity to attend the media day for the Carmel Christkindlmarkt in 2018 and this year, my husband and I went. Even though temperatures were incredibly cold both years, 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.
Skating is something that we will definitely come back for later in 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!
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.
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, chocolate-covered blueberries, and schnitzel.
New in 2019: Amazing flatbreads in a brick oven – YUM! New in 2021: Fish and chips!
As we strolled the booths, a variety of carolers and interesting characters entertained us.
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.
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 we discovered 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 was a welcome respite to the cold wind and a fun place to exercise our creativity.
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
*Thanks to Carmel Christkindlmarkt for inviting us to the media event. All opinions, thoughts, and pictures are my own.*
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