Happening just north of Indianapolis is the Carmel Christkindlmarkt, a traditional European holiday market. According to the website, Chriskindlmarkt is German for the “Christ child market” or Christmas market. It’s a tradition you’ll want to add to your holiday bucket list.
The Carmel Chistkindlemarkt brings in over half a million people since they opened in 2017. And it’s one of the best German Christmas markets in the nation. They were voted ‘Top Christmas market in the state of Indiana’ by Taste of Home Magazine in 2017 and voted the ‘Best Holiday Market’ by the 2019 USA TODAY 10 Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest.
The market is filled with vendors of all kinds, from food to handicrafts and decorations. While I’m typically food-focused I love browsing all the hand-painted German ornaments and art, it’s amazing the talent that is put into these little treasures!
Whether having a date night or taking the whole family, the Carmel Christkindlmarkt is both romantic and family-fun, in my humble opinion. While filled with kid’s activities, ice skating, and a Kid’s Club, it also makes a great evening alone under the lights, ice skating, and drinking hot cider with my husband. Or in my case, attempting to ice skate and not burn myself by spilling hot beverages.
Info to know before you go:
- All details can be found on their website here.
- Location: 10 Center Green – Carmel, IN (Between The Palladium and The Tarkington Theater)
- The hours are (November 20th – December 24th) Monday-Tuesday: CLOSED. Wednesday-Thursday: 4-9 pm. Friday-Sunday: 12-9 pm.
- They will be closed on November 28 for Thanksgiving Day. The special hours of operation are November 24: Noon – 9 pm, December 20 – 23: Noon – 9 pm, and December 24: Noon – 3 pm.
- Parking is free in Carmel and there are two parking garages located nearby. Expect full parking lots and street parking on the weekends.
- Admission is FREE!
- No pets are allowed at the market.
Christkindlmarkt Food Vendors
There are a ton of food vendors at Christkindlmarkt! Want a crepe? Bavarian pretzel? Some delicious beverages? Schnitzel and sauerkraut (yum!)? All here.
My personal favorites for 2021 include the Raclette Chalet Traditional Swiss-German raclette sandwich, Rose & Lois’ Nutella latte, the Farmhouse Flammkuchen Napoleon flatbreads, and Silkelicious’ Eggnog Hot Chocolate.
Also featured are the Carmel Christkindlemarkt holiday mugs! Each year there is a new mug design, grab yourself a mug while you are there. You can purchase a hot alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink of your choice at the Gluhwein Pyramid or throughout the market to enjoy in the mug if you choose.
2021 activities include:
- Christkindlmarkt Express – a train display set in a miniature European village
- Kulturecke Presented by Indiana German Heritage Society and the Indiana Historical Society. Exhibits include German holiday traditions and German history in Indiana.
- Winter Pavilion stage and seating for entertainment.
- Ice Skating
- Selfie Station
The Ice at Center Green
It wouldn’t be a Christmas market without ice skating! If you are like me this might seem like a challenge, but have no fear – The Ice at Center Green is for all ages and skill levels! The rink located at the center of Christkindlemarkt will be open through February 27, 2022.
If you don’t have your own skates, skate rental is $4 each. Admission to the rink is $10 for adults and children ages 11 and up or $8 for children under 10 years old for one 90-minute session on Friday-Sunday and two 90-minute sessions on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Check out the seasonal calendar here for daily hours of operation.
Arts and Handicrafts
Just over 20 of the vendors here will be selling artwork, crafts, ornaments, and other handcrafted items and gifts. There is also a specific Carmel Christkindlmarkt ornament available for purchase, a new ornament is available each year!
Kinder Kid’s Club
The Kinderecke is a club for kids and families offering crafts, coloring, and activities. Stop by any of the market huts that display the “Passport Kinder Club” and pick up a Passport. Collect five stamps from different participating huts around the market and turn your Passport into Guest Services for a prize! Check out the market schedule for special appearances by Christkind, Sankt Nikolaus, Grimm’s fairy tale princesses, Santa, and Mr. Daniel.