The Christkindlmarkt at Carter Green in Carmel opens on November 18th for the 2023 holiday season! This local favorite has become a tradition for many Indianapolis and Carmel residents. With the Carmel ice rink, holiday market, live entertainment, crafts, woodworking shop, German food and beverages, kids’ activity corner, igloos, and more, there is a magical day to be had at the Christkindlmarkt. Carter Green is located at Carmel City Center in Hamilton County, Indiana. For other great holiday events and attractions to visit in Indianapolis this holiday season, click here!
A Magical Day at the Christkindlmarkt:
Carmel Ice Rink, German Food, Kids Activities, and Holiday Market
Opening Day November 18th
The November grand opening day will be full of exciting fanfare and German tradition, including entertainment by the Midwest Alphorn Retreat, led by Dr. Peggy DeMers, performing traditional sounds of the Alps on their handmade authentic wooden Alphorns. Dickens Carolers, the Fort Wayne Tanzer German dancing troupe, and Jay Fox & the Jammin Germans will perform throughout the day. Artists will be showcasing their woodworking and crafts will be available to create and take home. Meet and greets with the Apple Princess, the Glass Slipper Princess, Santa, and the 2023 Carmel Christkind will be available throughout the day.
Traditional German Christmas Market
From November 18th through December 24th, families can enjoy the “old world charm” atmosphere of a traditional outdoor German Christmas Market. There are so many wonderful foods and drink items to try, gifts and decorations to shop from outdoor wooden huts, and live entertainment to enjoy. The Christkindlmarkt in Carmel isn’t anything like a holiday craft fair, but there will be some local vendors. Almost everything in the Market is handmade and most of it comes from German artisans who make these items in their homes. Many of the items are the very same items you can buy at the market during a visit to Germany! Check out our gift recommendations to purchase at the Christkindlmarkt.
Only a few open-air Christkindl Markets exist in the midwest and Carmel, Indiana is home to the best. There is no admission fee to visit and walk around the Christkindlmarkt. Parking is free in the parking garages and along the streets of Carmel City Center.
Scrumptious German Food
With over 100 huts dedicated to gift items and traditional German food and drink, you’ll have a magical time shopping and eating your way through the Christkindlmarkt. From the enormous Bavarian pretzels to the Kartoffelpuffer German potato pancakes, schnitzel and German sausages to the famous Kartofflesoiess spiral fried potatoes, there is something to please everybody. Traditional Doner Kebabs or Swiss-German raclette sandwiches with melted cheese scraped over fresh bread are a crowd favorite, but be ready to stand in line for them!
In addition to these tasty picks, there are Das Schokoladenhaus chocolate-covered pretzels, marshmallows, and fruit as well as made-to-order crepe desserts. You’ll probably be ready for a steaming hot coffee, hot chocolate, or mulled wine to help keep you warm on a chilly evening at the Market.
Kinderecke “Kids Corner” and Kids Passport Program
The Kinderecke (“Kids Corner”) is a special space for families to make crafts and memories together during all Market hours. Head over to the special kid-friendly hut to make all sorts of fun holiday-themed or German-inspired creations! There is a full schedule of crafts and activities in the Kinderecke, including the Porsche coloring book giveaway, Lindy’s cookie decorating, woodworking workshop, and Christkind ornament making.
The Kinderecke is also one of two locations to pick up your Kinder Club Passport. With the passport, children can collect stamps and receive a special prize. The Passport program gets everyone exploring the market to collect stamps from different huts around the Christkindlmarkt. Take your passport to the huts that display the Passport logo to collect stamps. After you have collected at least five different stamps, present your passport to the Guest Services hut for a prize. Viel Spass!
Carmel Ice Rink
From November 18th until the end of February, families will be able to skate underneath the stars or spend an afternoon getting active in a fun way. The Ice at Carter Green is a large outdoor ice skating rink situated between the Palladium and the Booth Tarkington Theatre, right in the middle of the Christkindlmarkt.
At 180 feet by 80 feet, it’s one of the largest outdoor rinks in the Midwest and one of the few outdoor rinks in Indiana. Also, it’s chilled, which means that even if it’s a warm winter, you can still enjoy frozen ice outside. Up to 150 people can be on the ice at once and skates are available for rental.
Carmel Ice Rink Dates and Prices
The Ice at Carter Green opens on November 18th and tickets are available for purchase now. Ice skating sessions are 90 minutes (weekday sessions may be longer). The ice rink is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, as well as Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and January 8-11, 2024. The rink is generally open Wednesday-Sunday through December. It will be open for extended hours from December 26 – January 7. From January 12 – February 29, the rink will be open Thursday – Sunday. Detailed hours of operation can be found on their website.
Children ages 10 and under pay $9 per session. Adults and children ages 11 and up pay $11 per session. Skate rental is $4 per person for everybody. If this is your first time ice skating at the Ice at Carter Green, check out this article which goes into more detail about the experience and process.
The Spielhaus (“Playhouse”) is home to kid-friendly entertainment and meet-and-greets with characters that will surely spark your little ones’ imaginations. You could meet Santa and his elves, or join special guests to make music together and learn a German dance. You might find yourself in front of a stage for marionettes or hand puppets. Or you could be greeted by fairy tale characters, magicians, real ballerinas, the Carmel Christkind – or even the German Sankt Nikolaus himself.
On Saturdays, meet and greet with fairy tale characters. On Sunday, visit with Santa and his elves. On Wednesdays, be enthralled by Magic shows, puppet shows, or story time with Santa. On Thursdays and Fridays, enjoy music, dancing, and puppet shows. From December 18-22, the Spielhaus turns into an all-day puppet theater. Check the schedule of events for more information.
Step inside the Werkstatt (“Workshop”) and learn how some of the traditional Christmas decorations that are at the Market are made! The Werkstatt is more than just a hut – it’s a community and a glimpse into history. Visitors can meet the German artists, share stories, swap tricks and tips, and feel inspired by the extraordinary talent of these artisans. In the Werkstatt, the artists and visitors are letting time stand still while appreciating different cultures and different ways to keep traditions alive for the next generation.
Enjoy the holiday sounds and shows of the Market at the Winter Pavilion, located at the east end of the ice rink. The Winter Pavilion is the hub for entertainment, where you’ll find live music, performances, competitions, and more. Check out the main stage’s schedule of performances by artists including En Pointe Indiana Ballet, Voce German carolers, Alphorn performers, Dickens carolers, Die Fledermauschen Tanzgruppe German dance troupe, Carmel Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Liederkranz German Band, and many, many more.
Glühwein Pyramid in Carmel
The German-built Glühwein Pyramid is 33 feet tall, the first and largest of its kind in America. You can’t miss it! Adult visitors to the Carmel Christkindlmarkt will love a visit to the Glühwein Pyramid where you can try various mulled wines, German beers, and other holiday drinks. In addition to alcoholic beverages, the Glühwein Pyramid serves up soft drinks, bottled water, and a non-alcoholic mixed fruit beverage from Germany.
We counted nine different types of German mulled wine from egg-based mulled wine to cherry mulled wine. Beer lovers will love the German beer selection, including a mulled beer! Don’t forget to buy your 2023 collectors Glühwein boot mug, available exclusively at the Christkindlmarkt.
Along the perimeter of the Christkindlmarkt, on the side near the Palladium, are several igloos that are free to visit and hang out in. Grab a hot chocolate and warm up in the igloos for a while! There is comfortable seating for about 6. The igloos light up at night as well. The igloos are first come, first served so pop on over to see if they’re available. You might just luck out!
Spending a day at the Carmel Christkindlmarkt has become a tradition for our family. We usually go the day after Thanksgiving as the weather is still warmer and the crowds haven’t gotten too crazy yet. If you’re wanting to go ice skating, make sure to buy tickets online well in advance. Remember, the ice rink stays open even after the Christkindlmarkt has packed up so if you can hold off, you can experience ice skating without it being very busy after Christmas. Make sure you get to the Market hungry because there is so much great food to try. And if you’ve got some holiday shopping left to do, the Christkindlmarkt is a wonderful place to purchase unique gifts.
Looking for more holiday events in Indy? Find all Indy holiday events here. For other ice rinks to try around town, check out the best places to ice skate in Indianapolis. If you’re interested in learning how to ice skate before hitting the Carmel ice rink at the Christkindlmarkt, try beginners’ lessons at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
Do you want to know how the Carmel ice rink is set up and watch the whole process? Drop in on the live video feed and watch its progress from home!