Written by Lisa Viaches
Ice skating at the Ice at Carter Green in Carmel is a must-do for everybody’s holiday list. It is between The Center for the Performing Arts and the Booth Tarkington Civic Theater on 3rd Avenue SW at City Center Drive.
Every year from November 20 – December 24, the Ice at Carter Green is surrounded by the old-world charm of a beautiful German Christmas market. The Carmel Christkindlmarkt features a delightful blend of holiday food, drinks, gifts, decorations, and special performances. Several national polls have voted the Carmel Christkindlmarkt the best holiday market in the country!
Ice at Carter Green
The ice rink is the grand centerpiece of the Carmel Christkindlmarkt, which makes for a beautiful backdrop while skating. It’s also wonderful to walk about the market with ice skating going on right next to everything.
Not much can top ice skating on a large rink at City Center with your friends and family on a crisp winter day while listening to holiday music, followed up with food, drinks, and a stroll around the market! The rink is large and there are always a ton of people out there. If you’re looking for a smaller crowd, try non-peak days and hours. All ages are welcome, but they may not have super small skates to rent. Everybody else can rent skates at the skate hut. Your open skate lasts for an hour and a half, so you’ll have time to take a break and warm up with a steaming cup of hot chocolate!
I should mention that the Ice at Carter Green does not have skating aids that little kids hold on to and push around for stability. This may not be the ideal rink for skating with toddlers. It’s wonderful for older kids (5 and up) or it could make for a romantic date night under the stars.
Reserve Tickets Online
You should try to reserve tickets online in advance as they sell out quickly. You can try to walk up the day of, but you run the risk of it being at capacity for the rest of the day. Tickets are $10 for ages eleven and older. Children ten and under are $8. Skate rentals are $4 each or you can bring your own. There are several time slots to choose from; each session lasts about 90 minutes. The Zamboni prepares the rink between each session so you cannot stay past your time slot.
Plan to arrive early to check in, get your skates, and store your belongings. You must also have your waiver on file, so doing it online would save time at the market. There can be long lines to purchase tickets and get your skates. The check-in hut is just north of the ice rink on the Center for Performing Arts side. If you did not buy tickets online, the hut right next to the skates hut is where you can purchase tickets and fill out a waiver.
Don’t forget to bundle up! You’ll want gloves as it gets very cold, especially if you bite it on the ice and break your fall with your bare hands. Kids are welcome to bring a helmet for safety.
There are restrooms in the lobby of the Booth Tarkington Civic Theater. The lobby is also connected to the parking garage which you can enter from 3rd Avenue SW.
After skating or exploring the market, head up the stairs to Cake Bake at the City Center for dessert or walk up the Monon Trail to Midtown or Main Street for dinner.
The ice rink is open from November 19th to February 26th. Hours vary greatly depending on when you want to go. In general, they are open Thursday – Friday from 4 pm to 9 pm, and Saturday – Sunday from 11:30 am to 9 pm. Additional openings around the holidays are from 11:30 am to 9 pm on November 23rd and from December 19th to January 4th. The rink is not open on Thanksgiving or Christmas day. The rink closes early on Christmas Eve at 5 pm and it is closed from January 9th to 12th.
Make A Day Of It
Stay a little longer. With exciting additions to the Carmel Christkindlmarkt such as the full-size Gluhwein Pyramid and almost double the vendors, this year promises to be the best one yet for your entire family. There are German beers, bratwurst, mulled wines, Belgian waffles, Kartoffellanzen potato spirals, pretzels, many food and dessert vendors, and lots of great shopping. There are plenty of activities dedicated to kids as well.
Kinderecke Kids Corner
After finishing on the ice, the kids’ corner is a hit with the little ones. They offer make-and-take crafts like ornaments and holiday decorations. There is a build-and-play section in the Maker Space with seasonal supplies to create with while using your hands and imagination. There are also meet-and-greets with wood carvers and other characters.
Stop by the Kinderecke hut for a passport book. Visit market vendors that display a special symbol and get your passport stamped. Collect at least 5 stamps from different huts around the market and present them at the Guest Services hut for a prize!
Winter Games on the Ice
Starting in February, the Ice at Carter Green hosts events and shows on the ice. There’s the Festival of Ice, Carmel Winter Games, Hometown Hero Olympics, Police vs. Firefighters, Competitive Group Games, Human Curling, Ice Trike Relays, Human Hungry Hippos, and more. It is a great time to be a spectator or participate in an activity! Register online to be a part of these events.
Whether you take to the ice or just watch the skaters as you make your way around the market, you’ll have a wonderful time at the Carmel Christkindlmarkt. Plan ahead as it gets jam-packed around the holidays. Check on the Carmel Christkindlmarkt website for exact hours, to make skating reservations, and to see a schedule of performers.
10 Carter Green