Midtown Plaza Carmel is THE gathering place in Carmel. South of Carmel’s established Arts & Design District (aka downtown Carmel) and north of Carmel City Center, Midtown Plaza Carmel is jam-packed with outdoor fun and activities the whole family will enjoy. There’s a playground, splash pad, sports courts, and a plaza with open seating for eating, gathering, and even watching a film on the big screen. There are several restaurants and retail shops to explore with new businesses continuing to move in.
You could easily make a day out of your visit to Midtown Plaza Carmel. It’s quite convenient with kids as there is ample street parking as well as a free parking garage. There are public restrooms next to the parking garage in addition to the ones inside the restaurants. The seating at Midtown Plaza is open to everyone so you could even just pack a picnic and grab a table. Midtown Plaza Carmel is located right along the Monon Trail so you can stroll over to the Arts & Design District or rent a bike to explore up and down the trail.
Things to do with Kids in Midtown Plaza Carmel
The mini splash pad is a wonderful spot where your little ones can cool off on a hot day. Bring some cups and water toys and your kids will have a blast with the interval streams and light-up splashers. They can also climb on the boulders. Just don’t forget to bring a change of clothes for the kids because they will get soaked!
There is a playground just south of the Spray Plaza. It features a slide, a half-cave to climb onto or seek shade inside of, a wall of musical instruments and sensory activities, short rock climbing hills, and a tiered climbing tree with protective netting (like the one at The Children’s Museum). There are several tables in the area with umbrellas for shade if you want to have your lunch or hang with the baby while the older children play.
Adjacent to the playground are large sports courts the older kids will love. There is an enclosed bocce ball court, a huge shuffleboard court, and a ping pong table. All of the sports equipment are supplied (ping pong paddles and balls, shuffleboard pucks, and bocce balls) so all you have to do is show up! The whole family can enjoy a game of shuffleboard, or the older kids can play a game while the little ones are at the playground.
Midtown Plaza is an interactive play area for kids and adults, featuring billiards, two ping pong tables, bench swings, cornhole, and an open field for gathering or throwing a ball. There are a variety of tables, lounge chairs, comfortable couches, and fire pits – all free to use. You can pack a picnic or order out from the surrounding restaurants and enjoy your meal outside while the kids play.
Restaurants at Midtown
Fork + Ale House features hand-crafted beer and homemade pizza and more from their scratch kitchen. Their outdoor patio opens right up to Midtown Plaza. Fork + Ale House is a full-service bar and restaurant with a patio separated from the plaza seating.
Sun King Spirits is a two-story establishment right on Midtown Plaza with a main-level patio as well as an open-air rooftop patio. Located within Sun King Spirits are a variety of walk-up food court-style restaurants and bars. There is a Sun King Spirits storefront where you can purchase gift items as well as cases of beer or canned wine. There are also pizza, sandwich, and taco shop options to choose from. You order, pay, and take your food to go sit either inside or outside on the plaza.
Social Cantina is a hot dining spot along the Monon Trail across from Midtown Plaza. There is outdoor seating, a covered patio, a full bar, and lots of seating inside. They offer a kid’s menu as well as margarita flights. I love their ahi tuna tacos!
Garden Table is one of the newer restaurants in Midtown Plaza Carmel. Their locally sourced fresh food and cold-pressed juice are seasonally influenced. It’s a great brunch stop before a day of play.
Wine & Rind sits right behind Sun King Spirits as you head north along the Monon Trail. There is a large outdoor patio with lots of umbrellas for shade. They advertise charcuterie boards, lunch, wine, and beer. For kids, there are also PB&J boards, fries, and soft pretzels.
Snacks at Midtown
Java House is a cold brew coffee bar with an outdoor walk-up window and outdoor seating. Enjoy your coffee inside, at their outdoor tables, or take them across the street and meet up with friends on the plaza. You can order hot or iced coffee, frappes, breakfast sandwiches, snacks, and string cheese or applesauce for the kids.
Pure Green juice bar is located near the bocce ball court and offers juice, smoothies, and acai bowls. Try a turmeric tonic shot or a chia steel-cut oatmeal bowl. You can easily order online for a quick pick-up on the way to the playground.
Kernels Gourmet Popcorn is located down the alley behind Sun King Spirits. Their fresh popped popcorn comes in sizes from small to over three-foot-tall party bags. In addition to the traditional butter and caramel popcorn, they also offer flavors like birthday cake, dill pickle, Oreo, and churro.
Music and Movies at Midtown
Enjoy live music with “Midtown Music Mondays” every Monday on the Main Stage at Midtown Plaza from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. from May through October. “Movies at Midtown” features a hit movie on the big screen on Tuesdays at noon and 6 p.m. and Thursdays at 6 p.m. from May through October. Find a comfortable lounge chair in the plaza or bring a blanket to spread out on the lawn. For detailed information on upcoming events, visit the Midtown Plaza Carmel website.
Penn & Beech Candle Co.
The Indianapolis-based Penn & Beech Candle Co. specializes in custom hand-poured candles. For a unique experience to share with your older kids, you can pour your own candle, choosing from over 100 scents to add to soy-based wax and cotton wicks. Penn & Beech has wine, beer, kombucha, and soda to sip on while you create. If you just have time to stop in, they have a huge selection of candles and other products available for purchase.
Midtown Plaza Carmel is located right on the Monon Trail. From Midtown, you can easily walk or ride bikes to explore other great areas of Carmel and beyond. The beautiful trail includes several sculptures and art installations along the way.
Carmel City Center is a half mile south of Midtown. It is home to the Palladium, the Center for Performing Arts, Carmel’s farmer’s market, and several shops, bars, and restaurants, including the famous Cake Bake Shop.
The Arts & Design District (downtown Carmel) is a quick 0.2 miles north of Midtown Plaza Carmel. Bub’s Burgers at Main Street and the Monon Trail has an ice cream shop inside which is a great motivator for the kids. Other notable establishments are Bazbeaux Pizza, 3UP rooftop lounge, Silver in the City, All Things Carmel gift shop, Peace Water Winery, and Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard.
Pedego Electric Bike Rentals
Pedal as little or as much as you want to without worrying about hills or tired-out kids. Go farther and faster on the Monon Trail with an electric bike rental from Pedego Electric Bikes just north of Midtown Plaza. You can rent cruisers, premium bikes, and even a tandem bike by the hour or day! They also offer self-guided tours of the area.
Plan Your Visit
Midtown Plaza Carmel can be found at the intersection of Elm Street and Monon Blvd. A free parking garage is next to the Java House on Elm Street, across from Midtown Plaza. Public restrooms are available inside the parking garage. There is also ample street parking throughout Midtown.
A word of caution: Midtown Plaza Carmel is a bustling area with lots of runners, bikers, and vehicles passing through. The playground is right along the bike path on one side and vehicles are passing on the other. Be careful if you have a wanderer! Also, you do need to pay attention to the marked paths as some are strictly biking lanes, some are one-way, etc.