Just last year, 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 in at the same time.
My son and I had the opportunity to attend the media day for the Carmel Christkindlmarkt this year and even though temperatures were incredibly cold 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. When we arrived, the market was just opening, so we began by walking around the booths and chatting with the various vendors. We found some adorable decorations and ornaments that would make delightful and unique stocking stuffers and Christmas gifts.
We decided not to skate today (it was just too cold), but I think that will definitely be something we’ll come back for later in the season. The rink is large, and you can bring your own skates or rent a pair for $4 per person. It’s $10 for adults and $8 for 10 and under per session and they fill up quickly on the weekends. You can pre-purchase a session to ensure you get to skate on a busy evening. On Wednesdays & Thursdays, there aren’t sessions so you can skate all day for the same $10/$8 prices.
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. We also warmed ourselves with a cup of hot chocolate for my son and a small glass of Cranberry Glüwein for me. 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! My son informed me that the hot chocolate was perfect. Each Christkindlmarkt has a unique mug that can be purchased for your Glüwein. If you were visiting a number of Christkindlmarkts, 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.
As we strolled the booths, a variety of carolers and interesting characters entertained us.
New this year is a Glüwein Pyramid- a beautiful structure towering over one end of the market. It was also the place to order your Glüwein, cider, beer and even a few unique drinks for the kids.
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 opened November 17th and will remain open until December 23rd. The hours are Wednesday & Thursday from 4-9 and Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 12 – 9. It is closed Thanksgiving Day. 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 the Carmel Christkindlmarkt for inviting us to the media event. All opinions, thoughts, and pictures are my own.*
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