A short ride North from downtown Indianapolis is the emerging development of downtown Carmel. Known now as The Carmel Arts district, downtown Carmel has become a lively area filled with a variety of activities including gallery walks, museums, antique malls and wine tasting. Four distinct arches at the North, South, East and West bound the Arts District.
Along the sidewalks a wanderer may be startled by the five lifelike sculptures of people created by John Seward Johnson, Jr. from his ‘man on the street’ series. These cause a delighted second look when you realize they are not real people.
Galleries: The area’s 8 fine art galleries provide an opportunity to browse and purchase a variety fine art in one compact area. The galleries also sponsor special events like the recent Holiday Gallery Walk during this past December. Each gallery has its own specialty: Art & Soul is eclectic, The Blue Egg features Indiana artists, Evan Lurie works with emerging contemporary artists, and the Soori gallery showcases sculptured works.
Food: For the gourmand, a variety of unique food opportunities are available in the district, including the venerated Muldoon’s Irish Pub, and Bazbeaux’s Pizza. At Bub’s Burgers one can order a real buffalo burger located in the old train depot, and Woody’s Library Restaurant provides a great meal in the setting of the old Carnagie Library.
Not to be missed is the relatively new La Mie Emilie a French Cafe & Patisserie that offers crepes along with other traditional faire such as Croques Moussiour and Boef Bourguigon. Wine by the glass is limited but sufficiently varied. Francophiles will delight in the play on words of the name between friend and bakery. (La Mie is the middle of the bread). The whimsical attitude pervades the staff inside, who cheerfully pronounce French selections correctly.
Activities: Also in the district are a number of boutiques and the Carmel Old Town Antique Mall for browsing buffs. The Museum of Miniature Houses is more than just small furniture and is a fun family tour. It includes army miniatures and toy miniatures as well. Finish off with Ferrin’s Fruit Winery a worthy stop for those who care to try a local wine.
Monon Trail: Finally, the Monon trail runs by the Western edge of the district. The trail is perfect for walking off any restaurant adventures, and the Northern part to the trail ambles through a tree-lined area that is a lovely respite from the heat in the summer.
The Arts District website provides an area map as well as a calendar of events.