Midtown Carmel is the perfect destination for families. There really is something for everyone, from young kids looking for a place to play, to foodie parents searching for a great meal. This stretch along Carmel’s Monon Trail — between Carmel City Center and the Carmel Arts & Design District — is a goldmine of fun, food and festivities. You really could spend a whole day just in this pocket of Carmel.
Playground and Interactive Play Area
Midtown Carmel has lots of fun activities for families to do together. Play a game of ping pong, shuffleboard, corn hole or bocce ball — all of these family favorites are located in the outdoor play area in Midtown. You’ll find these outdoor games just off the Monon Trail near the parking garage.
Another popular Midtown feature is the playground. The playground in Midtown includes a huge climbing structure that’s accessible to all ages, with a rock climbing feature built into the Astroturf ground. The playground is one of the first things you see when you enter Midtown from the Monon Trail going north — it’s just that tall and impressive!
Best of all for parents and caregivers: There are lots of shaded tables and chairs. This is a fun area to play with your kids, but also a nice spot to relax while your children play, while you sit back and watch the walkers and cyclists go by.
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There are two small splash pads in Midtown Carmel. One sprinkle spot is located near Anthony’s Chophouse at the far north end of Midtown, and another bigger splash pad is in the center of Midtown near the parking garage. Both are perfect for kids to cool down on a hot day. These Midtown Carmel splash pads are especially great for toddlers because the water gently bubbles up in small streams. Kids will definitely get wet at either splash pad, so be sure to bring a towel!
Restaurants + Places to Eat in Midtown Carmel
There are a lot of places to find a bite to eat in Midtown! Here are some of our favorite foodie stops that offer family-friendly fare:
- Sun King Spirits Food Hall: This building is the anchor of Midtown Carmel. Inside, you’ll find Sun King Brewery and Distillery, plus a variety of restaurants. Kid-favorites include Pi, which serves pizzas ranging from basic to gourmet; and La Margarita, where you can get your taco and burrito fix. Grab your food from any of the restaurants located inside Sun King, then find a seat inside the food hall, or out on the patio. You can also enjoy dining on Sun King’s rooftop, where you can see all the action happening in Midtown Plaza below.
- Fork + Ale House: This restaurant features a comfort food menu with a family-friendly vibe. The outdoor patio at Fork + Ale is just steps from Midtown Plaza’s greenspace, where you can watch the action happening from the nearby pool tables, bocce ball, ping pong tables and big-screen television.
- Java House: This local coffee shop serves cold brewed coffee. Stay a while and sip your coffee indoors, or use their walk-up window outside, which is convenient if you’re stopping by during a bike ride.
- Luxury Cakes: If you’re in the mood for dessert, check out this Midtown gem that makes cakes, cookies and macarons from scratch every day. They also sell coffee!
One of the things you’ll notice when you visit Midtown Carmel is all of the public art located all around. Here are just some of the art pieces you’ll see:
Love at First Ride
Bicyclists use the Midtown portion of the Monon Trail frequently, so it’s appropriate that there’s a sculpture here that celebrates bike culture. Love at First Ride features 8-foot tall bicycles that are connected together, and was intended to provide a place for walkers and bikers to rest.
You can’t miss this tall, colorful sculpture that stands in the middle of in Midtown. This 29-foot art piece looks like a patchwork kite or ship’s sail, and is a sight to behold. Visitors can stand inside the sculpture to get a different view — look up, and it’s almost like being inside a kaleidoscope! During the nighttime, the sculpture is lit with and takes on a whole other look.
The Life Cycle
Located at the Monon Depot at the northern part of Midtown, The Life Cycle depicts the metamorphosis of a butterfly, from egg to winged insect. Set within a butterfly garden, this dynamic art piece also features educational plaques about butterflies and their life cycle.
Things to Do in Midtown Carmel
Besides eating, biking and playing, there are other reasons to visit Midtown Carmel with your family:
Penn & Beech Candle Co.
If you’re looking for a unique activity to do with family and friends, stop by Penn & Beech Candle Co., located right in the heart of Midtown Carmel. This local candle boutique and fragrance bar allows visitors to create their own personalized candle from start to finish. Read more about Penn & Beech Candle Co. in our Hidden Gems article here.
Movies at Midtown + Midday at Midtown
On select days during the spring, summer and fall, Midtown Carmel offers family-friendly flicks on the big-screen TV that’s located near Sun King. Bring a picnic lunch and grab a seat in the patio to enjoy classic and new family movies.
During the summer and early fall, you’ll also find live music happening in Midtown Carmel. Enjoy your lunch or relax on the community chairs, benches, swings and green spaces while listening to live music on the Main Stage in Midtown Plaza.
For Midtown Carmel movie and music schedules, visit the events page.
How to Get There + More Info
Carmel Midtown Plaza is located at 365 Monon Trail in Carmel. It’s centered between the Carmel Arts & Design District and Carmel City Center along Monon Boulevard. Free parking is available in the parking garage, or along the street.