Drive north from downtown Indianapolis 23 miles and you will arrive in the heart of Old Town Carmel, a community known not only for its historic character, but its trendy personality. The Carmel Arts & Design District, the Midwest's premier arts and design destination, has a mix of art galleries, restaurants, antique stores and specialty shops; the Indiana Design Center, with its showcase of innovative products and design; and Arcadia Heritage Art Center, with its displays of antique glass and other artistic endeavors. Carmel event venues comprise these, as well as nearly 300 holes of golf, including six premier destinations and a Pete Dye course.
Indianapolis International Airport is 35 minutes from Carmel. The facility is served by Air Canada, Air Tran, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, United and US Airways. Nonstop flights are available to Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas/Ft.Worth, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Memphis, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Raleigh/Durham, Tampa and Washington DC.
In place of conventional venues, Carmel has a number of conference centers and nontraditional meeting spaces. The three venues at the Center for the Performing Arts are available for rental when performances are not underway. The Palladium is a 1,600-seat theater that also has seven distinct spaces to accommodate from 50 to 150 for receptions and parties. Smaller groups can use the 500-seat Tarkington Theater or the 200-seat Studio Theater.
Ritz Charles Banquet and Conference Center offers 15,000 square feet of function space in five rooms, with the ability to accommodate up to 1,200 people. Northview Church Auditorium can seat up to 2,100 and features an 80-foot by 30-foot screen. The Monon Community Center, which rests on 161 acres of wetlands, can accommodate up to 400 for a meeting in the largest of nine function rooms.
Hotel venues in Carmel include the 263-room Renaissance, which can accommodate up to 550 people for a banquet and has 15 meeting rooms; the 137-room DoubleTree Guest Suites by Hilton Carmel, which can seat 72 people in its largest of five meeting rooms; the 130-room Hilton Garden Inn, offering three meeting rooms, the largest of which seats 80 people; the 120-room Residence Inn, which can handle groups of up to 40 in two meeting rooms; the 126-room Springhill Suites has a meeting room for 12; and the 103-room Hampton Inn has one meeting room that seats 50 people.
When it comes to interesting special events, groups can tap into both Carmel's historic heart and its stylish modern style. Along with the three venues at the new Center for the Performing Arts, a party could be staged in the event hall at the Indiana Design Center, which can handle up to 240 people. For a bucolic setting, Coxhall Gardens offers an upscale pavilion with marble stained flooring that is set on rolling green hills. That venue can handle a reception for 400 and sit down dinner for 300. The Mansion at Oak Hill provides space for groups of up to 500 in three function rooms and a seasonal outdoor tented pavilion.
Two of the county's top historic venues are located in nearby Fishers. The 150-year-old Ambassador House & Heritage Gardens can handle a group of 50 people on the lower floor, which opens onto a terraced patio that can seat 66 for a meal. The heirloom garden space can accommodate a tented banquet for 320 people. Conner Prairie Interactive Historic Park has five themed outdoor areas where visitors learn what is was like to live and play in Indiana's past. The facility provides groups with 12 meeting rooms and two retreat houses, with the ability to host up to 250 indoors and 10,000 outdoors.
Carmel's dining scene is diverse and bountiful. At Detour American Grille, signature items include Ahi Tuna, seared sushi grade tuna with an Asian-style sauce. Burgers are the specialty at Bub's, with details such as buns custom-made by a local bakery to fit its burgers. And the restaurant divvy, which is located in the heart of the city's entertainment district near the Center for the Performing Arts, features a contemporary American small plates menu that focuses on a dining experience that is shared.