A musician plays the saxophone on a stage in Carmel Indiana
City of Carmel

No. 2

Carmel, Indiana

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County: Hamilton
Nearest big city: Indianapolis

Welcome to the Roundabout Capital of America, where drivers can find 140 of the accident-reducing intersections tucked amid corporate buildings for firms like Geico and CNO Financial Group. Not on the road? Look to the pool, where you’ll find Carmel High School’s girls’ swim team training hard in hopes of extending its streak of 35 consecutive state championships — the most of any team in any sport at any high school in the nation.

Located near Indianapolis, Carmel is packed with both serious economic opportunity — at $125,811, it has one of the higher median household incomes on our list — and fun activities for families.

In the summer, residents and visitors alike can check out the parade, fireworks and beer at CarmelFest, an Independence Day celebration that draws an impressive crowd of 50,000. In the winter, they can shop, ice skate and sip Glühwein mulled wine at the German-themed Christkindlmarkt. Year-round, there’s the Monon Greenway, an asphalt trail that spans five miles in Carmel and is perfect for running, biking and dog-spotting (it’s pet friendly).

Workers will also appreciate Carmel’s low unemployment rate, which sat at 3.1% as of June. The city recently revitalized its former industrial area into Midtown Plaza, an urban park and green space that now features ping pong tables, live music and movie screenings. Before you catch a show at the nearby 1,600-seat Palladium, grab dinner at Bub’s Burgers, known for its Big Ugly challenge. The food quest starts with a one-pound burger and, if you’re really hungry, just might end with your photo hanging in the restaurant. — Julia Glum

Carmel, Indiana

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Sources: Population and median household income provided by Synergos Technologies Inc.; unemployment rate (by county) provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics; and median home price provided by ATTOM Data Solutions.

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