I lived in Carmel, IN for about ten years in my twenties. There are many things that I enjoyed about Carmel, IN while I lived there, and some things I did not. The biggest aspect that I enjoyed about Carmel while I lived there was the fact that it had a small town community feel while being close to the city of Indianapolis, which was just south of Carmel. Many people that lived in my neighborhood actually just commuted to Indianapolis, but still got to enjoy suburban living in Carmel. Another aspect I enjoyed was the various restaurants and middle class shopping. There are not many high end stores like Tiffany's or Nordstrom, but plenty of shopping and things to do on a weekend. Living in Carmel for about ten years also allowed me to see the growth of a city.
With its proximity to Indianapolis and the fact that property taxes, pollution, and traffic were all low, Carmel is one of the faster growing cities in Indiana. If you enjoy art at all, Carmel is the place for you. There are dozens of art related shops, and even a huge performing art center. Culture is a big part of the positives of Carmel, and the art culture of the city is overwhelming. Overall, I would recommend Carmel for those with families or just starting out. You are not going to have clubs or crazy nightlife like you would in New York City, but there are plenty of things to do and the city is safe and growing. I hope to be able to move back to the area one day.