We’re continually on the hunt for experiences that add richness to our lives. In the spirit of the revival of road trips, we are proud to feature a monthly section featuring destinations within driving distance of Charleston. We feel that our smart and savvy readers will find these trips interesting and entertaining.
West Lafayette, IN
Driving six hours Northwest of Charleston, West Virginia brings you to West Lafayette, Indiana. The Midwestern city is best know for its stellar higher learning institution, Purdue University, but also boasts great businesses, friendly locals, and a town that loves sharing its best with visitors. West Lafayette, and its counterpart only minutes apart, Lafayette, are the kind of cities you will want to add to your upcoming weekend travels that won’t break the bank.
WHAT TO SEE & DO IN WEST LAFAYETTE, INDIANA
Since West Lafayette is a college town, stroll around the campus and check out the university’s beautiful buildings and landscape. There are plenty of Instagram-worthy spots for photos such as the Loeb Fountain, Purdue Mall Fountain, and Boilermaker statue. The Gateway to the Future Arch was used in Monsters University; you’ll recognize it immediately if you’ve seen the movie.
Outdoor art, sculptures, and murals are abundant in West Lafayette. Be sure to check out the original artwork, which is absolutely free.
Lafayette’s downtown offers creative boutiques for your shopping needs. McCord Candies (a three-story soda fountain) has been making mouth-watering chocolates since 1912, and produces famous candy canes. Stop in Two Tulips and LE Originals for unique and/or personalized gifts, Main Street Books for your favorites reads, and Black Wax Records or JL Records for the great vinyl collections. There are a few art galleries to choose from, too, including KL Art Gallery and Artists’ Own. Shop for kid’s fashions at Bloom Kids Collection.
Craft beer fans will adore People’s Brewing Company Taproom, serving small-batch beers in a fun setting. Try the Moundbuilder IPA and Milk Money Cocoa Stout, two of the year-round brews. If beer isn’t your thing, how about wine? Wildcat Creek Winery serves enjoyable fruit wines, such as Traminette and Riesling. Steuben, made from a blue-black grape, is their best-seller.
Ever thought about tracing your family history? You can do just that at the Arganbright Genealogy Center for $2. The Lafayette Farmer’s Market takes place on Saturday mornings. Going strong for 165 years now, it is one of the oldest in Indiana. Check out the nearly 100-year old Lafayette Theater for musical acts and touring shows that may be running during your visit.
The kids may enjoy Imagination Station (a hands-on science center with transportation vehicles), Main Street Amusements (pinball machines and video games), and the free Marquis Doll Museum, three awesome finds in Lafayette.
WHERE TO EAT IN WEST LAFAYETTE
As with most of the Midwest, Lafayette is a culinary city chock full of delicious eats. Breakfast at Triple XXX is a must. This old-school family restaurant serves classic dishes (think buttermilk biscuits & gravy, fluffy pancakes, and omelets), original items such as the Drew Brees (2 eggs, chicken fried steak, fried potatoes, 2 biscuits & gravy), and root beer by the same name which is the most iconic soft drink in Indiana.
Nine Irish Brothers is an award-winning Irish pub with hearty food, like Tiger Mike’s Fish & Chips and Brother Jim’s Shepherd’s Pie. Don’t miss the Guinness on tap or whiskey flights.
Two excellent choices for dinner in West Lafayette are Bruno’s and Arni’s. At Bruno’s, go for the Margherita Pizza, Stromboli, or a German specialty such as Bratwurst or Wienerschnitzel. The dessert pizzas are a must and the kids will love Bruno’s Big O’s Sportsroom for games and entertainment.
Arni’s has amazing cracker-thin crust pizza. The Arni’s Junior Salad, paired with homemade Celery Seed Parmesan dressing, is enough to make your taste buds sing! Other scrumptious menu choices are the Magnificent Mushrooms (stuffed with sausage and cream cheese), Potato Pancakes, and Maui Wowie pizza.
Satisfy your sweet tooth at Igloo Frozen Custard. This yummy stop features everything homemade including igloo bites (mini-frozen treats), cheesecake on a stick, nut bars, and pup cups for your pooch. Igloo’s menu also has food, in case you are craving a hotdog, burger, or bbq. This is a stop on Indiana’s “I Scream for Ice Cream” trail, one of the 19 Indiana culinary trails.
WHERE TO STAY IN WEST LAFAYETTE
The Holiday Inn City Centre is a full-service luxury hotel with an onsite restaurant, indoor pool, outdoor sun deck, and free parking. West Lafayette’s Hilton Garden Inn includes free Wi-Fi, in-room microwaves, refrigerators, and coffee makers. A third chain hotel option, the Hampton Inn & Suites offers free Wi-Fi and breakfast, plus has in-room minibars, refrigerators, and microwaves. All this plus it is within walking distance of Purdue University.
WEST LAFAYETTE IS A MIDWEST TOWN YOU’LL WANT TO EXPLORE
Discovering small towns that pack a powerful punch are one of the great things about doing road trips. That is just what you’ll find in West Lafayette and Lafayette, side-by-side towns that offer double the fun and options. Safe travels!