College Towns: West Lafayette, Indiana

Learn more about West Lafayette, Indiana -- Home of Purdue University.

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The Town: West Lafayette, Indiana

Named after the Marquis de Lafayette, the French general who fought with the Americans in the Revolutionary War, West Lafayette was settled on the Wabash River. The city centers on Purdue University and a historic downtown that features old courthouses and churches. Although it’s a relatively small community, the 29,500 residents have access to an airport, trains and buses, giving this college town many of the services of a major city.

The School: Purdue University

One of two major public colleges in the state (Indiana University being the other), Purdue University is often nicknamed the “cradle of astronauts,” as 22 graduates have gone on to serve missions in outer space. One of them was Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon in 1969. The aviation and aeronautical engineering program has long been renowned as one of the best in the world.

Purdue has the third-largest Greek system in the United States.

The center of campus is the Purdue mall, which you can easily spot because of the giant concrete fountain in the middle.

What to Do

Purdue has the third-largest Greek system in the United States, so there are philanthropic and social events going on at any given time of the year. Recently the men’s basketball team has been an annual contender for the Big 10 championship, and the Boilermakers made the NCAA tournament the past five years. Purdue is also known as a campus that has produced many great quarterbacks, most recently Drew Brees of the Super Bowl-winning New Orleans Saints.

In response to rival Indiana University’s “Little 500” bike race, every year Purdue hosts the Grand Prix, a 50 mile go-kart race in which the automobiles are constructed entirely by student teams.

If you’d like to venture off-campus, the Wabash River is the perfect location for fishing or a canoe trip. Each July, West Lafayette hosts the Wabash Riverfest, which features canoe races, rides, live music and a parade.

Where to Eat and Drink

Have you ever wondered what buffalo tasted like? Opened in 1993, the Lafayette Brewing Company has been named one of the “Best of the Great Lakes,” specializing in ales. A rotating menu offers unique favorites, such as bison steaks.

A Purdue mainstay, the Triple XXX Family Restaurant’s burger has been rated the best burger in West Lafayette. Family-owned for multiple generations, make sure you try some of their homemade root beer.

Did You Know?

West Lafayette was originally to be constructed south of its current location, but the city had to be moved due to constant flooding of the area.

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