Have you ever explored the Midwest? This west coast gal hasn’t! But now I’m slowly working my way through it and I’m actually so pleasantly surprised.
Lafayette, Indiana, is located about an hour and a half north of Indianapolis, in the Midwestern part of the state; it’s also about two and a half hours from Chicago, Illinois.
Now, there’s really nothing significant about Lafayette – it’s “just another Midwestern town,” as someone once described to me. Its main attraction is Purdue University, home of the boilermakers. However, as someone who’s never spent any significant amount of time in the Midwest, I found it fascinating.
The city is surrounded by corn and soybean fields, like seriously. It’s everywhere. This is something new to me and I think that it’s so adorable. I obviously knew that the Midwest is where the United States grows most of its major crops, but it’s still so interesting to see and experience it. There also aren’t many major freeways or roadways, so a lot of the time if you leave the city, you have to drive through two-way roads through farm after farm, going 55 mph.
I went on a run and wherever I went, eventually I ended up in a corn field. When it happened to me the first time, I literally laughed out loud, stopped mid-run, and took this photo (below). The people around me looked at me like I was crazy, but I couldn’t help it! I had to show the rest of my west coast family that some stereotypes about the Midwest really are true.
I also discovered on my run that the typical image of what the “American Dream” is still exists in Midwestern towns. Two story houses, white picket fences, kids’ bikes sitting in front of the house, dad mowing the lawn, the smell of barbeque in the air. It was like it was out of a storybook of stereotypical America. It’s so cute!
Downtown Lafayette is just as cute as its suburbs. It sits along the Wabash River, a shallow river that splits Lafayette from West Lafayette. Technically Purdue is in West Lafayette, but for the purpose of this blog post, I’m considering Lafayette and West Lafayette as one “region.”
Downtown Lafayette houses the Amtrak train station, shops, and delicious restaurants and bars. There’s also a really cute courthouse that is just picture perfect of the Midwest.
There are also tons of little parks and nature preserves in the surrounding areas that are fun to explore. There are lots of bogs (yes, those are a real thing and exist in the Midwest!) and mini forests to walk in, which is really fun. I think that you can go kayaking / canoeing / paddle boarding in some of the local rivers as well, so that could be fun if you’re interested in water activities.
I’ll be honest – the food in Lafayette wasn’t very original. Most of the restaurants and bars serve typical “American” style food and there wasn’t much variety. However, this doesn’t meant that it wasn’t delicious, and every location put their own spin on recipes. For example, one restaurant had a delicious Cheddar & Lavender salad, and a bar had a burger where you could smother it in Mac ‘n Cheese and Onion Rings.
Regardless of the food, I found Lafayette adorable. If you’re in the area or driving through, I think that it would be a cute spot to stay for lunch or dinner! I’m not sure if it’s interesting enough to stay for more than a day unless you have family or are interested in the university or local nature areas, but it’s still a cute traditional Midwestern city!
Thank you for reading! Have you ever been to Lafayette or Purdue? Let me know in the comments below and like this post if you want more like it!