Things To do In Lafayette Indiana
Girlfriend Getaways,  Indiana Trips,  Midwest,  Travel,  Weekend Trips

21 Awesome Things To Do In Lafayette Indiana For A Quick Getaway

Whether you are visiting for the weekend or quickly passing through, our list of the best things to do in Lafayette, Indiana, will help you make the most of your time in this college town.

Overflowing flower baskets pair beautifully with the chic storefronts that line downtown Lafayette. Strolling the street, delicious aromas fill the air from freshly baked bread to savory BBQ. Stylish boutiques showcasing the latest fashions beckon shoppers to come inside for a quick peek.

These are only a few of the many reasons I loved visiting this energetic college town.

Things To do In Lafayette Indiana
Discover things to do In downtown Lafayette, Indiana

While West Lafayette may be known for Purdue University, both towns are full of hidden gems bound to spark your interest.

We would like to thank Visit Lafayette/ West Lafayette for sponsoring this post. As always, opinions are always my own. This page contains affiliate links. 

Where is Lafayette, Indiana

Lafayette is roughly 63 miles northwest of Indianapolis and 125 miles southeast of Chicago in Tippecanoe County.

NOTE:  West Lafayette sits on the other side of the Wabash River, where Purdue University is located.

Where To Stay In Lafayette, Indiana

There are various lodging options available in Lafayette, depending on the nature of your trip. If you are visiting the university, you may opt to stay on campus at the Union Club Hotel or one of the chain hotels in West Lafayette.

Where to stay in Lafayette Indiana
Add a stay at the Whittaker Inn to any Lafayette visit.

However, if you are looking for a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, plan a stay at the lovely Whittaker Inn. It is one of the best places to stay in Lafayette, with incredible hosts Elizabeth and Andrew Whittaker.

The Whittaker Inn

Upon arrival, you will quickly realize this is unlike any inn or bed and breakfast you have ever stayed at. Instead, it is a contemporary hotel with themed rooms, a gorgeous patio, and plenty of special touches that make your stay remarkable.

Patio at the Whittaker Inn
Patio at the Whittaker Inn

Each room at the Whittaker Inn represents a different county and is themed to that county. The countries represent a spot where the Whittakers lived, visited, or had ties. For example, we stayed in the Tanzania Room based on Elizabeth’s brother climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.

The rooms are thoughtfully put together, with every little detail carefully put into place, from the Tanzania guidebook to the stuffed lion monkey smiling at us from the corner of the room.

Freshly baked cookies welcome guests, while spacious living areas provide a social retreat from the room. Then head to the patio to enjoy a glass of wine by the firepit. 

Whittaker Kitchen

The Whittaker Inn is renowned for its kitchen, serving gourmet meals inspired by global flavors. The Whittaker Kitchen treats guests to a beautiful breakfast that can be enjoyed in their dining room, on the patio, or in your room.

Breakfast at the Whittaker Inn
Breakfast at the Whittaker Inn

Recently, the Whittaker Kitchen has opened its doors to the public for dinner. While guests of the Whittaker can also enjoy dining options, outside guests are required to make reservations.

Hungry for a late-night snack? The Whittaker offers a night kitchen stocked with various snacks, drinks, and goodies for those feeling a bit peckish.

Top Things To Do In Lafayette, Indiana

Stroll Through Lafayette’s Charming Downtown

A great way to explore Lafayette is by strolling through their charming historic downtown. Discover trendy boutiques, quaint coffee shops, historic theaters, and even a cat cafe! Grab a refreshing beer at Lafayette Brewing Company or stop into McCord Candies for an old-fashioned soda.

things to do in lafayette Indiana
Downtown Lafayette

The beautiful architecture will quickly grab your attention. Visitors can take a self-guided downtown architecture tour with this downloadable walking tour guide book.

Downtown Lafayette is home to many special events such as the Taste of Lafayette, the local Farmer’s Market, free concerts, and more.

Tip: I found it reasonably easy to find street parking; however, there are a few garages and parking lots throughout downtown.

Grab Dinner At the East End Grill

Make a reservation at the East End Grill for a spectacular meal and cocktails. The restaurant prides itself on scratch-made dishes that are fresh and flavorful. Fun fact, there is not a freezer in the kitchen! East End Grill was designed that way, as fresh, quality ingredients are a priority in their dishes.

Chicken Under A Brick at East End Grill
Chicken Under A Brick at East End Grill

Each dish is delectable and expertly prepared, from the chicken under a brick to the shrimp and grits. If you have room for dessert, be sure to try the lemon blueberry cake or their mouthwatering cheesecake.

Outdoor dining is available on a cute patio overlooking Main Street.

Tip: Don’t miss their sister restaurant, Ripple & Company, across the street.

Columbian Park Zoo

One of the fun things to do while visiting Lafayette Indiana is the Columbian Park Zoo. The zoo charges a minimal fee for those over two years old, making it a great budget-friendly activity.

The zoo is home to various animals, with favorites being spider monkeys, otters, and penguins being guests’ favorites. Don’t miss the Butterfly Garden with sculptures!

Columbian Park Zoo is a seasonal zoo that closes during the cold weather months.

Tip: Columbian Park is home to the vast SIA Playground and near popular attractions such as Tropicanoe Cove water park, Tippecanoe County War Memorial, and Loeb Stadium.

Haan Museum of Indiana Art

Step foot into the impressive Haan Mansion Museum of Indiana Art. The most extensive collection of Indiana Art in the United States is housed inside a historic mansion.

The Haan Museum of Indiana Art
The Haan Museum of Indiana Art

Once known as the Connecticut Building at the 1904 St. Louis State Fair, the mansion found its permanent home in Lafayette, Indiana. In 1984, Bob and Ellie Haan purchased the estate that was then known as the Potter Mansion. It was their personal residence, where they raised their three sons.

In addition to the intense restoration of the building, the Haans began collecting an impressive amount of Indiana Art. As their collection grew, the couple began offering tours of their home and started incorporating beautiful pieces of antique American furniture. In 2015 the couple donated the building, the grounds, and much of the artwork and created The Haan Museum of Indiana Art.

Haan Museum of Art
Haan Museum of Art

If you ever have the opportunity to have Ellie Haan give you a tour, it will be one of the most memorable and enlightening tours you will ever take. I was soaking in all the stories and history like a sponge. Hearing how each piece was acquired along with fascinating facts about the artists was delightful, as Ellie brought the entire museum to life.

Sculpture Garden

The Sculpture Garden and nature trails are open from dawn to dusk and free to the public. Stroll the lovely Sculpture Garden behind the museum. It is a peaceful walk with intriguing pieces and beautiful blooms.

Sculpture Park at Haan Museum of Art
Sculpture Park at Haan Museum of Art

Grab A Cocktail at Ritual

Craft cocktails are only part of why so many locals flock to the new trendy Ritual Cocktail Bar. Ritual has a variety of high-end spirits paired with skilled bartenders that can whip up whatever cocktail you desire. The cocktail bar has a high-energy vibe that will make you want to stay for more than just one drink.

Ritual Cocktail Bar in downtown Lafayette, Indiana
Ritual Cocktail Bar in downtown Lafayette, Indiana

If you can, grab a seat a the bar or outside on their patio. 

Tip: Order one of their small plates, which is ideal for snacking. 

Stop For Pastries At Scones and Doilies

A great place to stop into while in Downtown Lafayette is Scones and Doilies Bakery. Stepping into the shop, the aroma of freshly baked cookies and scones fills the air. It will be hard to leave with only a few items as the entire case is full of tasty treats that greets you.

Scones and Doilies
Scones and Doilies

As with most bakeries, items are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis, but they often will try to bake and refill items as they sell out.

One of our favorites was the chocolate chip rugelach; however, we have sampled a little of everything, and it’s all incredible.

Prophetstown State Park

Indiana’s newest state park, Prophetstown, is located where the Tippecanoe River meets the Wabash near the town of Battle Ground northeast of Lafayette. Prophetstown was a Native American village in which Tecumseh would frequent in his quest to rally tribes to join together. Native American people hunted and lived along the two rivers for thousands of years.

The park is home to various hiking trails, an aquatic center, and the Farm at Prophetstown. Visitors can discover 1920s farm lifestyles and Native American culture and stroll through 900 acres of restored prairie. 

Bask Aroma

Take home the perfect souvenir by creating a custom candle at Bask Aroma. Start your candle-making adventure by smelling various candles to find your favorite smells. After making your selections pull up a seat at the bar and let the Bask Aroma’s employees help you create your ideal scent.

Create your own candle at Bask Aroma
Create your own candle at Bask Aroma.

They will provide the oils to shift under your nose to see if you enjoy your newfound concoction. Once you approve, you will mix the oils to create your custom scent. They will then provide you with the wax to blend in with your oils. Pour into your candle jar, and then the wait will begin.

It typically takes an hour and a half for your candle to set. During that period, you can leave to run errands, grab a bite to eat, or come back the following day to pick it up. It makes a fantastic girls’ night out or bachelorette party idea!

Explore the Campus of Purdue University

West Lafayette is best known as the campus of Purdue University. Even if you are not a student or alumni, the campus is beautiful, with tons of neat spots to explore.

Boiler Up Bar
Boiler Up Bar

I recommend your first stop being to grab lunch at the 8Eleven Modern Bistro found at the Union Club Hotel. 8Eleven is an upscale restaurant serving American and French-inspired dishes with farm-fresh ingredients.

Fun Fact: 8Eleven Bistro celebrates two of NASA’s most daring space programs, Gemini 8 and Apollo 11, and the pioneering spirit of Purdue alum Neil Armstrong.

The Boiler Up Bar and Leaps Coffee are two other great spots in the Union Club Hotel.

Wolf Park

Since 1972, Wolf Park has been dedicated to behavioral research, education, and conservation to improve the public’s understanding of wolves and their value to our environment. The park is open daily to visitors for guided tours, summer camps, workshops, seminars, and special events.

Visitors can see the park’s resident ambassador wolves, foxes, and bison along the trail. Sign up for Howl Nights, which offers a unique opportunity to howl with the wolves and an up-close and personal view of them!

Free Things To Do In Lafayette, Indiana

Check Out The Public Art

While exploring the downtown area, take notice of all the fabulous public art found throughout the city. Brightly colored murals, intriguing sculptures, and fountains seem to appear around every corner throughout Lafayette-West Lafayette. With over 115 public artworks, visitors can find beautiful works of art throughout the town in accessible public spaces.

Top Things to do in Lafayette, Indiana : Public Art In downtown Lafayette, Indiana
Public Art In downtown Lafayette, Indiana

Don’t miss the John Myers Pedestrian Bridge that spans the Wabash River; it offers scenic river views, and a few pieces of public art can also be found here.

Tip: Downtown the public art brochure to get complete of public artworks and their locations.

Tippecanoe Battlefield

Make time to stop by the Tippecanoe Battlefield, A national historic landmark located in a 96-acre park setting in Battle Ground. Standing tall amidst the battleground is the 85-foot marble obelisk monument erected in 1908, marking the site of the November 7, 1811, Battle of Tippecanoe.

The battle took place by United States forces, led by William Henery Harrison and representatives of Tecumseh’s Native American confederation. A museum on-site tells the story of the battle with interactive exhibits, hiking trails, and picnic areas.

Lafayette Farmers Market

Shop at one of the oldest farmer’s markets in Indiana! The market has been operating since 1839, and while things may have changed a little since then, visitors can find tons of local vendors, live music, and food trucks.

Lafayette Farmer's Market
Lafayette Farmer’s Market

The Lafayette Farmer’s Market is located on 5th Street, stretching two blocks between Main and Ferry Street. Find the market every Saturday from 8:00 am-12:30 pm, May through October.

Art Museum of Greater Lafayette

One of the top free things to do in Lafayette, Indiana, is the Art Museum. The museum offers a variety of art classes, from kids’ art classes and pottery lessons to various adult classes. Stroll four unique galleries along with rotating exhibits featuring regional and local artists.

Celery Bog Nature Area

Bird watchers will love to explore the Celery Bog Nature Area, part of the Indiana Birding Trail. This natural marshy wetland is home to over 120 different species of birds! Celery Bog is a 195-acre nature park featuring the Lilly Nature Center that allows guests of all ages to experience nature and learn about their environment.

Fun Fact: For much of the twentieth century, the Celery Bog was a large vegetable farm that supplied fresh produce to more than 80 grocers in the region, one of its biggest crops was celery.

Hike The Wabash Heritage Trail

Get outdoors by hiking the 18-mile Wabash Heritage Trail. The trail begins at the Tippecanoe Battlefield Park and follows the Wabash River to Riehle Plaza in downtown Lafayette, Indiana. You cross the Wabash River again, heading southward towards Fort Ouiatenon.

Tip: This is not a loop trail.

More Things To Do In Lafayette Indiana

Free things to do in Lafayette Indiana
Free Public Art Tour in Lafayette, Indiana

During your girl’s getaway, are you looking for more great things to do in Lafayette, Indiana? Check out these fun activities:

  • Wildcat Creek Winery
  • Jerry E. Clegg Botanic Gardens
  • Clegg Memorial Garden
  • Happy Hollow Park
  • People’s Brewing Company
  • Triple XXX Family Restaurant

In conclusion, Indiana is full of great small towns waiting for you to explore them! In addition to Lafayette, add these fun towns to your girl’s weekend schedule.

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17 Great Things To Do In Carmel, Indiana 

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21 Awesome Things To Do In Lafayette, Indiana

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