Midwest Living Review
The year-round population in the combined Greater Lafayette area is about 97,000, so the 40,000 Purdue students are a vital part of the community. Though young people and progressive thinking are a hallmark of the community, the city has a vintage feeling with downtown streets lined with buildings preserved from the turn of the century. The city is organized into three districts. Beginning on the west, the Chauncey Village district (in West Lafayette) centers around the Purdue University campus and includes mostly shops that cater to student needs -- university apparel, a quick jolt of caffeine and fast foods. In the middle, the Wabash Riverfront district spans the river and features a cool pedestrian bridge, parkways that host community events, the city's historic limestone courthouse and surrounding square, plus Riverside Skating Center's picturesque outdoor skating rink. On the east end, The Arts and Market district is an easy stroll of quaint shops, boutiques, galleries and restaurants. Some standouts include, Two Tulips (834 Main) for stationery and original gifts, Main Street Mercantile (1000 Main St.) for unique antiques, and Main Street Cheese and Wine Cellar (1005 Main St.) for local cheese, wine, preserves and a fantastic brunch. Though chilly outside, our December visit to Lafayette was warmed by a homespun holiday celebration. The Dickens of a Christmas celebration organized actors in period costumes into mini vignettes from "A Christmas Carol" along the shopping route. Free carriage rides, a seasonal farmers market and strolling singers added to the celebration with local appeal.