Life in West Lafayette, Indiana

West Lafayette Reviews Indiana Message Board
Red Rock's review of West Lafayette Indiana
Are you thinking of moving or relocating to West Lafayette, Indiana? Would you like to know what the quality of life is like living in West Lafayette?
It's a typical Midwestern climate, although there are tornado warnings sometimes in the fall. In the winter the snow piles high, there have been blizzards, and it can get to like around 10 F. Lots of icy roads and sidewalks, but the city is good at maintaining everything so it's not dangerous to drive or walk. In the summer there is no humidity but it can be very hot, like up to 97 F I remember. But from May to September it's always warm, and only starts to cool around October, and then it gets VERY cold in January.Being a college town, when there is crime in West Lafayette it tends to belong to several common categories. From what I remember, it was mostly limited to things like vandalism/mischief, drunk driving, bike theft (there is a lot of bicycle theft, sadly), public intoxication, and so on. Purdue University dominates the town (there are 40,000 students and roughly 30,000 year-round residents), so that explains the crime statistics. The only time I ever heard of assault was when a mentally disturbed homeless man entered one of the student libraries and hit a student for no reason.

I have not heard of any serious felonies happening. I always felt pretty safe, even late at night and without much company.
The best part of town is without a doubt Chauncey Hill, although the Landing is also good. Chauncey Hill is where all the student life is, and since the neighborhood is right next to Purdue, it is very multicultural and interesting and fun, unlike the rest of the town, which is mostly chain stores and Midwestern-ness. Chauncey Hill has tons of college bars, hookah bars, ethnic restaurants, and an interesting independent bookstore called Von's. Chauncey Hill is bounded by State St and Northwestern Ave. 90% of the apartment building residents are students. Maybe more like 94-97%. Purdue has on of the largest percentage of international students in the country so the student body around Chauncey Hill can be very cosmopolitan. There are only apartments here, no individual homes. Some of them are new and quite nice, and some are a little older, but all of them are typical student flats.

The area where Wal-Mart is, however, is kind of unsafe from what I've heard (bound by Sagamore Parkway and Cumberland Ave). There are a lot of homeless people around there and I've had a friend robbed at gunpoint in the parking lot.

West Lafayette's population is separated into university people (faculty, students, administrators, etc) and townspeople (everyone else). The two groups can be very different. The town people are conservative, Christian, and all-American, but generally all are educated. But this demographic is middle-aged/old, white and small town.

While a large proportion of the Purdue student body is also conservative and Christian, there is considerably more diversity. There are students in West Lafayette from all over the country and all over the world, and many of them are very affluent, so you'll see a lot of BMWs and the like whizzing around this sleepy Midwestern town. There are a lot of Indians and Asians in the student body.
Downtown AreaRestaurantsSchoolsSingle life
The downtown shopping is pretty terrible as far as the mall is concerned. However, the Landing has Borders, Gamestop, and other fun stores for students, apart from the movie theater, so it is quite fun.All the best restaurants are on Chauncey Hill. Maza Mediterranean Grill is pretty excellent.Excellent. The public schools have produced Scripps Spelling Bee champions, Ivy League students, etc.Only if you're a student at Purdue.
NoiseCompared to other placesBest hospitalTourist attractions
Loud college parties are really the only source of noise.Carmel, Indiana is wealthier and far more expensive than West Lafayette. It's better for families, but would be boring for students. It has an excellent high school, but not necessarily better than West Lafayette's. The dining and shopping is far more higher-end at Carmel and whether you'd prefer to live in Carmel instead of West Lafayette depends on whether you're a student or not.

Kokomo, Indiana is another town near West Lafayette. It is definitely bigger and busier than West Lafayette, but also more homogeneous, blue-collar, and boring. It is very industrial-heavy and the town's population are mostly small-town locals, so there is not a lot of cultural activity going on and it's not very in-touch with the urban, big-city atmosphere. There is also more crime than in West Lafayette. West Lafayette is likely a more fun place to live.
Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health-Lafayette Central. It's a well-maintained, well-equipped, well-organized hospital and the nurses are very nice.Chauncey Village has everything that is worth visiting. There are no historic or scenic spots.
General comments   
It's a normal college town. It's not very visually appealing, though it should be as it sits by a big river (the Wabash) and the town across the river, Lafayette, actually has quite a pretty and historic downtown. But it's a highly educated town for all of its small Midwestern quaintness. The West Lafayette High School is one of the best in the country and Purdue students do a lot of outreach and volunteer work around the town. The cost of living is very low, there is always something to do IF you are a student and you have friends, and it feels safe. It's about 2 and a half hours from Chicago and 1 and a half hours from Indianapolis, but there is plenty to do in town if you have friends.

If you like Big Ten college football, Greek parties, loud college bars and Asian/South Asian food, you won't be disappointed. And if you are more into indie bookstores, cosmopolitan social gatherings with an international crowd and quieter bars, those are there too.
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