Where to live in West Lafayette, IN?
March 28, 2014 6:34 AM   Subscribe

My friend is moving with her family to West Lafayette, Indiana to take a position at Purdue, and has asked me to consult the Hive Mind for advice. They're coming from a big city, so small town living will be new to them, and they're looking to buy a house. What neighborhoods should they be looking at?

They have little kids, so good schools are important, and it would be nice to be in an area that's walkable, as much as that's possible. Being near Purdue would be great, if it's not too student-y. Are there parts of town that are kid-friendly and not too isolated? Are there parts of town to avoid, along the lines of "during football games this area gets crazy"?

Any other advice about life in Indiana would be welcome!
posted by cider to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
I don't know about living in West Lafayette itself, but I do know Indiana.

If they're moving from a coastal city, they might feel landlocked. And even if they don't, tell them there's a beach an hour and a half drive from West Lafayette! The Indiana Dunes on Lake Michigan is an incredible national park -- it is a landscape of giant sand dunes, the Great Lake stretches out as far as you can see, and it feels like you're at the ocean.
posted by third rail at 7:21 AM on March 28, 2014

I went to Purdue for my undergrad but it's been almost 10 years since I left.

He could consider both Lafayette and West Lafayette - sister cities divided by the Wabash river. A good source might be to reach out to faculty members who live around there since they might be his best proxy of what he is looking for in terms of where they live.

Also he could try reddit.com/r/purdue and get an idea of some of the newer developments in the area. Might also want to check walkscore.com for a rating of neighborhoods.
posted by rippersid at 5:37 PM on March 28, 2014

I graduated 6 years ago, so my knowledge is a bit old. However, my wife worked up there until late 2010 and covered K12 education, so this is a mix of both of our opinions.

Pretty much anywhere walkable from campus is going to be near students (especially in WL). There's nothing particularly bad about that, but things can get a bit crazy at times. Certainly traffic around Ross-Ade and Mackey can be crappy around the time of games, so that might not be the best of options; I did have one prof who claimed that all the residents just did their shopping while the game was going on.

She lived just out of downtown Lafayette. That was certainly convenient there (and walkable in general) but would be a significant walking trek to campus proper. You could take the bus to get to campus from there, though.

Most professors that I knew lived in WL in various subdivisions. University Farm was the most common subdivision, but... it's a subdivision ultimately. You could walk to a large park and a few places, but I wouldn't exactly call it walkable. She labelled it a bit overrated.

There are 3 public school districts in the county, West Lafayette (WLCSC), Lafayette (LSC), and Tippecanoe (TSC). WL is probably the best school district, but it seems to me at least that it focused on high-achieving students at the expense of others. LSC is a mix of good and iffy inner-city schools. TSC are the county schools. Her recommendation would be to live in TSC. The only caveat (from me) would be that you're definitely not going to have walkable natures.

Memail if you want more explicit details.
posted by RyanAdams at 8:48 PM on April 2, 2014

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