15 Free Things to Do in Lafayette, IN

Free Things to Do in Lafayette, IN
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The city of Lafayette was founded in 1825 near the Wabash River.

It was named after the Marquis de Lafayette, an American Revolutionary War hero.

The city is the county seat of Tippecanoe County and started as a shipping center on the Wabash River.

During the 1840s, Lafayette began to expand in economic development because of its regional prominence.

Railroads were built shortly after, connecting the city to other nearby markets.

Today, Lafayette continues to be a booming city in Indiana, and the tourist sector isn’t an exception.

The city has many attractions perfect for history buffs, art lovers, nature enthusiasts, or the average visitor.

Lafayette also has dozens of attractions and events you can visit for free, making it an ideal destination for those working with a tight budget.

Check out 15 free things you can do while touring the streets of Lafayette, Indiana.

Visit Purdue University

Entrance arch of Purdue University
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Lafayette is known for many things, including the world-renowned Purdue University.

Located along Purdue Mall, this prestigious university is the birthplace of discoveries in science, technology, math, engineering, and more.

Bookworms visiting Lafayette should add Purdue University to their must-see destinations and check out establishments like the arboretum, horticulture park, black cultural center, and more.

Buildings at Purdue University
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You can also swing by the Memorial Mall and check out the University Hall, where the university’s founding benefactor, John Purdue, is buried.

Meanwhile, those passionate about engineering might enjoy visiting Armstrong Hall to check out a replica of Apollo 1.

A sculpture at Purdue University
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Enjoy the Scenic Landscape at Armstrong Park

Tourists visiting Lafayette for its serene atmosphere will find Armstrong Park worthwhile.

Situated along Beck Lane, Armstrong Park is a landscaped area named after Purdue University alumnus and astronaut Neil Armstrong.

Enjoy nature’s finest views when you stroll across the green spaces and wildflower areas on a bright sunny day.

Lafayette’s Armstrong Park also has a paved trail, perfect for those who want to walk around and get their steps in for the day.

The park also has a fishing site for those wanting to cast their lines but must secure fishing permits beforehand.

Marvel at Nature’s Wonders at Celery Bog and Lilly Nature Center

Nothing beats blossoming flowers and towering trees in a preserved area like Celery Bog and Lilly Nature Center along Lindberg Road.

This facility is open from dawn to dusk and doesn’t require admission fees.

If you consider yourself a nature enthusiast, this place should be on your must-visit list.

This Lafayette attraction takes you on an enchanting journey through miles of natural paths with incomparable views.

The Celery Bog and Lilly Nature Center is also recognized as a top bird-watching destination.

Check out the facility’s best views from three observation decks, and walk through paths of wood, savanna, and prairie.

Stay Active at Lyboult Sports Park

For some tourists, vacationing in Lafayette is no excuse to skip their daily workouts.

If you have the same mindset, you might want to swing by Lyboult Sports Park on Canal Road.

Lyboult Sports Park is a favorite destination among sports enthusiasts because of its top-tier facilities.

Feel free to practice shooting and improve your range at one of the park’s three basketball courts.

You can also swing by the sand volleyball court and compete with your peers.

This Lafayette Sports Park also leads to some portions of the Wabash Heritage Trail, where you can walk, ride a bike, or run.

Check Out the Historic Bell Tower

Daytime view of the Historic Bell Tower
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If you’re into historic architecture, you might want to swing by Memorial Mall’s north side to glimpse Lafayette’s Bell Tower.

Established in October 1995, the historic bell tower is a modern interpretation of the original Heavilon Tower.

The original Heavilon Tower burned down in 1894, which included Purdue University’s first-ever bell tower.

When the hall was rebuilt, the bell tower was made of nine bricks higher than the original and contained the original bell.

You’ll still find the old clock on display in the atrium of the Materials and Electrical Engineering building.

Top part of the Historic Bell Tower
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Check Out Exhibits at the Greater Lafayette Museum of Art

Art enthusiasts will have a great time wandering the Greater Lafayette Museum of Art on 10th Street.

Founded in 1909, the Greater Lafayette Museum of Art is the only accredited museum across Northwest Indiana.

Treat yourself to stunning works of art divided into six galleries, some changing throughout the year.

You also might want to check out the museum’s permanent collection, which contains over 1,500 works that shed light on 19th, 20th, and 21st-century American art.

Some notable works worth viewing include The Santa Maria Major by John Taylor Adams, Nashville Landscape by Glenn Cooper, Broken Chains by Gerald Griffin, and more.

Take a Picture of the Amelia Earhart Monument

The Amelia Earhart monument sits in front of the Earhart Dining Court in Lafayette’s prestigious Purdue University.

The bronze statue is a tribute to one of the university’s most notable icons.

It is also one of the replicas from the original sculptor, Ernest Shelton.

Standing approximately eight feet tall, the statue depicts Amelia Earhart holding an airplane propeller in one hand.

Amelia Earhart served as a counselor for women and as an adviser to the Department of Aeronautics at Purdue University from 1935 to 1937.

Take photos of this monument while visiting Lafayette because you won’t find anything like it anywhere else.

Explore the Hills and Dales Neighborhood

Lafayette has a couple of historic neighborhoods perfect for history buffs looking to dive into the city’s past.

The Hills and Dales Neighborhood is a beautiful sight, listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

Famed for its rolling hills north of Purdue University, this neighborhood is decorated with houses sporting architectural styles from the Tudor revival and eclectic French periods.

There are a total of 12 historic, plagued houses that decorate the neighborhood, so get ready to spend the entire day walking around.

The Hills and Dales Neighborhood have houses built as early as 1929, offering visitors a refreshing view of Lafayette's early years.

Swing by the Haan Museum of Indiana Art

Interior of Haan Museum of Indiana Art
Alexeenko, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

From ceramics and furniture to paintings and other exhibits, the Haan Museum of Indiana Art is a must-visit place in Lafayette.

Located along E State Street, this Lafayette Museum is already an artwork with its history as the original Connecticut State Building built in 1904.

The Haan Museum of Indiana Art pays homage to hundreds of talented Indiana artists from the historical and contemporary periods.

All artworks are displayed in a historic mansion built for the St. Louis World’s Fair during the 1900s.

Look at the American Renaissance Revival furniture collection, works by TC Steele and the Hoosier Group, and more.

Have a Picnic at Murdock Park

Take a moment to rest, relax, and slow down after spending a day touring the streets of Lafayette.

Fortunately, Murdock Park is right around Cason Street and is open for everyone to enjoy.

Lafayette’s Murdock Park covers 39 acres of the urban forest, perfect for those who admire natural views.

Set your picnic blanket under a tree’s shade, whip out your favorite book, and sip a lemonade on a warm sunny day.

If you plan to visit during winter, Murdock Park is also a popular site for sled runs.

Explore the Northwest Greenway Trail

Whether you’re looking to walk, hike, run, or ride a bike, the Northwest Greenway Trail is the perfect destination.

Fitness enthusiasts will surely enjoy exploring the interconnected trails around this area, leading to the nearby Cattail Trail.

Look at Lafayette’s scenic landscapes while working out, or hang out beside the paved trails to watch the sunset.

Getting lost in the Northwest Greenway Trail isn’t bad either because it’s a great place to escape the busy streets and sit alone with your thoughts.

The best part is that you don’t need to pay for anything to get a good look at the view in this Lafayette gem.

Teach Your Kids to Fish at Munger Park

Visit Lafayette in June and swing by Munger Park on Greenbush Street with your kids.

The local government of Lafayette hosts an annual free kids' fishing day at Munger Park every year.

You might want to sign them up for this event.

Kids from three to 14 years old can hang out by the pond and use the equipment provided.

After the event at Munger Park, every kid can enjoy a free lunch.

While your kids fish, you can check out the park's walking trail, picnic shelters, wildflower areas, and more.

Admire the Tippecanoe County Courthouse

Exterior of Tippecanoe County Courthouse
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Lafayette has dozens of eye-catching establishments, but perhaps one of the best places you’ll see is the Tippecanoe County Courthouse.

The Tippecanoe County Courthouse can be found along Lafayette’s Main Street.

It features the Baroque, Gothic, Georgian, Victorian, Beaux Arts, Neoclassical, and Second Empire architectural styles.

Clock tower of Tippecanoe County Courthouse
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As you enter the courthouse, you’ll also be treated to a magnificent collection of Round the Fountain Art Fair works.

The Tippecanoe County Courthouse has eight courts and is on its third rendition.

Like other courthouses, this represents the citizens’ permanent and durable character and national pride.

Water fountain at Tippecanoe County Courthouse
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Swing by Art on the Wabash

“Artistic” is probably one of the best words to describe the people of Lafayette and Indiana.

Every year, Lafayette hosts Art on the Wabash, where artists across fifteen counties showcase their works for others to see.

Held at Tapawingo Park, Art on the Wabash is a must-see gathering for art connoisseurs.

Everything about art is in the park, from ceramics and glass to woodwork, paintings, photography, and mixed media.

You’ll also be treated to live music and entertainment during the event, making it even more exciting.

Join Global Fest

Lafayette’s Global Fest puts multicultural entertainment in the limelight for everyone to enjoy.

Held along Chauncey Avenue, Lafayette’s Global Fest features cultures from all over the world, including Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East.

Spend an entire day learning about these cultures in a fun way, which includes music, food, and other forms of entertainment.

During this festival, you'll also see hundreds of craft displays and other art forms.

Children’s activities are laid out for visiting families and are free.

Final Thoughts

Lafayette offers the perfect combination of history and modern life in its attractions, architecture, events, and more.

Most of the things you can do in Lafayette are also budget-friendly and enjoyable at the same time.

Stick to this list of free things to do in Lafayette, Indiana, and you’ll make the most of your trip.

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