Street Savvy: Lafayette

Eleven reasons the Boiler Bunch should stray across the river to this main drag.


Public art is abundant along Main Street. At the corner of 5th and Main, don’t miss the sculpture Family Farm—figures composed of agrarian tools—or the lively murals in Alleypalooza and Art Gallery Alley, off 5th between Main and Columbia.

Visiting parents temporarily breaking their student offspring of their pizza-and-burgers routine at Bistro 501 might saddle up next to politicos from the nearby Tippecanoe County Courthouse and pre-show diners with tickets to Loeb Playhouse. Dive into the Bloody Mary shrimp cocktail and Red Flannel Hash (with house-made corned beef). 501 Main St., 765-423-4501

The team at Gaby Couture designs and makes cocktail dresses, sweaters, purses, bridal gowns, and fascinators to fill its showroom. They also help Purdue design students bring prototypes to life, like a travel tote that turns into a booster seat. 529 Main St., 765-838-8827

New ownership in 2017 didn’t diminish the charms of McCord Candies, a Lafayette staple dating back to 1912. You can get shakes, malts, sundaes, and extra squirts of syrup at the soda fountain, as well as store-made candy canes. 536 Main St., 765-742-4441

A Michael Jackson impersonator, watermelon-smashing prop comedian Gallagher (the real one), and musician Steve Earle (the one and only) have all performed recently at the Lafayette Theater. A movie house for most of its 80 years, it received a makeover in the early 2000s. 600 Main St., 765-771-9090

The second-oldest operating brewery in the state and the first to score Indiana’s small-brewers permit, Lafayette Brewing Co. produces 40 to 50 different styles annually, with most offered seasonally. Try the passion fruit–infused Passion 4 Hefeweizen, the malt- and hops-heavy Tank Scrap 2IPA, or the English-influenced Doc Bayley’s Bitter. Any are a good choice for washing down the favorite dish called Chicken Tippy, with beer-braised barbecue chicken set atop a roasted-poblano cornbread pancake. 622 Main St., 765-742-2591

While some Lafayette folks aren’t always fond of rival Bloomington, they do seem to have taken to Bloom Kids Collection, a boutique stocking such brands as Mustard Pie, Loulou Lollipop, Mabel + Honey, Petit Lem, and even a few that don’t sound like tasty treats. 634 Main St., 765-321-2537

The unofficial pinball machine capital of Indiana is Main Street Amusements, home to about 40 machines both vintage (a recently restored Evel Knievel from 1977) and newer (including Deadpool). The shop recently spent a year acquiring a limited-edition Pirates of the Caribbean game, which has nearly as many special effects as the movies. If you own a broken machine, Main Street can probably get it humming and buzzing again. 642 Main St., 765-588-1285

Displaced Chicagoans can find comfort at DT Kirby’s Street Food, where the Cubs always seem to be on the screens, ketchup is not allowed on hot dogs for anyone over the age of 14, and the sandwiches are rated by the number of napkins required to manage them. 644 Main St., 765-429-6666

Classics and oddities share the shelves and racks at Black Wax Records, where you might find a vintage Fisher-Price plastic turntable or a Robert Johnson boxed blues set. Brian Ropes opened the store in mid-2018, inspired by the success friends were having with similar stores elsewhere. Don’t overlook the $1 bin. 666 1/3 Main St., 765-838-2548

Main Street newcomer Boutique LoriAnn opened its doors in September stocked with popular brands and on-the-rise designers. Owner Lori Ann Schlaifer is a style consultant certified by the New York Institute of Art and Design. 101 N. 6th St., 765-588-0955