Situated only a couple hours south of the nation’s third-largest metro, Chicago, and an hour north of Indianapolis, the Purdue University community of Lafayette-West Lafayette offers all the fanfare of being a cozy college town, but with big-city airlift that’s the envy of destinations twice its size.

“With Purdue being here there’s lots of entertainment options and cultural events and restaurants,” says Ashley Gregory, group tours and meeting manager for the Lafayette-West Lafayette CVB. “It’s definitely a Big 10 University town.”

Groups can even catch Purdue Boilermakers football fever at the Ross-Ade Pavilion, a venue located within Ross-Ade Stadium that can hold up to 800 for a reception and 400 seated. Of course, one would expect the it to have a bit of a waiting list on game days.

According to Gregory, Lafayette and West Lafayette are two cities separated by the Wabash River that serve as one destination for meeting groups. Lafayette features a downtown area with all the requisite shops and restaurants and West Lafayette boasts the cutting-edge facilities of Purdue University, where a great many meeting options come equipped with superior audiovisual capabilities.

Getting there: Lafayette-West Lafayette, Ind., is located approximately one hour north of Indianapolis and two hours south of Chicago, on Interstate 65.

Major airports: Both Indianapolis International Airport and airports in Chicago are served by numerous airlines. Shuttle service runs between both Indianapolis International Airport and the Chicago airports numerous times daily. Purdue University offers a small private airport, but no scheduled commercial flights.

Highlights of the Purdue meeting facilities include Purdue Memorial Union, with two ballrooms that each hold up to 450 people, and the nearby Stewart Center, which offers plenty of classroom-style space.

“We also have several other meeting spaces besides Purdue, such as historic Prophetstown, which is a 1920s-style working farm with horses,” Gregory says, adding that the attraction even offers a replica and original Sears and Roebuck catalogue home that can be rented out for meetings and events.

Other off-site highlights include Camp Tecumseh YMCA Outdoor Center, located in nearby Brookston and which offers an ideal location for active team-building programs, and the Moses Fowler House, a historic home in downtown Lafayette that is a prime example of Gothic Revival architecture and can accommodate 120 theater style, 60 classroom style and 144 for banquets and receptions in its five meeting rooms.

The major hotel in Lafayette is the downtown Holiday Inn Lafayette-City Centre, which offers 147 guest rooms and 7,500 square feet of meeting space. The city also contains a Hilton Garden Inn.

Downtown ( features three districts: Chauncey Village, located near Purdue; the Arts & Market district, boasting historic architecture and arts offerings. In between is the Wabash Riverfront.