Guided and Self-Guided Walking Tours

Guided Walking Tours


Building Tours

Purdue Memorial Union has a rich history dating back to 1924. PMU Building Managers are available to give tours of the facility that include the history and creation of the building, our purpose, the architectural significance and how we are a permanent memorial to the Purdue men and women who served in defense of our country. Tours also include information on ground, first and seconds floors, which are home to dining and retail services. Visit the Information Desk in the Great Hall of Purdue Memorial Union for a tour with a Building Manager.

Self-guided Walking Tour


First Floor

Great Hall

As you first enter the Purdue Memorial Union (PMU) from the south entrance, you will go up the south stairs into the Great Hall. The Great Hall displays much of PMU’s architectural history. The Purdue Memorial Union opened in September of 1924 and was designed by Pond & Pond architects. Pond & Pond also designed the unions at Michigan, Michigan State, and Kansas. A few notable features include:

  • The stained glass windows, which represent the mixing of students of all races and creeds within its walls.
  • The interior stone arches, which represent the ruggedness, sincerity and individualism of the students.
  • The upswept arches of the windows, which symbolize the youth and spirit of the Union.

The Union, and this Great Hall in particular, are dedicated to the memory of the 2,013 Purdue faithful who served in WWI, and the 67 who died in that war.  The Union as a memorial was later extended to honor all Purdue men and women who died in military service to our country.

The bronze busts that you see in this room honor the service of Purdue presidents, and they are commissioned at the end of each presidency. The campus map in the center of this room is extremely popular with alumni and visitors.

Room 118

Immediately east of the Great Hall is Room 118. Room 118 was the original Men’s Lounge when Purdue Memorial Union opened in 1924, and curiously it is located just below the original Women’s Lounge. It features a warm fireplace and is another very popular, quiet study space. However, it is also used for catered breakfasts, lunches and dinners, as a pre-function space for large events in the Ballrooms, and as a part of large job fairs. 

East and West Main Lounges

As you leave the Great Hall walking west, you will come across the East and West Main Lounges. Student Unions are often thought of as the proverbial “living room of the campus”. The East and West Main Lounges are a comfortable spot that help us fulfill our traditional role as community builders. The display cases showcase some of our organizational history. The display cases mark the west end of the original building, which was added onto in 1939, giving us the West main Lounge.

Amazon Store

Directly across from the West Main Lounge is the Amazon Store. This space has been many things over time, including a cigar store, a newsstand, a copy center, and now the extremely popular Amazon Store—the first such brick and mortar Amazon in the country. A second Amazon store is located in the Krach Leadership Center across campus.

Purdue Federal Credit Union

As you walk north down the hall from the Amazon Store, the Purdue Federal Credit Union will be on your right. Purdue Federal Credit Union was the very first leased space in Purdue Memorial Union and first opened in 2004. 

Hospitality Services Office

Continuing down the hall, you will notice the Hospitality Services office to your left. PMU Hospitality Services provides scheduling and event planning for thousands of events that take place each year in the Ballrooms, function spaces and meeting rooms in the Union, plus 21 meeting rooms in the Stewart Center building next door.

West Great Hall

After walking past the Hospitality Services office, you will enter the West Great Hall. The West Great Hall serves as an informal lounge and is home to our International Flag Display. The flags are the symbols of more than 120 nations and serve to remind us that Boilermakers have a presence across the world.

The International Flag Display was established by the Iron Key senior leadership honorary of 2006, in partnership with the Purdue Student Union Board and PMU. The purpose of the display is to:

  • Acknowledge the large international presence at Purdue.
  • Support the University's diversity initiatives.
  • Remind students about the value of study abroad opportunities.
  • Represent the Purdue experience in preparing students for today's global community.

Boiler Copy Maker

Just past the West Great Hall is the Boiler Copy Maker center. Boiler Copy Maker is a full-service copy shop operated by Xerox.

North Ballroom

Directly across from the Boiler Copy Maker center is the North Ballroom. The North Ballroom was part of the 1939 west wing expansion and features many of the Pond & Pond architectural details mentioned previously. It measures 7,320 square feet and can hold up to 720 people in various configurations:

  • Banquet (Round Tables) – 352
  • Theatre – 500
  • Dance – 720

 South Ballroom

As you walk through the North Ballroom, you can pass through the opening on your right into the South Ballroom. The South Ballroom is original to the building and measures 7,200 square feet. It can hold up to 800 people in various configurations:

  • Banquet (Round Tables) – 432
  • Theatre – 700
  • Dance – 800

Both of the ballrooms are heavily used for:

  • Weddings
  • Conferences
  • Job Fairs
  • Receptions
  • Banquets
  • Student & Community Events such as Late nights and concerts

Second Floor

South Tower

Continuing your tour, you can leave the south end of the South Ballroom and goes upstairs using the Grand Staircase on your left. As you turn left at the top of the Grand Staircase, you will see the South Tower. The South Tower showcases an excellent view of campus. It has a small stage and room for performing arts or meetings. It is often reserved by student groups for dance practices and other gatherings.

Administrative Offices

As you walk past the South Tower you will see administrative offices on your right. The Administrative Offices on the second floor are home to the Director of PMU and other administrative staff. These spaces were originally the Women’s Lounge when the building opened in 1924.

Sagamore Restaurant

Turning in the opposite direction, you can continue past the Grand Staircase towards the west side of the building. Just past the Grand Staircase on your right is the Sagamore Restaurant. The Sagamore Restaurant gets its name from a Native American tribe once found in Indiana. It is a table service restaurant open for breakfast and lunch, and is popular with faculty and staff for meetings, interviews and other University business.

Director's Room

Next to the Sagamore Restaurant is the Director's Room. The Director's Room is a popular venue for meetings, catered lunches and dinners, with access from the Sagamore. As it’s name suggests, it features portraits of all five of our past Union Directors.

East Faculty Lounge

Directly across the hall from the Director's Room is the East Faculty Lounge. The East Faculty Lounge is part of the original building but was originally known as the Alumni Lounge. It is a popular venue for meetings, catered meals and together with the West Faculty Lounge, small wedding receptions. The East Faculty Lounge showcases historical portraits of faculty and university administrators.

West Faculty Lounge

Continuing past the East Faculty Lounge is the West Faculty Lounge. The West Faculty Lounge was part of the west wing addition in 1936. It includes recently commissioned portraits of our three Dean of Women.

Smart Stained Glass Windows

As you continue down the hallway and turn right to continue down the next hall, you will notice the stained glass windows above the stairwell. These are known as the Smart Windows. They were given by Alice Stuart in memory of Dr. James H. Smart, President of Purdue from 1883-1900.

Meeting Rooms 256-260; 263

As you continue down the hallway, you will see a variety of meeting spaces on your left and right. These meeting spaces are very popular and used heavily by University departments by day and student organizations by night.

Purdue Student Union Board (PSUB)

Just past the Meeting Rooms is the Purdue Student Union Board (PSUB) Office. Established in 1920, PSUB predates the construction of PMU. The Student Union Board was an active organization dedicated to serving the Purdue student body and assisted with the funding to build the Purdue Memorial Union. In 1920 the first Student Union Board consisted of five students; today there are more than 100 members. As a department of the Purdue Memorial Union as well as a recognized Purdue University student organization, PSUB has provided Purdue students, faculty, staff, and the Greater Lafayette community with programs and services for more than 80 years. The PSUB Board also serves as an advisor to the PMU Director in cooperative management of the Union. 

Amateur Radio Club

As you continue down the hallway, the Purdue Amateur Radio Club will be on your left. The Purdue Radio Club has existed in Purdue Memorial Union for as long as anyone can remember.  Access to antennas on the rooftop was the primary reason for this location.

Veterans Success Center

Following the Amateur Radio Club, the Veterans Success Center will be on your left. When legislative changes occurred around 2014 relative to university services offered to returning veterans, and given the war memorial aspect of our mission, Purdue Memorial Union actively pursued having an office in PMU in support of our veterans.

Ground Floor

Oasis Café

As you descend the stairs to the ground level of PMU, you will see the Oasis Café ahead on your left. Oasis Café is known for its unique, “counter-culturish” feel, tie-dye uniforms, progressive music and delicious wraps.

Fidelity

Fidelity is directly across from the Oasis Café. Since 2010, Fidelity has drawn faculty and staff to Purdue Memorial Union.

UPS

Past Fidelity, you will notice the UPS store on your right. Another early lease tenant, UPS has been with us since 2009 and has succeeded in bringing many international students into the Union. 

Urban Market

As you continue down the hallway, you’ll enter the retail dining area of PMU. On your right, you will see Urban Market. The Urban Market was created in the 2006 ground floor renovation and be described as a “healthy alternative convenience store.”

Freshens

Freshens is next to Urban Market. This was another concept created during the 2006 ground floor renovation. It was designed to add a “healthy snack” component to PMU dining options, serving yogurt and a variety of crepes and smoothies.

Flatbreads

Flatbreads is directly across from Urban Market. Also part of the 2006 renovation, Flatbreads offers PMU guests fresh breads, salads, and sandwiches.

Lemongrass

When you come to the fork in the road, you can walk left to come to visit Lemongrass. Owing to the popularity of Asian and Pacific Rim cuisine and an increasingly international student body, its stir-fried offerings and authentic sauces are very well received.

La Salsa

Next to Lemongrass, is our Mexican cuisine, La Salsa. When we broke ground for the 2006 renovation, there were no Mexican restaurants in this area of campus. La Salsa offers Mexican favorites and a delicious salsa bar.

Villa Italian Kitchen

As you continue down the hall you will come across Villa Italian Kitchen on your left. Villa existed prior to the 2006 renovation but received a major upgrade as part of that overall project.  

Starbucks

Starbucks is across from Villa Italian Kitchen. The Starbucks in PMU first opened in 2004. Due to its extreme popularity, it underwent a full renovation in 2014.  It is the busiest Starbucks in the Greater Lafayette community and one of the busiest in the state of Indiana.

Union Commons

With Starbucks and other offerings nearby, the Union Commons is one of the most popular study areas on campus. It is also used for open mic nights and other PSUB programs.

The Union Commons was renovated in 2008, with refinished original furniture, paint and new lighting. The design concept was “transitional,” honoring original arches but adding a more contemporary feel.

Pappy’s

As you continue down the hallway past the Union Commons, Pappy’s will be on your right. Originally called the “Sweet Shop,” it opened in 1927 and has been an iconic Purdue presence ever since.  The name “Pappy’s” derives from the original manager, Frank “Pappy” Fox who ran it with his wife “Mammy” Fox for more than 30 years.

Evans, Piggott & Finney Eye Care

Evans, Piggott & Finney Eye Care is directly across from Pappy’s. Originally a barber shop, this space later became a pinball and video arcade.  Later, with the advent of personal computers, student surveys indicated a desire for an eye care provider in close proximity.

Purdue Team Store

Continuing ahead, you’ll see the Purdue Team Store on your left. Formerly our meeting room scheduling office, this space became a Purdue memorabilia shop in 2006 and offers many products that demonstrate Purdue pride.

1869 Tap Room

Directly across from the Purdue Team Store is the 1869 Tap Room. This space was the original billiard room when the Union opened, and later became a seating area for the Sweet Shop. By day it is a very popular, quiet study space. And by night, since 2015, it becomes the 1869 Tap Room, partnering with a very popular local craft beer brewery (People’s) and also with Purdue’s Food Science department which is actively involved in hops research and fermentation studies.

Basement

Union Rack & Roll

As you pass the 1869 Tap Room, you can swing down the stairs to Union Rack & Roll. Union Rack & Roll offers 10 bowling lanes, 12 billiard tables, and a variety of arcade games. It is a very popular relaxation area for students.  It also supports both bowling and billiard leagues and it is home to Purdue’s for-credit bowling class, with approximately 300 students per year.

Click HERE to download a printable copy of our self-guided tour in PDF format.