Index of this guide
- Where is Penn State?
- Fun things to do in State College PA
- Fun things to do at Penn State
- Where to stay in State College / Where to stay
- Where to eat in State College PA for every budget
- What to do at night in State College (besides drink)
- Where to drink in State College
- Where to go dancing in State college
- Where to stay in State College
- Things to do near State College (Day Trips from State College)
- How to get to State College
- Getting Around State College & Penn State
- Free downloadable map
Where is State College and where is Penn State?
Things to do in State College & Things to do at Penn State
Things to do at Penn State campus
- See big name music acts for FREE at the Movin’ On Music Festival. (Late Spring)
- Central PA Arts Festival. Pick up some affordable art for your apartment. Summer. (Summer)
- Penn State Jazz Festival. Summer.
- Penn State Pumpkin Festival (Fall)
- SOMA annual Arts Crawl. For all my hipster/indie loving readers. This is MY favorite festival at Penn State. (Spring)
- You’ve probably heard a million things about THON already, but this famous all night dance marathon raises millions each year for charity. (Spring)
Things to do in State College PA
- Stop into Webster’s for a great used book selection and awesome coffee
- Go shopping in State College. There's lots of cute shops to step into with good prices for reasonable Penn State shirts and/or gear.
- Get a library card at the Schlow Library. They have a great book section.
- Browse the weekly Farmer's Market. Many Amish from nearby towns come to sell their fruits/veggies/jams, so you can get some delicious high quality food along with some beautiful flowers (depending on the season).
What to do in State College at night besides drinking
Where to stay in State College / Where to stay near Penn State
Budget Hotels in State College
Midrange Hotels in State College
- My parents prefer the Quality Inn when they visit State College. Easiest with a car due to the massive hill to campus. Bus runs next to the hotel.
- The Penn Stater. A lot of people swear by this hotel closer to the dorms.
- The Atherton Hotel is in the heart of downtown.
- Days Inn Penn State is convenient for those attending conferences as it’s also in the heart of downtown State college.
The Best Place to Stay near Penn State...is on campus.
Where to eat in State College PA
Best Budget Food in State College
- Ye Old College Diner only for the warm stickies. A MUST.
- The Waffle Shop. This Greek diner with a LONG line on the weekend is CASH ONLY (there’s an ATM inside) and the real deal. Come here for brunch, which is ridiculously affordable and good. (Vegan friendly)
- Mad Mex for cheap Tex-Mex during Happy Hour. (Check ahead)
- McLanahan’s Downtown Market. Their sandwiches are SO good and SO cheap. To-go only, but open for lunch/dinner.
- Chopstick Express for cheap Chinese food. Be careful what you get and ask those in front in line what’s good.
- Irving’s for breakfast.
- Meyer's Dairy for farm fresh ice cream since 1887.
- Big Bowl Noodle House. Cash only, but their soups are so tasty!
- Wings Over Happy Valley. MY FAVORITE wings in State College and they deliver LATE.
- The Darkhorse Tavern for their wings and burgers.
- Pita Cabana. This restaurant owned by a Lebanese family is the real deal. Their portions are super generous and it’s a full day’s meal.
- Honorary Mention: Sheetz. Ordering food using a machine in a gas station seems like a really bad idea, but their sandwiches and coffee (made fresh to order custom to your specifications) are really good. (For clarification, you pick it up at the counter after it's prepared by the staff. Don't lose your receipt!) PA locals swear by this local chain.
Midrange restaurants in State College ($9+)
- Green Bowl for Unlimited vegan/organic food cooked to order with whatever sauces you want. Set price, but one of my favorite places to bring my parents.
- Fiddlehead for large salads and delicious soups. Seats are limited, but super vegan friendly.
- Webster’s for coffee, desserts, and heavy vegan lunch/dinner.
- Indian Pavilion for delicious Indian food that will last you two days. Be careful ordering or you might have a feast for 4.
- Wegman's for tasty sandwiches and a great buffet. (Casual and also a supermarket)
- Carver's Deli for reasonable sandwiches and salads.
- Rey Azteca for the best Mexican food in State College.
Nice restaurants in State College ($12+)
- The Dining Room at Nittany Lion Inn.
- Spat’s Cafe and Speakeasy for New Orleans inspired food.
- The Allen Street Grill for American food.
- American Ale House. I consider having dinner here on of the most romantic things to do in State College.
- The Tavern has a nice ambiance although it has more a professor-y vibe.
- Zola Kitchen is considered one of the fanciest restaurants in State College and Valentine's day here is very romantic.
- Otto's for great local beer and delicious food with large portions.
- Happy Valley Brewing Company is one of my favorites for a beautiful and delicious meal paired perfectly with good beer. They are constantly reinventing their menu. You can get there by bus, but easiest with car.