Get Ready for the Holidays Downtown

– by Ellie Aungst

Enjoy the holiday season in Downtown State College! Read on to learn all about the newest happenings!

Winter_Christmas_MLK Plaza

Holiday Light Show

The Holiday Light Show plays nightly in the MLK Plaza from 5-10pm, November 16 through January 2! Don’t miss a special New Year’s show on December 31 from 5-midnight!

Thanks to Nittany Entertainment for putting the light show together every year!

Free Holiday Trolley Rides

Free Trolley Schedule
Pickup & Dropoff at the MLK Plaza

  • Friday, Dec 1 | 5-8pm
  • Saturday, Dec 2 | 11am-2pm
  • Friday Dec 8 | 5-8pm
  • Saturday, Dec 9 | 11am-2pm

The FREE holiday trolley will be making continuous loops through downtown - don't miss this holiday tradition!

Holiday Trolley Rides

2023 Non-profit Tree Decorating Challenge

Started November 16

Vote for your favorite tree in the Non-profit tree decorating contest!

10 local non-profits are participating in the Enchanted Forest tree decorating challenge…the winner will receive a $1,000 donation from the Downtown State College Improvement District!

Stop down to Faith United Church of Christ on the corner of College and Locust, support our local non-profits and vote on your favorite decorated tree! Scan the QR code on your favorite tree and vote by December 3!

FREE Holiday Parking & Bus Tokens

Started November 20

Enjoy free parking and bus tokens during the holiday season! Our gift to you…complements of The Downtown Improvement District and the Borough of State College.

November 20-December 17

  • 2-hour FREE Garage Parking (Pugh, Fraser & Beaver Garages)
  • 5-10pm FREE Meter & Lot Parking
  • FREE Cata Bus Tokens – Available at the Downtown State College Improvement District Office at 127 S Fraser | Monday-Friday | 9am-5pm (2 tokens per person/per visit)

December 18-January 2

  • Unlimited FREE Garage, Meter & Lot Parking
Happy Valley Holiday Ornament

Happy Valley Holiday Ornament

Available starting Friday, November 24

272 community members voted on the 3rd Annual Happy Valley Holiday Collectable Ornament and Hotel State College was the favorite by a landslide with 42% of the vote!

Ornaments will retail for $14.95 while supplies last at participating downtown businesses, starting on Black Friday. We provide the ornaments to downtown businesses at no charge, providing the merchants an added source of revenue during the holidays.

The ornaments will be available for sale or gift with purchase at these participating locations:

Shop small businesses

Small Business Saturday

Saturday, November 25

Venture downtown to support your local small businesses on November 25th during Small Business Saturday! Make a day of it, shop and dine local by patronizing the small, brick and mortar businesses that make our downtown special…this day and every day!

Visit us outside of The Corner Room from 12-2pm on Small Business Saturday and pick up some free Shop Small swag!

First Friday

December 1, 5-8pm

Don’t miss this winter-themed First Friday to close out our 2023 season!

Visit with Santa in the MLK Plaza and hop on a FREE trolley to take a look at the lighting displays downtown.

Stop by the Enchanted Forest (decorated by local non-profits) on Locust Lane, the evergreen tree at the Allen Street Gates, and the dynamic holiday display in the MLK Plaza!

Enjoy FREE holiday parking and CATA bus tokens!

Winter First Friday State College

Support your Local Businesses and Give the Perfect Gift!

Shop Local First, our local small businesses need you!

The Downtown Gift Card is the perfect gift for every occasion! Valid at over 100 downtown locations, the Downtown Gift Card gives the gift of choice and directly supports local businesses. Order on our website or stop in at the Downtown Improvement District Office, at 127 S. Fraser Street, during regular business hours.

Remember, many businesses validate parking! Park in the Beaver, Fraser or Pugh garage and ask for a validation from a participating merchant!

Just look for this sign in the window...

List of Participating Businesses

The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau publishes up-to-date event information at