Home to Penn State University, State College is a safe, vibrant and diverse university town. If it’s been a while since you explored the downtown, you’ll notice some changes! You’ll also discover delicious new culinary options among long-time favorites; charming shops and boutiques; new public spaces to rest and reflect; and always popular campus attractions that warrant return visits. Here are some ideas for enjoying a day in State College.
Fuel your appetite with a robust, ever-evolving dining scene
From custom pizza and burgers, to a variety of international, fusion-inspired and vegetarian menu options (and more) that are available breakfast through late-night, State College’s robust dining scene has something to satisfy every culinary craving. New to downtown is Crust and Crumb Café, which will open this month, while popular Yallah Taco, which puts an Arabic twist on Mexican food, will soon open a second location on West College Avenue.
Nittany Lions fans of all ages will find just about any branded item they can imagine to show their Penn State pride in downtown stores. But tucked along the main routes and side streets are a number of charming boutiques and shops that offer much more. Kitchen Kaboodle (below right) has been serving the community for 37 years, offering the best in kitchenware and home essentials. The Nittany Quill features fine stationary, calligraphy and gifts. Well-dressed men and women will find the latest trends at State College-staple Harpers, while new shops, such as Ethereal Boutique (below left), feature women’s clothing, home goods and unique lifestyle products.
Embrace art and culture
Fans of public art will particularly enjoy a walk around State College. Brightly painted murals and frescos adorn buildings throughout town, as do interesting sculptures. For a more reflective experience, visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza on S. Fraser St. A highlight of the plaza is a mural containing imagery from Dr. King’s 1965 speech at Penn State’s Rec Hall. Pavers throughout the plaza commemorate key moments in the Civil Rights movement, both nationally and in the Penn State/State College community.
Enjoy popular campus attractions
The scenery changes with the seasons at the Arboretum at Penn State, where tranquil paths flow through more than 1,100 species of plants. Benches throughout the gardens offer quiet places of respite, while the Children’s Gate keeps youngsters entertained. When the new pollinator garden is finished (construction should be completed in late 2020, with plant installation continuing into 2021), there will be 60 percent more area in which to appreciate the beauty of nature in Happy Valley. After a weekday stroll through the Arboretum, be sure to stop at the Berkey Creamery for a gallon to go of your favorite Creamery flavor. The Creamery is currently closed Saturdays and Sundays, as well as for dine-in service.
Keep Happy Valley happy; wear a mask
Wearing a mask is required in restaurants and businesses throughout Happy Valley, but State College recently passed additional health and safety mandates. For example, masks are required when within 6 feet of another person, so expect to wear a mask when walking in downtown State College, and while on public transit. In addition, lines on public sidewalks waiting for entrance into an establishment are limited to 10 individuals. Downtown State College businesses have taken a pledge to keep employees and customers safe; please help do your part when visiting!