It’s no surprise State College was named one of the 2022 Top 100 Best Places to Live by Livability.com, and in top communities on Niche. Here are just a few of the positive attributes that local residents love about their hometown.
As home to Penn State, State College is known as one of America’s best college towns. But it’s also one of the best places for young people and families to find a friendly, affordable, fun and fulfilling lifestyle in a diverse, welcoming community. It’s no surprise State College was named one of the 2022 Top 100 Best Places to Live by Livability.com, and in top communities on Niche. Here are just a few of the positive attributes that local residents love about their hometown.
The beauty and opportunity of the outdoors
“Living here, we are surrounded by natural beauty in so many forms—forests, fields, mountains, streams, lakes—and it’s so easy to find ways to enjoy the outdoors in every season,” said Kate Branford, who has lived in State College since attending Penn State in the ‘90s. She and her husband stayed in the area to raise their three children. “Hiking and kayaking are two of our favorite outdoor activities and there are several local and state parks that are perfect for both. We especially love kayaking at Black Moshannon State Park and the trails at Shingletown Gap in Rothrock State Forest.”
Hikers of all skill levels can enjoy exploring on the boardwalk at Millbrook Marsh Nature Center, a 62-acre nature preserve featuring a pollinator garden and marsh observation decks. More adventurous kayakers enjoy Spring Creek, with access at the Waterfront in Bellefonte. Many State College residents take advantage of the outdoors day-to-day thanks to paved trails for walking and biking that connect neighborhoods throughout the community.
Family fun for all ages
“Our family has enjoyed so many experiences that have made me profoundly grateful for the town our kids will call their hometown,” said Abbie Jensen. She and her husband Reidar have found that State College offers year-round opportunities for their two young children to unwind and have fun.
“In the summer, we love to take the kids to Spikes games. They love baseball and can get an up-close view of the game because it’s so affordable,” Abbie said. “Plus, we always run into friends and neighbors, which makes it twice as fun.” Even in cold months, there are plenty of opportunities for the kids to get out and have fun.
“Get Air trampoline park is one of the kids’ favorite spots, but we still try to get fresh air in the cooler months,” Abbie said. “There are so many local playgrounds and they love to visit the ducks at Talleyrand Park in Bellefonte.”
State College is also home to Discovery Space science center and kid-friendly makerspace The Makery, plus Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State, year-round intercollegiate athletics, from football to hockey and volleyball to wrestling, and an array of venues for concerts and plays. From local to national talent, you can enjoy live music at venues of all sizes, from the Bryce Jordan Center to a more intimate setting at Pine Grove Hall.
Exceptional educational and extracurricular opportunities
The strength of local K-12 schools and the wide variety of extra educational opportunities available through Penn State and other local organizations are big pluses for local residents. In addition to its national ranking, State College Area School District offers its own career and technology center program and the unique Delta Program, a democratic school of choice built on establishing strong relationships between students, teachers and families.
“State College schools have offered excellent academics for our sons, plus opportunities to excel in music, drama and other activities,” said Eva Letwin whose older son attends Penn State while her younger son attends the Delta Program at State High. “We feel fortunate that our sons could attend a high school with strong arts programs, in particular, and that there are supplemental programs in the community to fuel their interests.”
Eva added that their family enjoys the richness of diversity of the State College community. “Welcoming and diversity are two of the best attributes of living in State College,” she said.
“Welcoming and diversity are two of the best attributes of living in State College”
- Eva Letwin
Young athletes can attend camps and clinics at Penn State and participate in programs locally at Nittany Valley Sports Centre and C3 Sports. For those interested in the performing arts, there are several local dance studios, musical theatre program Singing Onstage, Nittany Valley Children’s Choir and more. During summer, Penn State offers camps for science, nature, art and more.
In addition to the exceptional quality of life available in State College, its central Pennsylvania location is less than 4 hours (by car) from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York and D.C. Travelers can also access Megabus, Greyhound, Amtrak and the University Park Airport. For getting around town, State College is highly walkable and bikeable and also offers a robust local transit system.