State College PA

State College PA is home to famous Ivy league university Penn State, just five minutes southeast of Harrisburg. The town, also known as Happy Valley, has grown up around the university over the years. State College is ideal for any adventurous spirit; there are mountain biking trails galore, world class fly fishing, and ceaseless football games. Nearby town Bellefonte boasts architecture from the 1700s, Boalsburg is home to later generations of Columbus’s family, and countless festivals, fairs, and vineyards draw people from all over the country.

Penn State University

Penn State University
Penn State University  Image: reivax (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0

Pennsylvania State University was founded in 1855. All facilities and campuses are located in State College PA including the largest, University Park, which dominates a large majority of campus property. “Teaching, research, and public service” is the university’s mantra. Since the school’s inauguration, it has grown to offer more than 100 majors. The college town community, also known as Happy Valley, is renowned for its football team (Penn State Nittany Lions) and the game dominates most other extra-curricular activities around the various campuses. There are nearly 50,000 graduate and undergraduate students enrolled annually.

Attractions

Attractions
Attractions  Image: Mount Nittany Winery

The town of State College PA is renowned for its university but also for its growing wine industry. The town has become a well-known destination for wine aficionados. One of the most famous wineries are Mount Nittany Vineyard and Winery and Seven Mountains Wine Cellar both presenting award-winning local wines created from the freshest grapes grown on their picturesque vineyards. Wine tours are extremely popular and often paired with visits to some of the finest area restaurants serving delicious fare paired with locally grown wines. Museums are another of the top attractions in State College PA; Penn State All-Sports Museum and the Palmer Museum of Art are highly favored by visitors and students. The Arboretum at Penn State is the newest addition to the university with planned botanical gardens, greenhouses, a conservatory, and dual research centers for turf grass and air quality. There is even a small ski mountain nearby.

Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts

Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts
Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts

The Central Pennsylvania Festival of Arts is a major event in State College PA happening annually in July. The arts festival has booths and events spread out all over State College town and Penn State University campuses. There are an array of special performances and events such as street painting, a famous sand art sculpture contest, and myriad artisans. Musical performances carry on throughout the festival and streets are filled with all types of artist’s works. The entire college campus mood is supercharged with more than 100,000 visitors over three days in mid-July.

State College PA Hotels & Lodging

State College PA Hotels & Lodging
State College PA Hotels & Lodging

State College PA has a wide assortment of lodging available for both leisure and business travelers. There are many well known motel and hotel chains along with traditional inns both within steps of the main campus and on the outskirts of town. The historic Gamble Farm Inn and Suites (pictured), established in 1849, is one of the most notable options for discerning travelers. The inn offers charming rooms while newer suites present all the comforts of home including kitchens, an entertaining and dining area, and sleeping quarters. Just 20 minutes northeast of State College is Bellefonte, offering scores of charming bed and breakfasts, many in historic manors and estates including Reynolds Mansion B&B and The Queen.

Top image: wfyurasko (flickr)

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