Check out what’s going on in State College this month!
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That’s right, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, learned to make ice cream at Penn State’s Berkey Creamery. The ice cream here is some of the creamiest you will ever put into your blessed little mouth. Once you go Berkey, you don’t go back.
State College’s First Night provides an alcohol-free alternative for ringing in the New Year. Every December 31st, this community celebration offers a variety of entertainment including musicians and magicians, arts and crafts workshops for kids and lots of giant ice sculptures. And did I even mention the famous Russian Ice Slide?
With its low rate of crime, great schools, and community activities, State College is a wonderful place to raise a family. There’s always something fun for kids to do, whether it’s painting a mug at 2000 Degrees Pottery Studio, exploring the wonders of science at Discovery Space Museum or just hanging out at one of the parks or playgrounds.
I know it’s July when the artists roll into town. Founded in 1967, the Central PA Festival of the Arts offers three days of giant sand sculptures, Italian street painting, live entertainment and an extensive sidewalk sale and exhibition. It recently beat out similar festivals in Chicago and Denver to snatch the spot as No. 1 fine art and design show as rated by “Sunshine Artist” magazine.
It’s where all the college students come to sober up after last night’s bender, and with good reason. The waffles are light and fluffy, the orange juice is freshly squeezed and the bacon, oh dear sweet Lord, don’t get me started on that crispy bacon. The line for this place often stretches around the building, but trust me, it’s worth the wait.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a thrift shop addict. The State College Goodwill has the best selection of any Goodwill I’ve ever been to, and it’s super clean and organized. Be prepared to wait in line on sale-day Sundays, though, because it’s a zoo. Once I saw a zebra in the electronics section.
The unyielding herds of students in the crosswalks make driving downtown a pain in the tuckus, but the university does bring in a lot of culture and entertainment that we would be sorely lacking otherwise. And while some people say the town’s dead during college breaks, I like to refer to it as “refreshingly quiet.”
What do Bruce Springsteen, Cirque du Soleil and Kanye West have in common? They’ve all performed in State College. Check out the State Theater, Eisenhower Auditorium or the Bryce Jordan Center to see who’s coming to town next.
You don’t have to drive up to Vermont for quality skiing. Tussey Mountain may be small, but it’s got a big heart (and reasonable prices and short lines). In the summer, come out once a week to Tussey’s WingFest for great food and live, local music.
I’ll be honest, the intensity of this town’s devotion to Penn State borders on religious fervor, but you’ve got to give our football fans credit for their enthusiasm. Besides, there’s nothing quite like tailgating on game day, watching the Blue Band perform at half-time and singing along to “Sweet Caroline” until your vocal chords are fried.
Enough said. Facia Luna Pizzeria also has delicious pasta and subs. And their turkey grinder is basically heaven on a roll.
If you don’t want to work in higher education, this probably isn’t the place for you. PSU is the driving force behind the economy, and it can be tough to get a job in other sectors. Especially since there are 40,000 college students willing to work for minimum wage even if you aren’t.
Nature lovers, prepare to revel. With eight nearby state parks to choose from, there’s no worry of running out of new places to camp, hike, fish, boat or hunt. Happy Valley’s rural back roads and rail-trails make it a cyclist’s paradise.
For a small town, the cost of living is high. Housing, especially, is super pricey–the median price asked for State College homes is 23.5% higher than the national median.
Do you love the wide-open spaces of the country, but want the convenience of living in town? Here, you don’t have to compromise. State College has a bustling downtown, but drive 15 minutes in any direction, and you’re bound to hit farmland.
In 1855, Penn State was formed as one of the nation’s first colleges of agricultural science, and today we’re still seriously invested in the quality of our food. The farmers’ market runs year-round and plenty of nearby farms offer CSAs. If you have a hankering for a grass-fed beef burger and a good brew, check out Otto’s Pub and Brewery, which is committed to using only fresh, local ingredients.
Herwig’s Austrian Bistro is known for having the best Austrian/German food around. They’d give your sweet old “oma” a run for her money. Do expect some sass from the staff–if you don’t pronounce your order correctly, they’ll refuse to feed you.
State College is the perfect place to plan a pub crawl. Local favorites include Zeno’s Pub, Phyrst Bar and Bill Pickle’s Tap Room.
If you’re from Central PA, you probably learned about stalagmites and stalactites at Penn’s Cave. America’s only all-water cavern is home to a host of oddly shaped rock formations (if you squint hard enough, you might just see the Statue of Liberty).
I’m going to just let the photo do the talking for this one.