An Unofficial Guide to Living in State College


And an introduction to living near and in the The Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA

Also available via the World Wide Web through

Edited by Frank E. Ritter and Colleen C. Ritter

19 jan 2022

 First Edition, revised

With actual comments from Bargainier, Diane Brown, Itinger, Mudgett, Spink, A. Barnhill, S. Haynes, Simpson, and Stevenson. Taking some notes from the Penn State New faculty list....

The views expressed here do not represent official positions of the the The Pennsylvania State University or of the organisations linked to (if you thought so, you would have to be as misguided as NPR). Please check all information before using it, and if you are making financial decisions based on the information contained here you must take additional, independent council. You are welcome to link to this site, if you would really like to ask permission to do so, please consider using NPR's form, which will let you feel like you have really asked. We do not use Penn State's linking policy, available by cutting and pasting the following text into a browser, as they do not allow us to link to it:

Copyright 2022, Frank E. Ritter and Colleen C. Ritter. 

This guide owes its structure and inspiration to the Guide to Living in Pittsburgh and the Guide to Living in Nottingham.


1.0 Introduction

2.0 Housing

3.0 Transportation

4.0 Services

5.0 Shopping

Book stores

6.0 Eating and Drinking

7.0 Amusements

8.0 Further afield

9.0 Annotated references

1.0 Introduction

First things first. State College is related to College Station and College Park, in that they are all located by state universities. In many ways, though, that is where the simularities end. State College is related directly to University Park, PA, in that State College is the town next to Penn State, which is not located in State College, but in their own area called University Park. This makes them similar to the University of Nottingham, which is also located at University Park.

Penn State (ph. 865-4700) is a major industry and the major educational institution in town. It is larger in many ways than the other local tertiary educational institutions, South Hills Business College and the Central Pennsylvannia Institute of Science and Technology.

Mt. Nittany overlooks the town, just like the Nottingham castle in Nottingham overlooks Nottingham, and other cities have other things looking over them. Mt. Nittany is named, nominally after an Indian princess that served as a wind-breaker (Town & Gown, p. 31, Feb 2001).

There are some comparisons how the north transitions to the south in these parts. There is an interesting site that explores this question.

The schools in State College have been highly rated,, but upon close inspection the survey is a bit odd. Make of this survey what you wish, people seem to like the schools for their kids.

Other online Eresources include:

Weather in State College is an informal group of the WebSite operators representing all the official business groups and public service and government agencies in Centre County, Pennsylvania. In order to provide you with the best (and ALL) the information online in this area, we've all come together here on this WebSite to bring you ALL of our information in one convenient location.

Daily Collegian

Centre Daily Times


Centre region parks directory [a very good link]

PSU Library's guide to PA

Math department's guide

Craig's List for State College

A State College Wiki (this is still very small, but might grow)

Local Government [this needs to be updated]

US Senate

US. Sen. Rick Santorum [always fun to call and ask for him]
120 Russell Building, Washington, DC 20510
202 224-6324
202 228-0604 (fax)

US Sen. Arlen Specter
711 Hart Building, Washington, DC 20510
202 224-4254
202 228-1229 (fax)

US House

U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster (now retired)
2188 Rayburn Building, Washington, DC 20512
202 225-2431
202 225-2486 (fax)


Gov. Tom Ridge
225 Main Capitol, Harrisburg, PA 17120
717 787-2500
717 772-8284 (fax)

State Sen. Jake Corman
457 Main Capitol, Senate Box 203034, Harrisburg, PA 17120
1-800 828-7300 or 717 787-1377
717 772-3146 (fax)

218 W. High St., PO Box 476, Bellefonte, PA 16823
814 355-0477
814 356-6046

State Rep. Lynn B. Herman (R)
Room 313 Main Capital, PO Box 202020, Harrisburg, PA 17120

Centre County

Centre County Commissioners: 355-6700

Centre County Elections: 355-6703

Centre County Informatin: 355-6711


In the remainder of this document we outline some of the places and services in State College that people have found helpful. If you have any comments or suggestions, please forward them to the editors.


2.0 Housing

Perhaps the first thing you will need is a place to stay, and as it also provides and overview of where other attractions are located, we start by describing various areas of State College. There are about 60 neighborhoods with names (!), quite a large number given the relative size of the town. We will describe some of the most important, but the most important one, where you live, we may have left out.

A short tour of the city and environs

Some very useful maps of the area are availble through the university's GeoGraphics lab.


is a subdivision to the southwest (by the maps, probably just south as the compass points).  In addition to big houses, the Stone Glen apartments (ph. 867-8989) are there.  The apartments offer medium term accomidation to several staff.


is the area south of the university's fraternity area. There are many nice houses there. Not huge, but not small. Many appear to be built in the 1950's. You can walk to campus from here, but it's a healthy walk. There are some neighborhood parks in the area, but they are not big.

Other Environs

<this needs to be filled in.>  

Temporary accommodations

When you arrive, you may need quite temporary accommodation while looking for less temporary accommodation while looking for permanent accommodation. The best choice is to stay with a friend or new colleague, but this is not always possible. Also see the section on hotels.

Short term accommadations that are not motels

Atherton House is on campus and is owned by PSU. It is sometime used for visiting faculty in larger blocks of time - a semester or an academic year. We need more details here. It is just north of College Avenue on Shortlidge, and only the second floor is available to short term faculty -- the rest of it is for graduate students.

The Penn State Off Campus Housing Office ( keeps a list of housing available, ranging from bedsits to houses, including houses vacated by faculty on sabatical.

If you are affiliated with the university, you may qualify and find a space in on-campus housing available through Housing (

There are a limited number of rooms available in the Schreyer Honors College itself. Brochures and Applications will be available from the Schreyer Honors College (ph. 863-2635) and the Housing Assignments Office. These rooms need to be booked about 3 to 6 months ahead of time, at least.

Also try: the University Club (237-2391) and the International Friendship House (234-9922). Several visitors have used the UClub. it is not expensive, and is very convenient.

Also see, Craig's list for state college.


The Motel 6 is probably OK - it was converted from a local place a couple of years ago - probably not very exciting but this one looks nice at least from the outside. There are also numerous other motels in the phone book.

There are some other well-reputed places around that might be worth talking to:

The Ramada (ph. 238-3001, on South Atherton near the Autoport is the haunt of at least one senior administrator, who introduces people to the better than typical motel restaurant, bar, and cigar lounge. The service there appears to be very good.

There are also the usual Holiday Inn, Ramada, Best Western (now called the State College Inn - they say they have efficiencies, etc - again right around the corner from us on S. Atherton), etc., but I doubt they're much different than Motel 6 - although some think that the South end of town is preferable to the gaza strip along N. Atherton where Motel 6 is.

A couple of smaller places that might be 'friendly and family - oriented' - The Happy Valley Motor Inn (ph. 238-8461) on S. Atherton near S. Allen St. (next to Faccia Luna - another bonus) - and the Stevens Motel (ph. 238-2438), more or less across from Motel 6 on N. Atherton - next to the Waffle shop - a small, decent looking place that advertises family and commercial rates.

Apartment hunting and leases

Several places that new people have found useful for finding an apartment are listed in Table 1. If you are associated with the University, some rented apartments are available in the halls of residence. There is a University Accomidation office that provides lists of off-campus housing, but their list is not vetted.  


Table 1: Places to look for a house, rental and purchase. Capitals indicates relative amounts available.

The Office of Student Affairs, off-campus living has a superb web site:

The Centre Daily Times has a web site that may have a sublink to housing. The printed versionw does housing rentals and subleases as well.

There are (at least) two commercial web sites for finding apartments: and

Housing office at Shields, for on campus housing.

Also, some the grad/professional buildings throughout State College will find housing matches for people looking to share an apartment too.

The State College web also does something for finding housing.

The International Office helps international students.

Nittany Gardens (ph. 238-2092, on Wapalani (about 1/2 mile from Atherton) has about 350 apartments of various sizes. They can be rented furnished or unfurnished. They are ok. The Park Plaza center, just off Atherton has a large number of apartments as well.

Realtors that have been recommended that are doing rental housing:

                              Phone                 Location                          
Joe Bollinger                 231-8200 x349 (o)
(primarily a buyer agent)     880-9831 (cell) 

Buying a house

Ellen Kline at ReMax Centre Realty, 231-8200 or 800 860-6226 (x319).


Moving in

The U-Haul on North Atherton (just past Tire Town)and the one on east College were both helpful and good value.

Getting your house repaired

Michael Lange, 237-6699 fixed our garage door. I got the impression that he was intense, he knew is stuff, and he was conscientious. we would
definately use him again, and if you had a problem, I would particularly use him.

3.0 Transportation

As you visit State College for a day, a week or the rest of your miserable life, you will need to know how to get here and how to lure others to State College as well. When you really live here, you will not need this information, but until that time, you may find it useful.

How to get here (map)

If you are coming by car, the following map shows how to get to the university and a few of the interesting locations.

click for a simple map

Some very useful maps of the area are availble through the university's GeoGraphics lab.

Webcams of local road conditions

Figure 1. How to come to State College by car.

How to get to State College from the West.

(a) If you are comfortable driving and are not suffering from jet lag, driving from points from the west can be a good idea, particularly because this area is not as well served by trains as some other areas.   From Pittsburgh, for example, the drive is about 2.5 to 3.5 hours. 

If you are coming from the North and west, you will be on I-80.  You can either get off at Phillipsburgh (there is a full truck stop at that exit if you turn left). This approach into State College is a bit windy and two lanes; some people stay on I-80 until the Bellefonte exit.

If you are coming from the north and east on I-80, you should get off at exit 24, which is PA route 26.  You should head south towards Bellefonte.  After skirting the edge of Bellefonte, 26 joins with PA 64 at a T junction. Turn left towards State College.  This road turns into College Ave. in State College, one of the major roads running NE to SW through town, at least where it is straight.  It will take you to the corner of College and Atherton, which is in some sense the locus of the town of State College.

If you are coming from the south west, you will be on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I-70/76 (and they have you pay money to drive on that road!).  Take I-99 north towards Altoona.  Carry on until 99 ends. (As I-99 is being extended in 2002 and 2003, you may find that State College is sign-posted directly.) From there, take US 220 northeast towards Port Matilda and State College.  220 will join up with 322 at Port Matilda, and then split up again in a few miles.  Follow 322 (or I-99) at this point to State College, keeping your eye out for the Business 322 exit.  This road becomes Atherton, which will take you to Atherton and College, the center of town. 

If you are coming from Washington, DC, Take Route I-270 to Frederik, Route I-70 from Frederik to Breezewood (have a bite to eat). A Breezewood, get on the PA Turnpike (I-70/76) headed West. Take I-99 to and past Altoona. I-99 will offer an exit to US-322 business (which runs through town) or US-322 (which runs around town). A more scenic way would be at Breezewoord to take US-30 to Everett, and route PA-26 (which is College Avenue in State College) in to State College, but this will be much slower.

Buses (city and otherwise) and trains

Bus to Pittsburgh Airport departs State College at 6.15 am and arrives to the airport at noon. Contact Fullington Trailways for verification of times and charge.  The bus to Washington Dulles airport departs State College at 8.30 am and arrives to the airport at 7.05 pm. (both checked 6/01).

The closest AMTRACK train station is located in Lewistown (ph. unmanned, no phone), It is pretty spartan; it has 1-2 trains/day.

The next nearest one is in Harrisburg (ph. 717 232-3331, recording only), which seems to have much more frequent service, approximating the quality of a rural town in England's service. For parking, Harrisburg Parking authority (ph. 717 255-3099, might be able to help.

Centre Area Transit Authority runs the local busses. They appear to have an extensive schedule, and run busses to the local ski run as well. Some popular schedules include the loop around campus and the P schedule and other CATA buses serving campus.

Airplanes and airports

State College has its own University Park Airport (ph. (814) 981-0621).  It is about 10-15 minutes from the city centre. It is not yet an international airport. The cafe is pleasent and similar to a non-main line railway cafe in England but somewhat better. Direct flights are available via United to Washington (5 flights daily in 4/00), Northwest to Detroit (4 flights daily), USAir (237-2327 for local questions) to Pittsburgh (7 daily) and Philadelphia (4 daily), and Delta to Cincinnati/Kentucky 3-4 times daily and Atlanta 1x daily.  From the airport taxis charge about $10-12 to the city centre, buses are available at $1.25 (schedule at Centre Area Transit Authority).  There is parking and rental car counters (National and two others). A United representative on 11 May 2000 noted that government issued photo ID is required for travel with them. Tip: if your carry on luggage goes underneath the plane, which happens on these small commutor planes from time to time, be sure that you get a receipt for it. There is a story about United showing it to you in Dulles without a tag, which made it not yours for a day for the person who told this story.

During periods of heavy (air) traffic, bad weather, or both, it is advisable to leave early from State College thereby increasing your waiting time (and buffer zone) in the larger hub airport. It may also be worthwhile for particularly important or long trips to start from a larger airport (which we cover below), or to arrive a day early at your destination. That said, if you do have trouble, the personel of the airlines in State College work hard to get you where you need to go. Visitors compare its architecture to a the new Ohio turnpike reststops, but that is just envy.

Harrisburg is the next closest commercial airport ( It is about 100 miles and 1.75 hours away. They have three parking lots, an express ($15/day) and a shuttle lot ($3/day). The shuttle lot is about 5 min away by bus (pretty well sign posted), and is a pretty good deal. The bus drivers sometimes think that the lot is onsite, but by any reasonable definition, the distance is too great, although it may be on airport property. As of Jan 2002 there are direct flights to Albany, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, La Guardia, Phili, Pittsburgh, and Washington (Dulles). To get there, take 322/22 south from State College. At Harrisburgh take I-81 East a bit, then I-83 South to I-283. At this point there will be signs, lots of signs in row, to get you to the airport if you pay attention or already know the way.

The next closest airport is either the Philadelphia International Airport (ph. 215-937-1200, 3 hours away, 460 miles return), Pittsburgh (2.5 hours away), or Baltimore (3 hours away) (NB these are very aggressive times, I would add an hour to be somewhat sure, and 90 min. to be comfortable).  Some people have also flown through Newark (4.5 hours away), but airline staff noted in the summer of 1999 that Newark has the largest number of delays. This is probably your worst bet.  Philadephia has nice selection of restaurants.  There are even truffles and pate available (but at approximately five times their retail price in France). They also have a Laptop Lane, which offers a place to print, call, email, and surf for about $24/hour.

Pittsburgh Airport has nice shopping and a good choice of restaurants. If you need to stay overnight, there is a reasonable Holiday Inn about 10 min. away (ph. 412 262-3600), although at $100 a night per room for Bed and Breakfast it should be seen as a business option. The airport is about 40 min. northwest of Pittsburgh.

Washington Dulles is a common connector airport. You will arrive in concourse A, which is a commutor airline concourse. If you want to eat, you should walk into Concourse B, to which is connected. Concourse B has a wider selection of vitals. If you want a full sit-down meal, there is a TGIFridays on the secure side of security in the main terminal (sometimes called the main terminal, sometimes called T or M).

Bicycles and bicycling

State College is reasonably well served by a network of urban cycle paths. So as US cities go, State College has pretty good cycling facilities. A network of cycle paths runs from Stonebridge, for example, into the city. Paths also exist northwards (to Toftrees) and in other directions. There are guides of all cycle routes around the city, plus information on cycle shops and other cycle facilities in most cycle shops. It is available from most bookshops including the on-campus Union shop near the HUB student union for about $3.

Centre Region Bicycle Coalition ( is a local organization working to improve this.

Good bike shops include Eddie's (ph. 234-3111, 428 E. College) and The Bicycle Shop (ph. 238-9422) at 441 W. College. These two shops are located just about at each edge of the campus town and on opposite sides of the street, so you can also use them to judge distance and street numbers!

Do be careful. Thomas B. Fry (Thomas Fry), who was legally blind at the time, killed a bicyclist and was (only) grounded for nine months. A memorial ride in memory of the cyclist has been held for several years.


Handy Deliveries (ph. 353-6001, -6000, -6003) is a local taxi company. They seem to do a good job. All their cars are the same.


Driver's licences.  The local PA Department of Transportation's driver's license shop is in Pleasent gap (on the right hand side headed from State College, ph. 355-6033).  You can and should check out details at before visiting them.   State College Ford (ph.  238-5041) at the corner of N. Atherton and Aaron Drive -- is said to have great deals and steals -- and includes a good body shop.  A salesman that someone particularly likes is Captain Lou (the deal maker).

Purchasing a car.  Colwell Motors, now part of another dealership, appears to offer quite fair deals on used cars. Leitzinger (ph. 238-2447) has their extensive inventory available online.  They specialise in foreign cars but have a few domestic ones as well. Rider Auto we have to note, sends out advertising material that is offensive to us and uses guerilla marketing.

Your best deal on a used car often is to buy it through a private individual. There are several newspapers that specialise in this in State College. Before buying a private car, it is worth having the car inspected by a mechanic, however.

AAA (ph. 237-0305), 200 Shiloh Rd. near the mall, can do title transfers for you.  They are open throughout normal business hours, such as from 9-5 M-S (but call).  They require the buyer, the seller, their licences (passports might do), checks for AAA and for the state, the actual milage, the purchase price, and proof of insurance.

Car rental. National (ph. 237-1771), Avis (ph. 237-9750), and Hertz (ph. a 237-1728) have counters at the airport. We also use Enterprise (ph. 238-4450) on N. Atherton, but they are closed on Saturday afternoons and Sundays.

Car repairs. Roan's Body Shop (ph. 234-1180, off of Coral near Beaver, Kevin) does body work, inspections, and repairs. The Exxon off Garner in the Highlands (Graham's Exon, ph. 238-6143) does a good value oil change and tune-ups. Gemini Enterprises (ph. 234-0312) also has its proponents for foreign cars, particularly Volkswagons and Volvos. Pep Boys (2268 E. College, 861-1680) do airconditioning recharging and is helpful for minor repairs and for parts. Bill Langton at Primary Auto Care (ph. 234-3040), was recommended in September 2008.

Full service gas stations. Didn't used to believe in them, but recently Walks (on University Drive near Burger King) showed there is a place for them. If you fill up, they check your tires and fill them for free. And will offer to check your oil. Or did once anyhow.

Car Insurance. Judith Meyer at the Judith Meyer (Nationwide) Agency (ph. 234-4500, is helpful, but cannot always provide the best price. Worth checking.

Local Road Conditions: 355-6044.

Interstate Road Conditions: 1-888-783-6783.

4.0 Services

Money, Banks, & Insurance

Judith Meyer at the Judith Meyer (Nationwide) Agency (ph. 234-4500, is helpful.

Penn State Federal Credit Union, for PSU employees, is recommended by Stevenson. Friendly tellers, but somewhat inconvenient hours and few ATMs.

Omega Bank's ATM dispensed $20 less than it said it did (or tried to do) on 22 December 2002 while on 23 December an employee admitted on the phone that the ATM was off $60 that night. It took some correspondance to fix this.

Most ATMs in State College charge $1.50 or $2.00 for withdraws from other banks. The best exception in the ATM in the Giant on North Atherton, which is $1.00, and MacClanahans on Allen, which in Jan 09 charges $0. Many ATMs give your cash back before your card, which is dangerous. I've found at least one other card that way. This is a published problem called a 'post-completion error'.


Someone else noted:And finally one piece of advice, learned the hard way:
Make sure the person has dealt with such issues: some time ago we took an accountant's word that he knew about sabbaticals&c, and, as it turned out, we knew more than he did. He gave us expensive advice in more ways than one."

Medical care

Centre County Hospital, aka Mount Nittany Medical Center (ph. 231-7000). They are a modest sized (200 bed) community hospital. They have a highly praised birthing center. For more complex tests and procedurals you will have to go to larger regional hospitals in Hershey or Danville. There are some online ratings of doctors that can be helpful as well, such as

Medical doctors. Dr. Flanagan (ph. 235-2480) seems good, and several people we know go to him.

Dentists. Numerous dentists have been recomended by people. Comments following their names are comments provided by current patients to an email sent to an email list a while ago seeking dentists.

Dr. Steven Fishbaine (ph. 234-0329, 611 University Drive).   "I've been going to him for years and he's good." 2 votes. [long wait time for cleaning in Aug 2002]

Dr. Richard Madore (ph. 237-2794 in the building on the corner of Beaver and Allen)

Dr. Brian White (ph. 234-6826).  "He's great and I know he is taking new patients.  Location is very convenient....within walking distance from our office [Burrows St]. " [long waiting time in October 2005]

Dr. Ethan Lowe at Mountain Family Dental. "We've been going there for about a year -- very happy with them so far."

Dr. John Robison (ph. 237-2291, Allen St.). "He's not in the dental network (See click on "Benefits" and look for the list of dentists in the network) We have been with him for almost 20 years and I don't wish to change dentists. We like him."

Dr. Finch (ph. 238-4090). (Some people really like him; he appears to be detail oriented.)

Eye Doctors. from the Centre Daily Times (23 May 2007): "State College ophthalmologists John Fisher and Jeffrey Heimer, who had treated Fry in the past, testified last year that they did not inform the state Department of Transportation about his eye condition, although state law requires them to do so. "

Vets. There are a lot of vets that come recommended in State College.  If you are willing to travel, or live in that direction, Susan Wicker at Four Springs Veterinary, near Centre Hall, is great with cats especially and ok with dogs as long as it is simple things.  At least someone has said that Dr. Lee Kolbrook at Kolbrooks Clinic on Route 64 is great.  A little farther to travel but absolutely wonderful.

Town and Country (ph. 632-9700) in Warrior's Mark is about 20 minutes from State College. They have been very helpful.

Metzger Animal Hospital -- 237-5333 --1044 Benner Pike-near Nittany Mall.

Michael Moss 231-8387 He works in the University Drive Veterinary Hospital on the corner of University Drive and S. Atherton Street.

Another recommended vet is at Centre Animal Hospital 1518 West College Avenue 238-5100. there is an extrodinary story of care that made the owner sound like a saint.

Vet:    Animal Medical Hospital
          1909 N. Atherton Street

Wiscoy Pet Food Co. (Northland Center, 231-8711) is a decent pet store, with food and a wide range of equipment.

Tailors. T & M Tailoring (ph. 238-1241) on E. College (also with 3B Sports) takes care of the Nittany lion's outfit, and provides quotes. They also do drycleaning, laundry, and tuxedo rental. Currently they share space with a bicycle shop and a home brew shop, a very enjoyable combination. I currently use Anne who was mentioned on the list.

Hair care. Rinaldo's Barber Shop (ph. 238-9515, 107 S. Allen) "has been serving the area since 1925". They appear to do a good job, and several people go there. There are also interesting stories about the shop.

Travel agents

Eventually, perhaps, you will find that you are leaving town. This may be on a temporary or on a more permanent basis.



The Penn Stater (ph. 863-5090, or 863-5000) is a pleasent conference, university-owned, centre just outside of town. You will mostly see it for conferences, but appears pleasent enough to stay in its own right.

The Nittany Lion Inn (865-8500, dining room ph. 865-8590). Many interviewees end up here as this inn is on campus (and run by Penn State). They have a bar where some informal meetings are held, and the dining room is a favorite for breakfast meetings by and with administrators. The Inn staff make mistakes, but these appear to lead to better service rather than worse, which is the opposite of what occurs in many places. From about $120 per night.

The Atherton Hotel (ph. 231-2100, 800-832-0132). Some interviewees end up here. They are very close to campus.

The Hotel State College (ph. 237.4350) is directly above Zeno's. It is inexpensive, and offers few amenities, but is clean and very close to campus.

There are numerous bed and breakfasts in the area.

Spring Valley Kennels (ph. 349-2265, on Long Lane). A nice motel for dogs on RT #45 in Spring Mills almost into Millheim. Barney stays there occasionally.

Places of worship

The State College Assembly of God, formerly on College Ave., now on Whitehill Rd., appears to have a lively and active congregation.

Anglican. St. Andrew's, downtown, appears to be lively.

Luthern. Grace Luthern, on the corner of Garner and College, seems to have a friendly congregation.

Catholic churches. In State College, there is Our Lady of Victory, and on the north side there is Good Shepherd (ph. 238-2110). They each have their own style.

Presbyterian. Diakonia Presbyterian Church (ph. 466-4898, welcomes visitors with a flyer.

Quaker. There is an active Friends meeting house at 611 E. Prospect Ave. It includes a meeting room used by several non-profits in the area for their meetings. They also have a children's school associated with them.


State College picks up recycling curbside with your garbage collection.

Families and children

There are several places that people have found particularly good to take children.



There appear to be several options for childcare that people are happy with.

Cooperative Playschool (ph. 238-3922, 611 E. Prospect).

Also: St. Paul's Church, University's center, and Jewish Community Center.

Farms to visit

Tate Farm, south of State College about 10 min. (ph. 466-2386 or 800-787-2716, They sell Christmas trees in season, other veg in other seasons. Some is home grown, some is locally produced. Quaint. Worth 1/2 of an afternoon's visit.

The Penn State Deer Farm's. They have a pen filled with dear, and that's all I now so far.


<this section needs to be filled in>



There are several places in State College where you can swim in the winter. On campus, there is The McCoy Natorium and outdoor pool (ph. 865-1432, hotline 863-1311, updated monthly or so with current, daily details) and the White building (ph. 863-7186). The schedules for these are variable, and the published times are not only subject to change they are often not checked or followed. If you swim regularly and call, they can be reliable and inexpensive places to swim. In the summer, the high school has a pool near it (Wm. Welch, 237-3964), and one in Park Forest (Community pool, 238-4515). Details at . The YMCA (ph. 237-7717, 677 W. Whitehall Road) has added a large (but cold) lap pool and a warm water pool for children and for therapy. The warm pool is available 1 hour/week for open swim.

A further tool is available from

Soccer (Association Football)

For soccer, try Centre Soccer Association (ph. 235-7406, It's a large organization as soccer is relatively popular here in State College. They have an adult league that is sometimes difficult but possible to join. They could use volunteer help, and they say that they desperately need paid officials every year. They are part of PA West, a subdivision of the USSF, part of FIFA.

Floor Hockey is a related sport. The Penn State Floor Hockey Club ( is often looking for players. There is also a group that plays at Mt. Nittany Middle School on Tuesday nights, contact Frank Ritter for details.

Museums or such oriented to children or with children's exhibits

This needs to be filled in...


more here...

5.0 Shopping

Shopping areas

Ollies (ph. xxx-xxx), 2121 S. Atherton offers a slightly bazar-like shopping experience. They are in the Hills Plaza on S. Atherton just about at the south edge of State College.

Also in the Hills Plaza there are a Weiss grocery, a PLCB Wine and Spirits shop (perhaps the smallest one, ph. 863-6536), and a Rite Aid drug store.

On North Atherton there are several large stores. Best Buy offers product replacement plans that require home phone numbers, that is, if you decline to offer them a number, their system cannot accept your application. Interesting.

Department stores

O.W. Houts (Houts) (ph. 238-6701), essentially on College Ave. but with a Buckhout St. address, WAS a State College institution.  If they don't have it, you probably didn't need it.  They had a very pleasent grocery with deli, a soft and home furnishings section, downstairs is electrical and plumbing tools and equipment, and upstairs is a furniture store.  Outside is a small garden center and a building yard.  They closed in early 2008, but are likely to remain part of directions for a few more years.

If when you move here and all you need is a bed to sleep in, Tubbies (ph. 234-4566) at 2221 E. College Ave (towards the mall) offers a wide range at prices that come recommended.

Furniture -- used/new furniture is Golden Leaf - Rt 322 in Boalsburg (ph. 364-9592) or new - Wolf's -- 732 Benner Pike -- 355-9044, or Capperella (ph. 355-4857) in Bellefonte on Pleasantview Boulevard, seemingly on the way out of town on the other other side.

Book stores

Websters (ph. 234-9712) is a used book store at 128 S. Allen. They are also active in and supportive of the folk music scene in town, and it includes a coffee shop.

There is a Barnes and Noble ( ph. 867-9330) bookstore out by the Mall, to the North. They have a good selection and a cafe. They now have a discount card that if you do not purchase it, they will charge you about 9% more. Its privacy statement is sometimes available in the store if you ask. This card represents regressive pricing, as the card only works if you buy $250 or more books a year, and a clerk told me that they (the clerks) can't tell what you have bought, so you have no reason to worry about privacy, or your information being used!

The American Association of University Women has a used book sale every spring. In 2008 they had a sale with over 200,000 books. Only problem is, 95% of them were damaged. It is shameful that the damage was easily avoidable and done by the volunteers who prepared the books.

Midtown Scholar of Harrisburg has hard-to-find academic books with reasonable prices.

I also use a lot. It is a used book clearinghouse.

Drug stores

There is a usual assortment of chemists scattered throughout State College. There are three stores particularly worth noting.

One anomoly is in Bellefont. Plumbs (ph. 355-3225, 105. N. Allegheny) is located -- according to directions on the phone -- "drive to Bellefont, ask someone directions to the courthouse, and look! [click/hangup]". The pharmacist can be curt and rude at times, and helpful and genuinely solicitous at others. He stocks things that the chain stores don't appear to. If you can't find some pharmecutical, you might try finding it here. They also have a soda fountain. One could simply add that it is on the left hand corner across from the courthouse as you drive in from State College.

A sound pharmacy is the Boalsburg Apothecary (ph. 466-7936). They, too, are good for finding hard to find pharmacy supplies. They have stocked, for example, upon request, split MMR vaccines (M, M, and R).

Macallahan's downtown store is also referred to as one of the best pharmacies. They can special order things as well.

Food stores

That Oriental Store (ph. 234-0301, 1301 W. College) has a wide selection of what appears to be mostly Korean materials and semi-prepared foods. They also offer cooking classes where you eat your homework. Far Corners Oriental Grocers is at 149 North Atherton, near the corner of Atherton and College is small, but has many interesting things.

The meats lab at Penn State (ph. 865-1787) is open for sales to the public on Fridays from 930 am to 3 pm.

One of the few local foods is Seltzer's Lebanon bologna (several kinds, including sweet and low-fat). It is available in most grocery stores. It appears to be a type of fermented sausage, that is local, and that is very nice indeed.

Giant (on North Atherton and on East College, both open 24 hours) provides most of all the vittles you would ever want, but are not as good as a Super Wegmans (not that we have a Super Wegmans, but see below). The are several Weis markets (check the best by dates carefully) that are more convenient and seem more local, but don't quite seem as nice and big as the Giants. Both of these chains encourage a loyalty card, but are somewhat casual about it.

There is a Go Grocery Outlet store (ph. 364-9375) in Centre Hall. They offer some extreemly good deals, but some cans and boxes are dented or out of date. They do not require a loyalty card.

Wegmans (ph. 278-9000, 345 Lowes Blvd.) has, after much anticipation, come to State College. They offer a broad range of goods with very high quality in all the ranges we have tried. They are open 24 hours. A major disappointments is how interested they are in knowing just who is buying their food. That is, they have a loyalty card and seem fussy about even the non-check cashing version of it. They charge you 3-10% more to buy anonymously (or, if you identify yourself, you get a 3-10% discount, based on what you buy and what deals are 'on'). On Thanksgiving week 2007 they asked for a driver's license to purchase a turkey! In September 2009 they are now selling beer, but *scan* your driver's license ("Passport is ok too!"), and the license of anyone they think is with you. That is a very exclusive store indeed, and if this bothers you, I encourage you to shop elsewhere.

Post Offices

There are several post offices worth knowing about. The one in the city centre is located just off of Beaver on XXXX (ph. XXX-yyy). There is a Penn State one that is decorated in an eclectic manner that the students have supported near the HUB in the basement of the McAllister Building. The office in Boalsburg is handy as it is less busy. You can also receive postal services at Pro Copy in the Northland Center (North Atherton by the Giant foodstore), including Sundays from 12-4. Mailboxes etc. (ph. 237-2552, in the West Hamilton Center also provides a drop-off for UPS shipping.

Home and Garden Centres

The First Assembly of God church has a thrift shop to serve the community.  They take donations for their furnishing and accept donations as well.  They would prefer that it be picked up, but can in some cases can deliver it.  The quality varies, but most of it certainly could call at least a grad or undergrad apartment home.  Further details and arrangements through Jo-Ann at 466-6612.

For obscure lighting solutions and a wide assortment of lamps, see Whitehill Lighting (1524 N. Atherton, ph: 238-2449) on North Atherton. They are useful for unusual lighting, and patient.

The Borough of State College runs a composting service. You can drop off grass clippings and leaves at several local parks, including Sunset, Ledderer, Holmes-Foster, Orchard, and Tusseyview, and pick up compost. More information is available at or by calling 234-7140. is a web site reviewed in an online magazine called Tidbits. It offers help to find repair parts, including some AI knowledge elicitation techniques to help you find your part for reparing appliances. has read this guide (!), and asked to be listed as well.

For firewood, (need new numbers here).

Fox Hill Gardens (ph. 237-9087, 1035 Fox Hill Rd.), on the way to airport from Zenos, has a wide selection of plants (but not vegetables).

Habitat for Humanity has a ReStore (ph. 353-2390, 1155 Zion Rd. in Bellefonte), which sells and accepts donations of building materials.

Christmas trees. You can find them when you don't need them, but when you do, you can find them in several road on the way out of town. For example, Tate Farm.


Nittany Beverage, signposted off West College (ph. 238-3031) sells beer by the case, with some interesting ones. Pletchers is another beer distributor that is also necessary because they sell real ale. It is off North Atherton.

Adult toys and Misc.

Engraving. Stitzer's Imprinting and engraving (ph. 466-6825) does engraving, most importantly, dog tags. A simple tag with 4 lines and phone number was $8 in 1999.

Video games. Video games (e.g., Playstation disks) are available at Electronic Boutique (ph. 234-5275, in the mall).

Thrift shops. Goodwill has recently moved. It will accept goods and sells them; there is also a Women's Club on S. Allen; and the St. Vincent de Paul Society has a shop at the Westerly Pkwy Plaza.

Sports equipment. Rapid Transit Sports (ph. 238-3831, 115 S. Allen) stocks a lot of shoes and soccer equipment. They offer a discount to people associated with Centre Soccer.

There are now several coffee houses and cafes around State College. The first one that springs to mind is Saints (ph. 238-5707) at 123 W. Beaver. They do nice coffees, and introduced chai lattes.

Computer stores. Small dog (ph. 800-511-MACS), in Vermont, is a mailorder Macintosh store. We use them relatively often.

Audio equipment. there used to be a store.

Further afield

Altoona, a city of about 100,000 people is between 45 and 60 minutes away via 322, 220, and I-99. (Some people go via 26, 45, and 350 to I-99, 34 min. to the junction). Just off of I-99 is the Logan Valley Mall, with its anchor stores of Kaufman's, Sears, Penny's, and a Target near the mall as well. There is a Don Pablo's (ph. 943-6400) near the mall that is clearly a chain restaurant, but convenient and pleasent none-the-less. Some people like El Companino (ph. 944-3121), which is very close to the Toys-R-Us.

6.0 Eating and drinking

Further reviews, from a student perspective, are available from the Daily Jolt's review of restaurants. Also please note, that the hidden gem of a restaurant in town, that would change if everyone knew about it, which every reader of a travel guide does not list, has moved to a new, larger location, and is now listed here!


A reasonable Indian available in the city centre is India Pavilion (ph. 237-3400) . They have a lunch buffet (two meat dishes, two vegitarian) and do take away and delivery, as does India Grill (ph. 237-4234) on the corner of Sowers and Beaver.

Another reasonable Indian restaurant is Bombay Bistro (ph. 237-4234), has recently (Feb 06) moved. Also does a buffet at lunch.


There is reasonable Chinese and other Asian food available, but this is not the best part of the dining scene.

The Big Bowl (428 E. College) is a Japanese style noodle shop with a Chinese chef. Portions are large and on last visit you can have multiple bowls.

Viet-Thai (ph. 238-5004) is a Thai-vietnamise restaurant next to the Far Corners Oriental Grocers. It's at 149 North Atherton, near the corner of Atherton and College (closed Mondays). The portions are large for lunch and small for dinner (there is only one menu).

Say Sushi (ph. 238-2244) at 310 S. Allen is a Korean and Japanese restaurant. They have reasonable to good sushi, and good and hot Korean dishes.

One of the better Chinese restaurants in town is Dorthy's Kitchen. One location (there may be two), is in the Giant supermarket on N. Atherton (ph. 234-2830, 255 Northland Center off N. Atherton). Another good bet is the Belefonte Wok (ph. 353-8888) in Bellefonte, across from the courthouse -- their only problem is that they sell scallops that are clearly not scallops but are imitation scallops.

A nice alternative to Chinese is Korean, which is available at Seoul Garden, 129 Locust (ph. 237-7444).

Other ethnic

Mad Mex (ph. 272-5656) moved into the Day's Inn on S. Allen in Fall 2001. It has good Mexican food like its twin in Pittsburgh. It can be a bit loud.

The La Bella Trattoria (ph. 353-8808) is in Bellefonte underneath the Garman Theatre. It offers Italian food in a pleasent, friendly atmosphere. The food is good, sometimes very good. The service is consistently good.

Mario & Luigi's. (ph. ) A local Italian restaurant (1272 N. Atherton) that does a nice Italian bistro thing. The spit roast chicken (used to be available on special Tuesdays) is very nice indeed.

Herwigs (ph. 238-0200) A German, oh no, an Austrian restaurant. It is now on College Ave (their web site gives their old location, which was on Fraser St., for this they deserve the early arrival penalty). Their food is authentic, and the service is genuine, engaging, and sometimes too interactive.

Spats Cafe and Speakeasy (ph. 238-7010, 142 E. College).


These may be common in State College and throughout the region, but it seems useful to document good wings.  The list has turned into a table, but to start, Sports Cafe & Grill, 244 W. College (ph. 234-2294) has good wings.  The 'head rush' are, indeed, hot enough. Further afield, we're told to try Wili's Wings in Denver.

Wings I like (and how hot is hot enough)

Wings I do not like

797 Cafe (hot)

Pizza Hut

Brothers Pizza (small, but wet, BBQ good as well)






The Last Cowboy



P.J. Harrigans (ask for more sauce)

Clubhouse Bar & Grill, Blue Knob

Wings over Happy Valley

Quaker Steak and Lube (most, ask for them wet)

Duffy's Tavern

Don Corleon's (recently renamed) (medium is too mild, hot is enough)

Wing Zone (ph. 234-9464, 433 E. College), Hot, ask for extra sauce, the promise enough but do not deliver by default


The Corner Room (same kitchen!)

The Deli

The Deli (seems to vary!)

Otto's (special on Wed.)

Chippies and seafood

The nearest chippy is an Authur Teachers in Danville, about 1.5 hours away. For seafood locally, try the Red Lobster, noted below.

Local Pubs

Empirical work is an enjoyable activity within any data oriented department, and ours is no exception. There is should be keen debate about where to go. Below is a listing of pubs convenient to campus, or of particular note within the State college area.  


Zeno's (ph. 237-4350), at the corner of Allen and College has real ale (Victory's Hop Devil on a handpump (real beer!)) and also nitro keg beer (that is nearly beer). This is significant because it represents the fact that real beer is available in town, and this has been noted as a very high quality pub by the Beer Advocate. On Fridays there is a standing, sterling band, the AAA Blues Band that plays from about 630 to 830 pm. Visitors have called this event 'smashing'. Also, since February 2007, they have been smoke free on Fridays. There is now no reason not to come out.

AAA at Zeno's

Associated with Zeno's is the Corner Room. It is one of the few places (we hope) that you can get a pitcher of beer at 7 am (as it is just above Zeno's).

The Deli, near the corner of College and X, also has a handpump, and sells real beer.

Otto's (2105 N. Atherton, ph. 867-otto) is a brewpub that opened in 2002. The real ale (cask-conditioned) is very good indeed. The food has had mixed reviews, but appears to have settled down and is ok. They sell growlers (2 gallon takeaways) of the lesser beers. They sometimes do not sell the cask-conditioned ale this way, which is profoundly misinformed. The bartender noted that it would not travel (which if true, makes this a completely unique cask-conditioned ale, and unlike all the cask-conditioned ale that has ever come before it), but also noted it took a while to pour that much, but that *was not* the reason why they would not sell it. They probably don't want to sell it because many of their customers don't understand what they think they do (it went in flat, it will come out flat, unlike the so-called beer they are used to drinking). They also have a 'pub club', which offers a discount on beer and other advantages; time will tell if it's good value.

The Nittnay Lion Inn (NLI) on the corner of Park and Atherton sometimes sells draft Sierra Nevada pale ale, which while slightly dear, represents real beer. PJ Harrigan's in the Ramada on South Atherton sells Victory Hop Devil from a CO2 keg, which is powerfully similar to real ale.

The Last Cowboy (p. 237-8833, takeout, 237-8830) is a lounge/restaurant next to the Northlands Bowling Center on Martin St. They have nice wings and good value food, and they are close to bowling (couldn't be closer). They have Yingling lager.

The American Ale House has a lovely location in Toftrees to sit outside and drink a beer on a summer day. You don't even have to ask to be added to their email lists!

Fast food on campus

Kern Graduate Center. Near the Psychology Building and the Nittney Lion Inn. I eat there when I have to. If you want to see a really brave food outlet, visit them.

Cafe Laura on the north side of campus does a wide range of food for lunch and special dinners that are available Tuesday through Thursday nights.

The Faculty Club (865-7590,, in the basement of the Nittany Lion Inn, offers a hot and cold buffet.

Fast food near campus

Panera is a new (2/00) bakery and sandwich shop on Beaver on the corner of Allen. It appears to be a part of a chain in many ways (and it is), but has other redeaming features: The coffee is good and the bread is very good indeed.

Everyday restaurants

Here we review some other restaurants that are less special, but that you might see more often.

State College probably has a typical range of fast food and chain restaurtants. There are, however, some that are particularly good for their type. The Red Lobster on the east side of North Atherton (before Tire Town) is very well run. On weekends they have a bar show. The Olive Garden (off North Atherton near Lowes and Walmart) is also quite pleasant.

The Waffle House (multiple locations, including the city centre, North Atherton, and West College) is a local chain of breakfast places. They offer very good value and long lines on the weekends. They do not accept credit cards. We like them a lot.

Zimm's, on East College nearly to the mall, had an all you can eat Chicken and waffles on Monday nights. Useful to know for when directions use the phrase 'where Zimm's used to be'. On the other main street than Tire Town.

If you like rootbeer stands, we don't have a local one, but there is an A&W on East College nearly to the mall, and there is one on north Atherton, near Tire Town.

Pizza and simple Italian

It ain't Chikaga (Chicago) by any means, but reasonable interpretations of pizza are available from several places.

Do check your pizza from Hi-Way Pizza, at least four times they have given us undercooked pizza, and once we believe we were unwell from it. (I do wonder why we go back!)

You can also try Facia Luna on S. Atherton near the Autoport. They use a brick oven, but sometimes it still comes out soggy. In Bellefonte, The Haufbrau if you like thin crust pizza (coming up the street to the courthouse, turn right, turn left at the next light, beside Mike's Video).

And also in Bellefonte, Jim's Restaurant on Cherry Lane has my (a correspondant's, not yet tested) favorite toasted Itailian Sub and I have never heard anyone not liking anything on the menu!

Pizza we like

Pizza we don't care

Pizza we do not like

Domino's North

Hi-Way Pizza (neopolitan)

Brothers of Hamilton Square

Domino's South (now closed!)

Hi-Way Pizza (thin)

Hi-Way Pizza (stuffed)

Don Corleon's

Hi-Way Pizza (chicao style, so-called)

Pizza Hut (thin)

Pizza Hut (stuffed crust)


State College and its environs have two noteworthy barbque joints. Fat Jack's (ph. 238-8066) is across from the Red Lobster on North (1669 N.) Atherton, near the McDonalds. They do mighty nice ribs and pulled pork.

Clem's Wood-Fired BBQ is now available at at least two places locally. The place in town is at the School House Bottle Shop on East Branch Rd (near Atherton) (ph. 360-8386); the other place is at Sammy's (684-3290), off I-99 South at exit 45 (Tipton), Rt. on old 220 for 1/4 mile. Great stuff. Really.

Expensive places

A pleasant place is Carnegie's in the Toftree's area.  Rumour has it that Paterno owns it.   It is an elegent attempt at an American inn and is named after Andrew Carnegie, who once owned the land it is on.  Prices are appropriate for one of the best restaurants in State College.

The Hummingbird Room closed in 2005. Here's what we are missing: (ph. 422-9025, This restaurant is in Spring Mills on Route 45 on the way to Millheim (see above), but is of wider, regional importance. The quality is probably somewhere between a listed red guide restaurant and a proper one star restaurant. Prices for two including wine will range from $90 to $120 and up, with corresponding quality. This is a serious restaurant that deserves more patronage. The chef, Eric Sarnow, previously worked at Le Bec Fin, an extreemly serious restaurant in Philidelphia. (By serious, we mean that the food is very good indeed.)

The Gamble Mill Tavern. (ph. 355-7764). This restaurant is in Bellefonte, on the left (across Spring Creek) as you come through town from State College. It offers pretty good food, and you will hear good things about it. Service was rude (30 minute delay) one time we went there, slightly distracted another time, outright weird another time, but the food was good to quite good, and the atmosphere is nice.

The Victorian Manor is under new management (now as Alto), and needs to be visited.

Also see Yelp for state college

Pubs and restaurants worth a trip

Duffy's Tavern. Perhaps a close American imitation of an English pub, Duffy's Tavern (ph. 466-6241) is located in Boalsburg on the main square.  Outside of State College, off of what could be seen as very far south South Atherton, its brochure notes that it is only 5 minutes from State College.  Time passes more slowly in Boalsburg, we can estimate that is about two times slower....   Duffy's offers a real fire in the winter, and sound, pleasent food year round.  Breakfast there on a snowy Sunday can be a quite inspiring and memorable esxperience. Reservations are required on a Saturday night. They also do a Colonial Christmas Feast that is pleasent but not very good value. Nearby is a new Memorial Day sculpture that is worth seeing (Memorial day was founded in Boalsburg).

The Whistle Stop Restaurant (ph. 364-1930, does lunch and dinner, closed Mondays and Tuesdays, on Rt. 144). A small town diner in the local small town of Centre Hall. Not pretentious, but has some nice touches that make it nicer than just a diner. It is in a converted railway station, and has a railroad car for private parties.

Millheim Hotel. (ph. 349-5994) This restaurant/hotel is also in Millheim, the Kinsale of central Pennsylvania. They are at 105 Main St. (Rt. 45), on the left hand side about 1/2 mile past Sri's in the central business district. Their most special specialty appears to be lobster night, which is held once a month except in Winter. The deal here is about $11 for a 1.25 pound lobster, with some interesting sides extra. It is very good value and the drive is pleasent. They always have sandwiches, and other nights they do different menus from posh to pizza. They also do rooms.

Mt. Nittany Inn. (ph. 364-9363) This is is misnamed because it neither overlooks Mt. Nittany nor is on Mt. Nittany, but appears to be on the Nittany range. This is important because you might have trouble finding it, and that would be a shame. It's on Rt. 144 between Pleasent Gap (really near a pleasent gap) and Centre Hall on the top of Centre Hall Mountain. It has outdoor dining and the food and service is better than you would expect given that the view is quite nice over the town of Centre Hall in the valley below. They also do a BnB. In Spring 2002 they have added some very tastefull advertisements on the front and back of their menus, which adds an air of sophistication normally only found with tomato juice cocktail as an appetiser.

They have, however, burnt to the ground twice, the second time while being rebuilt. Time will tell if they can come back.

Best Way Travel Center. (ph. 355-7535). This is a truck stop just off I-80 near Bellefonte. They do a nice buffet, and are on the way to / from many interesting places.

The Sharp Edge. (ph. 412 661-3537) Way out in Pittsburgh, a neighboring town to State College (some say) and where people sometimes travel to, is the closest thing to a British pub that I've seen in a long time. It has a wide selection of real ale (used here literally as a technical term), including UK and US versions, as well as nitro-keg and Belgian beers on tap. It has regular patrons and friendly bar staff. I think I saw bar games as well. Also, sadly, it has quite good food which otherwise harms their reputation as a pub.

The Inn at New Berlin. (ph. 570 966-0321, This inn in New Berlin near Lewisburg comes recomended as a nice weekend getaway about an hour from State College. It is necessary to book ahead in most all instances.

Table 2: Listing of pubs for planning your pub crawl.

 + indicates guest beers

 N indicates the number of visits so far, a measure of quality and convenience.

F indicates Fires in the winter.

G indicates gardens or outside seating to sit in.

D indicates dart board available.

 B indicates Bowser is allowed in at least one room inside.

Name                Location    Beer      N   Food  Accoutr  Other           
Nittnay Lion Inn    N. Campus   Sierra    5   L/D   GX       Free popcorn
Zenos               S. Campus   Varies    17  yes   D        music,real beer!
The Deli            SE Campus   Varies    3   yes   G        Whiskeys (served hot!)
The Tavern          S. Campus   not real  2   yes   F
PG Harrigans        South town  not real  4   yes   G        Happy hour free food   
Otto's              N. Atherton Brewpub   4   yes   G        Brewpub!           

7.0 Amusements

Centre Region Parks & Recreation provides discounted tickets to numerous amusement parks and attractions at a discount, including water parks, fun parks, and museums. A list is available at .


Student run movies during term time at the university. Haven't been. Probably studenty.

The Rowland Theatre (ph. 342-0477) is a classic movie theatre in Philipsburg at 125 N. Front St. It is a large, cavernous theatre with a big screen. You get there by driving to Philipsburg, about 40 minutes, and either asking, or driving past Front St., which is a one way street that intersects the road you drove in on, and then finding your way back about two blocks. It can be usefully combined with a visit to Clem's barbque.

There are many places to get reviews on the web, here's one:


The Center for the Performing Arts (ph. 863-0255) does several series, including dance, music, and theatre.

The Bryce Jordon Center (ph. ) brings in big name acts like Dylan and wrestling.

Live music

The Center for the Performing Arts (ph. 863-0255), also called Eisenhower Auditorium, has live music upon occasion. In 1999-2000, it has seen Bella Fleck and Stomp (amoung things we're less interested in).

There is a local group that brings in acoustic music groups, Acoustic Brew. See their web site for schedules.

Media (tv, radio, newspapers)

The local radio and TV is somewhat provincial, but comes in good anyhow. In this area frogs should be seen as invertebrates.

The Centre Daily Times or CDT is the local newspaper of record. The good and bad news is that you can get through it fairly quickly. For a small town newspaper they do a fairly decent job. The do not cover world news that well, but excel in local things to do, places to go, and the local semi-pro football team. Voices is the alternative newspaper.

Table 3: Radio Stations in State College. 

WBUS               97.3 (FM)    Pleasent oldie rock
                                  plays your favorite, every week
BBC World Service
WPSU               88.x/90.6 FM Public radio
WKPS                            Student radio


Outdoor and athletic

There are several places where your might find association football (locally known as soccer) teams to play with.  There is a grad/staff league, call PSU intramurials for further information.

Altoona has a professional baseball team called The Curve (ph. 943-5400 . Their stadium is just off of I-99 in Altoona, about 45 minutes from State College. Attending a game can be a very charming experience, reminiscent of what baseball games used to be all about. The stadium is a lovely new stadium, and it makes an excellent evening out. The most expensive seats are under $10.00. There is now a similar stadium in State College for the Spikes, but with a shorter season.

There are several places that have nice walks. Mt. Nittany is probably the most visible. It is protected by a conservation group (, which has or had ties to Lion's Paw, a secret society on campus that held and may still hold initiations on Mt. Nittany. is a web site on how to hike around central Pennsylvannia. It appears to be semi-commerical, but has some useful information on it.

For tennis, there are outdoor courts at the university, and the halls in the sports centre can be made into indoor courts (but we've never seen it happen). There is an indoor facility near the university, and the high school has several courts, and there are a few in local parks.

There are several ski slopes in the area. Tussey Mountain (details below) is nearly in town. Blue Knob (, ph. 239-5111, 800-458-3403) is about 90 minutes away just southeast of Altoona. It's rentals are particularly poor, but it has over 1,000' of vertical drop, the largest in Pennsylvannia, snow cannons, and a wide and interesting range of terrain. The resort is 'underdeveloped'.

Penn's Cave (ph. 364-1664) offers a boat ride 'round a cave. It's north of Centre Hall, about 18 miles from State College. The boat ride seems somewhat unique. At $10 in August 2002 it was fair but not excellent value. It is at least cooling on a summer's day.

You might want to try staying at one of Pennsylvania's state parks. They rent cabins and the "modern" (as opposed to "rustic") ones include kitchen, bathroom, and beds. Check out their website. You do need to be cautious when hiking in the area. Even out of the main hunting season, hunters have shot people. Donald D. Lansberry, Jr., for example, shot someone thinking that they were a turkey.


There appear to be three bowling lanes, Millheim lanes, Bellefonte Lanes (ph. 355-4641, on the Benner Pike near the prison), and XXX lanes, near the Giant on North Atherton.


Festivals and fairs around the year

The 4rth of July Fireworks

Ranked 4rth in the US for 4th of July shows, the fireworks show in State College is truely awe inspiring. (Pictures also available here and here.) They are 35-40 minutes of fireworks choreographed to music (to 1/10 of a second). 14,000 shells were used in 2001. If you work on the show or pony up some money, they let you sit close enough to see the lifting charges go off. Look around for a red shirt if you would like to volunteer, or check their web site. Otherwise, there are excellent seats all over State College, radiating from west of Beaver Stadium where it is shot from.

The Arts Festival (mid-July)

For three days in mid-July there is an arts festival in State College and a People's Arts festival in Boalsburg. The primary attraction as listed is about 300 booths of art and crafts for sale. The secondary attraction is interesting food stalls and basically free concerts. The whole setup is designed to be fun, and to keep you moving around town. It is worth seeing, but it is not an ideal weekend, we belive, to househunt, although it's probably ok to move in that weekend. The People's festival in Boalsburg is lower key and displays more craftwork. They require a $3 donation to park at this festival. This donation is required, although they note that they do not have a license. The PennState and State College Police remind students that they are in double jeopardy if they misbehave -- this has sometimes been called heavy handed.

The Grange Fair (late August)

The Grange Fair is the only tenting fair left in the US. For a week, a small city sets up outside Centre Hall on the Grange grounds. The Grange is an organisation to support farming and rural life. The fair has a typical country fair set of things, including hog shows, quilting shows, canned vegatable judging. They have a show every night, tractor pulls most nights, and a wide variety of local food. Worth attending at least once.

The PSU homecoming parade (sometime in October)

The Homecoming parade is worth the time. Locals have said: "It's a great mix of small town shtick and big university diversity. Lots of fire engines and floats that are so bad they come around to being good." Downtown gets REALLY crowded and pretty crazy if you're new to town and don't want to stay for the whole show. Near the Thomas building on Pollack just along South Halls (park up by the Creamery and walk down) can be a better experience.

Other amusements and local trips


Clearfield is on the other side of Philipsburgh (we haven't stopped there yet), further along 322 North. There are interesting modular real estate communities along the way -- homes for sale that you can drive away. Clearfield is a nice little town with an historic district of big old houses by the Susquehana River. It is obviously a working class type of town with few resturants (except pizza joints) or shops (Ames, K-Mart and JC Penny are the highlights).

People who have eaten at "The Diner" there found it provided a cultural introduction to the ordinary people of Clearfield, a cultural experience if at least you are a forgiener too. There was an interesting Italian resturant called Meona, but it was only open for dinner on Saturdays. There is one report of a great coffee andbiscotti at the "Gourmet Cup - Gourmet Coffe and Tea Shop" 118 N. Third St. This is the "yuppy" hangout of Clearfield with an excellent range of gourmet coffees and tasty desserts. Definately a highlight of Clearfield!!

Amusement Parks and Waterparks

Sandcastle, in Pittsburgh. Worthy.

Delgrosso's Amusement Park (ph. 684-3538), which used to be Bland's Park, has a small water park attached. It's slightly overpriced, but the slides are worthy and it is not as much overpriced as the otherwise pleasent Boji Bay (in Milford, IO, ph. 712 338-2473, $17 in 2002). It is the closest waterpark to State College.

Dorney Park, in Allentown. (ph. and Url withheld). I did not like it.

Splash Lagoon in Erie is an indoor park. It is attached to / connected to/ across the street from three associated motels. As busy periods you have to book into the motels to get access to tickets to the waterpark. We went on a holiday weekend, and it was too packed to be really enjoyable. With a smaller crowd, it could be quite nice.

Lakemont Park has a small waterpark. Unusually, they include a small , 3 foot deep pool, which is nice for young swimmers. There are three slides, which use mats. And a small water spray area. It is too small on its own, but it's worth a trip because there is an amusement park tied to it. The amusement park claims to have the oldest roller coaster (leap the dips), which is believable because it has a different style from all the ones I've ever been on. And the large wooden coaster with negative G's. Also, at Christmas time, they put up lights and you can drive through a scene that is like a christmas light mad suburb, but with everything lit up. Not worth a trip, but worth a detour if you are near or coming back from Altoona.

Further afield, Camelback in the Poconos, and Kalahari in the Wisconson Dells is nice and a useful one to judge others against.

Centre Parks and Recreation offers discount tickets, and also provides a partial list of parks and water parks.


There is a market on Wednesday mornings in Belleville (east of SC on 322, take the Belleville exit, go 9 miles and turn left at the milk pro cessing plant in town, Kishakoquillas Rd., between 30 and 50 minutes). It includes produce, french fries, used tools, Amish goods, and so on. It's a bit sprawly, so do wander a bit to find it all. There is also a market in Reedsville (near Dairyland) on the way. Also in Belleville, is a combined restaurant/grocery that caters to Amish and plain folk, the grocery more so. It is A.J. Peachey & Sons (ph: 717 667-2185), 72 Barrville Rd., Belleville, PA 17004.

Things to see on campus

This is a Big 10 campus, so there are several interesting sights for tourists and locals on campus.

The Creamery (ph. 865-7535), is a convenience shop on the northeast side of campus where you can purchase ice cream made in the university's dairy. You can also purchase it in bulk from the university [link dead 5/08, but linked]. They have generous portions, the small comes with two scoops.

They have to, however, be of the same flavour because 'two [different flavors] gets confusing.' The Nittany Lion Inn's ice cream stand (in the Nittany Lion Inn), however, can do two different flavors per cone. The U. of Wisconsin Union (ph. 608 262-5959), which has a creamery as well (but not the largest!), does see their way clear to keep track of two flavors as well (if you ask them if they can do it, they laugh at your question). You can see what three flavors look like in a story in the CDT, but unless you're president of the United states (and then, it is said the kid asked if he could) or the creamery manager, you can't have 'em. Michael Feldman, when NPR's radio show "What do you know?" was here, called this limitation"bizzare". It's worth asking just to wonder what situation leaves college students unable to count to two.

Things to see in State College

Tussey Mountain (ph. 466-6810) is a ski resort (800 foot verticle drop) about 15 min. from campus. It's literally off of S. Atherton after Boalsburg.

There are some summer activities there as well. A recent (7/00) Arlo Guthrie concert took advantage of their location. It is in your interest to bring exact change to pay the $4 for parking, and you apparently cannot avoid a handling fee even by buying at their boxoffice. BBQ food means pizza and french fries.

Frost Entomological Museum (ph. 863-2865, between the Tyson and Computer buildings) holds more than half a million bugs representing more than 10,000 kinds. Bring shoes. 830 to 1200, 1330 to 1630 M-F.

The house on the corner of South Allen and Old Whitehall Road (the obvious one) is said to have been designed by a desciple of Frank Lloyd Wright, and it looks it. The house at 505 S. Pugh, on the corner of Pugh and S. Atherton, is also noticable. According to the Centre Daily Times of 14 May 2001, p. A1, it is owned by Mark Tygel who uses it to protest city council decisions. It has, for example, a memorial to Joe Paterno, self-made memorial plaques, and an outside toilet.

Table 4: Museums in State College

Venue           Opening   Hours        Fee      phone      Covers          
Palmer Museum   Tu-Sat    1000-1630    free*    865-7672   Art and stuff   
of Art
Museum of                                                  Food that locals 
Contemporary                                               eat, including
Penn. Food      daily      900-2300    free     948-3504   raw, cooked, gift shop              
Green's Mill    Wed-Sunda  1000-1700     free       915-6878        Working         
                y                                                   windmill,       
                                                                    calculus and    
Industrial      Thurs      1000-1630 &   free*      928-4602        Industrial      
                Sat        1330-1630                                stuff                

* indicates that there is a 'small charge' on Sundays and bank holidays.

Meyer's Dairy (across from Hill's Plaza toward the south) is a friendly place. Some people we know only eat food that comes from the dairy, until they get off their bottles. Their ice cream is not as good as the Creamery's (although some think it better), but the help is considerably smarter or else considerably better organised, because their double scoop can have two flavours! [insert appropriate joke about college vs. high school students.] They also have a small snack bar, which serves surprisingly good snacks. Worth checking out. They also host an Amish market (one stall) on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday mornings from 10 in the summer,with the stall open Tuesday/Saturday in the early Autumn and just Saturday late Autumn to Christmas.

8.0 Further afield

Soaring. Local winds and air currents from the ridges make for superior Soaring conditions, which led to the formation of Nittany Soaring Club in 1964.  Pilots from around the world came here to try out the currents after 1968, when Karl Striedieck set a world distance record of 44 miles from Milesburg to Mountain Grove, WV. and back. By 1975, charter club member Tom Knauff was constructing Keystone Gliderport in Julian, to be joined by Doris Grove, the first woman to fly a glider nonstop more than 1,000 kilometers.  Not to be outdone, Knauff set a world record with a glider flight of more than 1,646 kilometers. Today the Gliderport offers lessons and rides. Recently, Knauff and Grove donned wigs to double as Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo during glider scenes shot locally for the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crown Affair. More information is available from the gliderport between Julian and the next town, and from the Nittany Soaring Club.

Skilliards. In Millhiem at the Millheim Lanes on Rt. 45 (turn left just before the Ace Hardware store and behind Sri's) there are skilliards. This is a cross between billiards and minature golf, but is probably named for skilled billiards. It is an interesting divertisment. The course in Millhiem is one of three commerial ones in the country.

Belleville. Belleville is about 25 miles south west of State College. They have a market on Wednesdays that is interesting with Amish goods, horses, and market stuff. While there, or nearly worth a trip on its own is A.J. Peachey & Sons, (72 Barrville Rd., off of the main street there, 717-667-2185). They have a diner that serves good value local fare (Pennsylvannian and Pennsylvannian Dutch), and a market that can be viewed as a museum of contemporary Amish food. Most of this food is dry goods and unprepared food. Peachey's also has a deli counter that sells the pepper slaw and baked beans from the diner/restaurant. There are several interesting state parks on the way there and back that let you make a day of it.

Woolrich. Woolrich, a town about an hour from State College, is the home of Woolrich, a clothing manufactorer and now importer. They have an outlet store at their headquarters, which can make a nice Sunday drive. Attached, almost necessarily so, is a pleasent cafe (The Village Cafe, ph. 570 769-7199). When we visited they were just out of the roast dinners, which looked very good at other tables, and looked even better when the waitress and other staff came out and ate theirs.


railroaders memorial museum


On the way to Chicago

Wright-Patterson AFB has a very interesting collection of airplanes, including a very large one indeed.

On the way to Pittsburgh

The Lamplighter (ph. 724 468-4545), on the north side of Rt. 22 in Delmont, is a very pleasent diner/breakfast/bar/banquet room sort of place. It is about 10 miles outside of Pittsburgh, a bit closer than you would want, but a very nice place to stop.

On the way to Ann Arbor

Some of the best wings, arguably, in the US are at Quaker Steak and Lube in Sharon, PA, just off of I-80, about 4 hours from State College and halfway to Ann Arbor. Drive into the center of Sharon, and ask, it's one turn off the main road. 14 different sauces, 10 different serving sizes. Monday and Tuesday specials. Also in town, the world's largest shoestore, Reyers.

Toledo, OH is about 7 hours from State College. Tony Packo's (1902 Front St., 419 691-6054, exit 9 on I-475) is there, which is a restaurant that Klinger of M*A*S*H helped make famous.

On the way to Harrisburg

On the way to Harrisburg on 322 there is a drive-in called the Red Rabbit (ph. 834-4696). They are open only on weekends (broadly defined) during the season (at least through September). You can call ahead to make it faster. In addition to the drive-in experience, they do a nice burger, BBQ, BBQ ham, and fries.

On the way to Lancaster and Amish country

Bubes is in Mount Joy near Lancaster. They claim to be the oldest brew pub in the country, though they do not currently brew their own but are installing a brewing apparatus. They have a nice selection of local beers and the burgers are reported to be good. Nice atmosphere inside, and they have an outside dining area. It's convenient if you are visiting Lancaster or Amish country though there is not much else in Mount Joy.

The Amish Farm (ph. 717.394-4857, is not a real Amish farm or house, but an English one made up as an Amish Farm. For about $6 you get an overview and some interesting things to see. It's on the north side of Rt. 30 east of Lancaster.

New York

This collection of small towns can reached by train through Lewistown, or by driving about 4.5 hours east. There is also regular bus service from State College.  

9.0 Annotated References and further reading

Barnes, F. (1993). Priory Demesne to University Campus. Nottingham: U. of Nottingham.

Nottinghamshire County Council (undated) Discover Nottinghamshire Pubs. Available from the Nottinghamshire County Council, ph. 774215, -4 Smithy Row, Nottingham, NG1 2BY.

Big 10 comments

The Big 10, we think outside the new math 10 box.

The Big 10, we have the 11 best math departments.

The Big 10, we're not constrained by numbers.

The Big 10, we is the big 10 association of Engloish Departmants.