Published: October 2009Best Adventure Towns
State College

State College, Pennsylvania

Plan a long weekend getaway with our State College adventure guide, featuring great outdoor escapes, where to stay, and where to eat. Then chime in with your picks.

Photograph courtesy of Central PA Convention and Visitors Bureau

Pop. 38,720
GPS: 40°47'N 77°51'W

Ah, to be young and live in a rugged corner of the Alleghenies. Eighteen- to-24-year-olds make up nearly two-thirds of this Penn State playground’s population—the rest just act that age. Grads land gigs at the gear shops and outfitters among the tap rooms and taverns here, and the Happy Valley continues living up to its name.

Your Turn: Tell us about your favorite State College adventures, restaurants, and hotels in the comments section below.

Ride singletrack on Mount Nittany, fly-cast in one of 19 trout streams, or race the Tussey Mountainback, a 50-mile ultramarathon in October. If you’re in town during football season, try and catch a game (if you can get tickets) or just tailgate with the other 200,000 people who come to watch. For a more relaxed (and healthier) day, head just 7 miles east of State College to visit Tait Farm, a delicious mom-and-pop organic farm that offers tours all year long—and has covetable jellies and jams (

The Original Waffle Shop is a State College staple, serving families and hungover college kids since 1972 (; Kelly’s Steak House offers a more upscale, yet still casual, scene for—you guessed it—great steak ( For a drink, Zeno’s has a large beer selection and live music, and isn’t packed with freshman (

Try Carnegie House, an upscale boutique hotel three miles from campus (, or head to the University-run Nittany Lion Inn for an elegant country stay (

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