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It’s about the time when many high school seniors are beginning to plan the next phase of their lives in State College as Penn State students.

As many new students quickly find out upon arrival, this quaint college town has everything they will need over the next four years.

Here’s some valuable information about the town and campus for new Penn State students and parents.

Places to Stay for Visiting Family Members

This is an easy one. Stay with us! All six of our properties offer a Parent Discount Plan. This offer allows parents to save 15 percent off their stay whenever they visit their son or daughter. Check out our full hotel list below with addresses and phone numbers.

Hotel List

Carnegie Inn & Spa - (814) 234-2424

100 Cricklewood Drive State College, PA 16803

Days Inn Penn State - (814) 238-8454

240 S. Pugh Street State College, PA 16801

Hilton Garden Inn - (814)-272-1221

1221 East College Avenue State College, PA 16801

Nittany Budget Motel - (814) 238-0015

2070 Cato Avenue State College, PA 16801

Quality Inn State College - (814) 234-1600

1274 North Atherton Street State College, PA 16803

Super 8 - (814) 237-8005

1663 S. Atherton St State College, PA 16801

Places to Eat

On Campus

Each set of dorms on campus, North, East, West, Pollock and South, have their own dining commons, so if you live on campus or if you live off campus but still have a meal plan, there’s plenty of places to dine.

The Hub has plenty of popular chain eateries including Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Sbarro, and Panda Express.

There are also plenty of cafés on campus that sell snacks and drinks, such as juices and coffee. You can find a café at the Business Building (Blue Chip Bistro) Kern Building (Otto’s Café) and the Patee and Paterno Library (Mackinnon’s Café). And let’s not forget the Creamery which sells much more than just ice cream.

Downtown Restaurants

Here are a few restaurants located in downtown State College that can serve as great options for family dining.

The Tavern

The Corner Room

Allen Street Grill

If it’s just mom and dad looking for a place to dine, we recommend heading outside of downtown to Gigi’s Restaurant and Wine Lounge (Web site) or the Carnegie House Restaurant at Carnegie Inn & Spa (Web site). Add their websites. They are two of the hidden gems of dining in State College as both feature fantastic fine dining menus.

For students, popular downtown eateries among the college-aged crowd include Are You Hungry, Mad Mex, and Margarita’s Pizza (college students can never go wrong with pizza).

The ever-popular fast-food chains available are McDonalds, Chipotle, Five Guys and Subway.

Coffee lovers will be happy to know that there are two Dunkin’ Donuts and a Starbucks downtown (in addition to a Starbucks in the Hub).

Also, when the weather is warm, the Downtown Farmer’s Market on Locust Lane is an easy way to get a handful of items including freshly grown fruits and vegetables.

Penn State Football Tickets

If you want to get football season tickets, be sure to be on the computer at the exact time your class is scheduled. You should receive an email from the athletic department about a month or so before the tickets go on sale with the designated date and time to purchase tickets.

If you don’t get tickets don’t worry. Penn State has made reselling tickets easier and more affordable if you’re looking to buy tickets. The price floor for selling tickets is $10 and the max is $70. All the tickets are placed on your ID card, so there’s no need to meet someone to exchange the tickets. Tickets can be bought and sold through the athletic department here.

The ticket sale is usually held in the middle of June. View the 2013 Penn State Football Schedule here.

Places to Shop

Downtown State College

There’s several convenient stores downtown including McLanahan’s which has two locations. One is on East College Avenue and another on Allen Street. Both locations have a full market with a deli. The College Ave location also sells a full selection of Penn State merchandise. Whether you’re into the arts, the outdoors, sports or just the latest fashion, downtown State College has numerous shops to choose from. See the full list of stores here.

If you’d prefer to shop at big retail stores such as Target and Wal-Mart, State College has them as well.

Stores outside of Downtown State College

The Nittany Mall (Map) has plenty of department stores that you can recognize from your hometown mall. If you’re student doesn’t have a car, the mall is just a short CATA Bus ride (M Route) from campus.

State College is home to two Wal-Marts, Target, Kohl’s, Trader Joes, and a Dick’s Sporting Goods in addition to many other popular retail stores.

Transportation To and From State College

Most students rely on the bus to take them home for weekends or holidays. The State College Bus Depot (Map) is located right across from campus on North Atherton Street. Greyhound and Fullington offer regular service both weekdays and weekends.

One of the newer services is Megabus, which picks students up from the North Atherton Wal-Mart Parking Lot. (Map)

If you’re looking to take a train home, the closest Amtrak station is in Lewistown, about 40 minutes from State College. (Map)

For those that need to fly, the State College Airport (Map) has plenty of daily flights that can fit your tight travel schedule.


Getting around town is easy thanks to CATA (Centre Area Transportation Authority). The Blue and White loops take you around campus and town for free! For $1.50 per ride, there are 20 other routes that can take you wherever you need to go including Wal-Mart and the Mall.


While State College may be a small town in the middle of Central Pennsylvania, it draws major acts that typically hit larger cities.

The Bryce Jordan Center, The State Theatre ,Center for Performing Arts and Penn State Centre Stage are the four primary entertainment providers in town.

So far in 2013, the BJC has hosted Bon Jovi and country music star Luke Bryan. In November 2012, Bruce Springsteen and Carrie Underwood paid a visit to Happy Valley.

The State Theatre is community owned and provides entertainment of all forms. From comedians to musicals, to award-winning films, The State provides an intimate atmosphere for a show.

Penn State’s Center for the Performing Arts is housed in two buildings on Penn State’s campus, Eisenhower Auditorium and Schwab Auditorium. The primary form of entertainment you will find at the Center for Performing Arts is stage shows, including musicals, concerts, classical music recitals and more.

Organized through the Penn State School of Theatre, Penn State Centre Stage features lively theatrical shows entirely produced by Penn State students and staff members.