When in Happy Valley...
Written by JJ Robb
Whether you’re a
newcomer to Happy
Valley, or a looking
for new ways to enjoy
we give you a guide
to State College and
the charm of the
If you’re planning to be downtown, check out the performance and film schedule at The State Theatre on College Ave. The beautifully refurbished theatre is the hub of community theatre in State College, and offers exciting national acts, acclaimed independent films, family programming and a Live opera broadcast series. Upcoming shows include Proof by the State College Community Theatre October 11-13 & 18-21, Arlo Guthrie December 2, and Scrooge by the State College Community Theatre December 14-16. Call (814) 272-0606 or visit TheStateTheatre.org for scheduling and tickets. S
Shoppers will find a number of unique boutiques including hip
women’s clothiers like Mr. Charles and Access, which offer a
selection of clothing, shoes and accessories you won’t find at the
mall. Adventurous shoppers will find very cool vintage treasures at
Rag & Bone on Calder Way. The eclectic retro atmosphere makes
clothes shopping even more fun.
For casual dining, visit The Corner Room, a State College tradition since 1926 and a great place to catch daily value menu items, such as the delicious all-you-can eat fried chicken on Wednesday nights. Fine dining downtown rivals the big cities thanks to Zola New World Bistro. The urban chic atmosphere includes outdoor seating in warmer months, and the seasonal menu is stocked with local foods. Tasting menus are available by advanced request. The Tavern offers the atmosphere of an 18th century inn and a photo history of State College adorning its walls. Traditional main courses are accompanied by a long list of ‘unlimited’ side dishes that will remind you of Sunday dinner at grandma’s.
While walking through the beautiful 5,448 acres of academic
and athletic history, be sure to visit the venerable Nittany Lion
Shrine – the single most photographed site on campus. Don’t
be surprised to see alumni of all ages standing in line for their
opportunity to pose with the majestic lion!
To learn about the full breadth of the Penn State athletic
legacy, visit the Penn State Athletics All-Sports Museum.
Set just outside of the legendary Beaver Stadium, the two-level,
10,000 sq. ft. facility offers rare archival images, floor-to-ceiling
visuals, historic athletic equipment, and trophies such as the fabled
Of course, no trip to campus is complete without visiting the
famous Berkey Creamery. Operated by Penn State’s College of
Agricultural Sciences, it is the largest creamery in the U.S., using
over 4.5 million pounds of milk each year to make delicious ice
cream and cheese.
Just a short ride away…
If you’re looking for family fun or a fun-filled date, visit Northland
Bowl just off North Atherton Street. In addition to bowling and
arcade fun, they offer a surprisingly wide selection of menu items,
from the traditional pizza and hamburgers to their “Luxury Box”
menu which features prime rib and seafood fettuccini.
For a hearty meal, check out Damon’s Grill State College.
This casual restaurant specializes in steaks, chicken, and award winning
ribs. Best of all, it’s just a few blocks away from Beaver
Stadium and the Bryce Jordan Center, making it perfect for pregame
or pre-concert lunch or dinner.
A favorite among locals is Otto’s Pub & Brewery, home to fresh
craft-brewed beer and locally-sourced fresh food. There is no
shortage of comfort food at Otto’s – we particularly like the bacon-wrapped
meatloaf sandwich. Weekends bring long lines, but grab a
Mt. Nittany Pale Ale at one of the two bars inside to pass the time.
Out and About…
Don’t confine your visit to State College—just a short drive out of
town you’ll find some of Happy Valley’s most charming options for
dining, shopping and visiting.
Kelly’s Steak and Seafood in Boalsburg is THE premiere
steakhouse in Happy Valley. In our experience, Kelly’s has excellent
soups and sandwiches, but is, of course, par excellence in steak,
burgers and seafood. Teriyaki Tenderloins, Kelly’s Cut-10 oz Filet
Mignon, or the decadent 1/2 lb. Kobe Burger are some of our faves
in the red meat department. Fish lovers will enjoy a unique seafood
preparation every night, or menu favorites like the Asiago Crusted
Halibut Cheeks or the Grilled Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon. You’ll
know Kelly’s when you see it, by the bull on the roof.
Boalsburg—the birthplace of Memorial Day—also boasts the
Boal Barn Playhouse, a favorite spot for enjoying community
theatre; Tussey Mountain, offering year-round activities like
skiing, golfing, fishing and go-karts; and several unique shops and
cafes on the Diamond.
The Centre County Library Historical Museum in Victorian Bellefonte is located in the 1814 Miles-Humes house
and offers a view of the area’s history. The museum is a popular
research spot for genealogy collections, county histories, records,
newspapers, and artifacts of local history.
Dining options in Bellefonte range from the Gamble Mill on
Dunlap Street near Lamb’s Crossing over Spring Creek, which offers
an historical atmosphere, an extensive locally-sourced menu and
craft-brewed beer (named after Bellefonte historical references) to
some of the best pizza in Happy Valley at local favorites Pizza Mia
on Spring Street and The Hofbrau, on the corner of Allegheny and
For a drive through some of Happy Valley’s most scenic
farmland, head to Penns Valley hamlets Centre Hall or Millheim,
both stops along Route 45 East from State College. Centre Hall
serves as host to the Annual Grange Fair and offers unique dining
at the Whistle Stop Restaurant,
which features homestyle meals and a
comfortable atmosphere. Just 5 miles east
check out Penn’s Cave, for a boat-tour of America’s only water cavern and an open bus
ride through the wildlife park.
Continue along Route 45 to Millheim, home to several lovely bed and breakfasts popular for fly-fishing enthusiasts. Plan for lunch or dinner at Elk Creek Café to enjoy an uber-local, seasonal menu and craft-brewed beer named for the area’s abundant trout supply, like the delicious Brookie Brown Ale, practically a meal in itself. The Green Drake Gallery & Arts Center is just across the street and features original art, music performances and art education for the community.