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Fall and Winter Weekends in Happy Valley Will Get You Through Spring Break

A visit to Happy Valley is the perfect way to cast off the back‑to‑school or winter doldrums, or to enjoy the spectacular beauty of the seasons. In addition to the natural beauty of the area, Happy Valley has a variety of events and accommodations that will turn an ordinary weekend into a great mini‑vacation or help you celebrate the holidays.

Since most things in State College are just a few minutes away, there are many combinations of where to stay and what to see, but like good wine pairings here are just a few we appreciate.

Where to stay…

Located just north of Penn State’s University Park campus, The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel is one of Central Pennsylvania’s largest hotels, offering the comfort and relaxation you want coupled with the modern amenities you need. It has two on‑site restaurants – Legends, which literally surrounds diners with Penn State trivia and images and The Gardens which has an elegant Sunday Champagne Brunch. 

Thanksgiving Football Package 

The Chatelaine Bed & Breakfast is also featuring a Thanksgiving package and it benefits a good cause. The Chatelaine will be donating $50 per room going to the Habitat for Humanity Fund. Learn more here

What to see…

The Penn Stater is just minutes away from the Bryce Jordan Center, a 16,000 seat arena located on Penn State campus. A show at the BJC is a perfect way to spend an evening enjoying world class entertainment. The BJC draws exciting acts, including a‑list musical talent like Carrie Underwood and Bruce Springsteen—both coming this fall—as well as major productions like Cirque du Soleil and WWE wrestling. The upcoming BJC schedule doesn’t disappoint, so check it out and pick a weekend.

Remember that the BJC also hosts Penn State Men’s and Lady Lions Basketball, another great way to spend a winter evening!

Where to stay…

The historic Nittany Lion Inn, is located on campus grounds, so you can be close to the action while enjoying a gracious and intimate environment. The Nittany Lion Inn was once referred to as “Penn State’s living room” by one of the university’s former Presidents and looking at the comfortable arm chairs and crackling fires in public areas, it’s easy to see why.

What to see…

The Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State is only minutes away from The Nittany Lion Inn and is a leading voice in the arts for the Happy Valley area. It brings audiences together with enriching performances in theatre, dance, and music. Previous seasons have included performances by prominent dance troupes, jazz performers, and musical revues. The calendar also includes special holiday performances for those in spirit of the season. Schedule highlights include Tap Dogs in December and The Addams Family, a new musical comedy, in February, and tons of amazing shows in between.

Where to stay…

The Courtyard State College and the Holiday Inn Express State College at Williamsburg Square are both comfortable and affordable options easily accessible to the downtown area. Both are modern and attractive and offer all the amenities you’d expect, like high‑speed Wi‑Fi and fitness centers. The Holiday Inn Express offers a hot breakfast buffet while the Courtyard has a full service restaurant. The Courtyard also includes an indoor swimming pool and whirlpool – both lovely ways to warm up after an active winter’s adventure.

What to see…


In addition to lots of seasonal charm, State College’s downtown area offers some of the best holiday shopping in Centre County. Unique gift shops like The Growing Tree, Avant Garden, The Cheese Shoppe, Kitchen Kaboodle, and Nittany Quill will help you find a special something for everyone on your shopping list. 

First Night

Of course, First Night is an event not to be missed. The festivities begin at 10 a.m. on New Year’s Eve with giant ice sculpture carving – over 100 ice blocks are carved – and lasts until midnight ringing in the New Year. Throughout the event, spectators are treated to brass bands, carriage rides, Celtic music and puppet shows, just to name a few of the attractions that take over the downtown area. This is the ideal New Year’s event for families looking for fun for all ages!