Besides the inevitable search for houses and apartments in State College, there are a few things that every Penn Stater should see and do throughout the academic year. You know you went to Penn State if you’ve experienced one, or all, of these ten things.
1. There’s no better place to be on a fall Saturday than Beaver Stadium
It’s the house Paterno built. It’s ninety thousand people wearing Navy and White and cheering for one of the country’s most prestigious college sports programs. It’s seeing the Nittany Lion run up and down the sidelines. It’s regularly considered one of the top college game day experiences in the country. It’s getting fired up just by hearing the words “We Are.” You simply can’t describe what it’s like to attend a Penn State football game; it’s something you just have to experience.
2. You’ve danced til you couldn’t dance, and then you danced some more at THON
THON is the oldest student-run philanthropy dedicated to taking on childhood cancer. With the goal of financial and emotional support as well as providing awareness, THON is a yearlong effort put forth by Penn State students, ending with a 46-hour no sitting/no sleeping dance marathon at the Bryce Jordan Center. The event brings in millions—yes, we said millions—of dollars each year, and you can take pride in your sore feet knowing it was all for a good cause.
3. You’ve hit up The Waffle Shop with your parents and/or to kill a hangover
The Waffle Shop is the premier breakfast destination in State College. Combining 70’s décor with an unbeatable breakfast menu, The Waffle Shop is a popular place for Penn State students to eat in the mornings. The only downside of this magnificent establishment is the lines the form on the weekends. You’re going to want to show up early if you want to be one of the first to chow down on a plate of Eggs Benedict, but don’t worry—the line moves fast enough as over 1,000 customers eat there regularly. Plus, after a night out, we know that nothing beats a stack of waffles with a refreshing glass of orange juice.
4. You’ve tried every ice cream flavor at the Berkey Creamery
The Berkey Creamery has been churning out ice cream since 1865 and is a delicious part of the Penn State experience. With close ties to PSU’s Department of Food Science, the creamery produces a variety of cheeses, specialties coffees and, more importantly, over 120 different flavors of ice cream—we recommend the Peachy Paterno. It’s pure, edible magic.
5. You’ve had your fair share of Canyon Pizza at 2 a.m
If you attend PSU, Canyon Pizza is/was surely the source of your “Freshman 15.” This shop, located right on Beaver Avenue, is always busiest around bar close, and splitting the $4 combo with your pals after a night of bar hopping is the best way to fulfill your greasy fix on a student budget. Canyon Pizza also features convenient delivery, so you can even enjoy it if you decided to stay in. Just be careful to make sure the “Freshman 15” doesn’t become the “Sophomore 30.”
6. You’ve shared a pitcher at Café 210 West
On any given sunny day you will find a group of people sitting under the green umbrellas sharing a pitcher at Café 210 West. The Café features a friendly atmosphere, tasty food, and even live music. Whether you’ve just finished a brutal stats exam or want to take advantage of a rare warm afternoon in State College, Café 210 is a must for all Nittany Lions.
7. You’ve never been to Times Square, but you’ve been to the HUB which is close enough
You forget you go to a school with a total enrollment of over 97,000 until you spend an afternoon at the HUB. The Hertzel Union Building, more commonly known as the HUB, is Penn State’s Student Union. Here you can browse the bookstore, grab a quick bite to eat or people-watch the thousands of students that visit the building each day. The crowds could be enough to freak you out, but once you’ve spent some time in the HUB, you’ll feel like you can take on New Year’s Eve in New York, no problem.
8. The summer means Art Fest.
The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts brings over 125,000 people to the State College area over four days each July. The festival features live performances, an impressive sand sculpture, and a sidewalk sale for those interested in scoring some décor for their new apartment. Be sure to grab your friends and check out some sidewalk paintings where people will gladly do your caricatures for a price.
9. You spent your 21st at the Phyrst
Located in a basement setting, Phyrst has the cheapest drinks in town and is a popular nightspot for the thirsty college crowd. In addition to competitive nightly specials, the bar offers patrons a spot to explore the local music scene, and you can catch bands straight out of State College nearly every Friday night. If you’re feeling hungry, don’t hesitate to mow down a huge helping of Phryst Fries for just five dollars. It might not be the most polished bar State College has to offer, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the best—Business Insider even rated it as one of the top 31 college bars in America.
10. You live and die for Burrito Mondays at Mad Mex
In addition to one of the best names we’ve come across for a Mexican restaurant, Mad Mex has some of the best food and drink specials in town—if you haven’t hit up $5 all-you-can-eat burrito Mondays, you haven’t truly lived. The restaurant also features a unique array of beer and margaritas, and the prices (not even counting Mondays) blow away every other Mexican option in the area.
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