State College, Pennsylvania

Uncanny Happy Valley

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What's it like to live in State College?

What is living in State College like? Thinking about moving there.

I loved living in town. You can walk everywhere. That was a big adjustment when I moved back to the suburbs. I really missed that. The town has plenty of places to eat, drink, and hang-out with friends. I can't even explain football weekend insanity or Arts Fest so fun. Areas in town could do with a revitalization plan, but overall I am so excited I can visit more often now that my daughter is in college there. The campus is beautiful and has continued to improve since I graduated. If you prefer outdoorsy type stuff, there is a ton to do. Biking, hiking, spelunking…However, I will tell you honestly, that the school is definitely an island unto it self. Some of the small towns and rural communities you will pass through to get to U Park can feel very remote and disconnected from the spirit of diversity and community in State College. More than one alumni of color mentioned their concerns about Phillipsburg in particular. But, it doesn't seem to stop the school from growing or diminish the energy of the residents/students.

What is living in State College like? Thinking about moving there.
Don’t live in state college but I work there. For me I wanted to have a quiet piece of land with a few acres. I actually grew up in the same town where I live now. Which is about 40mins from state college. As far as living there it’s nice. Lots of places to eat and a good amount of shopping. Town can be a bit hectic during school but it’s not terrible. When the kids are out of school the town is much more laid back. Lots of stuff to do in the area if you are the outdoors type. Night life is fun for a little bit but it gets old after while as it’s the same old thing. Campus is very nice place to hang out when the weather is nice

What is living in State College like? Thinking about moving there.

I grew up and live in the nearby city of Altoona (about 40 minutes south), and I went to Penn State University for 2 years. I have many friends who live or work in State College.

Basically the middle-west part of Pennsylvania where State College is located is the northern tip of the Appalachians. So it's a mountainous area (although if you're anywhere near the Rockies you may laugh at that description) that is largely surrounded by rural farming communities. State college is nicknamed Happy Valley because the city sits in between the mountains to the northwest and the mountains to the southeast. I really do think it's beautiful, and if you like outdoorsy stuff like hunting and fishing you will have plenty of opportunities.

State College has some big advantages and some big disadvantages. It is a college town, so during the school year there are times when the town feels really packed and traffic can get bad (think college football with a 105,000 capacity stadium). On the flip side it has tons of cool elements like great bars, lots of great restaurants, tons of stores, lots of entertainment options, and even a variety of nice parks and hiking trails.

One last issue: property values. Buying a house in state college is a nightmare. The land is unreasonably expensive and if you're working class then you're either going to rent, buy a townhouse for a TON of money, or buy a place in one of the nearby towns. Everyone I know that works in state college bought a house in a town nearby and commutes. Bellefonte, Spruce Creek, Boalsburg, Snowshoe, Port Matilda, Phillipsburg, Huntingdon, Tyrone, and Lewistown are all places where I know people who live there and commute to State College. Most of these towns have nice communities and are usually pretty good to live in, but it is something to consider.

If you have any other questions hit me up and I'll try to get answers for you.

What is it like to live in State College, PA?
Plusses and minuses. I often try and imagine what State College would be without the “College”. My guess is a very sleepy small town. The university drives this region, my guess is certainly at least the nearest 50 miles and certainly contributes to the state itself.

There are many locally owned shops and restaurants (on top of a ton of national brands) that in no way could exist there without the money the university brings in with the student base. I

If you live away from Beaver and College (the two main streets that pass through town), you get the benefit of all that extra money brings in without having to deal with all that comes with multiple thousands of students. We have many stellar grocery chains (Wegmans, Trader Joes, Giant, Weis, a local food coop and many farmer’s markets), a ton of restaurants, a zillion banks it seems, 2 large movie theaters, however a dying mall oddly enough.

A great plus (nothing to do with Penn State) is the nearby parks of Rothrock, Black Moshannon, Bald Eagle, Poe Paddy, etc. It’s a very beautiful part of the state!!

Honestly if it wasn’t that I’d married my wife and moved here as my step kids were already in school, I would NOT have moved here. So many places in the US I’ve either lived in (Boulder, CO) or wanted to live in (Oregon, Washington, Adirondacks) that I would’ve moved or stayed instead.