State College in the Summer

My name is Jenna Spinelle and I’m the newest member of Penn State’s Undergraduate Admissions team. I’m a 2008 Penn State graduate and worked for the College of Information Sciences and Technology prior to joining the admissions team.

When I was a student, a common complaint I heard was that there wasn’t anything to do in State College in the summer. There might not be football or tailgating, but there’s still plenty to do around here — you just have to look a little harder to find it. Whether you’re starting classes a little early or just visiting for FTCAP, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Fourth Fest — Did you know that
    State College is home to one of the top three fireworks displays in the
    nation? We sure are, and it all happens in the area around the Bryce
    Jordan Center on campus. After six years of living in State College, I
    actually have yet to witness Fourth Fest, but I’m hoping to go this
    year. Admission to Fourth Fest is free, although VIP passes are
    available for those want a closer view of the action.
  • Arts Festival — The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts (or “Arts Fest” for short) brings thousands of people to Happy Valley every summer for music, art, theater, and much more. This year’s festival will be held July 8-11. Best of all? Many of the performances are free! With many alumni and students in town for the weekend, Arts Fest almost has the same atmosphere as a Penn State football weekend — minus the football, of course 🙂
  • State College Spikes — If arts or fireworks aren’t your thing, consider a trip to the ballpark to see the State College Spikes in action. Penn State students can also receive free tickets to games through the university’s Student Programming Association (are you sensing a them about summer events around here?)
  • Outdoor Activities — In the heat of the summer, nothing beats a dip in the pool or some time in the shade. The Penn State Natatorium offers both an indoor and an outdoor pool, and Centre County Parks and Recreation operates several pools in State College and surrounding areas. If hiking is more your speed, check out Mount Nittany, which offers nine trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels. Tussey Mountain, a ski lodge in the wintertime, offers summer activities including go-karts, batting cages, and a skate park.

For more information about events going on around State College, check out the Centre Daily Times, Town&Gown magazine, State College magazine, and

The official start of summer is only a few days away — get out and enjoy it!

— Jenna

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