The Hidden Gems of Happy Valley

By Laura Zaks

There doesn’t exactly exist a treasure map when it comes Happy Valley. There is no “x marks the spot,” no golden fleece or even a centaur waiting to guide your quest — no matter how much we might wish there were.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t hidden gems just waiting to be discovered all throughout the happiest valley in the world! They have magical powers of their own, providing Nittany Lions with memorable experiences to last a lifetime.

Whether you’re a townie or a tourist, here are some hotspots you definitely need to check out!


Uncle Eli’s

One of State College’s first stores, Uncle Eli’s is any artist’s safe haven. Stuffed with trinkets, vintage posters, mugs that change color, cards for any occasion and beautiful, original jewelry, the shop does not disappoint. Explore different pins, bumper stickers, flipbooks, funky socks and paintings, or go ahead and buy art supplies to make masterpieces for yourself!


Comic Swap

A State College staple since 1976, Comic Swap has always been a safe space for celebrating the world of fiction, art and fantasy. This hidden gem specializes in new and used comics, board games, trade paperbacks, hardcovers and board games. Each customer can find something they are looking for because every genre possible is represented. Comic Swap also prides itself in being home to Magic the Gathering, hosted on Fridays at 6 p.m. We told you these spots have magic of their own!



This might be one of the more popular “hidden gems,” but nonetheless deserves some major spotlight. Webster’s Bookstore & Café is home to nooks and books galore; whether you’re looking for history, fiction, cookbooks, children-books, it has it all! Check out the mailbox in the children’s corner for some letters and notes written by folks with a message to share. Sunday’s there’s a vegan brunch and Tuesdays are known for Argentine Tango nights. Monthly events range from concerts to open mic. Webster’s is a home for everyone!


Pennsylvania Military Museum

History is always something to celebrate, and that is exactly what the Pennsylvania Military Museum sets out to do. To truly relish in the experience, stroll through the display of tanks, by an outdoor waterfall and through monuments and exhibitions inside the museum. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Friday and Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Check out the many events they host — including lecture series, guided tours or showings of historic films— on their website! 


Sower’s Harvest Café

There’s nothing sour about this charming café overflowing with coffees, teas, smoothies and dishes that will have you craving more. Naturally healthy cuisine mixed with the warmth of a welcoming community, Sower’s is home to delicious salads, warm pretzels, omelets, parfaits and egg sandwiches. The café itself presents a homey atmosphere unlike any other, thanks to fixtures like plants, books, paintings and a piano surrounded by bean bags for children and families to relax in while waiting for food! Dive into an apple cheddar turkey panini or scarf down a southwestern omelet — the sky is the limit!


Apple Hill Antiques

Celebrating its 22nd anniversary this year, Apple Hill Antiques is Happy Valley’s premier antique and collectable co-op. Home to over 45 dealers, this gem is here to cater to any home’s style and story! If you’re looking for country primitive pieces, early American furniture and housewares, vintage signage and jewelry or mid-century modern collectibles, then you’re in for a quite an experience at Apple Hill. With their quality items and quality service, customers can’t stop raving about the shop that makes their home all the more unique and special.

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