What makes this Valley so Happy?

STATE COLLEGE – Smile! You’re in Happy Valley, the happiest valley in the world.

But some days it’s hard to smile. Some days there is something weighing down on our shoulders, our minds, our backs and our hearts.

It’s hard to find reason to smile.

But Happy Valley is here to fix that with its many perks. Not every town has what State College does and with its many features, it’s time to pay tribute to some of the best.


1. The Nittany Lion

Penn State University was versing Princeton in an intense baseball game, one that Harrison D. Mason, a student from the land of blue and white, chose to attend. The fan section from Penn State kept being shown the statue of Princeton’s Bengal tiger, as Princeton students wanted to prove that they were clearly the stronger team. Mason, in result, fabricated a story of Penn State’s unbeatable Nittany Lion, a mountain creature who once ruled over central Pennsylvania up until the late 1880’s. Happy Valley has hailed the lion as a symbol of pride and strength, making a shrine out of him as well as a mascot costume. What other valley out there has such a story and legacy?

2. Center for the Performing Arts 

A heart for art must always be cultivated. It’s important to celebrate culture, difference, dance, song and musicals because that’s where humanity finds itself truly standing apart. Individuals each hold such talent and innovation and through the arts, that individuality can be expressed in the most profound way. Beginning with the Artist Series in 1957, the Center of Performing Arts (CPA) was truly born in 1985, when all sorts of artists showcased their work in Eisenhower. CPA has new shows monthly, ranging from drummers to dancers to Broadway shows, always incorporating new style, movement and sound. There’s always something for everybody.

3. Area Farmers Markets 

In both the spring and fall, Happy Valley keeps your access to fresh foods and snacks at an all-time high. The Downtown State College Indoor market runs from Dec. 1 to April 12, but only on Fridays. In the lobby of the State College Municipal Building, offering raw cheese and yogurts, fruits and vegetables, Wild Alaskan Salmon, organic soaps and lotions, soy candles and essential oils, as well as moon pies and Maya Mountain coffee. The Outdoor Farmer’s Market on Locust Lane comes back in May up until Thanksgiving, selling flowers, pumpkins, meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables, apple cider and homemade pies and tarts. A wonderful asset to Happy Valley, these farmers markets are full of treats and goodies. Take a stroll through the stands and enjoy!

4. Bars, pubs and breweries

Whether it’s State Patty’s Day, a birthday, a Friday night, or any weeknight for that matter, Happy Valley is there to cater to your happy hour needs, so to speak. Take Otto’s Pub and Brewery — a bar and restaurant with quality, hand-crafted beer and cuisine made with ingredients from local farms, wineries and bakeries. Or P.J. Harrigan’s Bar & Grill, a State College destination full of sports memorabilia, dozens of beer on tap as well as wines and martinis. Whatever it is you want to celebrate, State College’s many bars and pubs and breweries got your back…and your drink! 

5. Mount Nittany

Happy Valley becomes more like Happy Mountain when you take a look on over to Mount Nittany. This mountain range consists of a ridge that divides Nittany Valley and Penns Valley. Penn State University is at the very foot of Mount Nittany, making Beaver Stadium one of the many views when you reach the top. Mount Nittany is a renowned Centre County geographical symbol, providing picturesque views, a challenging hike that is worth the experience, as well as the legacy of the term Nittany. In every way beautiful and breathtaking, Mount Nittany is definitely a reason to love Happy Valley.

6. The Palmer Museum of Art

Walk up the steps, through the golden paws outside, and enter the museum that holds 11 galleries, with eight of the 11 showcasing art from the permanent collection that holds more than 8,200 art forms. Featured events take place weekly, whether it be storytelling, poetry or tours of artwork. There is always something to be said about having a museum rife with artistic expression and sculptures right here at home.

7. Penn State football

Can we just a take a moment, please? Every football season that frenzy for jerseys, football tickets, tailgate locations and will to win kicks into almost every Happy Valley resident in the county. The Blue and White spirit is infectious. In Happy Valley, football is king!

8. THON  

“One day we will dance in celebration. Until then we’ll dance for a cure.” THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, having helped 3,700 families, with 16,500 student volunteers, raising 147,000 dollars. For the kids and for the glory, THON is one of the greatest ways Happy Valleys gives back to the community and the world. What other valley can say the same?

9. The Arboretum at Penn State 

Where to begin? If you’re ever down in the dumps, take a relaxing stroll through the Arboretum at Penn State, a gem of a nature sight where flowers, plants, ponds, butterflies, trees, bamboo and tranquil sitting spots reside. There is nothing like laying out on the field of the Arboretum, staring up the vastness of the sky and realizing you are among beauty and peace.


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