15 Top Stops for Summer
Top Places to Unwind and Explore this Season
When the weather gets nice, Happy Valley turns into its own form of paradise, featuring fantastic al fresco dining options and one-of-a-kind attractions to explore. Take advantage of the slower-paced summer months and take in the best that Happy Valley has to offer.
Enjoy a cold drink
Milkshakes + Booze = Happiness at The Field Burger and Tap
Technically an upscale burger joint, the real highlight of this place are the milkshakes. Boozy milkshakes. That use Creamery ice cream. Try the Salted Caramel Pretzel with caramel vodka, crushed pretzels, and caramel drizzle, or the S'mores with whipped vodka, chocolate, and marshmallows. The bar also offers a great selection of local beers on tap, wine, and cocktails.
Toftrees Golf Resort, One Country Club Lane, State College; 814-234-8000; www.toftrees.com/restaurant
Picturesque Al Fresco Dining (and Drinking!) at Gigi’s Southern Table
Touted by HappyValley.com staff as one of the best outdoor patios in the area, Gigi’s offers a great summer place to meet friends or a date for drinks and dinner after work, or to enjoy a Saturday morning brunch. Overlooking the mountains of central Pennsylvania with beautiful landscaping and decorations, the setting almost makes it feel like you’re in Italy. They specialize in fresh farm to shaker cocktails, like the Bourbon Betty, Cucumber Gimlet, and Low Country Whiskey Jars like Honey Bees Knees and Fireside Punch. If that doesn’t say happy hour, I don’t know what does.
2080 Cato Ave., State College; 814-861-3463; www.gigisdining.com
Enjoy an Ice Cold Beer on the Patio at Champs
One of the hottest sports bars in town, Champs has a great outdoor deck and open-air seating where you can enjoy an ice cold beer. Try one of their 45 beers on tap in a glass, pitcher, or a table topper that will keep your thirst quenched (plus all of your friends’) all night long. Hot tip: Champs recently opened a second State College location downtown on Allen Street (sans the outdoor seating).
1611 N. Atherton St., State College; 814-234-7700; www.champssportsgrill.net
Score a Prime Patio Seat at Café 210 West
With 40,000 college students gone for the summer, take advantage of a seat on one of the most coveted patios in town. Café 210 has plenty of outdoor seating out front and out back to enjoy al fresco drinking and dining this summer. Have an ice-cold beer, Café Tea, or 210 Freeze.
210 W. College Ave., 814-237-3449; www.cafe210.com
Taste the Islands at the Tiki Bar at Kelly’s Steak & Seafood
Get a tropical taste this summer at Kelly’s outdoor Tiki bar. The deck is covered and heated, with curtained sides, so you can still enjoy outdoor drinks during summer showers and cool evening temperatures. Kelly's Tiki bar serves up tropical cocktails, frozen drinks, and beer from the lands of sun and sand in addition to the usual bar fare. The deck can also accommodate parties of up to 25.
316 Boal Ave., Boalsburg; 814-466-6251; www.kellys-steak.com
See and Be Seen at Inferno’s Outdoor Lounge
Inferno serves up more than just great pizza. Boasting downtown’s only outdoor lounge, it’s the place to see and be seen—complete with comfy couches and chairs. The establishment has an extensive beer, wine, and specialty cocktail list, and also offers bottle service.
340 E. College Ave., State College; 814-237-5718; www.infernobrickovenbar.com
Cool off with a sweet treat
Get Some of the Best and Freshest Ice Cream in Town at Meyer Dairy
Sure, The Creamery on campus is good, but this homemade, hand-dipped ice cream from a local dairy with cows on site is great! The Meyers have owned this family farm for generations, and their decades of experience has been perfected in their ice cream. Choose from traditional flavors and treats, or more unusual flavors like coconut chip and maple walnut. While you’re there, pick up some fresh milk and cheese to take home. Make sure you have cash; the establishment does not accept credit cards.
2390 S. Atherton St., State College; 814-237-1849
Explore our region
Go Underground at Penn’s Cave
When it’s hot outside and you aren’t near water, the next best place to be is underground. Penn’s Cave, which stays a cool 52 degrees all year round, is the only cave in the state that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can enjoy a 45-minute tour of the water cavern by boat. Explore the glittering stalactites and stalagmites, and take a ride on Lake Nitanee. The site also features a farm-nature-wildlife tour, a miner’s maze, and guided Jeep mountain tour.
222 Penns Cave Road, Centre Hall; 814-364-1664; www.pennscave.com
Enjoy Hot Rides and Cool Slides at DelGrosso’s Amusement Park
Just a short ride from State College, this self-proclaimed home of "hot rides and cool slides” features more than 30 rides and attractions including a toddlers' Kid's Kingdom and an extensive water park. And, the water park grew even bigger in 2016 with the opening of Laguna Splash in May, which features a new wave pool, lazy river, and other water fun. A great place to cool off on a hot day!
4352 E. Pleasant Valley Blvd., Tipton; 814-684-3538; www.mydelgrossopark.com
Get Back to Nature at The Arboretum at Penn State
Explore nature’s beauty by taking a walk through the Arboretum at Penn State and H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens. It’s a great place for a morning walk or evening stroll outside of the hottest hours of the day. The site also includes Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden, where kids can wander, wonder, explore, and ask questions. Best of all, admission to the Arboretum is free!
Corner of Bigler Road and Park Avenue, State College; 814-865-9118; www.arboretum.psu.edu
Water Fun Galore at Raystown Lake
Raystown Lake’s WildRiver Water Park in Huntingdon County features two 380-foot twisting slides, a White Water Innertube Ride, Atomic Blaster, and Children’s Splash and Play Pool. Daily and season passes are available, along with a carload special on Mondays – up to six people receive an unlimited all-day pass for $55.00. WildRiver’s pavilions are prime real estate for picnics and reunions with catered meals available.
If you’re looking for a different type of water fun, you’ll also find it at Raystown Lake, with 8,500 acres of deep, clean water suited for aquatic sports like boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, or jet skiing, or just floating around. The 29,000 acre site also features 12 public access areas, picnic areas, campgrounds, trails, hunting, fishing, and much more.
3101 Chipmunk Crossing, Entriken; 814-658-3500; www.rvcoutdoors.com/lake-raystown-resort
Learn about Nature at Shaver’s Creek
Penn State's nature center offers fun and educational environmental programs and events for the community. You can visit the nature center, hike the trails, meet birds of prey in the Raptor Center, or explore hands-on exhibits and live reptiles in the Discovery Room.
3400 Discovery Rd., Petersburg, 814-863-2000; www.shaverscreek.org
Hit the Links on Penn State Golf Courses
Hit the links on a beautiful summer day on one of Penn State's two golf courses, the Blue or White Course. They also offer an award-winning driving range with four practice putting greens, a bunker area, and 32 artificial driving range stalls.
1523 W. College Ave., State College; 814-865-4653; www.pennstategolfcourses.com
Get Ice Cold at Pegula Ice Arena
You’ll feel ice cold—literally—when you step onto the rink at Pegula Ice Arena. Home to Penn State's varsity hockey programs, the facility also features a community rink that is open for public use 360 days a year. A skating school and private lessons are also available.
250 University Drive, State College; www.gopsusports.com/pegula-ice-arena
Climb Mount Nittany
The quintessential hiking trail in Happy Valley, Mount Nittany offers breathtaking views of State College and the surrounding region from the top. A fairly short climb of 1,000 yards, the hike to the top takes less than half an hour on average.
Mount Nittany Road, Lemont, www.hikemountnittany.com
Did you know that we round up top places to eat, visit and explore every week? Go to HappyValley.com and sign up to get our Top Picks delivered to your inbox!