Throughout the country, university towns like State College, home to Pennsylvania State University, welcome groups with the enthusiasm of a mascot energizing a crowd at a collegiate sporting event.
State College, where the local mascot is Penn State’s Nittany Lion, is a popular university locale that matches the amenities of a big city, including ample accommodations and meeting space, nationally televised sporting events, attractions galore, an eclectic mix of dining opportunities and other intriguing diversions.
“We sell Central Pennsylvania as the home of Penn State; it’s a good partnership,” says Shirley Smith, director of sales at the Central Pennsylvania CVB. “Attendees will definitely know they’re in a college town. You can feel it.”
With its vibrant ambience, State College is a destination that is sure to drive attendance for planners tasked with facilitating a meeting in the Northeast.
Situated within driving distance of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York City and Washington, D.C., State College is first and foremost the setting for Penn State.
Founded in 1855, the university has evolved into a premier research institution from which planners can tap speakers on a wide range of topics.
One good way to get acquainted with Penn State is via the Blue/White Campus Tour, which is facilitated by local outfitter Happy Valley Tours. The three-hour outing includes stops at Beaver Stadium and Millennium Science Center, among other places.
According to the Central Pennsylvania CVB, other points of interest on campus include the Center for the Performing Arts, the Palmer Museum of Art and Eisenhower Auditorium, which all double as attractions and off-site spaces for group receptions and other gatherings.
The CVB’s Smith says planners will get a lot of assistance from the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel and Nittany Lion Inn, which are both official university properties. Staff at the dynamic duo can help with tailgate parties like those happening with fans on Penn State’s game days, as well as tickets to sporting and other on-campus events.
Of course, there are also major area attractions away from campus that groups will enjoy, including Penn’s Cave & Wildlife Park, the Pennsylvania Military Museum, Columbus Chapel and Boal Mansion Museum, and the American Philatelic Society.