More than 100,000 visitors come to explore and discover all that Happy Valley has to offer every year, and many of those visitors are business travelers. If you’re likewise here on business and new to this beautiful area, you’ll be amazed by the variety of things to do once the work day is over. Before the sun sets on your time in Happy Valley, check out one or more of these attractions and adventures.
Looking for a taste of Happy Valley? Check out one (or all) of the creameries, dairies or ice cream shops that scoop up hyper-local ice cream. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, try creating your very own Happy Valley ice cream trail to get a taste of farm fresh deliciousness, starting with the legendary Penn State Berkey Creamery. This regional icon first opened in 1865 in the "College Barns" located behind what's now Old Main. The Creamery uses food science to create its sweet treats, using the latest research from food and dairy researchers to not only make sure that every cow-to-cone scoop is delicious, but also to establish the Creamery as a global ice cream and dairy authority. And good news for visitors: You can order from the Creamery and have your ice cream shipped right to your door back home!
"The Creamery uses food science to create its sweet treats, using the latest research from food and dairy researchers to not only make sure that every cow-to-cone scoop is delicious, but also to establish the Creamery as a global ice cream and dairy authority."
After Penn State Creamery, you might want to scope out IngleBean Ice Cream, which serves scoops from Spring Bank Acres, Reedsville Creamery and more local gems. Or, give a hidden gem a try — Meyer Dairy was founded in 1887 and offers everything from ice cream to farm-fresh milk, cheeses and more.
You won't find a larger art museum collection between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The Palmer Museum, located on campus, is an enlightening option if you want to spend a few hours immersing yourself in art and culture. It’s also widely viewed as one of the state's most significant academic art museums. It's a vibrant resource for everyone in the community, including students, faculty, residents and visitors. Admission is free, and the museum offers a variety of programs and exhibitions to inspire and encourage critical thinking while celebrating diverse cultures. Many visitors are surprised by the size of the museum and the array of collections it houses.
"Some would contend that if you haven’t hiked Mount Nittany, you haven’t really experienced Happy Valley."
The university's trustees set land aside for just this purpose back in 1914. And the Arboretum has been inspiring locals and visitors alike for more than a century since. Another on-campus gem, the Arboretum sprawls across 395 acres with multiple gardens, offering a gorgeous backdrop for your adventures. There's more than just beautiful flowers to see here. The Arboretum's mission is to promote learning about plants and their importance, drawing on the university's academics and the community's strong spirit to grow its gardens, exhibits and programs. Admission to the Arboretum is free, and it’s open daily from dawn to dusk.
What do Penn State alumni, Happy Valley residents and visitors all have in common? They all look up to one of the area's most iconic features: Mount Nittany. In fact, it’s such a popular attraction that some would contend that if you haven’t hiked Mount Nittany, you haven’t really experienced Happy Valley. It’s just a short distance from the Penn State campus, and it offers more than seven miles of trails. There’s a five-mile loop that lets you experience each of the overlooks you’ll find on the map, and it’s worth the effort. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views just perfect for taking a quick selfie or group shot if you’re hiking with friends and/or colleagues.
Happy Valley is lush and home to a thriving agricultural industry. You can choose from a few different ag-focused, self-guided driving tours to learn a little more about the area while discovering memorable spots along the journey. The Happy Valley Agriculture Heritage tour takes you along some of our gorgeous roads, past working farms and family-run restaurants that source their ingredients from local harvests. There's a sense of serenity along the way as you take time out from everyday life and slow things down a bit to catch a glimpse of the area's rich agricultural history that spans hundreds of years.
What’s your favorite Happy Valley adventure? Comment below to share your experiences with fellow visitors.