For most Penn Staters, the end of the academic year means packing up belongings and heading home for a summer away from Happy Valley — until Arts Fest, of course. But if you plan on staying local after finals week ends, here’s your official State College summer bucket list.
Spend a day at the Arboretum.
One of Happy Valley’s most beautiful hangouts isn’t in full-bloom for the majority of the school year. Make sure you enjoy the Arboretum while you can — you can choose to spend a day there with some friends or even do some work outside.
Take a hike up Mt. Nittany.
During the school year, it can be tricky to find a free weekend to make the hike up one of Happy Valley’s most scenic landmarks. Take advantage of your extra free time and cross this trip off your pre-graduation bucket list.
Go on a bar crawl.
One of the worst parts about State College bars during the school year is undoubtedly the massive lines to get into the most popular hot spots. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy some shorter lines at your favorite bars, as well as check out some venues you’ve never been to before.
Attend (more than one) sporting event.
Most Big Ten sports don’t end when the school year ends, and a few local teams even play right at home during the summer. Check out as many games as you can, whether it’s women’s softball or the local State College Spikes baseball team.
Go to a pool party at McCoy Natatorium.
Spending a summer away from the beach doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun in the sun. Grab your friends and head over to the McCoy Natatorium on a sunny day — the outdoor pool even serves food and drinks on occasion.
Try as many new flavors at the Creamery as possible.
Students who travel home for the summer miss out on one of Happy Valley’s most popular eateries: The Berkey Creamery. When you crave a cone during an especially sweltering day, be adventurous and try a new flavor.
Take photos with your favorite Happy Valley landmarks.
Most Penn Staters have likely fought for a spot next to the Lion Shrine during a busy weekend or tried to capture the perfect shot of Old Main in the fall. With smaller crowds and a bit more free time on your hands this summer, it’s a great opportunity to hold your own personal photo tour before the cold weather hits.
Host your own Arts Fest party.
Staying local for the summer means you won’t have to scramble to find housing by the time Arts Fest rolls around. There’s no better way to take advantage of your space than to host a shindig yourself. Get your gang together and make some homemade snacks and drinks for the occasion.
Give someone else a tour of campus.
Whether it’s your friends from home or your entire family, invite someone to State College for the weekend and show them your favorite spots around campus. Nothing beats showing off the world’s best school when the weather is nice and the landscape is in full-bloom.
Sit in on a random summer session lecture.
Some of Penn State’s courses, like SOC 119, are so popular that students even sit in on classes just for fun. Attend a lecture one day for that weird class you wanted to take but never could, or use the summer to drop by and say hello to an old professor.
Eat a stereotypical State College food.
Chances are you’ve heard of these infamous Penn State delicacies since your first tour, but have never actually given some a try yourself. Switch up your usual meal and give a Grilled Sticky or a box of Pokey Stix a try if you haven’t already.
Start a “We Are” chant during a campus tour.
Go ahead. Be that person — you’ll make a potential student’s day.