The Best Downtown Locations To Take Your Graduation Photos

Featuring Sarah Caskie, Ted Hozza, Jess Myers, Noel Purcell, and Alicia Thomas. Photos by Jack Lukow. 

If you’ve walked around campus clad in your cap and gown with your friends and trusty photographer in tow, you can attest to the fact graduation pictures are both strangely exciting and overwhelmingly nostalgic. Gathering your senior friends to take photos at all the quintessential spots where you’ve made memories over the last four years is a ritual designed to give you cherished memories — but in our case, we just got drunk. Choosing the places on campus to document your Penn State career is easy enough; just look for hordes of people all traveling in packs wearing their caps and gowns and follow them! But if you want to think outside the box or avoid your fellow classmates, head downtown. To make your quest for prime senior picture locations easier, we went and took graduation photos at all the best spots around downtown State College.


American Chiropractic’s Outdoor Massage Chair

My Wednesday_33

When you want to awkwardly hover hand your friends while people give you weird looks, there’s simply no better place. This spot also doubles as the perfect place to destress before a long day of obnoxiously forced photos.

The Future Site of the Fraser Centre

My Wednesday_34

Much like your academic career, this project spent the better part of the last four years looking unkempt before turning into an absolute mess in the hopes of finishing on time.

That Weird Parking Deck Elevator

My Wednesday_37

Remember all the good times you had in that elevator, man? How could you not get a picture there. It’s pretty much the embodiment of your college experience.

McLanahan’s Bread Aisle

My Wednesday_38

Think about how much bread you’ve consumed in the last four years. It would be a crime to not get a photo commemorating all those carbohydrates.

Interrupting Someone Else’s Grad Photos

My Wednesday_39

There’s no better graduation picture than one that totally ruins someone else’s photos. Call it photo-ception, just be prepared to run afterwards. Bonus points if said group happens to include your arch nemesis or ex-girlfriend.

In The ATM Line

My Wednesday_40

Think about how many minutes of your life you’ve wasted because some idiot forgot their PIN or decided they needed more cash for the End Zone. Those are the memories you’ll cherish forever.

The Phyrst’s Table 69 

My Wednesday_56 My Wednesday_63

You can cling to the last remnants of your college career by drinking Trash Cans, dancing on tables, and making jokes about the sex number in a place where you’ve failed to try t0 get laid too many times to count.

The Abandoned Penn State Sub Shop

My Wednesday_66

How great was that sandwich you got here back in the fall of 2013? Oh wait you never actually got food here? Man, no wonder it shut down. You’re responsible for the death of a small business. I hope you’re happy.

Horrifying Murder Alley

My Wednesday_65

You’ve walked through it to get to the back of the Phyrst and smoke cigs, but you never realized just how frightening it is sober. Say cheese!

The Chipotle Line

My Wednesday_68

Get your basic on with a hand-on-hip picture in your favorite lunch spot. One delicious break during your photo shoot gives everyone a chance to refuel.

Buying Another Cap and Gown

My Wednesday_72

Remember the worst moment of your life when you bought your cap and gown? Make sure to capture that sorrowful moment by buying another cap and gown while wearing your cap and gown. Majestic.

Breaking Into the Gaff

My Wednesday_75

It’s no breaking into Old Main, but breaking into the Gaff for a grad picture on the stairs is a must. Unfortunately, we forgot our bolt cutters, so we’ll be back next week.

Those Weird Bronze Pigs

My Wednesday_74

If the line at the Lion Shrine is too long, a picture on these will do the trick.

Urban Outfitters

My Wednesday_73

You probably bought a pair of jeans here one time or like a vinyl you didn’t need or something. Man, college really is the best four years of your life.

The Last Bar On Your List

My Wednesday_78

If you haven’t finished every bar on your checklist, make sure to get your last one all decked out in your cap and gown. Sure, you didn’t cross off every academic achievement on your parents’ list, but this is something to be proud of! Someone might just buy you an Original Sin for your troubles.

 Finally Turning On the Most Annoying Member Of Your Photoshoot

My Wednesday_79 My Wednesday_81

Taking your senior pictures with Ted Hozza is 10 times worse than your worst group project experience.


The clock is ticking, graduates. Go forth and take 500 pictures and post them in an album for all your friends to see. Don’t forget to update your profile picture, cover photo, Twitter icon, and everything else you can find along the way. Remember, college only lasts four years and this post is only like 800 words — but a picture lasts forever and is worth 1,000.

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

About the Author


Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.

Your Guide To Arts Fest 2024

From entertainment to parking restrictions, we compiled everything you need to know before Arts Fest 2024.

Report: Penn State Hoops To Skip VCU Matchup In 2024-25

The Nittany Lions are required to play the Rams once in Richmond, Virginia.

Let Erica Dambach Coach The USMNT: An Open Letter To US Soccer

Jurgen Klopp was never the answer. The 2015 College Cup champion, however, is.

Other posts by Onward State

OS Reviews: Penn State Football’s Lottery Ticketing System

Whether they got tickets or not, our staffers aired out their thoughts on Penn State’s new ticketing strategy.

Staff Picks: Future Events Beaver Stadium Should Host

OS Drafts: The Best Buildings On Penn State’s Campus