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Onward Debate: Eastern vs. Western Downtown State College

Throughout history, humans have engaged in one geographical dispute after another — rarely taking the time to accept and appreciate our differences. Thus, it should be no surprise that, even to this day, our beloved State College has been plagued by a debate of this nature.

Ever since the advent of off-campus housing, students have been forced to choose between the East and West parts of downtown. Both halves have their pros and cons, so to help settle the debate, two of our staffers from opposite ends of downtown State College weighed in.

For simplicity, we drew an imaginary line through the HUB as the unofficial boundary between East and West.

Anthony Fiset: East Side

I’ve lived happily in the Meridian for the past two years, which is as far east as you can get in State College before you are technically considered ‘outside of Philly.’ Still, I’d rather be dead than live on the west side.

Feast in the East at great food spots like McDonald’s, D.P. Dough, Baby’s Burgers and Shakes, Playa Bowls, and Sower’s Harvest Cafe. We even have our own Subway, Starbucks, and McLanahan’s, so we don’t need to trek West for those. Most places on the East side of downtown are also a short walk away from Redifer Commons for those who want to get the most out of their LionCash and/or Commuter Meal Plan. And let’s not forget the crown jewel of East State College: Big Bowl.

Most of the bars are on the West half of downtown State College, which seems like a disadvantage for the East. However, this is actually a good thing because you’re forced to walk and burn off all of those empty calories (or walk by all of those late night food options and take in some more delicious calories…that works too). Plus, it keeps the East quiet and peaceful — relatively speaking, of course.

Arguably the biggest perk about the east side of downtown is its proximity to Beaver Stadium and all of the other Penn State sports venues — except Rec Hall, which is marooned out West because it sucks. On game days, you’re pretty much just one quick walk up University Drive away from the tailgate lots, whereas those on the west side must complete a full Iditarod across campus just to make it to the game on time.

Granted, the walk to classes may be a bit longer than they would be from the west side, but that’s why God created the White Loop. On the other hand, the Blue Loop does skip the east half of College Ave., but that’s just because the Blue Loop doesn’t make any sense.

To quote the great Patrick Star, “Oh, East? I thought you said [the best half of downtown State College].” They’re synonymous, Patrick.

Mikey Mandarino: West Is Best

The Western part of downtown State College is easily the superior option. It’s a practical part of town for students to live in because of its proximity to most of the classrooms on campus. I’ve lived in the Western part of State College for the past two years, and being a stone’s throw away from the majority of my classes makes my life so much easier.

Additionally, this side of town has plenty of excellent food options. You can count on Irving’s, McLanahan’s, Snap Pizza, the Corner Room, and countless other spots to grab a bite to eat. That’s not to mention other options like the Sheetz on Pugh or the Target on Fraser. There are also way more options to park your car in West downtown — including the Fraser Street, Pugh Street, and Beaver Avenue parking garages — for those who commute.

I’m not a bar guy yet, but the fact that the vast majority of State College’s best bars are on the West side of town is also a huge plus. The Gaff is only just on the Western side of our previously-established line at the HUB, but favorites like the Phyrst, Pickles, and Champs are firmly in the West.

As far as housing options are concerned, West downtown has plenty of apartment buildings, including The Palmerton and Beaver Plaza, but it also boasts something its opposite side can only dream of: houses. The houses west of Atherton play host to the crème de la crème of daylongs, especially once the weather gets warm.

There’s no debate here. The Western part of downtown State College is far, far superior to its Eastern counterpart.

Which side of downtown do you stan? Let us know in the comments.

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