State College PA downtown

Best Places to Live in the US in 2022 Sponsored by: eXp RealtyeXp Realty

State College, PA is the #85 Best City to Live in the USA

State College PA downtown
iStock/benedek
State College, PA
Quality of Life
Liv Score

602
How We Calculate Our Data
Civics 82
Demographics 28
Economy 48
Education 55
Health 71
Housing 53
Infrastructure 46
Amenities 61

Why State College is one of the best cities to live in

Located in the heart of central Pennsylvania, State College, PA, is home to Penn State University’s flagship campus. With nearly 46,000 undergrads, the university literally doubles the size of State College and provides access to the many amenities tied to a world-class academic institution. As a result, the city enjoys a diversified economy powered by an able workforce, a vibrant arts scene, an eclectic array of restaurants, a robust public school system and plenty of parks. This community is also great for raising a family, thanks to fun children’s activities like the Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden at Penn State’s 395-acre arboretum.

Known colloquially as Happy Valley, it’s no wonder State College has been named one of the best places to live in the U.S. On crisp fall Saturdays, as nearly 107,000 cheering fans fill the seats in Beaver Stadium, the valley moves the needle from happy to downright joyous whenever the beloved Nittany Lions score a win. 

What are State College’s major industries and employers?

Higher education, health care, construction and retail are all major players in State College’s robust economy.

What are the major colleges and universities in State College?

Penn State University

What is the weather like in State College? 

It’s hard to ask for better weather from April through October. Days are warm with jackets required most evenings except during the height of summer. Winters are cold and wet, with an average of 45 inches of snowfall annually. Area forecasts should be on point as AccuWeather is headquartered in Ferguson Township just outside State College. 

What is there to do outside in State College?

Hike nearly nine miles of trails and take in the scenic views from Mount Nittany, which is both a cultural symbol and a prominent landmark for the region. Begin at Mount Nittany Trailhead to follow the blue or white trail, rated intermediate to strenuous. A complete trail map is available for download.

State College, PA is Remote-Ready

What makes State College a great place for remote workers?

As a state, Pennsylvania boasts the sixth largest economy in the country, with over 5% of its population working remotely. In State College specifically, more than half of its residents are between 18 and 24, and nearly 45% have a Master’s Degree. A highly educated and youthful town centered around a university means a lively nightlife with lots to do, many places to work from, including bars, libraries and cafes and a very walkable city experience. Although the cost of living is higher than the national average, there’s no better place to work remotely than a thriving university town.

What Locals Love in State College, PA

What is the best local bookstore in State College?

Sink your teeth into a great book and delicious vegetarian meal at Webster’s Bookstore Café. In business for more than two decades, the quaint shop features thousands of used books, along with featured new titles, vinyl records, gifts and a menu of vegetarian and vegan specialties.  

How do you spend a weekend in State College?

Tap into the region’s sports legacy and get in the game with great adult recreation leagues. Team options include pickleball, softball and volleyball, plus yoga and HIIT workouts for physical fitness. There’s also family fun with youth leagues, outdoor movie series and family game nights. 

What can you do for free in State College?

Don’t miss the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022. The museum features traveling exhibits and rotating pieces as part of its permanent collection that includes more than 10,300 objects spanning centuries of art.

What’s the best way to spend happy hour in State College?

Since 1948, The Tavern has served downtown State College with a menu that elevates comfort food and celebrates fine spirits. Whether gathered at the bar, sitting on the outside terrace or tucked into a private nook, the atmosphere is just right for conversation and cocktails. 

What’s something only locals know about State College?

Psychology Today magazine once named State College the “least stressed place” in the country. Chances are that determination wasn’t made during finals week!

Is State College, PA a good place to live?

A diverse economy, a vibrant arts scene and a family-friendly atmosphere make State College a best place to live in Pennsylvania.

Thinking of Moving to State College?

What is the State College, PA Real Estate Market Like?

Even though Penn State University is the keystone of State College, its affordable real estate market, below-national-average cost of living, and friendly neighbors make this community one of the best places to bear roots in central Pennsylvania. The homes for sale in State College have a median sale price of around $371K, ranging from adorable Cape Cod-style two-bedroom houses in neighborhoods like Greentree to brand-new construction homes in the master-planned communities north of the borough, with views of the Toftrees Golf Course. Real estate for sale in State College, PA, also includes freshly updated existing condos in the heart of downtown, and the sought-after units of the new developments southeast of the city center, with outdoor patios and open views of Mount Nittany. For more info, contact a local real estate agent.

Quick Facts About State College, PA

Average Commute
16.5
Median Home Value
$371,476
Med. Household Income
$38,076
Total Population
42,100
Walk Score
65
Median Property Tax
$3,996

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