The college that would become Pennsylvania State University was founded in 1855 as a degree-granting institution known as the Farmers' High School of Pennsylvania. The campus was made possible by a 200-acre donation by James Irvin of Bellefonte, though the school has acquired much more land over the years. The school's name changed in 1874 to Pennsylvania State College, but by 1953 it had reached university status and sought a name change in State College, the borough in which it's located. The result was a new postal address for Penn State, University Park.
Today, University Park is served by the Penn State University Police, the Centre Area Transportation Authority, and University Park Airport. Whatever your reasons for visiting University Park, it's important to find the right hotel that allows you to experience everything this historic campus has to offer.
Best Time to Visit University Park, PA
If you're visiting University Park to tour the Penn State campus, your best bet is to plan a trip for the fall, late spring, or summer.
Fall, in particular, is a beautiful season offering pleasant temperatures that range from the low 70s in September to the low 60s in October. Just be sure to plan your trip around freshman orientation and student move-in weeks, as hotel rates tend to go up just before classes start. You'll also want to be aware of campus sporting events during any season, as area hotels tend to fill up quickly.
Winters in University Park and State College can be cold, with average highs dipping to the low- to mid-30s from December through February. If you don't mind the frigid temperatures, the winter season is one of the most affordable times to visit University Park and the Penn State Campus. Just be sure to pack accordingly and prepare for the worst weather scenarios.
Spring is one of the best times to visit University Park because the weather is warming up and everything is in bloom. What's more, if you plan your trip during Penn State's spring break, you can enjoy quiet strolls around the campus, which is great for spotting those historic landmarks.
Summers in University Park are usually quiet, with average temperatures hovering in the low 80s. The local area offers plenty of opportunities for swimming, hiking, golfing, biking, and other outdoor activities, not to mention the community State Theatre and on-campus museums.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in University Park, PA:
University Park by Star Rating
Below are 3 charts demonstrating mean nightly cost trends by star rating class in University Park, PA. You can use these charts to determine the best months to stay in University Park during the year.
Luxury Hotel Options in University Park, PA
If you're looking for more upscale options in the University Park area, you're in luck.
Carnegie Inn & Spa, an Ascend Hotel Collection Member is a stylish boutique hotel less than four miles from both the University Park Airport and Penn State University. Guest rooms are individually decorated with antique furnishings and Italian linens, and boast free Wi-Fi access and soaking tubs. During your stay, enjoy the complimentary airport shuttle service and a made-to-order breakfast, an on-site upscale restaurant, a full-service spa, a library, conference facilities, and a business center.
For extended stays, book a room at Residence Inn State College. This traditional property is situated five miles from the Tussey Mountain Ski Area and only two-and-a-half miles from Beaver Stadium. Guest rooms feature pull-out sofas, flat-screen TVs, and full kitchens. Some suites offer whirlpool tubs or fireplaces, and Wi-Fi is included throughout. Additional amenities include free parking, happy hour, a breakfast buffet, a whirlpool, an indoor pool, a 24-hour fitness facility, a basketball court, a business center, an airport shuttle, a convenience store, and laundry facilities.
The Nittany Lion Inn on West Park Avenue is an upscale colonial-style property on campus, placing guests within a mile of golf courses, museums, and theaters. Guest rooms and suites boast flat-screen TVs, Keurig coffee makers, workspaces, and free Wi-Fi. The property also features event spaces, flexible meeting spaces, a formal dining room, a casual pub, airport transportation, and a fitness center. Best of all, guests can use the university's sports facilities at no additional charge.
Affordable Hotel Options in University Park, PA
3 Star Average Prices: $139.15
Finding an affordable accommodation in University Park is easy if you plan your trip carefully.
Imperial Motor Inn in downtown State College is a two-story lodging offering free parking, an airport shuttle service, and complimentary continental breakfast. The guest rooms aren't fancy, but you'll have a comfortable bed and basic amenities in a location that can't be beat.
Rodeway Inn is an unassuming hotel on US-322 within walking distance of the campus. It's also located near The Arboretum and Penn State golf courses. Guest rooms are straightforward and feature flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi internet access, microwaves, mini-fridges, and coffee makers. You can also opt for an upgraded accommodation that adds a dining table. Coffee, parking, and continental breakfast are all free, helping travelers save money.
Quality Inn on North Atherton Street is located just over a mile from the Palmer Museum of Art, making it a great option for anyone looking to sightsee. Guest rooms feature free Wi-Fi access, flat-screen televisions, coffee makers, and mini-fridges. Rooms with microwaves are also available upon request. Enjoy a free continental breakfast, an on-site exercise room, free parking, and guest laundry facilities.
Situated less than a mile from The Arboretum at Penn State, Sleep Inn is a functional lodging that offers guests a free airport shuttle service, parking, and a hot breakfast. Guest rooms are bright and relaxed, with cable TV, free Wi-Fi, and coffee makers. Some even add flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and microwaves. Additional guest amenities include a business center, a patio, a fitness room, and a coin-operated laundry.