The holidays are celebrated with exciting events in State College, Pennsylvania. Students of Penn State, nearby universities, and families from around town can all enjoy these upcoming holiday events, like the winter festival at the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens, The Nutcracker performance at the State Theater, the First Night New Year’s festival, and the First Night 5K! We have details for each of these listed below.


Holiday Lights at the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens

The H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens will be decorated for the holiday season. Seasonal décor will include a tall tree showcased in the Glass House in the Children’s Garden, as well as holiday trees in the Children’s Garden, the Overlook Pavilion, and along the main walkway. A dusting of snow also adds to the seasonal beauty of the gardens during the winter. Maps of the gardens are available on the visitor information page. Holiday displays will remain in place until January.

Dates: Early December–January

Time: 5–7 p.m.

Location: H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens, The Arboretum at Penn State, Corner of Park Avenue and Bigler Road, University Park, PA 16802



Centre Dance Presents: The Nutcracker

Find something fun to do this weekend in State College at The State Theatre. Join Centre Dance for an extraordinary performance of the classic holiday tale, The Nutcracker. The story follows a young girl, Clara, who is gifted with an enchanted nutcracker doll. She goes on a journey of battling soldiers and mice, and explores the Land of Sweets and flowers where she meets sugar plum fairies, Arabian princesses, and other dream-like entertainers from across the land. A variety of dance styles put a twist on this timeless story!

Dates: December 15–17, 2017

Start Time: Friday and Saturday @ 7 p.m. / Sunday @ 3 p.m.

Location: State Theatre, 130 W. College Ave., State College, PA 16801


Pricing: $10 Adult (+$2.50 Ticketing Fee)


Dancers on-stage performing the Nutcracker

A performance of The Nutcracker, By Хомелка via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0


First Night State College

First Night State College takes place each New Year’s Eve in downtown State College, Pennsylvania on Penn State’s University Park campus. It’s a great event for the whole family with over 30 performances and events. A $10 First Night button gets you into all performances and some events. Some exciting features of the event are one-block ice sculptures and ice walls. Resolution sculptures provide the perfect opportunity to say “out with the old and in with the new!” Guests are encouraged to stay the night and take advantage of the special First Night packages offered by several State College hotels each year.

Date: December 31, 2017

Time: Noon–11 p.m.

Location: Penn State University Park campus, Old Main, State College, PA 16801



2018 First Night 5K Resolution Run

The 5K Resolution Run is one of the most popular events of First Night State College. The run starts and finishes on College Avenue. Runners and speed walkers are invited to participate and wear a costume. Plaques will be given to the top finishers and also to the best costume! Runners must register by December 24. If you don’t want to run, you can join in by gathering along the route to cheer on the participants.

Date: December 31, 2017

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Location: Packet Pickup at State College Municipal Building Lobby, 243 S. Allen St., State College, PA 16801




To discover more events in State College, visit the local events calendar. Be sure to let us know what you’re up to on Facebook @LiveTheBryn!


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