East vs. West: Where to Live on the Penn State Campus?
Old Main at Penn State University. | Flickr

Old Main at Penn State University. | Flickr

If you’re looking for perfect apartments near Penn State, you may find yourself having the great debate: East Side or West Side?

Although Penn State students may not use these sides of town as a hard and fast source of separation, each side has its perks, which we’ve so conveniently curated and compared for you. Feel free to use this post as your compass and hopefully let it steer you towards the side that’s right for you.


East: The East side gives you quick access to major buildings that you utilize nearly every day as a Penn State student. First and foremost, you have the HUB. The average Penn State student spends a ridiculous amount of time here either for the endless nights of studying, the dreaded group projects or just to socialize with friends. If you like to work out, East side is a quick walk away from White and all the classes it has to offer. Finally, there’s Old Main. It’s a close call, but we’re saying it still falls on the East side of College Ave, so, sorry West Side, we’re claiming it. Who wouldn’t want to have that view every day?

West: Since the main reason you’re at Penn State is (arguably) to learn, the West Side proves to be a convenient location for students. For starters, it’s home to the library—Maybe the shorter walk will make you more motivated to hit the books! If you are an engineering major (bless your soul) almost all of your classes are located on the West Side, so this might be a good fit for you. Lastly, there are many more bus stops on this side of campus, making it convenient to get around if you don’t feel like trekking it.


East: The East side of downtown has a variety of quick and easy dining options for any craving. There’s DP Dough, Uncle Chen’s, McDonald’s, Baby’s, Bagel Crust, The Waffle Shop, Rotelli’s, Kiwi, Insomnia, and of course, Chipotle. A bonus source of food—and basically anything you forgot to get during your Walmart run—is the conveniently-located McLanahan’s. It’s always there when you need it, like at midnight when you realize your roommate forgot to pick up the toilet paper.

West: The West side of campus has a ton of good eats, some of which include: Fiddlehead, The Corner Room, The Allen Street Grill, Fraser Street Deli, Dunkin Donuts, Qdoba, Five Guys, Subway, California Tortilla and Panera. If you happen to have a meal plan, West Dining Commons also has some great food options, including the ever-so-popular West Cookies. Need we say more?

Social Life

East: For anyone who likes to have fun on the weekends, the East Side offers some shorter walks home from a few of Penn State student’s favorite places. A majority of the frat houses are on the East side, so if Greek Life is your thing, then this side is for you. For those over 21, the East Side is home to a few local hotspots including Kildare’s, Lion’s Den, Phyrst, and The Shandygaff. Finally, Beaver Stadium is located on the East Side of campus, putting you at the heart of game day celebrations

West: Penn State’s downtown provides students with some pretty great options for places to go and have a good time. Specifically, the West Side houses several popular bars including Indigo, Cafe 210 West, and Chrome.

If you’re looking for housing around Penn State, visit our Penn State Off-Campus Housing page.

*Disclaimer* For the sake of this post we’ve made a divide at Allen Street—this is around where the major streets like Beaver, College, and Park turn from West into East.

The authors of the post, Anna Levine and Denise Higney, are students at Penn State University.

Callie Kollenbroich has been the Operations Coordinator and Content Writer/Editor at Rent College Pads since 2015. When she's not working, you can find her at home, eating peanut butter out of the jar and bingeing an unhealthy amount of Forensic Files. She's not as lame as she sounds.

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