Nestled in the heart of Pennsylvania, Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) not only offers a rich academic experience but also serves as a gateway to exploring the unique charm of the surrounding area. From scenic outdoor adventures to quaint local shops, there’s something for every student to enjoy. Here’s your guide to making the most of your free time around IUP, including a special feature on the delightful town of Smicksburg.

1. Visit the Jimmy Stewart Museum

Located in downtown Indiana, the Jimmy Stewart Museum pays homage to the legendary actor and military hero who was born in this very town. It’s a fascinating trip down memory lane with exhibits that showcase Stewart’s films, personal artifacts, and military awards. It’s a perfect spot for movie buffs and history enthusiasts alike.

2. Explore the Hoodlebug Trail

For the outdoor adventurers, the Hoodlebug Trail offers a scenic 10-mile stretch perfect for biking, walking, or jogging. This trail runs from Indiana to Black Lick, presenting a great way to immerse yourself in the beauty of Pennsylvania’s landscapes while getting a good workout.

3. Enjoy the IUP Campus Events

IUP hosts a variety of events throughout the year, ranging from cultural festivals to music and theater performances. These events are a great way to engage with the campus community, learn something new, and have fun. Check the university’s calendar to stay updated on upcoming events.

4. Delight in a Day Trip to Smicksburg

Just a short drive from IUP, Smicksburg is a must-visit destination, especially for those who appreciate the simpler things in life. This Amish community is renowned for its pottery, handmade furniture, and delicious homemade foods. Spend a day exploring the local shops, where you can find unique gifts, crafts, and treats. Don’t forget to try the mouth-watering pies and homemade jams!

5. Relax at Yellow Creek State Park

If you’re looking for a peaceful escape into nature, Yellow Creek State Park is the place to be. Located about 12 miles east of Indiana, the park offers boating, fishing, hiking, and picnicking opportunities. It’s also a great spot for bird watching or simply enjoying a quiet afternoon by the lake.

6. Experience the Thrills at Indiana County Fair

Held annually, the Indiana County Fair is a highlight for locals and students alike. Featuring agricultural exhibits, live entertainment, carnival rides, and delicious food, the fair provides a week of fun and excitement. It’s a great way to experience local culture and traditions.


While pursuing your studies at IUP, make sure to take some time to explore the richness of Indiana and its surroundings. Whether you’re enjoying the serene beauty of Smicksburg, getting active on the Hoodlebug Trail, or soaking in local culture at the Indiana County Fair, there’s no shortage of things to do near IUP. So, pack your spirit of adventure and set out to discover the treasures that await just beyond campus!

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