PA’s Local Guide to Must-See Basketball Games

Basketball in PA is a slam dunk! From championship-winning college basketball teams to the NBA’s 76ers, there are plenty of opportunities for you to catch a big game right here in the Keystone State. We have your go-to guide of what to see and do around town when you’re not sitting courtside.

1. Philadelphia 76ers

As PA’s only NBA team, attending a Philadelphia 76ers game is a “must-do” for your #PABucketList. Plan to stay awhile and book a room at the nearby Live! Casino & Hotel to enjoy great accommodations and dining and live entertainment. After the big game, cross the street to Xfinity Live!, a hopping sports bar with restaurants and entertainment, including a theater, beer hall, and artificial turf field. Non-gameday? Tour the Wells Fargo Center to learn about this busy arena and the Sixers’ day-to-day operations, then venture around the rest of the city to see how many Sixers murals you can discover.

2. Villanova Wildcats

two athletes playing basketball
Villanova Wildcats

"V" for Villanova! "V" for victory! Make the big game a big weekend and book a stay at the Inn at Villanova or Wayne Hotel, close to the Wildcats arena, The Pavilion. After the game, shop until you drop in Wayne with its upscale boutiques, shops, and world-class restaurants or venture a little further to the renowned King of Prussia Mall or the shops at Ardmore’s Suburban Square. Music lovers can enjoy live music at hot spots, 118 North or Ardmore Music Hall, while outdoor enthusiasts will love spending time at Valley Forge National Park and the natural wonders of Stoneleigh: A Natural Garden.

3. Gettysburg College Bullets

a person throwing ball into basket
Gettysburg College Bullets | Credit: Gettysburg College Athletics

Great basketball isn’t just happening with the big players. Gettysburg College’s women’s basketball team made it to the second round of the NCAA Division III 2022 Championship! Cheer on the Gettysburg’s Orange and Blue Bullets, then soak in the area’s history with a stay at the historic and beautifully renovated Gettysburg Hotel, complete with all the modern amenities. The Gettysburg National Cemetery, historic battlefield, and Seminary Ridge Museum are all just a short walk (or drive) away. Great shopping awaits in Lincoln Square with unique, family-owned shops, or visit the college’s Schmucker Art Gallery to view the current exhibitions.

4. Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) Crimson Hawks

women playing basketball
IUP Crimson Hawks | Credit: Cameron Horning

With numerous conference championships under their belt, watch IUP’s men and women Crimson Hawks take on conference rivals at the Kovalchik Convention & Athletic Complex. Rest and relax after all the sports action at the nearby Hilton Garden Inn with its restaurant, bar, and outdoor patio and fire pit. No trip to Indiana is complete without a stop at the Jimmy Stewart Museum. Sip your way through award-winning area breweries and distilleries; visit the Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County to learn some local history and The Artist’s Hand Gallery & Espresso Bar to appreciate the local art scene.

5. University of Pittsburgh Pitt Panthers

basket ball play
Pitt Panthers

Show your Panther Pride as you root for the Pitt Panthers basketball teams at the Petersen Events Center. Just a half-mile from the arena, relax in the “laid-back elegance” of the The Oaklander Hotel with its onsite restaurant offering innovative French-inspired cuisine and sweeping views of the city. For more casual dining, visit Pittsburgh’s iconic Strip District where Primanti Bros, Pamela’s Diner, and Spice Island Tea House offer a fun dining experience. Just blocks away from the hotel, tour the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History; stroll through Schenley Park; and explore Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

6. Saint Vincent College Bearcats

a person holding basket after throwing ball
Saint Vincent College Bearcats

Get your head in the game watching Saint Vincent College’s Bearcats take on their latest opponent. After an exciting game with the Green and Gold, retire to the inviting views and equally inviting accommodations at the Inn at Mountainview. Spend a day exploring Latrobe hometown of Arnold Palmer, Mister Rogers, and the banana split! Stroll through the downtown exploring the local shops. Be sure to take selfies with the banana split and Mr. Rogers statues, then grab a cup of coffee and avocado toast from 512 Coffee and Ice Cream. Back on campus, visit the Fred Rogers Institute with its iconic memorabilia.

7. Gannon University Golden Knights

a person throwing basket ball
Gannon University Golden Knights

Watch Gannon University’s Golden Knights reach for rebounds at Erie’s Highmark Events Center. Afterwards, wind down at the Victoria Inn, a cozy B&B in the heart of downtown and just steps away from some of Erie’s best attractions. Make it an artsy trip and tour the Erie Art Museum, then take home a beautiful souvenir (or two!) from the gift shop at the Glass Growers Gallery. Feeling hungry after drinking in all the beautiful artwork? Visit Flagship City Food Hall and its variety of tasty foods, including Dominican cuisine, seafood, and sweet treats or pop over to the Flagship City Public Market.

8. Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) Nittany Lions

a person throwing basketball into basket
PSU Nittany Lions

Join in as Penn State fans chant “We Are” when the Nittany Lions take to their home court at the Bryce Jordan Center. After the big game, retire to the quiet elegance of the Carnegie House where both fine French-inspired cuisine and pub fare are offered right on site. State College is packed with activities to do and places to eat, you’ll find it hard to choose. Visit the Penn State All Sports Museum. Hike the Mid State Trail. Explore 200 years of history at the Boal Museum. Hungry? Dine at local favorite, the Allen Street Grill, and grab an ice cream from the Penn State Creamery.

9. Lehigh University Mountain Hawks

basket ball match in play
Lehigh University Mountain Hawks | Credit: -Discover Lehigh Valley

Flock to Stabler Arena to root for Lehigh University’s Mountain Hawks. With so many great lodging options — from the Historic Hotel Bethlehem to Hyatt Place Bethlehem and The Sayre Mansion, you might have to go to every home game! No worries, there’s plenty to see and do. Step back in time at the Colonial Industrial Quarter; test your luck at Wind Creek‘s casino with its numerous dining, shopping, and live music options; jam out at the legendary Godfrey Daniels; stroll along the Hoover-Mason Trestle’s elevated walkway; take a selfie at SteelStacks; and visit local beer, wine, and spirit hot spots.

10. Lafayette College Leopards

basket ball match in play referee on side
Lafayette College Leopards

Make a fast break for Easton to roar for Lafayette College’s Leopards! Plan for a jam-packed stay and book a room at The Lafayette Inn, Townley House Hotel, or Tru by Hilton Easton because there’s plenty to explore once the final buzzer goes off. Bring the little ones to discover colorful fun at the Crayola Experience. Energize your mind, body, and spirit along the Karl Stirner Arts Trail, then quench your thirst with delicious craft beer at Weyerbacher Brewing. Watch a life performance at the State Theatre. Saturdays, be sure to stop by the Easton Farmers Market to pick up some local favorites.

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