20 Best Places and Things To Do in Erie, Pennsylvania

Erie, Pennsylvania, located on the shores of Lake Erie, offers a wealth of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. From stunning natural beauty to historical landmarks, Erie has something for everyone.

1. Presque Isle State Park

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This gem of Erie is a must-visit destination. With miles of sandy beaches, hiking and biking trails, and stunning views of Lake Erie, Presque Isle State Park is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. You can swim, kayak, fish, or simply relax and enjoy the picturesque surroundings.

2. Erie Maritime Museum

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If you’re interested in maritime history, head to the Erie Maritime Museum. Here, you can explore exhibits showcasing the rich maritime heritage of the Great Lakes and learn about the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. The highlight is the U.S. Brig Niagara, a reconstructed historic warship that you can tour.

3. Erie Zoo

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The Erie Zoo is a family-friendly attraction that is home to over 400 animals from around the world. You can get up close to giraffes, lions, tigers, monkeys, and many other fascinating creatures. The zoo also features beautiful botanical gardens, picnic areas, and a train ride for kids.

4. Waldameer Park and Water World

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For some thrilling rides and water fun, visit Waldameer Park and Water World. This amusement park offers a variety of roller coasters, water slides, and other attractions suitable for all ages. It’s a perfect place to spend a fun-filled day with family or friends.

5. Erie Art Museum

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Art enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Erie Art Museum, which showcases a diverse collection of regional, national, and international artworks. The museum hosts rotating exhibits featuring contemporary and traditional art forms, as well as educational programs and events.

6. Tom Ridge Environmental Center

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Situated on Presque Isle, the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC) is an educational facility dedicated to promoting environmental conservation and awareness. TREC offers interactive exhibits, nature trails, and observation decks where you can learn about the unique ecosystems of the region.

7. Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park

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Perfect for a day of family fun, Splash Lagoon is an expansive indoor water park featuring thrilling water slides, wave pools, lazy rivers, and interactive play areas. It’s a fantastic option for both kids and adults, especially during the colder months.

8. Erie Land Lighthouse

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Visit the Erie Land Lighthouse, a historic landmark offering guided tours that provide insight into Erie’s maritime past. Climb to the top for panoramic views of Lake Erie and Presque Isle State Park.

9. Presque Isle Lighthouse

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The original Presque Isle Lighthouse was built in 1872 to guide ships through the treacherous waters of Lake Erie. It replaced an earlier lighthouse that was constructed in 1858 but suffered from erosion due to the shifting shoreline. The current lighthouse stands at 68 feet tall and has a distinctive white conical brick tower.

10. Port Erie Bicentennial Tower

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The Port Erie Bicentennial Tower, also known as the Erie Land Lighthouse Tower, is a prominent landmark located at Dobbins Landing in Erie, Pennsylvania. This towering structure offers visitors stunning panoramic views of Lake Erie, Presque Isle State Park, and the cityscape of Erie.

11. Hagen History Center

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The Hagen History Center, located in Erie, Pennsylvania, is a historical museum and cultural institution dedicated to preserving and showcasing the rich history of the Erie region. Here’s more information about this fascinating center. The Hagen History Center is housed in the Watson-Curtze Mansion, a magnificent Victorian-era mansion that was built in 1891 for Harrison F. Watson, a prominent industrialist. The mansion served as a private residence for several notable families before becoming the home of the Erie County Historical Society in the 1950s. It was eventually expanded and transformed into the Hagen History Center.

12. Experience Childrens Museum

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The Experience Children’s Museum offers a variety of exhibits and interactive areas that cater to different age groups and interests. From imaginative play spaces to hands-on science and art exhibits, children have the opportunity to engage in creative and educational activities. Some exhibits may include a pretend grocery store, a construction zone, a water play area, a science lab, and a music and art studio.

13. Perry Monument

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The Perry Monument commemorates the Battle of Lake Erie, which took place on September 10, 1813, during the War of 1812. The battle was a pivotal moment in American history, as it resulted in a decisive victory for the United States Navy led by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry over the British Royal Navy. The victory secured control of Lake Erie and played a crucial role in the defense of the northern frontier.

14. Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier

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The Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier, also known as LEAF, is a beautiful and tranquil arboretum located in Erie, Pennsylvania. It spans 75 acres and offers a serene escape for nature lovers, horticultural enthusiasts, and those seeking a peaceful outdoor experience. Here’s more information about this scenic destination: The Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier is home to a diverse collection of trees, shrubs, and plants from around the world. The arboretum features thematic gardens, including the Japanese Garden, Shade Garden, Herb Garden, and Butterfly Garden, each showcasing different plant species and landscaping styles.

15. Schaefer’s Auto Art

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Schaefer’s Auto Art is a renowned automotive art studio located in Erie, Pennsylvania. Founded by artist Andy Schaefer, the studio specializes in creating custom automotive artwork that captures the essence and beauty of classic cars and motorcycles. Schaefer’s Auto Art is known for its exceptional custom automotive artwork. Andy Schaefer, the talented artist behind the studio, creates stunning and highly detailed paintings that showcase classic cars, motorcycles, and other automotive subjects. His work captures the intricate details, curves, and spirit of these iconic vehicles, resulting in visually captivating pieces of art.

16. St. Peter Cathedral

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St. Peter Cathedral is a magnificent Catholic cathedral located in downtown Erie, Pennsylvania. It serves as the mother church of the Diocese of Erie and holds great religious and historical significance in the region. St. Peter Cathedral has a rich history dating back to the mid-19th century. The original cathedral was built in 1853 and served as a place of worship for the growing Catholic community in Erie. However, due to structural issues, the current cathedral was constructed and consecrated in 1873. It has since undergone renovations and additions to maintain its grandeur and architectural integrity.

17. Firefighters Historical Museum

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The Firefighters Historical Museum in Erie, Pennsylvania, is a captivating museum dedicated to preserving and showcasing the rich history of firefighting in the region. It serves as a tribute to the brave men and women who have served as firefighters and provides visitors with a unique glimpse into the evolution of firefighting techniques and equipment. Here’s more information about this fascinating museum:

18. Liberty Park

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Liberty Park is a scenic waterfront park located in Erie, Pennsylvania. Situated on the shores of Lake Erie, it offers a variety of recreational activities, beautiful views, and a peaceful atmosphere. Liberty Park is located along the picturesque shoreline of Lake Erie, providing visitors with stunning views of the lake and its surrounding landscapes. The park offers a serene escape from the urban environment, allowing visitors to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the waterfront.

19. Scott Park

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Liberty Park is a scenic waterfront park located in Erie, Pennsylvania. Situated on the shores of Lake Erie, it offers a variety of recreational activities, beautiful views, and a peaceful atmosphere. Liberty Park is located along the picturesque shoreline of Lake Erie, providing visitors with stunning views of the lake and its surrounding landscapes. The park offers a serene escape from the urban environment, allowing visitors to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the waterfront.

20. Charles Vernon Gridley Monument

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The Charles Vernon Gridley Monument is a significant historical landmark located in Erie, Pennsylvania. The monument commemorates the life and achievements of Charles V. Gridley, a notable naval officer who served in the United States Navy during the late 19th century. The Charles Vernon Gridley Monument is a statue erected in honor of Gridley’s naval accomplishments. The monument features a larger-than-life bronze statue of Gridley, dressed in his naval uniform and standing atop a granite pedestal.

Erie, Pennsylvania, truly has a diverse range of attractions and activities to suit different interests. Whether you’re seeking natural beauty, cultural experiences, or entertainment, Erie is a destination that promises an enjoyable and memorable visit.