Best Places to Visit in Erie, Pennsylvania: From lush natural beauty to intriguing cultural attractions, Erie has it all. Nestled along the beautiful Lake Erie, it is the largest city in North-western Pennsylvania.
The Bay City was founded in 1795 and was once home to the Native American people. Owing to its location, it became a significant spot for commerce and shipping. It took a hit later after deindustrialization.
However, today it is a vibrant city that offers a plethora of recreational activities for tourists to enjoy.
From casinos and malls to zoos, parks, and entertainment venues, there are plenty of attractions here that make for a memorable vacation.
Wondering where to begin?
Let’s help you create the perfect itinerary with our list of the best places to visit in Erie, Pennsylvania: –
Presque Isle State Park #1
Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast or a nature lover, this stunning place won’t disappoint.
The sandy peninsula of Presque Isle State Park juts out into Lake Erie, making for a picturesque setting.
It was formed during the last ice age and features around eleven miles of stunning beaches, along with lush forests, beautiful lagoons, dunes, and marshes.
From hiking, and biking to canoeing and scuba diving, there is a range of outdoor recreational activities to enjoy here.
Erie Maritime Museum #2
Soak in some history at the Erie Maritime Museum. Perched along the waterfront, this museum houses a large collection of artefacts.
You’ll even find a full-size replica of the historic ship called US Brig Niagara right outside.
A visit here offers an immersive learning experience about the rich maritime history of the city including the history of the Battle of Lake Erie during the 1812 war.
You’ll find many video clips and interactive displays here that add to the experience.
Erie Zoo & Botanical Garden #3
How about witnessing around 400 exquisite animals?
Head to the impressive Erie Zoo & Botanical Garden.
Opened in 1982, this place attracts locals and tourists alike for a fun outing. From warthogs to cheetahs, you can see a wide variety of wildlife here.
Looking to unwind?
Visit the adjoining Botanical Garden that houses around 400 plants. You can relax amidst its lush environs as you take in the fragrance of many colourful flowers from various regions.
Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park #4
Get ready for a thrilling experience at this impressive waterpark.
Located near Millcreek Mall, it is home to the largest indoor wave pool in the eastern US as well as a wide variety of slides and numerous hot tubs.
It also features laser tag arenas, ropes courses, and arcades, offerings a fun time for kids and adults alike.
Feel like staying for longer?
There are three hotels connected to it. When hunger strikes, head to the grill or enjoy a drink with some snacks at the sports bar.
Bicentennial Tower #5
Soak in breath-taking views of Lake Erie from the Bicentennial Tower.
Located along the lakefront, this impressive tower was built in 1996 on the occasion of the city’s bicentennial.
Almost 187 feet in height, it has two large viewing decks, perfect for enjoying stunning views of the city and the lake.
Presque Isle Downs & Casino #6
Looking for a lively evening out?
Visit the Presque Isle Downs & Casino located on the southern outskirts of the city.
Owned by the infamous Churchill Downs, the place offers plenty of entertainment options.
You can watch horse races, attend concerts, or stand-up comedy shows, and many other events held here.
The casino offers many table games and has over 1500 slot machines. The place is also known for serving scrumptious meals.
Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park #7
Rejuvenate your senses at this beautiful place.
Admire the old Scarlet Oaks and Maples, make your way out of a labyrinth, enjoy hiking and biking on the trails, or exercise in the lush open space, there is an array of recreational activities to enjoy here.
You’ll find around 250 varieties of trees here from all over the globe.
Got some more time on your hands?
You can also explore the various picnic areas and playgrounds in Frontier Park.
Erie Insurance Arena #8
Cheer for your favourite team at this impressive arena.
Home of the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters, the stadium hosts many events throughout the year and can seat around 9,000 people.
Apart from sporting events, you can also find concerts and shows being hosted here.
The stadium was recently renovated which led to the addition of lavish suites and a club level offering a special experience. It is one of the best places to visit in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Millcreek Mall #9
Want to pamper yourself with some retail therapy?
Head to Millcreek Mall.
It houses over 170 department stores, fashion retailers, and restaurants.
The complex was first opened in 1975 and has now become one of the ten biggest malls in the nation.
From buying clothes and jewellery to indulging in a delectable meal, there are plenty of activities to enjoy here for a fun outing.
Waldameer & Water World #10
Looking for some adrenaline rush?
This fascinating place won’t disappoint.
Featuring over 100 rides, slides, and rollercoasters, this amusement park is one of the top attractions in the city.
Enjoy beautiful views from the Ferris Wheel, hop on flying swings, or enjoy the thrilling spinning Chaos and Ravine Flyer II rollercoaster, there is something here for everyone.
You can escape the heat at Water World which features plenty of lazy rivers, wave pools, and water slides.
You’ll find live entertainment, and food and gift stores on the grounds.
Tom Ridge Environmental Center #11
Located next to Waldameer & Water World, this place offers an immersive learning experience about the history and geology of the Presque Isle.
There are plenty of interactive exhibits that throw light on the flora and fauna and the human history of the Great Lakes.
You can also enjoy an orientation movie that adds to the experience.
After exploring the exhibits, climb the 75 feet high observation tower to soak in mesmerizing news of the lake and the surrounding area.
Asbury Woods #12
Enjoy a tranquil afternoon as you explore the captivating landscapes of Asbury Woods. Close to Erie International Airport, this forest offers a serene escape from city life.
There are over five miles of scenic trails and boardwalks that go through the area. From flowery meadows to woodlands and wetlands, it has many beautiful natural attractions.
Curious to know more?
Visit its impressive nature center to learn about the geological history of the region and its former inhabitants. It also hosts nature programs and summer camps from time to time.
So, start with the one that attracts you the most and get ready for an unforgettable vacation.
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Q. Is Erie PA worth visiting?
With its scenic waterfront, fascinating museums, impressive natural and cultural attractions, and lively entertainment scene, Erie PA is worth visiting.
Q. What is Erie famous for?
It is famous for being home to the picturesque Presque Isle State Park.
Q. Why is Erie Pennsylvania famous?
Located along Lake Erie, Erie is also called the “Gem City” due to the lake’s sparkling appearance during the day. The city is known for the Battle of Lake Erie and Presque Isle State Park.