Are you planning a visit to Erie, Pennsylvania and looking for some exciting activities to make your trip memorable? Look no further! You’re at the right place, as we’ll be exploring the 35 best and fun things to do in Erie, PA.
Nestled on the shores of Lake Erie, Erie, Pennsylvania, often referred to as the “Gem City,” is a vibrant destination that offers a multitude of attractions and experiences for visitors. From its stunning natural landscapes to its rich cultural heritage, Erie has something for everyone.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore 30 must-visit attractions and activities to help you make the most of your time in this enchanting city. So, grab a pen and paper and get ready to plan an unforgettable trip to Erie!
30 Best & Fun Things To Do In Erie, PA in 2023
1. Presque Isle State Park
Your visit to Erie, PA, would be incomplete without spending some quality time in Presque Isle State Park. The park, which is the most visited in Pennsylvania, offers a wide range of outdoor activities for kids, adults, and families.
The 3,200-acre park has some of the most picturesque marinas, beaches, trails, and scenery that one would want for an exciting day or evening.
Explore the beauty of Presque Isle, a sandy peninsula that extends into Lake Erie. Discover the park’s 13 miles of scenic trails, go swimming, have a picnic, or indulge in bird watching. Don’t miss the picturesque sunsets over the lake.
Address: 301 Peninsula Dr, Erie, PA 16505
2. Erie Maritime Museum
Located along the Erie waterfront, Erie Maritime Museum is one of the must-visit places in Erie, Pennsylvania. The museum is the home port to U.S. Brig Niagara, a Sailing School Vessel with an active sail training program during the summer months.
On your visit, learn about the Battle of Lake Erie and the role of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry in the War of 1812. The museum also houses historical artifacts and interactive exhibits.
Address: 150 E Front St, Erie, PA 16507
3. Tom Ridge Environmental Center
One of the best things to do in Erie, PA, is to explore the Tom Ridge Environmental Center. Located within Presque Isle State Park, the Tom Ridge Environmental Center offers visitors a chance to learn about the region’s diverse ecosystems and natural wonders.
Explore interactive exhibits, catch a film at the Big Green Screen Theatre, and enjoy breathtaking views from the observation deck.
Address: 301 Peninsula Dr, Erie, PA 16505
4. Erie Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Looking for family-friendly things to do in Erie, PA? Then spend a day with your family at the Erie Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
The zoo, which is home to over 400 animals and 11 botanical gardens, is one of the best places to gain knowledge about flora and fauna wildlife. Marvel at majestic big cats, playful primates, and fascinating reptiles. The zoo also offers educational programs, behind-the-scenes tours, and interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages.
Address: 423 W 38th St, Erie, PA 16508
5. Millcreek Mall
One of the best romantic things to do in Erie, PA, this weekend is to go shopping at Millcreek Mall. Located southwest of downtown Erie, the mall is one of the largest shopping malls in the United States, with 195 stores.
The mall houses dozens of shops, restaurants and kiosks, which offer shoppers a variety of products and services. Some of the stores available at the mall are JCPenney, DSW Shoe Warehouse, Old Navy, and Michaels
You can also grab a bite at Smokey Bones Barbeque and Grill, Arby’s or Outback Steakhouse, to name a few of the choices.
Address: 5800 Peach St, Erie, PA 16565
6. Waldameer Park & Water World
One of the fun things to do in Erie, PA, this summer is to experience thrills and excitement at Waldameer, a family-friendly amusement park.
This unique water park is a beehive of fun activities, including classic and modern rides, including roller coasters, bumper cars, and a Ferris wheel. During the summers, kids and adults can enjoy rides like the Drop Tower, a Merry-go-Round, or the XScream Drop Tower.
Address: 220 Peninsula Dr, Erie, PA 16505
7. Erie Art Museum
Established in 1989, the Erie Art Museum is one of the best tourist destinations in Erie, PA. As part of the downtown Discovery Square Corporation, the center houses dozen of shops, museums, and galleries.
Explore rotating exhibits that showcase contemporary art, photography, and sculpture. The museum also boasts an impressive permanent collection of over 8,000 pieces, including works by renowned artists.
Address: 20 E 5th St, Erie, PA 16507
8. Erie Playhouse
One of the best things to do in Erie, PA, tonight is to catch a live theater performance at Erie Playhouse, one of the oldest community theaters in the United States.
The 12,000-square-foot arena features a capacity of 424 people, as well as wheelchair-accessible seats and restrooms. From Broadway musicals to thought-provoking dramas, the playhouse offers a diverse range of shows throughout the year featuring local talent and professional actors.
Address: 13 W 10th St, Erie, PA 16501
9. Flagship Niagara League
One of the fun things to do in Erie in the summer is to step aboard the historic tall ship, the U.S. Brig Niagara. The Flagship Niagara, which is a wooden-hulled snow-big, served as the relief flagship for Oliver Hazard Perry in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.
Learn about the ship’s rich history and participate in interactive sailing programs. Experience life as a sailor and even help raise the sails or steer the ship.
Address: 150 E Front St, Suite 100, Erie, PA 16507
10. Lake Erie Wine Country
Nestled along the shoreline of Lake Erie, the Lake Erie Wine Country is 53 miles of unique wineries and gorgeous vineyards. It has about 20 unique estate wineries. The vineyards offer delicious native Labruscas, fine French-American wines, and European-style wines. The finest season to explore Lake Erie Wine Country is in the fall.
On your visit, sample a variety of award-winning wines, stroll through vineyards, and learn about the winemaking process. Don’t forget to pair your wine with delicious local cuisine.
11. ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum
Looking for fun things to do in Erie with kids? Then explore the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum. Located in the historic cultural area in downtown Erie, the museum features 50 different exhibits on three floors.
Engage your little ones at the museum, a hands-on learning center designed for children of all ages. Let their imaginations run wild as they explore interactive exhibits, experiment with science, and create art. The museum encourages creativity, curiosity, and play-based learning.
Address: 420 French St, Erie, PA 16507
12. Erie Seawolves
If you’re a fan of baseball, you sure do not want to miss the chance of seeing the Erie Seawolves play. The minor league baseball team play their matches at UPMC Park near downtown Erie.
Enjoy the lively atmosphere, indulge in classic ballpark snacks, and witness the passion of local baseball fans. The Seawolves are the Double-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers and offer an exciting baseball experience. So if you’re looking for cheap things to do in Erie, consider this option.
Address: 831 French St, Erie, PA 16501
13. Warner Theater
Home to the Erie Philharmonic, Lake Erie Ballet and the Erie BROADWAY Series, the Warner Theatre also hosts a wide range of lectures and entertainment shows. Visitors can take their pick of phenomenal shows from any of the above or attend one of the other 150 events held at Warner Theater yearly.
The theater, which was established in 1929, holds some of the city’s best shows and events. So, if you’re looking for the best thing to do in Erie, PA, this weekend, consider catching a show at Warner Theater.
Address: 811 State St, Erie, PA 16501
14. Asbury Woods
Located in Millcreek Township, Asbury Woods is a 205-acre nature center and park and a great spot for outdoor recreational activities.
Some of the outdoor activities at Asbury Woods include hiking, fishing, biking, cross-country skiing, running, craft workshops, a native plants garden, a picnic pavilion, animal exhibits, and for the kids, the Little Woods Nature Play area, among other free activities.
Keep an eye out for wildlife, participate in guided nature walks, or visit the nature center to learn more about the local ecosystem.
Address: 4105 Asbury Rd, Erie, PA 16506
15. Erie Bluffs State Park
One of the fun things to do in Erie, PA, today is to explore the unspoiled beauty of Erie Bluffs State Park. This 587-acre park features hiking trails that lead to breathtaking views of Lake Erie’s shoreline and scenic bluffs. The park is the largest undeveloped stretch of land overlooking Lake Erie in Pennsylvania.
On your visit, enjoy bird watching, fishing, or simply immerse yourself in the tranquillity of nature.
Address: 11100 W Lake Rd, Lake City, PA 16423
16. Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park
One of the free things to do in Erie, PA, is to take a peaceful stroll through the Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.
This urban oasis features over 225 acres of gardens, woodlands, and walking trails. Enjoy the serene ambiance, attend gardening workshops, and admire the colourful blooms. During the summer, the Arboretum at Frontier has many bike trails, sledging hills, and labyrinths available for visitors to explore and enjoy.
Address: 1501 W 6th St, Erie, PA 16505
17. Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park
Looking for family-friendly things to do in Erie, PA? Then visit Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park, which offers year-round aquatic fun.
The water park, which is about 80,000 square feet, features nine water slides, two hot tubs, one large activity pool, a five-story activity tree house play structure, a toddler play pool, a 30,000-square-foot wave pool, a FlowRider, and a 6,500-square-foot arcade.
Enjoy thrilling water slides, lazy rivers, wave pools, and interactive water play areas. The park also features arcade games, mini-golf, and dining options for a complete entertainment experience.
Address: 8091 Peach St, Erie, PA 16509
18. Eriez Speedway
If you’re a fan of motorsports, then you do not want to miss catching a thrilling race at Eriez Speedway. This is the self-proclaimed ‘best dirt racing track in the area’ and offers high-speed car racers a chance to meet other people and have a little bit of dirty racing in Erie, Pennsylvania.
This dirt track hosts a variety of racing events, including stock cars, modifieds, and sprints. Experience the excitement of high-speed racing as talented drivers compete for victory.
Address: 9821 Sampson Rd, Erie, PA 16509
19. Hagen History Center
Formerly known as the Erie County Historical Society, the Hagen History Center is a public museum that houses the rich history of Erie.
Explore exhibits that highlight the city’s industrial past, maritime heritage, and notable figures. The center is housed in several historic buildings, including the Watson-Curtze Mansion, providing a glimpse into Erie’s past.
Address: 356 W 6th St, Erie, PA 16507
20. Bicentennial Tower
Looking for fun things to do in Erie? Then head to the Port Erie Bicentennial Tower to experience a relaxing, quaint panoramic view of Lake Erie, Presque Isle State Park, and the city skyline.
The tower is open for tours each day, where two observation towers offer different perspectives of the city. Capture stunning photos, learn about Erie’s history through informative plaques, and soak in the beauty of the surrounding area.
Address: 1 State St, Erie, PA 16507
21. Erie Insurance Arena
Erie Insurance Arena is a multi-purpose indoor arena and has been home to sporting events, concerts, shows, and many other events.
The arena is home to the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League and was the former home of the Erie BayHawks of the NBA G League. Built in 1983; the arena is part of the Erie Center Complex Plaza, which includes the Warner Theatre and UPMC Park.
Address: 809 French St, Erie, PA 16501
22. Perry Square
One of the free things to do in Erie today is to take a leisurely stroll through Perry Square, a charming urban park in downtown Erie.
Relax on a park bench, admire the sculptures and fountains, or simply enjoy the vibrant atmosphere. During the summer months, the square hosts live music and community events.
Address: 571-601 State St, Erie, PA 16501
23. Great Lakes Seaway Trail
The Great Lakes Seaway Trail is a 518-mile National Scenic Byway in the northeastern United States, mostly contained in New York and Pennsylvania. The trail consists of a series of designated roads and highways and provides wine enthusiasts the perfect opportunity to explore the region’s wine country.
The trail begins as you head east on Route 5. As you embark upon the trail, the scenery is sure to take your breath away. Take your pick of 25 different fantastic vineyards and wineries to tour, taste, and enjoy on this route.
24. Lake Shore Railway Museum
Founded in 1956, the Lake Shore Railway Museum is one of the top tourist destinations in Erie, PA. Located in the old New York Railroad Passenger Depot, the Railway Museum now houses some pretty interesting artifacts, as well as a steam locomotive.
Along with the locomotive that is on display, visitors also enjoy a plethora of other artifacts and information about railroads and trains. The gift shop offers many t-shirts, hats, coffee mugs, and other gifts. Proceeds from the gift shop all help keep the museum afloat.
Address: 31 Wall St, North East, PA 16428
25. Bayfront Grille
One of the best things to do in Erie, PA, tonight is to indulge in waterfront dining at Bayfront Grille. Located on the shores of Presque Isle Bay, this upscale restaurant offers a delectable menu featuring fresh seafood, prime steaks, and locally sourced ingredients.
Pair your meal with a fine wine or craft cocktail while enjoying panoramic views of the bay.
Address: 55 W Bay Rd, Erie, PA 16507
26. Kellar’s Modern Magic & Comedy Club
Looking for fun things to do in Erie tonight? Then enjoy a show at Kellar’s Modern Magic & Comedy Club. This comedy club is a crowd favorite, and its attentive staff certainly help make the evening pleasurable from start to finish.
The club is a combination of the best and brightest names in Magic and Comedy performing live on stage, from TV shows like America’s Got Talent, Penn & Teller: Fool Us, The Tonight Show, and Last Comic Standing. Enjoy the show with modern American family-friendly cuisine
Address: 1402 State St, Erie, PA 16501
27. Schaefer’s Auto Art
One of the most interesting things to do in Erie, PA, is to explore Schaefer’s Auto Art. This pet-friendly tourist destination is home to a variety of sculptures made from automotive parts, including a Bumble Bee, Spider, Rocket Ship, Automan, Two Headed Dinosaur and more.
Visiting this backyard museum is one of the unusual places to visit in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Address: 3705 Hershey Rd, Erie, PA 16506
28. Liberty Park & Highmark Amphitheater
Looking for fun things to do in Erie with kids? Then take your kids and family to Liberty Park and Highmark Amphitheater. The park is well-equipped with modern playground equipment to entertain kids.
The park also hosts concerts every Friday night and weekend. The concert is free, and you may also catch a special show on your visit.
Address: 726 W Bayfront Pkwy, Erie, PA 16507
29. Harbor Ridge Golf Club & Grill
Are you a fan of golf? Then explore one of the most challenging golf courses in Pennsylvania. The Harbor Ridge Golf Course is a challenging 9-hole golf course that is family-friendly and open to the public.
Play on the bent grass trees, fairways, and greens available for golfers. There is a golf shop on-site where you can pick up balls, tees, and other items that you may need as you enjoy your game.
Address: 3730 Harbor Ridge Trail, Harborcreek Township, PA 16510
30. Play Port Arcade & Family Fun Center
Looking for fun things to do in Erie with kids this weekend? Then have fun at Play Port Arcade & Family Fun Center. Offering over 100 video arcade games, Play Port Arcade and Family Fun Center allow free play and are continually adding and modifying games.
Address: 2730 W 12th St, Erie, PA 16505
With this comprehensive list of 30 things to do in Erie, Pennsylvania, you’re sure to have an unforgettable visit to the Gem City. Whether you’re exploring the natural wonders of Presque Isle State Park, immersing yourself in the city’s vibrant arts scene, or indulging in local cuisine, Erie offers a diverse range of experiences that cater to every interest and age group.
Enjoy your time in Erie and create lasting memories in this captivating city.