We asked, you answered: What’s something you love about Erie?

This is a sign in downtown Erie, Pa., on Friday, March 22, 2024 heralding the upcoming total solar eclipse that Erie will experience, with a little luck from the weather, on April 8. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

By Patrick Berkery

March 28, 2024

As thousands prepare to descend upon Erie to witness the total solar eclipse on April 8, we asked our newsletter readers to tell us what they love about Pennsylvania’s fifth largest city.

Erie is having a moment, as thousands of people are expected to descend upon Pennsylvania’s fifth largest city to witness the total solar eclipse on April 8. Since Pennsylvania’s northwestern corner is the only spot in the state where the full totality of the eclipse will be visible, the humble city on the shores of Lake Erie has been receiving a fair amount of notice recently.

But while Erie is getting a bump in attention ahead of the mid-afternoon darkness that will blanket the region for about four minutes, the city remains a mystery to many on the eastern side of the state. Even Pittsburghers, who may visit Erie for a trip to “the beach,” likely have a lot to learn about the “Flagship City.”

In an effort to learn a little more about Erie, we recently asked our newsletter readers: What’s something you love about Erie?

Presque Isle State Park sure got a lot of love. See what else some of your fellow Pennsylvanians love about Erie (answers have been edited for length and clarity).

“I love the four seasons, lake effect snow, watching the Flagship Niagara sail in the bay, summer sunsets over Lake Erie, and, of course, Pennsylvania’s most beautiful state park: Presque Isle. Erie is big enough that we have everything we need but small enough that it isn’t overwhelming.”

-Dave H., Erie

“Erie is a gem for so many reasons: Renowned universities; world class vineyards; Presque Isle State Park; cultural activities; the Erie Zoo; Waldameer, the best water park and amusement rides for families; and the city layout makes it crazy easy to navigate.”

-Vicki Brewster, Harrisville

I love biking and walking around Presque Isle. It’s a little over 13 miles with many views of Bayfront, Lake Erie, beach areas, and wooded areas. It’s a beautiful, flat, relaxing ride!”

-Karen Haas, Erie

“What I love about Erie is the Erie Bluffs. Beautiful scenery and hiking trails.”

-Sandi Turner, Greenville

“I love camping near Presque Isle. It’s a wonderful place to walk along the beach, ride bicycles on the paved bike path, and to kayak. There are always free concerts on the beach or in the amphitheater. We have been doing this for close to 50 years and still love it!”

-Mareen Lindsay, Speers Borough

“There is so much that Erie has to offer above and beyond Presque Isle. The Erie Bluffs, Asbury Woods, and the Tom Ridge Environmental Center are all great locations. The local fare in Erie is abundant and eclectic, and Erie has some great shopping too.”

-Ryan Wiegel, Franklin

“An absolutely fun place close to Presque Isle is Asbury Woods. There is a beautiful nature center for indoor exploration and well maintained easy walking trails around that area good for strollers. There is lots to explore on the grounds. And it’s free!”

-Regina Frey, Pittsburgh

“When we drive up to Buffalo we usually detour to Erie specifically for a thick crust pie at Patti’s. None of that cardboard crust NYC style pizza for us.”

-Dale Brose, York

“Presque Isle State Park is a place not to be missed. Swimming, boating, and even surfing are popular there. It has the best sunsets you’ve ever seen. The people are friendly and you can always run into someone you know.”

-Eileen Blakeslee, Erie

“The best things about Erie are Presque Isle and the variety of fishing and boating options. For bicyclists who can ride 60 miles or more a day, Erie is an outstanding two-day ride mostly on quiet backroads.”

-Tony T., Pittsburgh

“Having lived in Erie for the past 25 years, I find the city to be just the right fit for me and my business passion. Two hours from the big cities in the region, a destination point for many, and a city with treasures to discover. It’s small enough for doable travel and large enough to meet my needs.”

-Charles Elliott, Erie

“My favorite place in Erie is the peninsula, Presque Isle State Park, and all you can do there from visiting the lighthouses to swimming, boating, hiking, biking, picnicking or just enjoying fabulous sunsets. I grew up in Erie and visit whenever I can.”

-Mary Ann Desiderio, Mountaintop

“Favorite thing about Erie: Birdwatching along the bluffs and parks west of the city.”

-Sue, Pittsburgh

“My husband and I are lifelong residents of Erie, and are proud of our city. Summers offer the most activities, but winter can be beautiful as well. Skiing is not too far away at Peek N’ Peak Resort in New York, the Hagan History Center is open year round as is the Erie Maritime Museum. Wineries are abundant close to Erie, and Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is less than a two-hour ride away. In the opposite direction, Buffalo is also less than a two-hour ride, and has a great zoo, as well as Niagara Falls.”

-Karen Signorino, Erie

“What do I love about Erie? Cost of living is reasonable, we’re not that far from major airports, and the beach at Presque Isle State Park. There’s so many ethnic communities — Erie is widely recognized as being welcoming to immigrants. Great food, too. It may not be Michelin level, but neither are the prices. All are welcome here. But if you come, don’t try to change us!”

-Liz Kidd, Erie

“Presque Isle Beach is lovely. Also, the Erie Zoo is a lovely little zoo to take young children to. My husband and I took our children.”

-Karen, Mifflinburg

“The fishing, camping, and beaches at Presque Isle State Park. Pa. should invest more in Erie!”

-Maria Stinger, Pittsburgh

“We travel to Erie for shopping, including buying our car in Erie. However we find events like the Tall Ships and now the eclipse draw us back. This summer I’m planning a trip with my granddaughter to the Erie Zoo. I also like to walk along the beach.”

-C. Bell, Tionesta

“Outdoor concerts on Presque Isle are unbeatable with the beautiful Lake Erie view.”

-Amy Petrillo, Greensburg

I really like Presque Isle in Erie. Beautiful woodlands and beaches so close to downtown Erie.”

-Donna Brown, Telford




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