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Best things to do in Erie

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Where in the world: USA  /  Pennsylvania  /  Erie

Top 15 things to do in Erie

1. Presque Isle State Park

From a lighthouse to its environmental center, Presque Isle State Park attracts more than four million visitors per year. Visitors are drawn to the 34 km (21 mi) of recreational trails, 13 beaches for swimming, a marina, and more. Several kinds of birds and endangered species inhabit the area, making it a perfect spot for nature lovers. The environmental center features exhibits and a great view of the park from its tower. If you like, bring a meal and pick out a table at the picnic areas. In winter, the lake creates ice dunes, where people come to fish and iceboat.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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2. Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park Resort

Enjoy water activities without worrying about the weather at Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park Resort. The park offers many different attractions, from slides to hot tubs. Some are aimed at specific age groups, while others are designed for everyone. You can also have fun while staying dry at the park's laser tag course and arcade area. If you're visiting with kids, bear in mind that some of the rides have minimum height requirements.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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3. Tom Ridge Environmental Center

The Tom Ridge Environmental Center is a center on the grounds of Presque Isle State Park in Erie, Pennsylvania. Named after former Pennsylvania Governor and former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, the center opened on 26 May 2006. The center has 65,000 square feet (6,039 m2) of space including interpretive exhibits highlighting local and regional flora and fauna, as well as information on the human history and culture of the area. The center also has a large-format movie theater, a gift shop, a cafe, a visitors center, and an observation tower of 75 feet (23 m) that overlooks Lake Erie and Waldameer Park and Water World. The facility also has five conference rooms and eight laboratories for environmental education and research of supporting organizations, plus the administrative offices of several environmental and conservation groups and agencies.

The center was designed by Wallace, Roberts & Todd Architects, and received the 2007 American Society of Landscape Architects President's Award for design-build projects in Delaware and Pennsylvania.
The parking lot in front of the facility was previously occupied by a drive-in theater, the Peninsula, which opened in 1969 and closed in 2001 (five years before the environmental center opened)

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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4. Presque Isle Downs & Casino

Eldorado Resort's Presque Isle Downs & Casino is sure to please your palette for gaming with 1,720 Slots ; Your favorite Table Games including Black Jack, Craps, Roulette, Mississippi Stud, 3-Card Poker, Texas Hold 'Em Bonus Poker & Let It Ride Poker; PLUS a 9 table state-of-the-art Poker Room featuring Hold'em, Pot Limit Omaha & Limit Games! You'll also enjoy any one of our delectable dining choices; Backstretch Buffet, The Brew Brothers, or LBV Steak & Pasta!
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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5. Experience Childrens Museum

The expERIEnce Children’s Museum, located in the heart of downtown Erie, is the only children’s museum centrally located between three major metropolitan areas: Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Annually Museum staff welcome on average nearly 40,000 visitors from Erie County, the tri-state region, and beyond. Geared primarily toward children ranging in age from 2 to 10, the Children’s Museum invites families to explore three floors of interactive exhibits and hands-on activities that appeal to the imagination, curiosity, and creativity of us all.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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7. Erie Maritime Museum

Erie Maritime Museum is a maritime museum located on Presque Isle Bay which rests on the waterfront in downtown Erie, Pennsylvania. It is managed by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). When it opened its doors on May 21, 1998, it became the first new Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission-affiliated museum in twenty years. Alongside its extensive indoor exhibits, it serves as the homeport for the US Brig Niagara, a modern recreation of the 1813-US Brig Niagara which served as Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's relief flagship during the Battle of Lake Erie. While the museum focuses on the War of 1812 in the "frontier", it is designed to celebrate Erie's rich maritime heritage.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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8. St. Peter Cathedral

St. Peter Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church located at 230 West 10th Street (at Sassafras Street) in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Plans for the building of St. Peter Cathedral were initiated in 1873 by Bishop Tobias Mullen of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie. The cornerstone was laid in a formal ceremony held on St. Peter in Chains Day (See General Roman Calendar as in 1954), 1 August 1875. After years of construction and a fundraising campaign that involved parishes throughout the diocese, the cathedral was completed in 1893. The architect was Patrick Keeley of Brooklyn, a prolific designer of churches whose works include 21 cathedrals in the eastern United States.
The cathedral is Gothic revival in the French Victorian tradition called Second Empire. Much of the stone for the foundation came from dismantling the locks of the Erie Extension Canal, which closed in 1871. The exterior consists of red sandstone from Medina, New York and white sandstone trim from Amherst, Ohio and Mercer County, Pennsylvania.
The central bell tower stands 265ft tall, while twin Norman style towers at 150ft each bracket the central tower. The bell tower contains a chime of twelve bells weighing 14 tons cast in 1903 by the Andrew Meneely Bell Foundry of West Troy, New York. The E. Howard Clock Company of Boston, New York, and Chicago, installed the clock in the tower, also in 1903.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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9. Firefighters Historical Museum

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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10. Erie Zoo

The Erie Zoo (formally Erie Zoological Park and Botanical Garden of Northwestern Pennsylvania), is a zoological park in Erie, Pennsylvania. It is located on 15 acres (6.1 ha) of land in Glenwood Park, just off West 38th Street between Cherry Street and Glenwood Park Avenue. The zoo has more than 400 animals, while the botanical gardens and greenhouse have over 600 species of plants from around the world. The zoo, which operates from March to November, attracts more than 400,000 annual visitors.
The Erie Zoo was a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) until 2021.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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11. St. Patrick Church

Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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12. 9/11 Memorial

Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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13. Hagen History Center

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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14. Erie Harbor North Pier Light

The Erie Harbor North Pier Light, also known as the Presque Isle North Pier Light, is one of the three lighthouses near Erie, Pennsylvania in the United States. The light, situated at the far eastern end of Presque Isle State Park, helps mariners as they traverse the narrow inlet between Lake Erie and Presque Isle Bay.
Originally constructed as a wooden tower in 1830, that light was swept away by a schooner in 1857. The current structure was forged in France and assembled on site in Erie. It was moved in 1882 and again in 1940. The United States Coast Guard, which operates the beacon, changed its fixed red beam to an automated red flashing light in 1995, at which time the 4th order Fresnel lens was sent to the Erie Maritime Museum.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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15. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland

Celebrating the spirit of music, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame features displays narrating the story of some of the most influential performers, producers, and other professionals in the music industry. Designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei, the building rises above the shores of Lake Erie, featuring a mix of geometric forms and cantilevered spaces, with a 49 m (160 ft) tower supporting a triangular structure often described as a glass tent. A top landmark in the city, the building houses a store, cafe, and over 5,100 sq m (55,000 sq ft) of exhibit spaces. Stop by to learn the secrets behind some of rock and roll's most successful acts, such as the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and the Rolling Stones.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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