1. Presque Isle State Park
The Peninsula as it's known by the locals, is the place to be all Summer long. Whether you're enjoying the bike trails or a walk along the lake there's always a wonderful view. You can search for beach glass, explore the lagoons in a kayak, or spend time relaxing on the 11 miles of beaches. Take a walk down to Perry monument and sit by the fountain, and if you head over by the trails you can see a great view of the city.
Between beaches 9 & 10 you can find Sunset Point which is a popular spot for kite flying. This is one of the only beaches where you can drive right up to the sand to see great views of the lake.
At these beaches you can often find several kites flying in the air, especially on the weekend. I love coming to these beaches because they're farther down the lake and often less crowded making it more serene.
You don't want to visit Erie without hitting up Sara's because it screams Summer. The local diner features Smith's (the BEST) hot long foot dogs, crispy french fries & onion rings and sweet milkshakes. Sit outside, or inside by the neon lights and enjoy the sights and visitors from all over.
While you're outside, take a ride along the Bayfront Connector over to downtown and take in a Rum Runner. This restaurant and bar is right on the water and serves up the best rum concoctions, but drink them slow because they'll kick your butt fast and you're only allowed 3. And yes, the waitresses and bartenders do keep track so if you want more, be creative.
Since it's Summer you want some ice cream. The Blue Moon at Whippy Dip is off the charts, and you can't beat the classic chocolate at Romolo's. While you're at Romolo's pick up some chocolate covered grapes...best thing ever.
State Street is home to allllll the bars and there's plenty of outdoor seating so you can enjoy the sunshine. I highly recommend the spinach & artichoke dip from Calamari's, wings from the Plymouth, a glass of Presque Isle Rose from Cloud 9, and anything in the form of a shot from anything below 6th street because that's where the late nights always happen.
One of the newest places to chill is the Courtyard Erie Bayfront and it's become one of my favorite places to catch a beautiful sunset and views of the lake. The infinity pool is SO cool too.
3. The fun things around town
The Tom Ridge Environmental Center is completely free and you can't miss it on your drive down to Presque Isle State Park. There's lots of facts on the history of the park and usually seasonal things to check out too. Take a few hours to walk around and check out the exhibits and take a trip up to the top of the tower to get a great view of Presque Isle and Waldameer Park.
Head downtown to see the Bicentennial Tower and another great view of the lake. You can climb to the top of the observation deck 138 feet to get some amazing pictures and see for miles on a nice clear day.
Waldameer Park is our local amusement park and you have to ride the Ravine Flyer II which is ranked the 7th best wooden coaster in the world. What makes this ride so fun is the fact that it goes over the four lanes of traffic headed to and from Presque Isle State Park. The wave pool is another great area that's super relaxing and fun all at the same time.
The Brig Niagara at the Maritime Museum is definitely a cool thing to check out while you're in town. In 1813 there was a battle including nine ships, one of them being the Niagara, defeated the British ships in the Battle of Lake Erie. This third replica of the ship resides by our library downtown at the Maritime Museum. You can see it from the library windows and it sometimes goes out on the Great Lakes too.
4. Enjoy all the music
There's constantly Summer music events during the week which make it easy to get out of the house and really enjoy the season.
8 Great Tuesdays is held...well, on Tuesdays in the evenings. Come down to the amphitheatre for some free entertainment, and it's totally family friendly. There's also food trucks, beer and wine and another beautiful view of the water. They host a variety of music from blues to country to rock and roll throughout Summer.
The Mid Day Art Break is great if you're downtown during normal work hours. Grab lunch at the Wave Cafe and take a walk outside on your lunch to enjoy the live music series from 12-1 pm. Free gallery tours are given during 12:30- 1 pm on these Wednesday afternoons as well.
Romolo's Chocolates plays host to several bands throughout the Summer on Saturday evenings. Get a few pieces of chocolate or a delicious ice cream cone since it's one of the best spots around and take in the sweet surroundings.
The Sunset Summer Music Series can be enjoyed on Wednesday nights on Beach 1 from right after work beginning at 5:30 until sunset. Bring a chair or a blanket and park it in the sand. It's a great event put on by the Presque Isle partnership and there's always a very energetic group.
Shickalay's On The Bay usually has an outdoor concert in their huge grass area with funky bands on the weekends. Pro tip: If you don't want to pay to get in, but still want to enjoy the music or a nice dinner...hit up Joe Roots Grill across the street. Sit outside and have a glass of wine and my favorite, the Shrimp Caesar Salad while you can hear the jams from Shickalay's.
5. The Sunsets
Last but definitely not least, one of my favorite things about Erie is the sunsets. They are beautiful any time of the year, but absolutely killer in the Summer. One of the best things to do in the Summer is ride down to Presque Isle and catch a sunset on the beach. We've done quite a bit of it this Summer....I'll let the pictures explain why Erie was named third in the world for the best sunsets by National Geographic.
All of these pictures were taken on my cell phone from just doing some day to day exploring in my own city, so once our camera is back from being fixed I can't wait to venture out and practice with it. A lot of people aren't big fans of the NorthEast because of the cold, but if you ever venture to Erie in the Summer you will not be disappointed.
What's your favorite place to visit in the Summer? Have you ever been to Erie, Pa?