Welcome to Cvent's Meeting and Event Planning Guide to Erie, a city guide for meeting professionals. Nestled along the shores of one of the world's best-protected harbors, Erie holds the distinction of being Pennsylvania's only port along the Great Lakes. The northwestern Pennsylvania meeting and leisure travel destination, which is the state's fourth largest city, sits central to Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Buffalo and southern Ontario. The diverse city offers a wealth of natural beauty and history, a strong culture and arts scene, a variety of shopping and dining options, outdoor recreation and a number of meeting and convention venues perfectly equipped to accommodate a range of group gatherings.
Situated within 500 miles of more than half of the U.S. population and 30 minutes from the Ohio and New York borders, Erie is accessible by car, boat, plane, train and bus. Erie International Airport sits seven miles from the city center, and provides nonstop service to Cleveland, Detroit and Philadelphia, as well as connections to more than 1,100 destinations. The seven-gate airport houses a full-service cafe and on-site gift shop, as well as featuring free Wi-Fi and direct access to Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority bus service. Known as the "e," this daily bus and paratransit service from Erie to Edinboro, operates along 14 routes and five college routes, providing direct access to the airport, as well as such highlights as the Erie Greyhound station, Millcreek Mall, Presque Isle Downs & Casino and Erie Art Museum. Once in downtown Erie, delegates can hop aboard the free Bayliner Trolley, which shuttles passengers to restaurants, entertainment venues, the Erie Greyhound station and the expansive Bayfront Convention Center.
Erie's Bayfront Convention Center, located along the shores of scenic Presque Isle Bay, connects delegates to the 200-room Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel. The center houses the 28,000-square-foot Great Hall—northwest Pennsylvania's largest banquet venue—as well as the 13,500-square-foot Ballroom, 8,800-square-foot outdoor Sunset Terrace and 15 meeting rooms spanning over 14,000 square feet of space. Meeting amenities include cutting-edge audio-visual and technology services, as well as in-house catering capabilities.
In addition to its Bayfront Convention Center, Erie is home to a number of unique venues that not only accommodate group gatherings, but also celebrate Erie's natural beauty, rich culture and entertainment scene. At the 3,200-acre Presque Isle State Park, groups can rent picnic pavilions, the 200-person Cookhouse, three day-use shelters with fireplaces and 150-person Rotary Pavilion. Considered the outdoor recreation gem of Erie, this state park is home to more than 15 miles of trails, miles of beaches, public swimming beaches, diverse ecological zones and interactive exhibits at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center. For an outdoor or indoor event that's sure to quench a group's thirst, Courtyard Wineries features a 100-person Main Tasting Room, 15-person Oak Barrel Room and 1,800-square-foot outdoor Vineyard Veranda. Groups can hold private events throughout the winery, as well as reserve private tastings of the winery's two brands, LaCourette semi-dry and dry wines, and Barjo Bons' sweet and semi-sweet blends.
Arts and culture-minded unique venues include the historic Warner Theatre, a 1931 Art Deco performance hall, home to the Erie Philharmonic, Lake Erie Ballet and Erie Broadway Series. Groups can gather in the 2,250-seat theater, as well as mingle in the ornate Grand Lobby, which accommodates up to 500 people. The Erie Art Museum's open floor plan and floor-to-ceiling windows, not to mention its 7,000-object collection, provide a spectacular backdrop for indoor and outdoor events in such spaces as the 300-person Multipurpose Room, 350-person Fifth Street Courtyard, 125-person Hagen Family Gallery, 35-person Inner Courtyard and 35-person Library Conference Room. A true multi-purpose facility equipped for sporting events, concerts, trade shows and meetings, the Erie Insurance Arena features 7,000 fully upholstered chairs and 30,000 square feet of exhibition space. Groups can also gather in the arena's 50-person conference room and private meeting rooms in the upper-level skyboxes.