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Erie, PA Event Planning

Key Highlights

Hotels 28
Total Sleeping Rooms 2,827
Committable Sleeping Rooms* 200
Committable Meeting Rooms* 25
Convention Center Space 50,000 Sq. Ft.
Largest Exhibit Space 30,000 Sq. Ft.
Largest Ballroom 13,500 Sq. Ft.
Average Hotel Room Rate USD $90
Average Daily Meal Cost USD $46
Average Weekly Car Rental USD $305
*Maximum for a single hotel

Erie, PA Meeting Planning Overview

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.

About Erie, PA / Additional Info

Boasting cultural and entertainment options usually only found in a big city, Erie still retains the friendly, relaxed atmosphere of a small town. Locals and visitors alike revel in Erie's nature trails, beaches, entertainment venues, shopping areas and both casual and fine restaurants. Built upon a solid economical foundation in manufacturing, service, healthcare and tourism, the city also features a strong educational presence, as it is home to such institutes of higher learning as Penn State Erie—The Behrend College, Mercyhurst University and Gannon University, among many more.

Erie was formed in the 1800s after the state of Pennsylvania purchased the Erie Triangle from the U.S. government in 1792. Named for Lake Erie and the Eriez Native American tribe, Erie played an immeasurable role in Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's naval victory in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812, as Perry's fleet, including the Flagship Niagara, was built in Erie. The construction of the fleet led to Erie's transformation from a quiet frontier village to a bustling maritime port and manufacturing center. What's more, the Battle of Lake Erie victory provided a platform from which the United States could launch efforts to recover Detroit and neutralize Britain's Native American allies as the war progressed.

Today, Erie is known as the “Flagship City,” thanks to its Flagship Niagara, as well as the “Gem City,” as a nod to its sparkling Lake Erie waters. The city celebrates its history, diverse ethnic heritage, strong arts and culture offerings and nearby wine country in its variety of annual festivals and events, which include the Erie Micro Brew Fest, Erie Tall Ships Festival and Wine Country Harvest Festival. Erie is home to a variety of shopping areas, including the 150-store Millcreek Mall and bustling Upper Peach Street, which is lined with plazas of department stores, retail outlets and restaurants. The city also features a number of unique boutiques, galleries, specialty shops and antique shops, and thanks to the state's tax laws, shoppers pay no sales tax on apparel.

Many of Erie's most popular attractions focus on family-friendly entertainment. Designed for the entire family and groups, Splash Lagoon Indoor Waterpark houses an 80,000-gallon activity pool, thrill slides, a wave pool and a ropes course, all under one 6.5-story roof. Regarded as Erie's premier family attraction, the 15-acre Erie Zoo houses 400 animals of 100 species, including the African lion, Eastern grey kangaroo, polar bear and red panda. Recreation-bound families and groups alike can rent boats, Jet Skis, tubes, skis, kayaks, canoes and bicycles at Port Erie Sports. Erie nightlife ranges from dance clubs and pubs to its Presque Isle Downs & Casino, a casino and horseracing track complex, home to 2,000 slots, 48 table games, dining, lounges, concerts and live and simulcast racing.

When it's time to slow down and enjoy a meal, Erie's selection of fine and casual restaurants is sure to satisfy any palate. The casual Smugglers Wharf on Dobbins Landing serves seafood and American classics in a relaxed, Key West-inspired setting, while Molly Brannigans Irish Pub & Restaurant specializes in authentic Irish fare served amid furniture and decor imported from Ireland. Housed in a former rail station, the downtown Brewerie at Union Station is Erie's exclusive brewpub and restaurant, while Pufferbelly Restaurant serves fine American cuisine in a 1908 renovated firehouse. The award-winning Bertrand's Bistro, situated across from Perry Square, crafts fine French fare using fresh local products.

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