Hop in your car or explore on foot, Erie has plenty of self-guided driving and walking tours to keep you busy for days. Self-guided tours gives you the flexibility to do a tour on your own time, stopping and starting at your leisure. We also offer guided tours that show you the ins and outs of subjects such as whiskey making, pottery and horse-back riding. Immerse yourself in any tour and get to know Erie County in an organized, non-traditional, educational and FUN way! Whether you’re by yourself or a small group of family and friends, stay overnight, choose one or more tours and make it a weekend or week-long adventure!
VisitErie tours are available on the FREE ‘Hello Erie’ mobile app or you can check out our experiential tours on VisitErie.com’s DIY Tours page.
1. African American Heritage Trail Tour - VisitErie has partnered with the creators of A Shared Heritage Tour and Erie Arts & Culture to create a self-guided, narrated tour that celebrates Erie County Black History. The African American History Tour features numerous historic points of interest, public art, and businesses that pay tribute to the City of Erie's African American heritage including the church where internationally celebrated soloist and composer Harry T. Burleigh sang in the choir. Another stop, New Jerusalem, is one of Erie's oldest neighborhoods. Here African American families provided much-needed refuge for men and women fleeing enslavement through the Underground Railroad. Click here to learn more.
2. Murals of Erie County - If you’ve been to Erie and the surrounding area, you had to have noticed a multitude of colorful murals decorating the exterior walls of local buildings. There are OVER 80 murals scattered across the City of Erie and throughout the surrounding towns of Girard, Edinboro, Union City and North East. They range from abstract works to specific figures, historical moments, landscapes and pure whimsy. Be inspired by the creativity of our local muralists and residents. We challenge you to try to find them all in the pursuit of Great Art! Some of our favorites include: Flotsam (Bicentennial Tower), Her Voice, Her Vote (downtown Erie), The Pontiacs (Bayview Park) and Rudy (Methodist Towers).
NOTE: Most of the murals are located outside, however, there are a few located inside. The majority of murals are not artificially lit, therefore we recommend viewing them during daylight hours. Click here to download the full list of Erie County Murals. Click here to download the Erie County Mural Google Map.
3. Erie’s Lighthouses – The Erie area boasts not one, not two but three lighthouses! For the first time in its historic history, the Erie Land Lighthouse will open to the public this summer (May 22, 2021). The lighthouse, located at the foot of Lighthouse Street on the east side of Erie, has previously only been available to tour during special events. Public tours will run every Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, and on every first Tuesday of each month will offer tours free of cost. Visitors will be able to climb the tower, get panoramic views of Lake Erie, Presque Isle, and the North Pier Lighthouse, and learn about the history and function of the lighthouse. The Presque Isle Lighthouse, located on Presque Isle State Park, will open for the 2021 season on May 27th. That lighthouse will be open daily from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The Erie Harbor North Pier Light, also known as the Presque Isle North Pier Light, isn’t an actual lighthouse, rather, it is a beacon has a design that is unique among surviving U.S. lighthouses with its black band and a fixed red light. In 1995, the fourth-order Fresnel lens was removed, and a modern flashing red light was installed in its place. To view the North Pier Light, simply walk out along the north pier at Presque Isle (just past the entrance to the Coast Guard Station). More information on lighthouse tours and programs can be found here.
4. Whiskey Barrel Tour (Guided) – Our friends at Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing invite you to join them at the first combination winery, distillery and brewery in nearby Westfield NY, surrounded by 80 acres of farmland, for a tour of the facility where a member of their distilling team will lead you through an exclusive tasting of whiskey being aged in their selection of barrels…samples not available in the tasting room. Get a behind-the-scenes look at how whiskey is produced and a peek into the magical world of whiskey aging and wood. A member of their distillery staff will guide you through a selection of samples that illustrates how the nuances of barrel aging influence the finished product in the bottle. You will then be invited to enjoy a featured cocktail (included with ticket). Watch a video about it here.
5. Gems of the City Walking Tour - a 20-stop walking tour of historic Downtown Erie including Dickson House, Perry Square, Captain John Richard’s House, St. Patrick’s Church and more.
Other Available Tours:
Courtyard Winery Meet the Winemaker Private Tour
Erie Food Tours
Outdoor Adventures and Trails
Get Your Grape On In Lake Erie Wine Country (available on the ‘Hello Erie’ app)
West Bayfront Walking Tour (available on the ‘Hello Erie’ app)
Cruise on Lake Erie Waters(available on the ‘Hello Erie’ app)