Here’s a look at what’s new in Erie, Pennsylvania for 2024!
Erie Eclipse 2024: Experience a once-in-a-lifetime event in Erie, Pennsylvania! On April 8, 2024, Erie is in the path of totality for a total solar eclipse. For nearly four minutes, the afternoon sky will go dark as the moon passes between the sun and the Earth. Erie is the only major city in Pennsylvania in the path of totality. Several eclipse-related events are being planned including at Lake Erie Speedway and Lake Erie Wine Country. As the eclipse draws closer, more events are being added. Keep checking www.ErieEclipse2024.com for the latest updates.
The expERIEnce Children’s Museum is wrapping up an $18 million renovation and expansion project that has been in the works since 2015. Phase 1, a 19,000-square-foot building addition, opened in June 2023 with new exhibits, an expanded gift shop, and an interactive musical lobby wall. Phase 2, set to be completed in spring 2024, marks the culmination of the project. During this phase, the original museum will be transformed with a redesigned floor plan, new classrooms, additional exhibits, and a sensory-friendly room. A certified nature exploration classroom will also make its debut in the green space between the museum and the Erie Art Museum. Some of the exhibits in the new building addition include “Lake Life” and “My Town”. Lake Life is an homage to the joy of being on Lake Erie with a ship climber exhibit, inspired by Erie’s flagship, U.S. Brig Niagara, and an impressive water table, the second largest in the United States, featuring Erie icons such as the Bicentennial Tower and Land Lighthouse. In “My Erie”, guests can explore a kid-sized town packed with a variety of hands-on experiences such as milking a cow and picking produce on the farm, grooming a pet, and checking the oil in a car.
Erie’s Downtown District is brimming with exciting new development! ASCEND Erie officially opened in November 2023, bringing 25,000 square feet of rock climbing adventures to the corner of West 5th and State Streets. ASCEND offers 50-foot lead climbing, top-roping, and auto-belay walls, ample bouldering terrain, yoga classes, fitness and training areas, youth programming, slacklines, retail and concessions, group spaces, and community events. The Flagship City Food Hall welcomed a new vendor in November. Cheeserie features a decadent variety of homemade mac and cheese and uber-melty hand-pressed panini sandwiches. In March/April 2024, the same building that houses ASCEND will complete its final stage that includes 32 apartments, a 318-space parking ramp, and local vendors such as Dave’s Diner, and a brew/wine bottle shop, among others. In December, The Brig Cigar Bar made its debut on the third floor of the historic Cashier's House near 5th and State. The adjacent building is set to host a German-style beer hall sports bar in February, followed by the unveiling of an indoor mini-golf course in April/May.
The Erie Zoo is debuting a new North American river otter habitat during the Zoo’s 2024 season. Built in the 1980s, the original otter’s enclosure has always been a visitor favorite, watching these joyful animals swim, play, and relax. The new exhibit is larger than its predecessor and will feature designs inspired by Wintergreen Gorge, a holding facility, and an elevated boardwalk for maximized viewing opportunities. Additionally, the Zoo plans improvements to the red panda exhibit, the children’s zoo bridge, and the main Zoo entrance which will feature a new entry gate and the refurbishing of the original mosaic tiling on the entrance pillars.
Owned and operated by Port Farms in Waterford, PA, Poverty Knob Farmhouse Ales microbrewery opened in November 2023 inside an old potato storage barn on the property. Port Farms got its start in 1897 as a potato farm and has grown into a tourist attraction offering seasonal festivities. The new brewery houses a 10-barrel brewhouse with five 10-barrel fermenters and three 20-barrel fermenters and a taphouse where guests can enjoy beer crafted with locally grown and sourced ingredients. Poverty Knob also serves food such as shareable plates of house-made ranch potato chips, the Cattleyard ribeye melt sandwich, and a Pig and Fig flatbread.
There’s a new restaurant making its debut in February on Erie’s west side. Roma’s Italian Kitchen, will open in the former IHop building near West 12th and Peninsula Drive. The restaurant, operated by local family corporation Scott Enterprises, aspires to satisfy burgeoning appetites for Italian fare, celebrating authentic, hand-crafted dishes inspired from across the Italian peninsula.
Speaking of Italian, those who visit the Donatos Pizza in Harborcreek, PA are greeted by a giant pizza cutter. The fun and quirky art piece made its debut in November 2023 and is among one of the largest pizza cutters in the world. The 5-foot cutter was created by local fabricator Gene Davis Sales and Service and the 8-foot handle was hand crafted by local woodworkers at Shutte Woodworking. The piece sits on an equally large pizza mural created by Erie artist and elementary school art teacher Mollie Dennis.
The Erie Sports Commission, a division of VisitErie, is looking forward to several new sports tourism developments and events coming in 2024 including the 84th Annual Pennsylvania State USBC Open Championships. Erie will host the event which is spread across ten weekends from April 5 to June 8, 2024. This will be the fourth time the event will be hosted in Erie and the first since 2019. Eastland Bowl will play host to the five-person team event, with the minor doubles and singles events taking place at Eastway Lanes.
The Cork 1794 was named “One of the World's Best Restaurants for Wine in 2023”, by Wine Spectator's 2023 Restaurant Awards, which celebrates the world's best restaurants for wine. Awards are assigned on three levels: the Award of Excellence, the Best of Award of Excellence, and the Grand Award. The Cork won the Award of Excellence which recognizes restaurants whose wine lists feature a well-chosen assortment of quality producers along with a thematic match to the menu in price and style. Click to view The Cork’s extensive menu of wine and locally-sourced cuisine.