Erie : Pennsylvania


What It Is Like to Retire in Erie

Located on the south shore of Lake Erie, and Pennsylvania’s only Great Lake’s port city, Erie is the largest town in the Northwest corner of the state, with a population of about 94,831 (2020 Census). It is the county seat of Erie County, and sits mid-way between Cleveland, Ohio, and Buffalo, New York, and is directly North of Pittsburgh. Erie is home to several colleges, semi-pro sports teams, and performing arts centers. The popular Presque Isle State Park, known as "the peninsula" attracts over 4 million visitors a year and features miles of sandy beaches, trails and boat launches. Erie also offers a race track/casino, an amusement park, and a convention center. As part of the “rust belt”, Erie saw a decline in its population when manufacturing plants laid workers off. The city still retains a high concentration of toolmakers and plastic production, along with agriculture being a viable industry in Erie County with the production of cherries and grapes. Photo of Aerial View of Presque Isle State Park courtesy of Wikipedia and Ken Winters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (public domain); photo of The Boston Store, once a popular department store in downtown Erie and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, courtesy of Wikipedia and Niagara and photo of UPMC Park Overlooking Downtown Erie courtesy of Wikipedia and Trey, Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0/

Where to Retire in Erie and Home Prices

Erie is made up of several neighborhoods, and the National Association of Realtors lists the median sale price at $148,900, in the 4th quarter of 2021. There are homes costing over $1million, and many summer residences along the Lake Erie shoreline.

What Is Special about Erie

Located along the shores of Lake Erie, the town offers lots of outdoor recreation for all 4 seasons (including ice fishing and ice skating). It is a college town with Gannon University, Mercyhurst University, and Penn State Behrend all located here and each offer several cultural events and sporting events to attend. There are both professional and local theater productions, museums, galleries. Presque Isle State Park features beaches, boating and trails, with camping nearby. Politically, Erie County is pretty evenly split.

What Is Not Special about Erie

Can't ignore the lake effect snow and wind every winter. Erie received the most snow in the nation during the winter of 2017-2018, just under 200 inches. Erie's unemployment rate is higher than the national average. Job loss has hurt Erie, and GE who produced locomotives here for 100 years, laid off over 500 workers at the end of 2018.

Who Will Like Retirement in Erie

Retirees who want to live in a college town, and enjoy many outdoor activities including boating and fishing, might enjoy living here. Erie has several senior centers that offer classes, meals, health screening, and activities. There are also libraries, the arts, hospitals, a VA medical center, bus transportation, and sandy beaches on a State Park. The airport is nearby so you can easily get to warmer climates for the winter. You can also choose to be a Steeler, Bills or Browns fan as Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Cleveland are all close enough for day trips.

Local Economy Is Driven by

Erie's economy has been hard hit with the national downturn of manufacturing jobs, and has an unemployment rate higher than the national average. The economy has become more diverse and retail is important to the economy as shoppers come from the tri-state area and Canada to shop here (no sales tax on clothes in Pennsylvania). Other drivers include tourism, education, and health care. Erie Insurance Group is headquartered here.

Climate and Physical Environment

The average January temperature is 28 degrees, and July's average is 73 degrees. The city averages about 100 inches of snow during the winter months.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

There are many restaurants throughout Erie and close to Presque Isle State Park, including popular diners open just for the summer season to seafood restaurants that serve fresh Lake Erie perch. Culturally, Erie is home to the Erie Philharmonic which has been around since 1913, The Lake Erie Ballet, and the Erie Civic Music Association. There are also art museums, a zoo, and the Warner Theatre and the Erie Playhouse both of which host performances. Many sports teams make Erie their home which include a AA baseball team, a hockey team, and a NBA G league team. The Tom Ridge Environmental Center, located at Presque Isle, serves as a center for research and conservation of the peninsula.


The crime rate here is about the same as the national average.

Medical Facilities

Erie offers many medical facilities including Hamot and St. Vincent hospitals, Erie VA Medical Center, and Shriners Children's Hospital.


Both I-90 and I-79 run through Erie which gives easy access to Cleveland, Buffalo and Pittsburgh; Tom Ridge Field is Erie's international airport; the "E" is Erie's transit bus system; Amtrak Lake Shore Limited has stops in Erie for those headed to NYC, Boston or Chicago.

Valuable Links

Visit Erie

Presque Isle


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