The Bucket List: Gannon Edition

Gannon University is located in the heart of the city of Erie, a place with many hidden wonders. Before students graduate from Gannon, there are a few things they should partake in – think of it as a bucket list of Erie.

1. The Erie Art Museum: Check out one of the different exhibits that change throughout the year. Currently at the museum are the works of Lee Rexrode, an artist specializing in ceramics; paintings by Chris Mars; and “Hidden in Plain Sight: Works from the Region.” Art classes are available for those who are interested, as well as occasional musical performances. The museum is located on East Fifth Street, between State and French. Admission is free to the public on Wednesdays. To find more information on events or exhibits, go to Kelly Miele ’10, an Erie native, has been to the museum just a few times, but said she knows it’s beneficial to the community.

“It’s a great place to go to see the creativity in our own backyard,” she said. “There’s a wide range of art forms and media which makes it an interesting place to peruse.”

2. Erie’s Bicentennial Tower, built in 1995 to commemorate Erie’s 200th birthday.
( Erie's Bicentennial Tower is one of the city's main tourist attractions.

It’s a great place to enjoy a sunny day. Go inside the concession stand area and have a quick bite to eat while looking out on the bay, and then ride the elevator to the top of the tower and look out on Presque Isle. Play a round of mini-golf with your friends on your way to or from the tower, located at the bottom of State Street on the pier. Hint: the best time to go is at sunset.

Tiffany Gardner, a senior education major, said she enjoys making the walk down to Dobbins Landing where the tower resides.

“It’s peaceful and relaxing,” she said. “It’s really pretty and offers a nice change of scenery from the city and Gannon’s campus.”

3. The Brig Niagara: learn about The Flagship of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Brig Niagara is one of Erie’s most revered treasures. During the summer, the public gets a chance to sail on the ship and learn about the Battle of Lake Erie, fought during the War of 1812. Passengers get to learn about Commodore Perry and his battle cry, “Don’t give up the ship!”  For more information or to book a sail go to

Kevin Hoderny, a freshman communication arts major and Erie native, said the ship is a great way to learn about Erie’s history.

“The Flagship Niagara reminds us of our past,” Hoderny said, “and the important role that Erie played in the War of 1812.”

3. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Erie style. St. Patrick’s Day is a huge celebration in Erie. No matter your age, the spirit of the celebration is in the air. Starting in the wee hours of the morning and ending late at night, the luck of the Irish can be found throughout the city every March 17.

4. Watch a game or see a concert at the Tullio Arena. Home of the Erie Otters, Erie BayHawks and the Erie Explosion, the Tullio Arena has a lot to offer to Erie residents. Throughout the year, the arena hosts many different concerts. Rascal Flatts, The Wonderful Music of Disney and Lord of the Dance are just three of the events coming up  next year at the arena. For more information, go to The arena is located at 809 French St., right next to Jerry Uht Field.

5. Go see a play at the Erie Playhouse. So far this season, the Erie Playhouse has showcased “Hairspray,” “Cinderella,” “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” “Jewtopia” and “A Christmas Carol.” Later shows will include “The Secret Garden,” “Dreamgirls,” “Fame,” and a “Night of Glee.” Local actors, as well as Gannon students, faculty, staff and alumni, show the community their skills on the Playhouse stage. Check out for information on shows, auditions and ticket sales. The Playhouse is located at 13 W. 10th St.

6. Another great way to see the arts in Erie is through the Warner Theatre. Home of the Erie Philharmonic, the Erie Civic Music Association, Lake Erie Ballet and the Erie Broadway Series, the Warner has a classic set-up — stepping into the theater is like stepping back in time. See a performance in the historical theater located at 811 State St. (box office is at the Tullio Arena). To see what is up coming in the events calendar or to book an event, visit

7. Presque Isle, Waldemeer Amusement Park and Sara’s Diner are three great ways to spend your spring, summer and fall seasons.
( Presque Isle State Park attracts Gannon students and millions of visitors from around the country during Erie's summer and fall seasons.

Presque Isle is a unique state park that is open all year round. With great hiking and bike trails, beaches and picnic arenas, the park is a great place for the whole family. Waldemeer, an amusement and water park located right next to Presque Isle, is open all summer. Ride the rides and enjoy the games, all while being within walking distance from the beaches. Sara’s Diner is right down the street from the amusement park. The diner, open from Memorial Day to October, is one of Erie’s local favorites and is a great place to get authentic American food and enjoy a milkshake with friends and family.

Ethan Kapp, a junior physician assistant major, said that these three places are great experiences no matter who you go with.

“They each have their own unique qualities,” Kapp said. “However, together they provide a relaxing escape from the stresses of the city. Presque Isle allows one to get close to nature.”

8. See a movie at Tinseltown USA, a Cinemark theater. With bright neon lights this multi-theater complex is a place where movie magic is made. The movie theater is located at 1910 Rotunda Dr., off upper Peach Street.

Ryan Farrell, a senior nutrition and human performance major, said that one of the benefits of Tinseltown is the price.

“The first showing for the day, for each movie, is $5,” Farrell said. “The seating is really good there, so it’s great for weekends to go see a new movie at a reasonable price.”

Erie is a city filled with wonderful attractions; you just need to know where to go. However, one of the best ways to find the inner workings of the city is to go exploring with friends.

 Try out all the items on this bucket list, and be sure to create your own. Life is all about experiences, so make yours count.


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