Moving to Erie PA and need lots of info
April 18, 2007 8:12 AM   Subscribe

I need information about the Erie PA area. Housing, schools, work, etc

I have recently been accepted to LECOM-Erie Pharmacy School. Can someone from this area, or familiar with this area, please give me some information. I'm looking for housing rentals and recommendations for realtors, physicians, dentists, etc. If there are any fun things that we should do when we move there, please include those as well. Basically any info you can throw at me would be great especially what side(s) of town to avoid and which public high schools are the best.
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Take a look at and
posted by scratch at 10:34 AM on April 18, 2007

Nobody else is taking a whack at this, so I'll fill in what I can. I was last a permanent resident in that area over a decade ago, but I visit often. Apologies for vagueness.

Any part of the county has its advantages. Even the downtown area has some decent neighborhoods with ethnic amenities. Very broadly speaking, the west side is doing better than the east side, is more whitecollar, and predictably it's also more expensive. Most of the township schools are decent, also better on the west side, but there are also good private schools.

Keep in mind that prices for real estate in Erie are figures unheard of in most larger American cities since the 1980s. Finding an affordable rental shouldn't be a problem.

LECOM is on the southwest side of town, so you'll have easier commutes from neighborhoods there and points west than from the east side. You'll also live closer to most of the shopping centers.

Erie is not a good place to learn about winter, but if you can make it there you can survive anywhere south of Alaska. It is in the middle of the Lake Erie snow belt, and while the towns around it such as Ashtabula and Dunkirk) get socked in worse, it still gets a lot. It used to take at least a foot of snow to close schools. The townships are better about clearing snow than the city.

In the summers, there's more to do. Lake Chataqua is just over the state line in New York and there are activities there all summer. There are plenty of summer events held all over Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio. There are several amusement parks within two hours' drive, and Cedar Point is three hours west. There's lots of recreation of all kinds. Hunting, fishing and boating are local passions.

Erie's somewhat culturally isolated. The local clubs' big draws are usually cover bands. The local colleges, particularly Mercyhurst, frequently show foreign films. One of the stripmall cinemas will occasionally dedicate a theater to limited-release arts film. There's been a tenacious and occasionally intriguing visual arts scene for decades. But ultimately there's no getting around the fact Erie's a fairly small, isolated industrial town without much industry left. If you want big-city life, you'll have to budget occasional weekenders to Cleveland, Pittsburgh or Toronto.
posted by ardgedee at 12:30 PM on April 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

Take advantage of the beautiful thing that is Presque Isle. I have gone to school in Edinboro, about 25 minutes south of Erie, for four years. I wish I had gotten up to Presque Isle more often. If you like to run, walk, bike, or swim in the summer, it's a great place.

Know that winters are hellacious, but not as bad as they are where I live just to the South. Not even close, snowfall amount wise. Learn about what lake effect snow is (or don't as you won't have a choice but to figure it out your first winter).

Downtown can be cool, but it's not metropolitan. There are some fun bars and decent restaurants, but they may take some effort to find. LECOM is close enough to downtown that you would have a very easy drive to get to school, and you could even bicycle or something when it's nice out if you like that sort of thing.

If you're looking for good schools, you'll probably want to go just outside of the city to the West or South for Millcreek and Girard. Those are where more affluent people live, and so therefore the schools are going to be of better quality. There is also a decent selection of private high schools, if you are into that sort of thing. I volunteered in one of the city public middle schools, and I found it to be a bit lacking, so keep that in mind. I would recommend perhaps visiting a few places if this is an important consideration.

Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Buffalo are all around 2 hours away, so that is nice if you want to take in professional sports or some better nightlife.

I would say that Erie would be a nice place to live, all things considered, if only the winters weren't as harsh. That's the one main thing that I think keeps this place from really flourishing. When people go to college here for 4 years and are destroyed by the weather every year, they tend to leave. Hence, there is a pretty large brain drain. I'm in tech, and there are a good number of opportunities in that field in the area, so I don't think it's just a matter of lack of opportunity. People want better weather and more excitement.

For a family I would say this is a very nice place to live. It's quite safe in my opinion, coming from living in Philadelphia for a while, the "bad neighborhoods" of Erie are a joke.

Soda is called pop.

In the summer a lot of people like to do boating stuff on the lake, it's practically like an ocean (minus the waves) because you can't see the other side most of the time. In the winter you can icefish on the bay, as it freezes solid most years.

They just recently built a racetrack/slots casino just outside of town, if you are into that.

I'm personally moving soon to Idaho, and I laughed at them when they said their winters can be tough. For me, this area just doesn't have enough mountains.

Well, that's about all I can ramble off for now. If you need more info, my email is in profile.
posted by zhivota at 4:25 PM on April 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

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