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Quintessential Erie Gems (Part 1): Beaches, Brews, & Baked Goods

Posted on January 31st, 2024 at 2:45 PM
Quintessential Erie Gems (Part 1): Beaches, Brews, & Baked Goods

Whether you’re new to Erie, PA, or a longtime resident, there is a lot to love about this lakeside city and county. From its miles of sandy beaches and scenic overlooks to its growing number of breweries and delightful bakeries, Maleno, a full-service real estate agency, thought we’d outline a few quintessential Erie gems that make this place so special.

Please note: There are many incredible places in Erie. So, if your favorite location isn’t on the list, don’t worry! We’ll be adding more in the future. Maleno just wanted to start sharing a few places that make Erie a wonderful place to call home.

Erie Beaches


1. Avonia Beach Park

Avonia Beach is a favorite among many fishermen—as it’s home to a high-quality trout stream—and is a popular destination for people looking for a little less hustle and bustle than the beaches on Presque Isle. Avonia Beach is one of Erie's lesser-known gems, with its 3.6 acres of public beach access and a rentable beach house for weddings, parties, and other festivities.

2. Beach #6 (Lyons Beach | Presque Isle)

Beach #6 is one of the most popular beaches on Presque Isle. It has sand volleyball courts, a beach house with changing areas, restrooms, and a food and beverage concession stand. If you’re looking for a lively summer outing, Beach #6 could be the perfect place to have it.

3. Beach #7 (Waterworks Beach | Presque Isle)

The natural characteristics of a beach can make it difficult for people with certain disabilities to navigate. For that reason, Beach #7 is particularly special, as it features a ramp that provides ADA access to the water’s edge. For those who need them, beach wheelchairs are also available at the Public Safety Building.

4. Beach #11 (Kohler Beach)

Beach #11 is the most sheltered beach on the peninsula. With shallow waters, a large sandy beach, picnic areas, playground equipment, changing areas, restrooms, and a food and beverage concession, it’s great for people with children. Beach #11 is also home to the UPMC Sunset Music Series.

5. Shades Beach

Located in Harborcreek Township (close to Maleno’s Harbor Woods at Six Mile Creek and The Retreat (coming soon) communities), Shades Beach has something for everyone: a beach area, boat launch, picnic grounds, play areas, trails, and woodlands. It has two rentable picnic facilities, each with a complete kitchen and restrooms.

6. Shorewood Park

Shorewood Park is located right on Lake Erie in Harborcreek Township. It provides over 14 acres of recreation area and 1,200 feet of shoreline maintained by the Harborcreek Parks Department. Because it’s a bit off the beaten path, it offers a more secluded feel than some of the more popular beaches in Erie.

7. Freeport Beach

Located in North East, Freeport Beach is a quiet public beach, great for finding beach glass and walking along the shoreline. Freeport also has picnic areas, a playground, washrooms, volleyball nets, and a small snack bar in the summer. It’s also a frequent dive spot for recently certified scuba divers.

Erie Ale WorksImage Source: Erie Ale Works

Erie Breweries


1. Lavery Brewing Co.

Lavery Brewing, located at 128 W. 12th St., is one of the most successful breweries in the area. It recently expanded from a small 40-person tasting room to a 125-person establishment with a fully equipped kitchen. If you haven’t had the pleasure of tasting their signature Dulachan, it’s about time you stopped by and took a sip! They also have live music almost every week.

2. Erie Ale Works

Known by some as the “DIY garage brewery,” Erie Ale Works also recently underwent a renovation, expanding its production capacity significantly. Weathering the storm of the pandemic, Ale Works has become a low-key, laid-back favorite for many microbrew lovers in the Erie area. If you want to kick back after a long day, head over and have a Tattooed Lady or two.

3. Erie Brewing Company

Erie Brewing Company is one of the oldest brewing companies in Northwest Pennsylvania. For over two decades, they’ve been pourin’ some of Erie’s favorite brews. With one location in Knowledge Park and another on West Lake Road in Millcreek, you have the opportunity to find yourself at Erie Brewing Company (EBC), no matter where you are in Erie.

4. John Russell Brewing Company

From the founder of U Pick 6 comes John Russell Brewing Company, a brew house and restaurant with a knack for slingin’ some of the tastiest wood-fired brick oven pizzas around. Their beer portfolio is extensive, so there is a beer for just about everyone’s taste. If you need a break from your Peach Street shopping spree, this is the place to do it.

5. Voodoo Brewing Co.

A visit to Voodoo Brewing Co. is a unique experience from the moment you enter its doors. With a line of flavorful beers wrapped in funky labels and a handful of beer-inspired menu items that are downright delicious, we’re sure you’ll enjoy yourself here.

6. The Brewerie at Union Station

The Brewerie at Union Station has a rich (and haunted) history. When they opened their doors back in 2006, they were the only brew pub and restaurant in the city. Before that—good luck finding a craft beer downtown. One pint at a time, they’ve helped revitalize and preserve the historic Union Station.

Majeestic BakeryImage Source: Majestic Bakery

Erie Bakeries

1. Ye Ole Sweet Shoppe

If you’re strolling around downtown and need a toothsome treat, pop into Ye Ole Sweet Shoppe. They’ve been an Erie staple for over 35 years. Ye Ole has made a name for themselves with Erie natives and visitors alike for their cupcakes, cookies, and a “sweet” of other baked goods.

2. International Bakery

Planted in the heart of Little Italy, the International Bakery serves everything from pizza shells and pepperoni balls to cannolis and cookies. Their mix of desserts, pastries, and bread, ranging from savory to salty to sweet, makes them one of the most frequented bakeries in town. Drop by their Facebook to check out their hours.

3. Majestic Bakery

Just a few blocks from Little Italy, Majestic Bakery is another top-notch purveyor of carb-loaded deliciousness. Everything from their pinwheels and cinnamon swirl bread to their hippie bread and pepperoni bread will fill a room with an audible “Mmmm” as people try a bite. You can swing by their bakery or catch them during the summer at the LEAF’s Open Market at Frontier Park.

4. Herb & Honey

Located inside the long-established and loved Urbaniak Brothers is Herb & Honey Bakery. They're an artisan bakery. With a strong commitment to sourcing ingredients locally, purchasing from Herb & Honey supports local farms and suppliers. They also strive to use only the best ingredients, such as non-rBST dairy, unbleached/unbromated flours, and natural sweeteners.

5. Arts Bakery

Everyone loves Art’s Bakery. It’s why it’s stood the test of time, serving Erie since 1950 and winning local awards just about every year. In fact, it’s won “Best Bakery” 10 years in a row in the Erie Reader’s “Best of Erie” awards. So, whether you’re in the mood for a pie, cake, sandwich, or cookie, stop at Art’s, and we’re confident you’ll love every bite.

Living in Erie

We’ve written about living in Erie a lot over the years, but it’s not just because we build, buy, and sell homes here. It’s because we believe it’s an incredible place to call home.

For those moving here for a new job or simply a fresh start, know that Erie has a lot to offer. And for those of us who are Erie natives, sometimes it helps to be reminded of all the hidden gems tucked away in the Gem City.