Located on the coast of Lake Erie, Erie Pennsylvania has an estimated population of 103,717 with a metropolitan area population of approximately one million people. Named after the lake it is adjacent to and an indigenous tribe with the same name, it is also part of the Erie Triangle and seat of Erie County. Founded in 1795 and laid out by the famous surveyor Joseph Ellicott, who also completed the planning of Washington D.C., and despite economic hurdles has continued to be an important center of commerce with the continued presence of the locomotive manufacturer GE who employs over 4,000 people.
Erie is home to a number of professional and amateur performing-arts groups, most notably, the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra and Lake Erie Ballet. The Erie Civic Music Association promotes and presents performances with professional musicians, singers and entertainers world-wide. The venue for all three groups is the historic Warner Theater. The Great Lakes Film Association hosts the Great Lakes Independent Film Festival every fall.
Other area attractions include The Erie Art Museum, the Bicentennial Tower and the new casino and soon to open racetrack, Presque Isle Downs. The Erie Downtown Improvement District's future plans include a downtown revival that will include new residential and retail spaces. Area colleges and universities include, Allegheny College, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Gannon University, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Mercyhurst College, Penn State - Erie and Behrend College.
Lake Erie provides a unique variety of outdoor activities in all four seasons. Other sites of interest include the Arboretum at Penn State Behrend, Bayfront Convention Center, The Boston Store, Dobbins Landing, Erie Maritime Museum, Lake Erie Arboretum, the Watson-Curtze Mansion and Planetarium and Millcreek Mall. Famous landmarks of the historic shipping industry are the lighthouses Erie Harbor North Pier Light, Erie Land Light and Presque Isle Light.