Pennsylvania's Northwest calls Erie it's largest city and Lake Erie it's favorite destination. The area claims a population just short of 1 million people with steady increases since the last census.
The Northwest Region of Pennsylvania, characterized by it's connection to the Great Lakes, stands in contrast to downstate Pennsylvania. The region specialized in ship-building, shipping, and industry more closely related to the Great Lakes cities of Buffalo and Rochester, rather than the oil refineries in cities like Philadelphia and the steel industry of Pittsbrugh. The region has close ties to Great Lakes sports teams, including the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Redwings. Northwestern Pennsylvania is much like Western New York, in that it is entirely different from the eastern, more coastal half of the state. It is also much colder and snowier with "lake-effect snow" falling almost every day during the Winter months. Lake effect snows occur quite often in the winter months, however, they are more of a threat when the wind comes from the northwest, usually after a low pressure passes through the area.
Great Lakes dialect has a strong presence in northwestern Pennsylvania. One would be hard-pressed to distinguish between those who live in upstate New York (Rochester, Buffalo) and those who live in Erie. Many O's become A's ("mam" instead of "mom," for example).
Northwestern Pennsylvania is closest to Erie International Airport and to the larger Pittsburgh International Airport and Buffalo International Airport for air travel. Some taxis can be found in Erie, PA, but car is the preferred and recommended method of travel for the region.