Chautauqua NY (2020) | ULTIMATE Guide [Living There, Things to Do, Tips & Info]

Chautauqua is located in beautiful Chautauqua County, New York in the southwest corner of the state within the 14722 zip code. The county is home to six lakes and 50 miles of shoreline on Lake Erie with two major cities — Jamestown and Dunkirk — and dozens of small towns like Chautauqua. The town of Chautauqua is called the “mother of towns” because all other 25 towns in Chautauqua County were once part of it and it remains one of the county’s largest towns.

What is Chautauqua known for? Its famous Chautauqua Institution which spawned the Chautauqua movement of the late 20th century. Across the U.S., especially in rural areas, Chautauqua assemblies offered culture and entertainment for the entire community. President Roosevelt even called Chautauqua “the most American thing in America.” While the movement died out, the original Chautauqua Institution remains a major part of living in Chautauqua with diverse cultural, musical, religious, and educational programs and concerns that draw in thousands.

Today, Chautauqua has a population of 500 year-round residents, but the population swells to 7,500 per day during the busy summer season! The sleepy town of Chautauqua enjoys a summertime boom in population as tourists visit to enjoy not only the Institution but also the town’s stunning Lake Chautauqua shoreline, world-class golfing, and fine dining. With a median household income of $115,500 and a median home value of $641,000, Chautauqua consistently ranks high for its quality of life. Considering moving to Chautauqua or buying a summer home in the lakeside resort community? Here’s what you can expect.

Chautauqua Real Estate

Considering moving to Chautauqua? Know what to expect with the local real estate market. Chautauqua is one of the most expensive real estate markets in Western New York. The Chautauqua real estate market is small and tends to be slow given the town’s small size, but there’s a great mix of historic homes from the 1880s as well as more modern homes and condo buildings. As a general rule, expect to pay between $200 and $300 per square foot for a home. Multiple offers are rare for homes for sale in Chautauqua, NY and properties usually spend 120 days on the market.

Condos and townhouses are the most affordable type of Chautauqua real estate with prices in the low- to mid-$200s for a three-bedroom home. The large condo development near Chautauqua Institution is one of the most desirable with 1-bedroom condos usually priced around $200k.

Interested in Chautauqua Institution real estate? Expect to pay upwards of $1 million for a home near the Institution. Chautauqua lakefront real estate usually begins at $600k.

Fun Things to Do in Chautauqua, NY
From concerts and family-friendly festivals and events to afternoons spent boating and fishing, there’s no shortage of things to do in Chautauqua. The town is home to several attractions that draw in tens of thousands of people every summer, although residents still have plenty to do during the chilly winter months on the lake.

Chautauqua Institution

The prize jewel of Chautauqua, New York is the famous Chautauqua Institution, a nonprofit summer resort, education center, and venue. Built in 1874 originally as a teaching camp for Sunday school teachers, the Institution offers a huge variety of programs related to music, religion, education, and the arts. It also boasts a 4,500-seat Amphitheater for its symphony, theater, and other musical productions.

Chautauqua Institution offers a huge variety of public educational activities such as arts exhibitions plus recreational activities in the summer. There’s always something happening at the Institution with year-round special events like Farm-to-Table Culinary Weekend, Winter Village at Chautauqua, and Oktoberfest.

For youth, the Institution offers a broad range of activities including informal enrichment classes, recreation programs, day camps, Boys’ and Girls’ Club, family entertainment, and even babysitting.

Music is the backbone of the Institution with the world’s top musicians, dancers, and vocalists coming together for the Festival Schools of Performing and Visual Arts. The Chautauqua Institution offers several musical programs and schools:

  • Chautauqua School of Dance
  • Piano Program
  • Theater Conservatory in the Bratton Theater
  • Instrumental Program
  • Chautauqua School of Art
  • Chautauqua Music Camps
  • Chautauqua Voice Program

The Chautauqua Institution is also home to renowned groups such as:

There’s always something exciting happening at the Chautauqua Institution whether you’re interested in summer activities for kids, a date night enjoying a beautiful stage production, or a fun evening taking in beautiful music in the new amphitheater.

If you’re not ready for moving to Chautauqua or you’re just visiting, be sure to stay at the historic Athenaeum Hotel. Gate passes to the Institution aren’t needed during the fall and spring when the hotel hosts special events and weddings. During the summer season, guests can enjoy all of the arts, culture, concerts, and discussions at the Institution with guest gate passes.

Chautauqua Institution, 1 Ames Ave, Chautauqua, NY 14722 (716) 357-6250

Chautauqua Lake


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One of the jewels you’ll enjoy while living in Chautauqua is the pristine Chautauqua Lake. Enjoy some of Western New York’s best fishing and try your hand at angling for walleye, muskellunge, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass and ice fishing in the winter. The lake, which is divided into two basins of about the same size, is where Chautauqua (“bag tied in the middle”) takes its name.

When you’re not fishing, you can enjoy biking, hiking, boating, picnicking, and swimming at Long Point State Park. This 320-acre beachfront park is one of the best things to do in Chautauqua with a swimming beach, bathhouse, and calm waters perfect for an afternoon with the whole family.

On the lake, you’ll find the Chautauqua Golf Club as well as the Chautauqua Institution which plays a major role in lake conservation.

Chautauqua Lake, Chautauqua County, NY

Chautauqua Golf Club

Enjoy a challenging and rewarding game at Chautauqua Golf Club on the same fairways that have been enjoyed by celebrities, statesmen and presidents like President Clinton, and Hall of Famers like Sam Snead. The Chautauqua Golf Club is located directly across from the renowned Chautauqua Institution with a history dating back to the first round in 1914.

Still a beginner at golf? The Chautauqua Golf Club holds regular junior golf camps and clinics and adult clinics with a Golf Learning Center overlooking the lake. The teaching facility features a 300-yard driving range, a chipping green with fairway, practice holes, and more.

Chautauqua Golf Club, 4731 W Lake Rd, Chautauqua, NY 14722 (716) 357-6211

Along with these top things to do in Chautauqua, residents love to shop at Wegmans in Jamestown, an upscale supermarket chain with a top-rated Wegmans brand of organic foods and products without preservatives and artificial flavors.

Looking for fun things to do in Chautauqua for couples? Be sure you visit the National Comedy Center in nearby Jamestown, the birthplace of Lucile Ball, for the biggest names in comedy.

Great Places to Eat in Chautauqua

Chautauqua is known for its excellent and sustainable seafood, especially Lake Erie and Lake Chautauqua walleye, as well as farm fresh produce and locally sourced ingredients. You’ll find this at all of the top Chautauqua, NY restaurants whether you’re in the mood for casual dining or an upscale dining experience.

La Familia Restaurant

Located in the Chautauqua Institution, La Familia is one of the best Chautauqua restaurants for a fine dining experience. The restaurant focuses on fresh seafood and fresh farm produce with Greek and Mediterranean dishes. The restaurant, which opened in 2016, creates familiar and comforting yet modern dishes sure to impress.

Craving something light and savory? The Mediterranean seafood soup is a classic with fresh seafood in a spicy tomato broth. The grilled lamb chops are a popular choice with mint pesto and Parmesan risotto and a la carte sides like grilled asparagus.

La Familia Restaurant, 1 Pratt Ave, Chautauqua, NY 14722 (716) 357-2002

Heirloom Restaurant

Heirloom Restaurant is one of the best restaurants in Chautauqua for date night or while visiting the town. Located in the famous Athenaeum Hotel, the restaurant is open 7 days a week and open to the public during the 9-week summer season in Chautauqua.

Heirloom Restaurant is famous for its weekday specials which change daily and include hits like the weekly local farm-to-table special, lamb saddle chops, and the blue plate special. Enjoy a range of fin fish and shellfish specials like pan-seared sea scallops or enjoy their famous Southern Tier Burger. In the mood for something light to share during a date night? Heirloom Restaurant has two charcuterie plates to sample.

Heirloom Restaurant, 3 S Lake Dr, Mayville, NY 14757 (716) 357-5005

Considering moving to Chautauqua, NY full-time or buying a second home in this close-knit community? Trust the experienced Chautauqua movers at Wayfinder Moving Services for unparalleled customer service and the peace of mind you need. Get a free moving quote by calling our trusted movers at (716) 665-4832.

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