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For other places with the same name, see Chautauqua (disambiguation).

Chautauqua is a small village in Chautauqua County, in the Southern Tier of New York State. It is home to the Chautauqua Institution, which has served as a national model for adult education retreats since its founding in 1874.

Athenaeum Hotel, Chautauqua Institution


In 2014, Smithsonian magazine named[dead link] Chautauqua the best small town to visit in the United States, beating out famous destinations like Sedona and Williamsburg.

Get in[edit]

Chautauqua is on the west side of Chautauqua Lake and can be accessed by taking Interstate 86 to Exit 7 (Steadman Rd) or Exit 8 (State Route 394), then traveling north a few miles. From the north, you can take I-90, the New York State Thruway, to Exit 60, then take State Route 394 southeast through Mayville; Chautauqua is just a couple of miles beyond Mayville.

Get around[edit]

Map of Chautauqua

The Chautauqua Institution campus is easily walkable, and many members bring their bikes for a relaxing coast around the institution. Tram and bus services are also convenient and free to gate pass holders. To get anywhere else, you'll need a vehicle.


  • Miller Bell Tower, 1 Miller Park, Mayville. On-institution. The most iconic symbol of Chautauqua Institution, the 75-foot-tall Bell Tower can be easily seen from Lake Chautauqua and heard anywhere on the institution. A relaxing walk or bike ride downhill from Bestor Plaza. While there are no formal tours of the tower, the chimemaster is always happy to give visitors a brief lesson in how the bell tower works. Free with Institution gate pass.
  • A total solar eclipse on Monday 8 April 2024 starts at 3:17PM local time and lasts 3 min 30 sec. The chances of a clear sky are 35%. The track of totality is northeast from Mexico and Texas to Ohio then straddling the Canada–New England border.



Norton Memorial Hall, Chautauqua Institution
  • 1 Chautauqua Institution, 1 Ames Ave, toll-free: +1-800-836-ARTS (2787). Nine weeks, late Jun - late Aug. Thousands of people every summer descend on the tiny village to relax their bodies and improve their minds on the 750-acre campus of the Chautauqua Institution. Perhaps the main attraction is the lecture series, with each of the nine weeks featuring a different theme and a different set of distinguished speakers. Also on the grounds are literally hundreds and hundreds of classes for the visual and performing arts, computer skills, writing, philosophy, sports and hobbies, and even professional development. Considering there are also plenty of recreational and cultural activities for your off-hours, it's no wonder people have been flocking here since 1874. Gate pass (required for most activities, lectures, and classes; not needed for single concerts; also not needed on Sundays or for those residing off-campus if attending a Special Studies class or Youth Program): $14-76 daily or $4004/season ($311/season for youths; free for under 12, over 89, and active-duty military; discounts available for early registration). Access to the grounds is free on Sundays and during the off season. Course fees vary by class. Parking: $8.50 daily (with discounts for 5-day, weekly, and season passes). Chautauqua Institution (Q5088389) on Wikidata Chautauqua Institution on Wikipedia


  • Chautauqua Bookstore, 67 Bestor Plaza, +1 716-357-2151. 9AM-5PM. On-institution. Has a great selection of books, knick-knacks, souvenirs, and Institution apparel.


  • Andriaccio's, 4837 W Lake Rd, Mayville, +1 716-753-5200, . W Th 11AM-8PM, F Sa 11AM-9PM, Su noon-8PM. A cozy mid-range Italian restaurant 2 minutes away from the Institution's main gate. $13-32.
  • The Waterfront, 188 S Erie St, Mayville, +1 716-753-2900. W-Su 4:30-8:30PM. A high-end seafood restaurant on the shore of Lake Chautauqua. Accommodates arrival by boat with its 12-boat dock. $20-57.
  • Boxcar Barney's, 13 W Lake Rd, Mayville, +1 716-222-9925. M Tu 5-8PM, W-F 3-8PM, Sa noon-8PM. A local ice cream place infamous for its huge portions. Outdoor seating only.


Chautauqua Institution has a dry campus (no alcohol can be bought or brought onto campus).


If you're coming during the Institution's season, you'll need to be flexible with your accommodation needs. There are hotels, guest houses, apartments, condominiums, cabins, and more. All are privately owned but the Institution offers a nice central clearinghouse and search engine for availability.

Off-season, accommodations are more traditional, but there are a lot of options for a village of this size.

  • The Spencer Hotel & Spa, 25 Palestine Avenue, +1 716-357-3785. The Spencer Hotel & Spa features a literary theme in each guest room and throughout the hotel. It also features a spa and offers services for events and weddings.


Go next[edit]

  • Jamestown, the Chautauqua County seat, is the nearest city, though not a large one. It is a short drive away on State Route 394 South.
  • You can view the enormous expanse of Lake Erie from Westfield, an easy drive on State Route 394 North through verdant, rolling hills.
  • A bit further east are the towns of Dunkirk and Fredonia, the home of State University of New York at Fredonia.
  • Erie, Pennsylvania is easily reachable by driving on Route 394 South to I-86 West and I-90 West, then following signs.
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