Challenge yourself. Discover a hidden talent. Share the memories. Inspire a new generation.
Over the course of nine weeks, more than 100,000 visitors will stay at Chautauqua and participate in programs, classes and community events for all ages—all within the beautiful setting of a historic lakeside village.
The Chautauqua experience is based around one’s engagement in five program areas: arts, education, religion, recreation, and youth. While people visit Chautauqua Institution for all different lengths of stay—ranging from a daily lecture or evening performance to an overnight, multiple weeks or a even a full-season stay—the most popular length of stay on the grounds is one week.
Step 1: Accommodations
Finding accommodations should be your first priority when planning a visit to Chautauqua. Gate passes and tickets do not go on sale until January and never sell out. Accommodations however, can fill up long before gate passes even go on sale.
All accommodations within the Institution’s grounds are privately owned except for the Athenaeum Hotel and Bellinger Hall dormitory. There are six classes of places to stay: single-family homes, condominiums, apartments, hotels and inns, historic inns and rooms, and denominational houses. To explore and secure accommodations, visit our web-based search engine. Chautauqua Institution operates the 150-room Athenaeum Hotel situated on Chautauqua Lake, available for short- and long-term stays.
Step 2: Tickets and Passes
To enter the Institution grounds, a gate ticket is required for all visitors ages 13 to 90; a youth ticket is available for ages 13 to 25.
This ticket is your passport to the Chautauqua Experience, entitling you to attend most events on the grounds, including all lectures, religious services, Amphitheater entertainment and performances by the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. Additional tickets and/or registration are required for:
- Chautauqua Opera and Chautauqua Theater Company performances
- Children’s School and Boys’ and Girls’ Club enrollment (one-week minimum enrollment)
- Special Studies courses (over 300 continued education courses are offered each summer)
- Boat slip or ramp requirement
- Vehicle parking
- Ticketing and registration can be completed online or by calling (716) 357-6250.
Step 3: Register for Classes and Programs
Whatever educational experience you are seeking, Chautauqua’s Special Studies program continues to create distinct new learning opportunities for the 10,000 lifelong learners that enroll in courses each summer.
More than 300 teachers, experienced in subjects they love, arrive each summer to create a diverse assortment of courses for youth and adults offering a cross-generational learning experience. Special Studies offers subjects ranging from child and youth development, music, education, religion and philosophy, to fitness, health, and personal and professional development. Enjoy Chautauqua’s Special Studies’ unique learning experience and enrich your mind, body and spirit.
Additional programming sponsored by the Institution and other organizations on our grounds are available throughout the day. Check our website calendar for up-to-date program information. Daily program guides are also available in our summer season newspaper, The Chautauquan Daily. Weekly guides are available in Saturday’s paper and at our Main Gate Welcome Center.
When you arrive
Weekends are a busy time at our entrance gates as many people arrive and depart from their stays. Traffic can become delayed at our Main Gate entrance. Here are some tips for avoiding a delay:
- If you already received your passes in the mail you can avoid the Main Gate and enter the gate nearest to your accommodations. Download our map of the grounds to find your entrance.
- Are you are picking up your passes or purchasing them when you arrive? If we are holding your passes they will be waiting for you at our Main Gate Welcome Center Will Call window. Please pull into our Main Gate entrance and use the 30-minute parking adjacent to the Welcome Center to pick up your passes. You can also purchase your passes at the Welcome Center when you arrive.
Unpacking and parking
- During their stay, most guests keep their vehicle in our Main Parking Lot across Route 394 from the grounds. When you enter the grounds, you will be issued a 45-minute drop-off pass. Head down to your accommodations so you can unpack your vehicle and load your groceries in the refrigerator. (Please be careful not to block the road for other traffic.)
- When you finish unloading you can drive up and park in our main parking, take the tram back to the grounds and catch the shuttle back to your accommodations. Make sure to bring your gate pass with you to re-enter the grounds.
What to do once you're settled in.
- Once you've had a chance to unpack, get out and explore a little! Meet your neighbors and get a bite to eat. A complete dining guide is available on our website.
- Pick up a copy of our newspaper.
The Chautauquan Daily is available at Logan Hall and Chautauqua Bookstore , from boxes at the Main Gate and outside Gate 4 of the Amphitheater, or from sellers around Bestor Plaza. Each issue provides a full events schedule, coverage of many programs and important contact information.
The Visitors Center welcomes you!
Whether you’re new to Chautauqua or not, the Visitors Center will provide you with all of the information you need to make your Chautauqua experience the best it could possibly be.
Where: Bestor Plaza
Sunday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday, 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
New Visitor Information Session
Information orientation sessions are held for Chautauqua first-timers at 6 p.m.
Sunday nights on the first floor of the Hultquist Center. Learn the ins and outs of this unique place!
Youth 12 & under are always free at Chautauqua
Youth 12 & under are admitted to all events in the Amphitheater, Hall of Philosophy and most other programs. Call our ticketing office with questions. (716) 357-6250
Sundays on the grounds
2:30 p.m. events are in the Amp, Theater In Bratton Play House
Free day pass
Free parking until 2 p.m.
Theater tickets are an additional cost
Community Appreciation Nights
All events are in the Amphitheater, dates vary; call or check calendar
Evening passes are $20
Family Entertainment Series (FES)
Locations & dates vary; call or check calendar
Free admission unless noted
Education Day at Chautauqua
Wednesdays throughout the summer season, locations vary; call or check our calendar.
Education Day at Chautauqua offers current students, teachers and staff from Chautauqua County schools (K-12) a free gate pass (7 a.m. to midnight) on Wednesdays throughout the summer season. All you have to do is show a school identification card to receive your free entry to the grounds, which includes access to all events at the Amphitheater. Youth 12 and under always have free access to the grounds.
Attend a morning or afternoon lecture, see one of our Family Entertainment Series events, go to the symphony or attend a popular concert.
Chautauqua Literary & Scientific Circle (CLSC) Young Readers Program.
4:15 p.m. every Wednesday throughout the season, locations vary; call or check our calendar.
Students are invited to participate in the CLSC Young Readers program (9- to 14-year-olds). This program is open to all youth, and reading the week’s selection is encouraged but not required for attendance. CLSC Young Readers is simply about the encouragement and enjoyment of good reading. The books are chosen for their quality, the variety of their styles and subjects, and their appeal to young readers.
Getting Around the Grounds
Chautauqua is basically a walking community with very narrow streets. The use of automobiles on the grounds is very restricted.
You will, however, be given a free, limited-time street permit to unload and load luggage at your accommodations. Visitors may park in lots the main lot across from the Main Gate Welcome Center for a daily fee. Special long-term parking rates are also available. The Institution provides regularly scheduled complimentary shuttle bus and tram service on the grounds during the season.
Take a tour
Narrated bus tours of the Chautauqua Institution grounds are available daily for a feev during the season.
Tickets are available for purchase in person the day of the tour at the Main Gate Welcome Center ticket window. The tour runs approximately 1 - 1.5 hours.
A self-guided walking tour guide book is available for purchase at the Chautauqua Bookstore.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are medical services readily available?
- Are religious services available?
- Are tours of the grounds available?
- Can I use an electric scooter on the grounds?
- How do I get to Chautauqua Institution?
- How will I get around the grounds?
- Is there any type of fitness center on the grounds?
- Mail Service
- Should we bring our bicycles?
- What about banking services?
- What about internet access?
- What about meals?
- What kind of handicap assistance do you have?
- What kinds of public facilities do you have?