Chautauqua Institution is a 750-acre expanse in Western New York on the shores of Chautauqua Lake that comes alive with activity during a nine-week season each summer.
Over the course of a season, over 100,000 visitors will stay at Chautauqua and participate in the outstanding programs, events, lectures and activities offered in the arts, education, religion and recreation areas.
Each of the nine weeks during the summer carries a theme that is developed throughout the week in various venues. The hallmark event is the 10:45 a.m. lecture series, held Monday through Friday in the 4,000-seat Amphitheater, where distinguished speakers explore contemporary issues and engage the audience in a lively Q&A session.
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. This is somewhat influenced by the weekly lecture themes, enrollment requirements for the various day camp programs for children, and accommodations alternatives.
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 Bellenger 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.
Download the Ticket Order Booklet here. (PDF)
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.
55+ / Road Scholar
The Chautauqua Institution's 55+ programs were founded in 1974 by Helen Overs and remain an important component of the Chautauqua experience. Each program presents a topic through lecture, discussion, films or other appropriate means. Road Scholar is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing extraordinary learning adventures for people 55 and over. Full Article