Frequently Asked Questions
When should I come to Chautauqua?
Chautauqua is a picturesque destination year-round, with a primary programming season that lasts nine weeks each year, from late June through late August. Most guests stay for one week so they can enjoy the entire lecture series and the full array of arts and entertainment offerings. Guests who stay for less than a week often stay at the Athenaeum Hotel. Additional programs, such as farm-to-table dinners and fall and winter festivals are held throughout the year.
How do I plan my Chautauqua vacation?
Click here for tips on how to plan your stay, as well as accommodations and ticketing information. Call our information office at 800-836-ARTS for additional information.
What fees are involved?
Gate passes are required during the Summer Assembly and fees vary according to time period, programming and length of stay. Visit our ticketing website at tickets.chq.org for the most up-to-date information and prices or call 716-357-6250 for further information.
There is a reduced rate for youth ages 13 to 25. There is no charge for a gate ticket for anyone 12 and younger or 90 and older. No gate fees are charged on Sundays.
Single opera and theater ticket prices vary based on seating and performance. Theater and opera packages are also available. Advance purchase is highly recommended as performances do sell out.
Parking fees vary according to length of stay.
Active-duty military receive a free pass.
What kinds of accommodations are available?
On-grounds accommodations include hotels, inns, guest houses, single- and multi-family homes, condominiums and apartments. Weekly rentals are the most popular accommodations. Nightly stays are available all year long. Visit reservations.chq.org or call 716-357-6200 for more information.
The Athenaeum Hotel offers many all-inclusive vacation packages. For hotel reservations or to learn more about special offers, please call 800-821-1881 or visit athenaeum.chq.org.
What is there for kids to do outside the various youth programs offered?
Most kids on the grounds participate in Children’s School, Group One or Boys’ and Girls’ Club, but there are many additional activities available during the Summer Assembly.
The Youth Activities Center is designed as a gathering spot for middle schoolers and high schoolers, with a snack bar, games, pool tables and table tennis, as well as television and lounge areas. Dances and weekly special events are also offered.
The Sports Club offers board and lawn games, ping-pong, and hosts the annual beach to beach color sprint — a young crowd favorite. There is also foot golf at the Golf Learning Center.
The Pier Club serves as a meeting place for young adults ages 16 and up. In addition to providing comfortable lounges, table tennis and pool tables, a snack bar and beach area, the club initiates special programs as guided by member interest, including guest speakers, movies and live entertainment.
A Family Entertainment Series is presented one evening most weeks featuring singers, musicians, actors, puppeteers and storytellers.
A number of Special Studies classes are especially designed for young people. Many multigenerational classes are also listed in the Special Studies catalog. Find out more information or register for Special Studies classes online at classes.chq.org.
The Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle Young Readers program features nine books and related activities throughout the summer. The program has been designed to provide reading enrichment for youth ages 9 to 14.
Golf, sailing and tennis opportunities are also available for youth. For costs and additional information on youth activities, visit youth.chq.org.
What about meals?
If your accommodations have a kitchen, you may want to stock up on the basics before departing for or en route to Chautauqua, as there is only a small convenience store on the grounds. A daily Farmers Market with fresh prepared and baked goods from local vendors is also available. The weekly Bestor Fresh Market features fresh produce, meat and other raw ingredients for sale by local vendors on Bestor Plaza. More complete grocery shopping is located at markets from 2 to 15 miles away. A number of restaurants operate on the Institution’s grounds with full bar service. Hours are limited outside the Summer Assembly. View a comprehensive listing of restaurants on the grounds at dining.chq.org.
How will I get around the grounds?
Because Chautauqua is a walking community with narrow streets, the use of automobiles on the grounds is restricted. You will be provided a free, limited-time street permit to unload and load luggage at your accommodations. The Institution provides regularly scheduled complimentary shuttle bus and tram service on the grounds during the Summer Assembly.
Should we bring our bicycles?
Bicycles are an efficient and pleasant way to get around the grounds. They must be equipped with a bell or other signaling device and have brakes in working order. After sunset a headlight and rear reflector are required, and New York state law requires that bicyclists under 14 wear a safety helmet. Bicycles must not be ridden on walks reserved for pedestrian use and should always give the right of way to pedestrians. All traffic signs, signals and regulations shall be observed by operators of bicycles.
A bicycle rental shop is located on the grounds during the season.
Please register your bicycle with the Ticket Office when ordering tickets or when you arrive at the Main Gate ticket window.
In-line skating is allowed on certain streets. Skateboarding is not permitted on the grounds.
Which Special Studies classes will be offered during our stay?
During the Summer Assembly, classes vary by week, and a weekly index of classes is provided in the Special Studies catalog or at classes.chq.org.
What about our boat?
You may reserve rental moorage on a space-available basis at our Central Dock office. For weekly mooring or first-time registrations of season boats, please call 716-357-6288 after the first week in June. Full-season boat renewals may call 716-357-6250.
What if we’d like to bring our motor home?
There are no facilities for campers or motor homes on the grounds. For information regarding nearby campgrounds, contact the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau at 800-242-4569.
Does anything happen on the grounds between fall and spring?
Chautauqua offers custom-tailored conference, wedding, meeting and event packages for large and small groups throughout the year. Catering services ranging from modest to luxurious are available at a variety of locations, including the Athenaeum Hotel. For more information contact our wedding and events staff at 716-357-4444 ext. 1108 or [email protected].
Information regarding year-round accommodations on the grounds may be obtained here or by calling 716-357-6200.
Chautauqua Health & Fitness operates a fitness center and pool year-round at the Turner Community Center, including group exercise classes and personal training. Golf and tennis is open mid-May–mid-October.
Do you offer programs for older adults?
Chautauqua partners with a number of organizations that cater to older adults including those who wish to travel with grandchildren. Call 716-357-6269 or email our Group Programs office at [email protected] to learn about Road Scholar.
What about banking services?
An automatic teller machine (ATM) is located in the Colonnade, Main Gate Welcome Center, Brick Walk Cafe and the Athenaeum Hotel; money orders are available at the Chautauqua post office.
Do you offer group discounts?
Groups of 20 people or more can take advantage of special rates. For details, call 716-357-6262.
What kinds of assistance do you have for people with disabilities?
Designated parking is available in our Main Lot. Wheelchairs and electric scooters may be rented at our Main Gate Welcome Center Information Desk (subject to availability.) Audio receivers for the hearing impaired are available during the season on a first-come basis for events in our major performance facilities. There is a tram and bus service available on the grounds. Contact our information staff at 716-357-6200 regarding any other accommodations.
Please register your electric scooter at the Main Gate Welcome Center upon arrival.
Are medical services readily available?
A medical clinic offering non-emergency treatment is located on the grounds during the season. There are nearby hospitals in Westfield and Jamestown. Emergency fire services are provided by the Chautauqua Volunteer Fire Department. A paramedic is on duty 24/7 during our summer season.
Chautauqua is a pet-friendly community and many rental properties allow tenants to bring pets; be sure to check to see whether your accommodations permit house pets. The Athenaeum Hotel does offer pet-friendly rooms for a fee.
Pets should be registered, for a small fee, at the Chautauqua Police Department. Dogs must be leashed and cleaned up after and are not permitted in certain areas on the grounds. With the exception of service animals, pets are not permitted in any Chautauqua Institution buildings or program facilities.
A dog park is located at the north end of Turner Community Center. Dogs can run inside a fenced area and play with fellow canines.