A Place for Everyone in Chautauqua County

Community isn’t just where you live, it’s also the people you see and surround yourself with and the group you feel a strong connection to. When it comes to living in Chautauqua County, you’ll find there’s a community for just about everyone.

Our Residents Are Our Greatest Asset

The residents of Chautauqua County are the fabric of their community and include a wide and diverse group of people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Don’t believe us? Find out for yourself!

A Diverse & Welcoming Place

The most recent US Census numbers illustrate the demographic makeup of Chautauqua County is predominately white/non hispanic (86.5%), but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

There are a variety of efforts to recognize and support our ethnic and cultural groups. Each year, both Jamestown and Dunkirk host community events to celebrate Juneteenth and Hispanic Heritage. Both SUNY Fredonia and SUNY JCC include students from all ethnicities and cultural backgrounds – including active and successful international student program – which help to increase diversity and understanding in those regions of the county. Also, the Seneca Nation’s Cattaraugus Reservation is partly located in Chautauqua County, with the remainder of the reservation in nearby Erie and Cattaraugus Counties.

At Chautauqua Institution, one of its core shared values is “the dignity and contributions of all people”, meaning it will often address cultural diversity in its annual programming. There is the Chautauqua County IDEA Coalition, a group of organizations and causes that work together to make the county even more accepting, inclusive, and diverse than it already is.

Jamestown PRIDE is also active with a large celebration of Pride Month in June, and both SUNY Fredonia and JCC have an active and welcoming LGBTQ+ Club program, designed to create an inclusive space for campus members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Arts & Culture

Art, history, live music and theater are in abundance for residents of Chautauqua County and happens every day! You can create it, learn from it or be entertained by it all year round. Connect with the active art scene in Westfield. Attend a professional show presented by the National Comedy Center or at various venues including the Chautauqua Institution, Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, or 1891 Fredonia Opera House. Or take your part on stage at the Lucille Ball Little Theater in Jamestown. Jam with the band at the Wintergarden Plaza – host of the Third Thursday concert Series in Jamestown, at the Big Inlet Brewery in Mayville or the Empty Pint at Southern Tier Brewing Co. in Lakewood. You can also discover the county’s active local music scene through the JTNY music app!

These opportunities and many more are easily found across the county.

Choose Your Thrills

Overnight camping, daytime hiking – many outdoor adventures are waiting for you in Chautauqua County.

From plentiful picturesque family-friendly parks and playgrounds along Lake Erie and Chautauqua Lake, to the cities and villages throughout the county plus, just for fun, the unique rock formations at Panama Rocks – you’ll find the perfect place to relax and take in the stunning views.

Long Point State Park, situated along Chautauqua Lake, and Lake Erie State Park offer hiking and biking trails, boat launches, beaches and relaxing picnic spots. One-of-a-kind Midway State Park, established in 1898, is one of the oldest continually operating amusement parks in the nation. It is known for its vintage children’s rides and a restored carousel – it is a must if you have children.

With hundreds of miles of trails for public use, there’s a plethora of outdoor attractions to discover and explore in Chautauqua County regardless of the season – giving residents an opportunity to make outdoor recreation and lifelong pursuit.

Fresh Water Access

Five breath-taking lakes across the county offer all levels of fun. From competitive fishing and cruising, to recreational boating with friends and family. Chautauqua Lake is especially known for its world-class “musky” fishing adventures and winter-time ice-fishing opportunities, while Lake Erie has no shortage of bass and walleye fishing spots. There’s also some great steelhead opportunities in the Lake Erie tributaries. In fact, fishing is a 4-season sport in Chautauqua County, making it an angler’s paradise. And after enjoying a day on the water, stop in to one of the many local eateries to top off your day.

The Eastern Continental Divide runs through Chautauqua County, meaning the county is part of both the St. Lawrence and Gulf of Mexico watersheds. Chautauqua Lake and its outlet the Chadakoin River – along with the Conewango, Cassadaga, and French Creeks – are all part of the great Mississippi River system. The Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Canadaway, and Silver Creek are all tributaries of Lake Erie, which eventually feeds into the St. Lawrence Seaway. 


  • Lake Erie 
  • Chautauqua Lake 
  • Cassadaga Lake 
  • Findley Lake 
  • Bear Lake 


  • Brokenstraw Creek 
  • Canadaway Creek 
  • Cassadaga Creek 
  • Cattaraugus Creek 
  • Chadakoin River 
  • Chautauqua Creek 
  • Conewango Creek 
  • French Creek 
  • Silver Creek 
  • Stillwater Creek 
  • Twentymile Creek