Life Well Located

Are you searching for a better quality of life? Is it time for a change of scenery? Are you thinking of making the move to a more relaxed lifestyle where traffic jams and long commutes are not a daily occurrence? Are you itching to spend more time outdoors – all year long?

If any of these questions relate to you, you’ll want to put Chautauqua County at the top of your list of places to investigate in order to make your next move.

At the western-most end of New York State and considered among the best places to live in Upstate New York, Chautauqua County is known for its rural location and small-town setting, but also for its proximity to larger urban centers – with Buffalo, NY and Erie, PA less than an hour away and Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Toronto less than three hours away.

Our county is known for outstanding affordability with above-average quality of life aspects. We also have incredible views, countless miles of trails, five lakes, downhill and cross-country skiing opportunities, year-round events, and friendly neighbors. Come home to four-season fun, top-rated schools, excellent healthcare, high-quality jobs and safe, welcoming small-town living. Urban, suburban and rural living are available across the county – you are never more than a short drive from a lake or a trail, where you can explore unrivaled natural beauty all year long on foot, bike, boat, and more.

Care to be indulged? Enjoy great food from cozy and casual to fine dining, experience one of the best wine regions in the country, enjoy a round of golf or an afternoon on one of our five lakes, plus discover local distilleries, breweries and cafes – all while meeting the nicest people.

For those wishing to be entertained, creativity thrives throughout the region year-round. Find inspiration through a wide variety of arts, dance, and music created in our theaters, and shared at our breweries, wineries, galleries, and museums.

Chautauqua County is just the right place to put down roots, raise a family, or simply enjoy yourself.

  • Population: 128,000 
  • 100,000+ Visitors Every Summer 
  • Area: 1,062 Square Miles 
  • 5 Lakes, 100+ Miles of Shoreline 
  • 700+ Miles of Recreational Trails 
  • Largest City – Jamestown (28,300) 
  • 17.5 minutes Average Commute 
  • 76°F – Average Summer Temperature 
  • 32°F – Average Winter Temperature 
  • 213″ Annual Average Snowfall in Mayville 
  • 97″ Annual Average Snowfall in Jamestown 
  • #1 Lowest Cost of Living in NYS

Location / Access

Chautauqua County, the western gateway to New York State, is situated in the extreme southwest corner of the state and is the middle point between the cities of Chicago and New York City. Crossed by two major interstates – I-90 across the northern half and I-86 along the southern half – that offer easy access to the wide variety of communities in the county. Two commercial airports and State and Federal highways provide access throughout the county.

Cost of Living Comparison

When it comest to low cost of living, Chautauqua County ranks 7th out of 62 counties in New York State, making it an affordable place for residents to live and for businesses to cultivate and grow their workforce. Our interactive dashboard allows you to compare the cost of living in Chautauqua County to any other county in the United States, making it a valuable resource for individuals and families considering a move to our county.

Dashboard works best when viewing on a PC or Tablet


Four seasons of play surround you in Chautauqua County. Whether you like water sports, or are drawn to the hills, you will always find year-round outdoor activities. Fishing, boating, snowmobiling, skiing, tubing, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, you-fill-in-the-blank – it’s all here.

If you prefer warm, cozy indoor fun during the winter, we have that too! Have you ever tried curling or ice skating? It happens at the Northwest Arena in Jamestown. Learn about our interesting history at the local museums, take in the art galleries and soak up the live music and theater – all year long.

If you want to explore the unbelievable number of things to do and see in Chautauqua County, visit Tour Chautauqua.

Find Your Next Home

Chautauqua County is known for having some of the most affordable homes in New York State, if not the entire U.S. The Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Board of Realtors provides a comprehensive search tool on their website for searching housing options.

Several communities also provide financial assistance for homeowners who want to improve and/or maintain their properties. The city of Jamestown alone is home to three separate Historic Districts, which provide state tax credits for qualified home-improvement projects. The nonprofit Jamestown Renaissance Corporation offers other forms of financial assistance for owner-occupied homes. 


Anchored by education, from pre-K to post-secondary, Chautauqua County loves to learn.

Three State University of New York schools thrive here. SUNY Fredonia is known for making music and producing talented and inspiring teachers for all grade levels. Non-traditional higher education can be found at Empire State College and Jamestown Community College, the first Community College in the State with locations in Dunkirk and Olean, NY and Warren, PA – in addition to the main campus in Jamestown.

Besides higher education opportunities, Chautauqua County is also home to 18 different public school districts, each with its own unique identity that is reflective of the communities they represent.

Thanks to Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES, vocational and trade schools are also present, along with a host of continuing education programs focusing on the manufacturing sector, in order to help keep today’s workers prepared and ready for tomorrow’s new technology.

There are also several non-for-profit organizations devoted to education, including Chautauqua Striders and Infinity Visual  & Performing Arts – both in Jamestown and the Audubon Community Nature Center outside of Frewsburg.

And Chautauqua County is home to 24 public libraries, each belonging to the larger Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System.

From certificates to Doctorates and everything in between, it’s all available here.


You will find easy access to quality healthcare for mind, body, and spirit. There are three hospitals – Brooks-TLC in Dunkirk, UPMC Chautauqua in Jamestown, and Westfield Memorial Hospital – four urgent care centers, The Chautauqua Center (a federally qualified health center with locations in both major areas of the county), plus dozens of primary and specialty care providers.

Additional care is provided by major medical centers in the region: UPMC, Allegany Health Network, Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus, the Cleveland Clinic and the University of Rochester.

Are you looking for exercise and wellness activities? We have them. Fitness centers, gyms and miles of outdoor trails are located across the county. Lots of groups are looking for new friends to join them – you can fit right in. Make your health and well-being a priority – we do.

Climate Change Refuge

Where are you going to be in 25 years when drought, hurricanes, flooding, sea level rise and wildfires force you to relocate? How about Western New York?

It’s worth noting that Chautauqua County lies within the Great Lakes and Northeast regions, which many consider to not only be a “climate haven” here in the United States, but also the entire planet. These climate havens are areas touted by researchers, public officials, and city planners as natural refuges from extreme climate conditions that result in severe weather and water shortage. You will find Chautauqua County has the qualities to survive our warming climate: abundant freshwater, a moderate climate, available land, and a relatively low cost of living.

Climate change and extreme weather are also factors more and more businesses are considering when deciding where to locate and/or expand, and our county has abundant development sites and legacy infrastructure from a larger population that existed prior to the mid-20th century. That means for people living and working here, we provide an array of recreational, cultural, and high quality of life opportunities that will be tough to match, especially as we continue forward into the 21st century.