Chautauqua Institution amphitheater
Gathering in the Amphitheater (photo credit: Chautauqua Institution)

The Chautauqua Institution is a lakeside, Victorian village, founded in 1874, that has since grown to become a nonprofit education center and summer resort focusing on education, religion, art, entertainment, recreation, and much more. The 2,000+ acre campus sees more than 100,000 visitors during its 9-week summer season, held late June through late August every year.

People come to Chautauqua County for a variety of reasons but Chautauqua Institute’s summer program is easily one of the biggest attractions. The Institute grounds come alive every summer with visitors from all over the country and world. They come for lectures and workshops, recreation, fine arts, live entertainment, interfaith worship, and other programs and events.

Established in 1874, the Chautauqua Institution was responsible for the Chautauqua movement; an adult education and social movement that swept the country during the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. While the Chautauqua movement eventually died out, the Institute not only remained but grew. What began as a tent-camp slowly evolved into a gorgeous, full campus, complete with cottages, hotels, lecture halls, galleries, concert venues, and more.

Visiting Chautauqua Institute

Independence Day Concert in Bestor Plaza
The 25th Annual Independence Day Concert in Bestor Plaza on July 4, 2016. Photo by: Sarah Holm.

A host of activities make up the Institute’s 9-week season. Offerings include literary and religious lectures, symphonic and pop concerts, operas, plays, sermons, and more. 2024 marks the 150th anniversary of the Chautauqua Institution, so this year’s season will be especially vibrant.

Sightseers in the Chautauqua area are welcome to visit the Institute grounds during the summer season. Guided bus tours are also available during the off or shoulder seasons (early May to late June and late August to early November). 

Enjoy the sites and sounds of the lush gardens, quaint cottages, and historic lakefront. Peruse the shops in Bestor Plaza and enjoy a meal at the Heirloom Restaurant at the Athenaeum Hotel. Play golf, go boating, or attend a lecture, concert, or other event.

Best of all, Chautauqua Institute is only a 15 minute drive from Maple Springs Lake Side Inn! Enjoy a few hours or even a full day at the Institute, then it’s just minutes back to the comforts of your room at our Chautauqua County bed and breakfast.

Visit to learn more. You can also find the Institute on Facebook.