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Jamestown, New York, for the Family

by Holly Riddle

Dec 12, 2018

© Holly Riddle

North America

In western New York, Jamestown sits on Lake Chautauqua as the birthplace of several famous figures, but also as a tourism destination newly finding its place in the region. While other towns on the lake may have drawn in the majority of summer tourists in seasons past, new attractions make Jamestown well worth your consideration.



The brand-new Harbor Hotel on Lake Chautauqua is certainly the place to stay when in the area. The lakeside property is conveniently located just a short drive from downtown and boasts beautiful views of the lakefront. The new-build property’s guestrooms are spacious, with large bathrooms with walk-in showers, separate vanities, work and/or dining space, seating areas with a couch and coffee table and either a balcony or porch with seating. Suite options are also available for families.


The comfortable, yet upscale feel exists thanks in part to the little amenities found throughout — the Starbucks coffee stations on every floor, the three fire pits on the lakeside patios and the on-site restaurant’s lake views from every seat in the house.


Comedy Center © Holly Riddle

Comedy Center © Holly Riddle


See and Do

The newest attraction in Jamestown is the National Comedy Center, which hosted its grand opening just this fall. More of an interactive experience than a museum, guests are encouraged to play, laugh and abundantly enjoy a walk through the history of comedy, a thorough celebration of the art. The entire space is kid-friendly, save for one adult section, only reached via an elevator. No need to worry about young ears overhearing some inappropriate jokes!


As mentioned, Jamestown is the birthplace of a few famous faces, most notably Lucille Ball, and the town proudly claims her in multiple ways. Beyond the annual Lucy Fest, there’s the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, which features set replicas from the iconic show, Lucy’s Emmy awards, costumes, memorabilia and more.


Lucy statue, Jamestown, New York © Holly Riddle

Lucy statue, Jamestown, New York © Holly Riddle

If you’re planning a visit for the summer months, the Chautauqua Institution is a can’t-miss. The 750-acre compound welcomes thousands of people each day over nine weeks in the summer. The festival-like programming covers the arts, religion, education and recreation, with a wide array of activities, performances and more to attract visitors with all kinds of interests.


Eat and Drink

In historic Jamestown, try out Labyrinth Press Company for breakfast or lunch, a café and espresso bar with vegetarian options. Fuel up on classic coffee favorites or signature concoctions, like the Cocopresso, which includes coconut cream, soy milk and espresso, or the White Wedding, which includes a white mocha latte and almond syrup. The lunchtime menu items are unique and hearty.


For dinner, even if you don’t stay at the Harbor Hotel, the on-site restaurant Lakehouse Tap & Grille serves up a delicious dinner menu, with hearty portions of steakhouse favorites, like grilled filet mignon with saffron risotto and pork tenderloin with wild mushrooms and bourbon mashed sweet potatoes.


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