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Living a College Town Lifestyle in Ithaca, New_York

Ithaca is a town of 30,000, located on the shores of Cayuga Lake, one of New York’s finger lakes. Home of the Ivy League's Cornell University, Ithaca makes an ideal retirement community for anyone who would like to live in a bustling college town. During the school year the population doubles as Cornell and Ithaca College’s student body move in.

The area has long been a wine growing area and the area’s many vineyards and farms make for picturesque touring. Ithaca is a charming town in a valley surrounded by rolling hills with many walkable neighborhoods. There are three dramatic gorges in town, including one on the Cornell Campus that is a famous attraction. Perhaps the most famous of its many outstanding restaurants is The Moosewood Restaurant, a vegetarian outpost and the source of the classic Moosewood cookbook series. Ithaca definitely has a liberal flavor, and the Moosewood provides a good indicator.

Ithaca is located in Tompkins County in central New York. 

Where to Retire in Ithaca and Home Prices

You will find a variety of housing options and neighborhoods that are desirable. Cayuga Heights is probably the nicest neighborhood in town. There are many apartments well below $1000 a month, although you might want to stay away from student-oriented neighborhoods. Other housing opportunities include assisted living facilities, single family homes, and even some mobile home communities. Adjacent to the Cornell campus, the upscale Kendall at Ithaca life care community offers access to university amenities.
Housing in Ithaca tends to be more expensive than the surrounding area, although prices have stayed very stable.  According to Zillow the median home value was $260,244, in early 2022.  Homes in the nicer areas near the lake or in Cayuga Heights or South Hill will more likely cost in the $300's or more.

What Is Special about Ithaca

• College town atmosphere • Circle Greenway • , the movie, was filmed here • Golfers will find four 18-hole courses and two 9-hole courses • Intellectual, liberal atmosphere • Gorges and waterfalls • The Moosewood Restaurant • Ithaca Commons, a restored downtown pedestrian marketplace • Ithaca Travel Guide

What Is Not Special about Ithaca

Too many college students for some folks;  Traffic near the campus; Cold, snowy winters

Climate and Physical Environment

 Ithaca is on a valley at the southern end of Cayuga Lake. Ithaca is  surrounded by rolling hills. Several deep gorges and waterfalls are in the area. This town is located in the famed and picturesque Finger Lakes region of New York state.  Winters are long and cold. Use this link for information on New York City retirement

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Ithaca has a great deal going on culturally. Cornell provides The Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts, guest lectures, museums and more.. The Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the Ithaca Opera Association are musical beacons for the retirement community. Active adults will also find museums, art galleries, and book stores that you would expect in a college town, such as Cornell's Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art,  which was designed by architect I.M. Pei. Cornell's Adult University has a full schedule of lectures and study tours.


The crime rate is below average.

Medical Facilities

Cayuga Medical Center (205-beds)


Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport (5 miles). Greater Binghamton is 41 miles away. There is popular bus system, TCAT, which has extensive routes through town

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