Introduction to Ithaca, New York

The New York city of Ithaca, which sits in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, is the county seat of Tompkins County. Named for the Greek island of Ithaca, the city is situated 33 miles northeast of Elmira, 50 miles northwest of Binghamton, and about 60 miles south of Syracuse. Ithaca is noted for being home to Cornell University and also Ithaca College.

By the time of Ithaca's incorporation as a city in 1888, Cornell University had already marked the 20th anniversary of its founding by Ezra Cornell. A few years later, in 1892, W. Grant Egbert founded the Ithaca Conservatory of Music, later to become Ithaca College. During the early 20th century, Ithaca was an important center in the silent film industry, spearheaded by the Wharton brothers, film makers who set up a motion picture studio and shot several silent films at a site which is now Stewart Park. Today Ithaca relies chiefly on education and manufacturing to drive its expanding economy, with a significant amount of support from tourism, viniculture, and high technology.

Things to do in the Ithaca Area

Tourists converge on the Ithaca area to take in its natural scenery and its numerous hiking, skiing, and bicycling trails. In addition, the region surrounding Ithaca is populated with several wineries, many of which specialize in varietals of the native Labrusca grape. Ithaca is also home to a number of historical societies and museums, including the following:

  • The Sciencenter
  • Paleontological Research Institution's Museum of the Earth
  • F.R. Newman Arboretum
  • Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Fine Art
  • Historic Ithaca's State Theatre
  • Museum of the Earth at PRI

Recreational sites in and around Ithaca include the following:

  • Buttermilk Falls State Park
  • Robert H. Treman State Park
  • Cayuga Lake
  • Taughannock Falls State Park
  • Beebe Lake
  • Ithaca Falls
  • Cass Park Rink & Pool
  • Ringwood Raceway

Sports fans can catch some pro action less than an hour's drive away. The nearby city of Elmira is home to the Elmira Jackals, a pro hockey team in the United Hockey League (UHL). The city of Auburn (40 miles to the north) is the home town of the Auburn Doubledays, a Minor League Class-A baseball farm team of the Toronto Blue Jays. Nearby Binghamton hosts two professional teams: the Binghamton Mets (a Minor League Baseball Class-AA affiliate of the New York Mets) and the Binghamton Senators (a pro hockey Ottawa Senators affiliate playing in the American Hockey League). A 60-mile drive north to the city of Syracuse will find the Syracuse Sky Chiefs, a Minor League baseball team which is the AAA Blue Jays affiliate, and the Syracuse Crunch, an American Hockey League team affiliated with the Columbus Blue Jackets.


Total Population 30,565
Male Share of the Population 50.4%
Female Share of the Population 49.6%
Senior Citizens 5.3%
Employed Population 16+ 11,287
Age of the Population 22


% of people married 15.7%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 62.9%
Median Earnings25+ $34,202
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $11,274
Median Earnings With High School Degree $30,431


Median Family Income $69,408
% Above Poverty Level 55.2%
% Below Poverty Level 44.8%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 15 minutes
% Working from Home 6.4%
% Walking and Biking to Work 42.2%
% Using Public Transportation 10.6%


People Living Alone 42.5%
Median Gross Rent $1,019
Median House Value $220,400


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 35.1%
US/American 0.2%
English 6%
Irish 9.7%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Ithaca Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 45 miles SW of Syracuse, New York (center to center)
Nearest Large City 125 miles E of Buffalo, New York
County Tompkins
Standard Zip Codes 14850, 14853, 14882
P.O. Box Zip Codes 14851, 14852
Phone Area Codes 607
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 42.44
Longitude -76.496

Ithaca Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 2.5 miles
Jan Temp 14 to 31 F
Apr Temp 33 to 55 F
Jul Temp 57 to 80 F
Oct Temp 37 to 59 F
Annual Precip 36.7 inches
Distance 19.4 miles
Jan Temp 15 to 31 F
Apr Temp 34 to 54 F
Jul Temp 59 to 81 F
Oct Temp 39 to 59 F
Annual Precip 39.3 inches
Distance 30.5 miles
Jan Temp 13 to 33 F
Apr Temp 32 to 58 F
Jul Temp 57 to 83 F
Oct Temp 36 to 61 F
Annual Precip 35.1 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Ithaca, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Ithaca College (14850)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Dryden 14,840 $76,395
Freeville 524 $74,531
Groton 6,097 $63,718
Lansing 11,347 $92,985
Spencer 3,075 $54,185

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Ithaca Public Libraries

Tompkins County Public Library
Ithaca, New York
(607) 272-4557
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Ithaca Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Private)
(607) 274-4401
Emergency Service: Yes

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Ithaca High Schools

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Ithaca Colleges

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Historic Ithaca


Ithaca Falls Gorge near power house c1900.

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Ithaca Falls Gorge near power house c1900.

Lincoln Hall (Cornell University) c1900.

Library (Cornell University) between 1900 and 1915

Additional Resources
Info for Ithaca Government Officials

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