20 Best Things to Do in Fredonia, NY

Fredonia, NY
Generic1139, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Make the village Fredonia the hub as you explore Chautauqua County in western New York State.

Incorporated in 1829, Fredonia boasts historic Victorian homes and a charming downtown with eclectic attractions, including a vibrant arts and culture scene.

In addition, this village corners a nook of the Chautauqua-Lake Erie region, featuring a pristine natural environment for a slew of outdoor recreational activities.

Fredonia is likewise in the heart of the Lake Erie Wine Country, flaunting 53 miles of gorgeous vineyard vistas and unique wineries around the lake’s shoreline.

All year long, Fredonia also hosts several communities and street festivals that celebrate the arts, music, and culinary traditions of the greater Chautauqua County region.

Have a sampling of these delights in the following list of the best things to do in Fredonia village.

Watch a Show at the Fredonia Opera House

Huge red brown building of Fredonia Opera House
Generic1139, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Concerts, live events, and films are held year-round at the Fredonia Opera House on Church Street.

Opened in 1891 as a Vaudeville theater, it has grown to become a modern, air-conditioned, and handicapped-accessible venue with 444 seats.

The Fredonia Opera House also takes pride in its infrared hearing assistance system.

This venue holds the Opera House Cinema Series featuring current releases of independent and foreign films and documentaries.

It’s also the only venue in northern Chautauqua County for live, high-definition satellite feeds of productions from the renowned NYC Metropolitan Opera, as well as live broadcasts from London’s National Theater and Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet.

Requests for guided tours are entertained at the Fredonia Opera House, where you can see a 1918 Steinway baby grand piano on site, perfect for recitals.

Visit the DR Barker Museum

This museum is housed in an 1820 Victorian-style brick building, which was the former family home of a prominent Fredonia resident, Darwin R. Barker.

Located on the corner of East Main Street and 7 Day Street, the DR Barker Historical Museum features permanent and rotating exhibits as well as two research libraries and a Children’s Museum.

One of the museum’s displays is a restoration of a “Victorian Parlor” with a working pump organ.

The museum’s efforts to preserve the history of Northern Chautauqua County likewise manifest in its library collection of local individuals’ war records.

Admission to the DR Barker Museum is free.

Enjoy an Event at the Rockefeller Arts Center

This arts center is located on Central Avenue in the State University of New York campus in Fredonia.

Established in 1969, Rockefeller Arts Center is the first and oldest center for performing and visual arts under the State University of New York’s system.

The Rockefeller Arts Center boasts two theatres, two galleries, a 1,200-seat concert hall, studios, and numerous shops.

The center hosts more than 170 events each year, including performances, musical entertainment, and exhibits.

Many of these displays can be found at the center’s Cathy and Jesse Marion Art Gallery, featuring works by professional artists, students, and faculty.

Enjoy Classic Plays at Main Street Studios

Located on West Main Street, Main Street Studios is a Fredonia venue where you can watch classic plays like The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Taming of the Shrew.

Developed from the former three-level warehouse of the historic Card Seed Company, Main Street Studios features many things besides its 140-person capacity multi-purpose performance venue.

It is also home to two large training studios, a gym, and a café, plus The Art Market, which opened in 2020.

This latest addition is a non-profit art gallery exhibiting and selling the works of artists in the Chautauqua–Lake Erie region.

Enjoy a Stroll at Russel Joy Park

This park nestles amid a ring of woodlands between Main Street and Howard Street, with a back entrance trail on Hamlet Street.

Taking this back entry is ideal for a short, quiet stroll to enjoy the solitude of the woods.

Emerging to the park’s main portion, there are various facilities, including a sizable pavilion and picnic area with tables and benches.

Russel Joy Park also features a baseball diamond, tennis courts, and basketball courts.

In addition, the park provides a playground with swings and a jungle gym.

Pick a Drink at Woodbury Winery & Vineyards

Experience a slice of the Lake Erie Wine Country’s brew and spirits trail with a visit to Woodbury Winery & Vineyards on South Roberts Road.

This winery takes pride in its award-winning handcrafted wines, including the Blue Raspberry, which you can enjoy in its tasting room.

Woodbury Winery & Vineyards offers five wine choices for each round of tasting by the glass.

The winery can accommodate large groups of up to 25 during a tour that can segue into an impromptu volleyball game on the winery’s grounds.

The winery’s shop offers choices of white, red, blush, fruit, and specialty wines, like Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Sparkling Wine.

Gifts of wine tumblers and chilling spouts are also available in the winery’s shop.

Have Pasta at DeJohn's Italian Spaghetti House

This family-owned Italian restaurant is located on West Main Street and has become a popular destination for lunches and dinners.

Its eat-all-you-can offers on pasta are but one of the reasons for the popularity of DeJohn's Italian Spaghetti House.

This restaurant also continues to draw patrons for its authentic Italian family recipes, which have been handed down through generations.

The restaurant boasts its Mama DeJohn's signature homemade secret recipe sauce fresh daily.

Each meal here is prepared using only the freshest and finest ingredients which go not only to the restaurant’s Italian specialties.

The same goes for the restaurant’s selection of American dishes, such as burgers, chicken, and seafood dishes.

At the DeJohn's Italian Spaghetti House, expect superb personal service amid a casual atmosphere, daily specials, plus wine, beer, and liquor selections in its full bar.

Tour the Greens and Fairways of the Vineyards Golf Course

The 18 holes of this golf links offer a round of play with picturesque views of local vineyards.

Located on Berry Road, this course opened in 1936 as the 9-hole Hillview Golf Course.

It was expanded in later years to the full 18-hole play and was renamed the Vineyards Golf Course.

Playing in this layout will send you aiming shots on fairways on the flanks of willows, apple trees, pear trees, and maple trees.

You will have a choice from the three sets of tees in this course designed to cater to golfers of varying abilities.

Relish Lena's Pizza, Subs & Wings

The wave of Italian immigrants who settled in Fredonia in the late 1880s has etched its mark in many of the restaurants in the village.

Lena's Pizza, Subs & Wings on Candaway Street is one superb destination to sample such a delectable imprint.

Ran under the slogan “Quality You Can Taste,” this restaurant has become a favorite for its Buffalo-style pizza, subs, wings, and its signature breadsticks.

The restaurant’s fresh, made-from-scratch crust and homemade sauce, plus affordable pricing, have also brought repeat customers to Lena’s Pizza, Subs & Wings.

Raise a Toast at Coughlan's Pub

Reserve a night of drinking with friends and new acquaintances at Coughlan's Pub on West Main Street.

This Irish-style pub has been operating in Fredonia for more than 30 years.

It has thrived mainly because of its convivial atmosphere, as expressed in its slogan "Where there are no strangers, just friends who have not yet met."

There are lots of local history too inside this bar, where good music and special events continually drive customers in.

Coughlan's Bar, in addition, offers daily drink specials and tempting bar chow that includes wings and burgers as well as salads, soups, and sandwiches.

Shop for Fresh Local Goods at Fredonia Farmers’ Market

Get a choice of local goods at the Fredonia Farmers’ Market.

The summer market opens from May to October at Church Street while the winter season starts on the first Saturday of November with its indoor location at the Masonic Forest Lodge on East Main Street.

Shop for fresh meats like pork, goat, lamb, and grass-fed beef.

You’ll find an array of fruits like grapes and various crops like beets, carrots, beans peppers, corn, potato, onions, and more.

If you’re looking for craft items, you can drop by artisan vendors selling handcrafted metal, glass, and gem jewelry, knits, crochets, and other craft goods.

Natural products like soaps, herbal and essential oil products are also available on the market.

Check out different plants like annuals, perennials, vegetables, ground covers, succulents, and others.

There are also baked goods like artisan bread, biscotti, scones, and maple products you can purchase at Fredonia Farmers’ Market.

Join the Events at Fredonia Italian Heritage Festival

Also known as Festival Italia, the Fredonia Italian Heritage Festival aims to celebrate the region’s rich Italian culture, history, and heritage.

The event showcases authentic Italian cuisines, local crafts, and rows of wine vendors.

Kids can enjoy fun activities like bingo games, storytelling, crafts, interactive exhibits, and much more.

Enjoy games of Bocce ball, continuous live music, and lots of Italian food and wine.

You can also grab some Italian-themed merchandise for souvenirs.

Catch the Best Meatball Contest or Homemade Wine Contest at the festival.

You’re sure to have fun at the Fredonia Italian Heritage Festival.

Enjoy Tasty Grubs at The Upper Crust Bakery

The Upper Crust Bakery is the place you can grab some good grubs.

This local restaurant on Main Street has been around for more than 20 years with original recipes passed on for generations.

Enjoy servings of special soups, homemade bread, and tasty signature paninis that will make you full and satisfied.

Get loads of classic baked goods like pecan and cinnamon buns, raspberry and blueberry clouds, coffee cakes, and lemon raspberry teacakes; likewise, sip a cup of Chautauqua county’s best espresso to enjoy with these treats.

Craving for sandwiches? Grab an appetizing Roast Turkey, Eggplant, or Tuna sandwich, or delicious servings of Club Sandwiches like Turkey Salad, Billy Club, or Tommy Club.

Try their vegetarian option on the menu like Gourmet Veggie Pizzas in Pepper Pepper, Gorgonzola Spinach, and Tomato Ricotta; otherwise, you can take a bite of flavorful Grilled Egg-rittos.

Your little ones can also enjoy Kiddini’s and Toddini’s Lunches by The Upper Crust Bakery.

Catch Stage Performances at the Alice E. Bartlett Theatre

If you’re looking for amazing stage performances, you can enjoy the featured shows at Alice E. Bartlett Theatre.

The theatre, located on Central Avenue, was named after the State University of New York at Fredonia’s Associate Professor of Theatre and Assistant Dean Alice E. Bartlett.

The 225-seating venue features modern lighting equipment and instruments, a high-tech sound system, and a Steinway baby grand piano.

Enjoy fantastic theater entertainment with comfortable seats and a relaxing ambiance.

The theater annually hosts two Mainstage productions run by the Department of Theatre and Dance along with performances run by the students’ Performing Arts Company.

Take your family and catch awesome presentations at the Alice E. Bartlett Theatre.

Situated in the Michael C. Rockefeller Arts Center, the Cathy and Jesse Marion Art Gallery feature various contemporary art exhibits.

The gallery supports Fredonia's aim to provide enriching experiences for audiences through community engagements, scholarships, and art expressions.

View and observe solo and group exhibits on display by renowned regional and international artists.

You can also catch several gallery talks, seminars, lectures, and workshops offered by the gallery throughout the year.

Appreciate valuable art pieces at the Cathy and Jesse Marion Art Gallery.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Camp at Lake Erie State Park

Waves crashing at the shores of Lake Erie beach
Jeffrey M. Frank / Shutterstock.com

This state park is located in the Town of Portland, just 6 miles west of Fredonia.

Erie State Park spreads over 355 acres, with Lake Erie beach as its major attraction.

Swimming is allowed on scheduled days and times at the beach.

The park also offers to visitors its campsites and other recreational facilities.

Lake Erie beach with lush green trees
Jeffrey M. Frank / Shutterstock.com

Erie State Park features 97 campsites and 10 cabins where boating facilities are provided to campers.

The park’s facilities include multi-purpose trails for cross-country skiing, hiking, and birdwatching, fishing.

Scenic view of Lake Erie
LindsayB / Shutterstock.com

Park visitors can play in an 18-hole disc golf course called "Shipwreck Bluff DGC."

Discs and clothing that disc golf players need are available for sale in the park.

Peek into Humor at the National Comedy Center

The city of Jamestown is home to the National Comedy Center, which is 26 miles south of Fredonia.

Located on Jamestown’s West 2nd Street, this center is the official US museum and cultural institution focused on presenting and preserving the story and heritage of comedy for future generations.

The National Comedy Center has notably received accolades from USA Today, Time Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, and People.

The center uses state-of-the-art technology, personalization, and interactivity for its visitors to enjoy the ultimate museum experience.

The 37,000-square-foot center features more than 50 immersive exhibits bringing a laugh-filled tour of comedy history, starting from early vaudeville to the current viral memes.

Visit the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History

Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History during snow
Ryan Johnson from Sherman, Us, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This facility is located on Curtis Street in the city of Jamestown, about 25 miles south of Fredonia.

The Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History provides compelling opportunities for art-based nature education and observation.

It spreads over a wooded setting of 28 acres with ribbons of hiking trails and outdoor areas suited for celebrations and gatherings.

The Institute exhibits the life's work of the world-famous ornithologist and wildlife artist Roger Tory Peterson.

Additionally, it also has regular displays of the works of other world-renowned wildlife artists like the artworks of Guy Coheleach and Robert Bateman.

Wooden sculptures of different animals are among the highlights of the Institute’s Art & Nature Trail.

This trail leads indoors to link up with paintings of the same animal species rendered by Roger Tory Peterson and other famed artists.

The trail winds up at the Art & Nature Lab, a museum space dedicated to the youth and families, as well as accommodating a mural depicting Roger’s life.

There is an interactive art wall in the Art and Nature Lab where visitors can draw whatever they see along the trail.

Visit the Dunkirk Lighthouse

Front view of Dunkirk Lighthouse
Doug Lemke / Shutterstock.com

This Chautauqua County landmark is located on Point Drive in the city of Dunkirk, only 4 miles north of Fredonia,

The Dunkirk Lighthouse, an operational lighthouse, features an onsite maritime museum and offers picturesque lake views to its visitors.

The museum pieces, including military artifacts, are displayed in the Lighthouse Keeper's Home, where there is also a gift shop.

A brick building located behing the Dunkirk Lighthouse
Jeffrey M. Frank / Shutterstock.com

The Dunkirk Lighthouse was constructed in 1826, and its present tower was first lit in 1875.

Located at Point Gratiot of Lake Erie, the lighthouse became automated in 1960.

Its original lens, installed in 1857, is a third-order Fresnel lens and is still in operation.

There are only 70 such operational lenses in the US, with two in New York and 16 on the Great Lakes.

Tour the Grape Discovery Center

The Lake Erie Grape Discovery Center is located on US-20 in the city of Westfield, about 16 miles west of Fredonia.

This facility is the official Visitor’s Center of the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt, where visitors can learn and experience all things about grapes.

The center features a tasting room and an exhibit area crafted for the grape-growing story of more than 150 years in the Lake Erie Grape Region;

It features 30,000 acres of vineyards and 20 wineries in the region, recognized as the oldest and largest Concord grape grower in the world.

Visitors of the center can enjoy a glass of grape juice or wine in its Tasting Bar.

Alternatively, they can have their drinks on the Steve Baran Memorial Patio nestled next to a Concord vineyard.

The Tasting Bar features not only features a weekly selection of wines from Lake Erie Wine Country but also local cured meats, artisanal cheeses, snacks, and grape juice.

The center has a gift shop where you can buy grape-themed art, apparel, sauces and vinaigrettes, and local artisans’ crafts.

Final Thoughts

A lot of amazing experiences can be enjoyed during a visit to the village of Fredonia.

It is cradled within the Chautauqua-Lake Erie region, replete with vineyards, wineries, and natural wonders.

In Fredonia, there is also a diversity of things to do in the many points of interest that the village has cultivated over its long years of history.

💌
Spotted a mistake, have some feedback, or just want to chat with our editorial team? Click here to get in touch.
✍️
Find out more about Travel Lens and read our editorial guidelines here.