Best Things to Do in Jamestown NY | Jamestown Weekend Itinerary

Looking for the best things to do in Jamestown, NY? Check out this Jamestown weekend itinerary with the top things to do in Jamestown NY with kids.

There are so many things to do in Jamestown, NY making it a great, and often overlooked, family fun destination.

Jamestown, NY is a short drive from our home in Rochester, NY. It is under 3 hours making it a great spot for a weekend getaway.

When we started planning our visit to Jamestown I didn’t know what to expect. I started researching more about the area and knew that Lucy Ball was a famous resident of the area.

Jamestown is also home to the National Comedy Center. The National Comedy Center opened in 2018 and has quickly made numerous top ten lists for the best museums in the USA.

I couldn’t wait to explore more of the museum and learn more about what a weekend in Jamestown with kids would be like for our family.

best things to do in jamestown ny national comedy center

Top Things to Do in Jamestown NY

There are actually a lot of things to do in Jamestown for families. The National Comedy Center was the highlight of our weekend but we also enjoyed kid friendly restaurants, outdoor areas, and a ferry ride across Chautauqua Lake.

Here is a quick overview of some fun things to do in Jamestown, New York. Read on for our entire weekend itinerary.

  • National Comedy Center: Museum that features exclusive collections from the history of comedy, interactive exhibits, special events, and an adults only comedy exhibit.
  • Audubon Community Nature Center: Visit this wetland preserve that has 5 miles of trails, a native tree arboretum, picnic areas, educational garden, and a natural play space.
  • Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Museum: Tour this museum dedicated to the first couple of comedy.
  • Robert H. Jackson Center: If you are interested in politics and law consider visiting this small museum that features discussion of law and justice issues through the life and work of Robert H. Jackson.
  • Allegheny National Forest: This park is located about 30 minutes south of Jamestown. Here you can hike, bike, and paddle at this national forest park.
  • Lucy Statues: There are two Lucy statues located at The Lucille Ball Memorial Park. Dubbed “Scary Lucy” and “Lovely Lucy”, these statues are within a short walk from each other and worth seeing for yourself.
  • Fenton History Center: A museum that features local history. Permanent exhibits include: Intersections: The Underground Railroad in Chautauqua County, Made in Jamestown: How Furniture Built a City, Evolution of Children’s Toys, and more.
  • Midway State Park: This park is one of the oldest continually operating amusement parks in the nation. Guests can ride the vintage carousel, play mini-golf, ride go-karts, and more along this vintage park on the shores of Chautauqua Lake.
  • Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History: This art gallery celebrates nature and birds with exhibits and art classes to engage their guests.
  • Northwest Arena: This hockey ring not only hosts games and tournaments! They also have a kids play zone, curling, skating, and ice bumper cars. Perfect place to visit with kids in the winter months!
  • Visit Lake Erie: Take an hour day trip to visit Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes of the United States.
  • Visit Bemus Point: Walk around the village and enjoy the views of the lake. If you are visiting during the summer season take the ferry. This is one of the only cable-run ferries left in the U.S.
  • Panama Rocks Park: Take the hiking loop to see rocks and caverns. We had so much fun at Panama Rocks Park. More below about our visit.

Where is Jamestown NY

Jamestown, New York is located in Western New York about 20 minutes from the Pennsylvania border. It is in Southern Chautauqua county.

Jamestown is easy to get around and parking was plentiful during our visit.

How to Get to Jamestown NY

Most people will arrive in Jamestown by car. The drive from Rochester is 2 hours and 23 minutes (140 miles) and from Buffalo it is 1 hour and 22 minutes (71 miles).

If you are flying into Jamestown Bradford Regional Airport, Erie International Airport, and Buffalo Airport are your closest options.

Weather in Jamestown NY

Jamestown weather is typical for New York state. During the summer months and fall months you will have the best weather with temperatures ranging from 60s-80s.

In the winter months expect snow and cold conditions.

jamestown weather

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Jamestown NY Accommodations

One of the biggest decisions when traveling with kids is where to stay. We stayed at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel and it was a perfect location for all the activities we wanted to do.

Best Things to Do in Jamestown, New York

There are a few activities in and around Jamestown that I would say are must see things to do. They include the National Comedy Center, Panama Rocks Park, and exploring Bemus Point.

During our weekend in Jamestown we included these activities as well as a few others to have a great weekend getaway in Jamestown, NY.

3 Day Jamestown NY Itinerary

  • Day 1: Depart for Jamestown, Check-in to Harbor Hotel, Riverside Saturdays
  • Day 2: National Comedy Center, Lucy & Desi Museum, Bemus Point
  • Day 3: Panama Rocks Park, Drive Home

Depart for Jamestown and Lunch (Day 1)

We started our drive to Jamestown around 10:00 am and arrived at our first stop La Cucina Della Nonna for lunch. This was one of our favorite restaurants for the entire weekend!

Every dish we ordered was fantastic and I highly recommend the pizza roll or the spinach roll. They were delicious!

where to eat in jamestown ny la cucina

After our lunch we arrived at our hotel for an early check-in. The Chautauqa Harbor Hotel is located overlooking Chautauqua Lake and is a great place for families.

We had stayed at the Watkins Glen location during a weekend trip last year, and were excited to stay for this visit.

The hotel has an indoor and outdoor pool, mini-golf, a park across the street, and an on-site restaurant.

After the drive we wanted to relax at the hotel before we went to dinner at the on-site hotel Lakehouse Tap & Grille.

The Lakehouse does have some pricier items but you are getting a great meal.

One thing I love about eating there is their kids meal prices are reasonable starting at $5.99. So parents can splurge on a great meal and you don’t have to splurge on the kids meals.

After dinner we drove the short drive, around 10 minutes, to the National Comedy Center for Riverside Saturdays.

Riverside Saturdays in located on the open grass area behind the National Comedy Center. Guests can park at the Comedy Center and enjoy this free family fun event.

Every Saturday guests can watch a movie under the stars starting at dusk. The updated schedule can be found here.

Before the movie there is live entertainment, concessions, and lawn games that are perfect for families. This event really highlights the community and bringing them together for a fun night.

At the end of the night we headed back to the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel to get some rest for the next day.

view from harbor hotel jamestown weekend

Visiting the National Comedy Center (Day 2 Morning)

We started with breakfast at the Lakehouse Tap & Grille inside the hotel. Most days when we travel we pack breakfast to eat in our rooms but sometimes we splurge and go out.

Depending on what kind of budget you have for your trip you can do either.

The Chautauqua Harbor Hotel does provide complimentary coffee on each floor to its guests. We also had a refrigerator in the room but no microwave, so keep this in mind when planning your visit.

After breakfast we made the 10 minute drive over to the National Comedy Center.

The National Comedy Center has two parking lots and both are free to guests of the museum. There are signs to follow for parking.

The highlight of our day was visiting the National Comedy Center. We had gone on a tour the day before and we couldn’t wait to start exploring all the exhibits and activities.

One of our favorite things about the comedy center is how interactive it is.

A good tip to remember when visiting with kids is try to arrive at opening of the museum.

This allows you to be one of the first people inside the museum and means you will get to experience everything you want to see and do.

We arrived a few minutes before the 10:00am opening and I was so happy we did. It allowed us to stay ahead of the crowd.

national comedy center exhibits

National Comedy Center Review

We absolutely loved visiting the National Comedy Center. There was so much to do and see, everything was interactive, and everyone really liked it.

When you arrive you are given a wrist band that will help you interact with the exhibits. You scan it at a kiosk in the museum lobby and fill out a survey about what kind of comedy you like.

This will help the museum tailor your experience throughout your visit.

As you head into the museum you will see memorabilia, a comedy theater, and a Late Night exhibit. I suggest moving through those quickly and start in the next room where you can start with a lot of interactive things.

Be sure to sit on the bench on the way to the cartoon exhibit and check out the Fozzy Bear.

The next room allows you to create your own cartoons, impersonate a comedian, and create your own meme. We spent a good deal of time in this area and it was easy to go through all the exhibits.

After finishing we headed down to the prop room area where kids can pick out a prop and watch movie clips of how it was used.

At each station guests will scan their band and the experience becomes interactive and personalized.

The final room we enjoyed was the Laugh Battle room. Here you tell each other jokes and try not to laugh.

I think we did this 10x, it was so fun. There is also an area where you become part of the movie and the kids loved this too!

At the end of the museum you scan your band to see a collection of all your experiences. They will also email you everything if you included your email in your profile at the start.

The last place you will stop is a kiosk that give you a joke to go. I thought this was a great added touch to our visit.

national comedy center laugh battle

Is the National Comedy Center for Kids?

I was a little concerned that the National Comedy Center might not be great for kids but I was wrong. The kids loved the props exhibit where you could pick out a prop and see how it has been used in movies.

They liked practicing their stand up on the stage, and their favorite was trying to make each other laugh in the laugh battle.

There is a section of the comedy center that is just for adults. The Blue Room is accessible by elevator only, so you won’t just stumble upon it.

It really is not for kids and there is a lot of profanity used in this area.

It dives into the more raunchy side of comedy. My husband and I each visited briefly to check it out and I wouldn’t bring the kids to this exhibit.

On the regular floors there are a few comedy bits that may be a little adult but for the most part we felt comfortable with our kids ages 13, 11, and 9. Younger kids would also be fine because most things would go over their heads.

After our visit to the National Comedy Center we walked the few blocks to the Luci & Desi Museum. This museum is in two buildings. One features their personal life while the other focuses on the TV and movies.

This museum is very small and not as interactive as the Comedy Center. If you are a big I Love Lucy fan you should check it out but with kids it may not be as interesting to them.

It took us about 15 minutes to tour both areas. You can purchase a combined admissions ticket for both museums and that may be a good option if you want to see what it is all about.

lucy museum jamestown ny

Visiting Bemus Point (Day 2 Evening)

We went back to the hotel to rest before our evening out. The kids wanted to enjoy the pool and rest a bit.

I also should mention that we ate lunch in our room. We had a lot of leftovers that we didn’t want to waste.

If you are looking for a lunch place the National Comedy Center has a cafe that offers wraps and sandwiches for lunch.

We enjoyed the indoor pool and mini-golf before returning to our room to get ready for the evening.

Before heading to our car to make the 20 minute drive to Bemus Point we walked across the street to Lucille Ball Park. Here you will find two Lucille Ball statues.

lucy statue

There is also a playground at the park that will be getting an update in 2022. This will be a great area to let the kids run around after a busy day.

Bemus Point is a cute little town along Chautauqua Lake. Lined with shops and restaurants it is a great area to spend the evening.

We started with dinner at Ellicottville Brewing Company and then explored the area and walked down to the ferry.

The Bemus Point Ferry is free to ride and you can take your car if you would like. We took the short ride (about 5-10 minutes) back and forth.

It was a unique experience for us and something I highly recommend checking out.

After the ferry ride we walked back and got ice cream for dessert before returning to the hotel for the night.

Panama Rocks Park (Day 3)

Day 3 was our last day and we were headed to Panama Rocks Park. I was really excited to check this place out because I had seen pictures of it and it looked incredible.

We started with breakfast at Stedman Corners Café. They have breakfast and lunch options available.

Be sure to plan ahead of time for breakfast because there are not a lot of food options close to the park. It will take you about 20 minutes to drive there from the hotel.

Panama Rocks has hiking trails, caves, and caverns to explore and is one of the most unique places I have ever visited.

The rock formations are 300 million year old quartz conglomerate sedimentary rocks that will impress you at every corner.

The trail is a one mile loop that guests can veer off of and do their own exploring. Everything is well posted and marked making this great for families that want to explore a little.

Although the trail itself is not difficult older guests, young children, or guests with disabilities may find this hike to be a challenge.

Groups should stick together and be aware that there are cliffs and ledges throughout the hike.

We are not super outdoorsy but found this to be a good fit for our hiking abilities. You could do as little or as much as you wanted during the hike.

We thought Panama Rocks Park was a great part of our itinerary to Jamestown.

Reservations are recommended for your visit. Be sure to pack water and wear hiking shoes or sneakers.

After Panama Rocks we started our drive home. If you are looking for a place for lunch try Davidson’s in Lakewood.

They have indoor and outdoor seating, are about an 18 minute drive, and have classic burger and shake options.

To say I was impressed with all the fun things to do in Jamestown with kids would be an understatement. I would highly recommend visiting and planning a weekend getaway for your family.

Read Next: 16 Family Day Trips from Rochester, NY

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