Resources › For Students and Parents Cornell University's Location Learn About Ithaca, Cornell's Home in Upstate New York Share Flipboard Email Print Walter Bibikow / Getty Images For Students and Parents College Admissions Choosing A College College Admissions Process College Profiles College Rankings Application Tips Essay Samples & Tips Testing Graphs College Financial Aid Extracurricular Activities Advanced Placement Homework Help Private School Test Prep College Life Graduate School Business School Law School Distance Learning View More By Allen Grove College Admissions Expert Ph.D., English, University of Pennsylvania M.A., English, University of Pennsylvania B.S., Materials Science & Engineering and Literature, MIT Dr. Allen Grove is an Alfred University English professor and a college admissions expert with 20 years of experience helping students transition to college. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Allen Grove Updated March 31, 2020 Cornell University is one of the eight members of the Ivy League, and it typically ranks among the very top universities in the United States. Below you'll learn about the university's location in Ithaca, New York. Fast Facts: Ithaca, New York The city has a similar number of residents and college students.Downtown Ithaca features a pedestrian-only commons with shops, restaurants, and a movie theater.Ithaca frequently ranks among the nation's best college towns.Ithaca sits on the edge of Lake Cayuga in New York's scenic Finger Lakes region. About Ithaca Bruce Yuanyue Bi / Getty Images Cornell University is situated in the picturesque city of Ithaca, New York, a thriving and diverse area surrounded by incredible natural beauty. The city is well-known for its famous gorges, with Ithaca Falls, Cascadilla Gorge, and more than 100 other waterfalls and gorges located within 10 miles of downtown Ithaca. The city also sits along the southern edge of Cayuga Lake, the largest of New York’s Finger Lakes. Ithaca has a colorful history, settled in the late 18th century as part of a land grant system for Revolutionary War soldiers; for a brief time, the frontier town was known as Sodom for its supposedly questionable morals. Apart from its outdoor attractions, Ithaca offers a vibrant college town culture with its two major educational institutions, Cornell University and Ithaca College, overlooking the city from adjacent hills. Explore the Cornell University Campus Dennis Macdonald / Getty Images Cornell University's main campus in Ithaca, New York, occupies 2,300 acres on an attractive hillside overlooking Cayuga Lake. See some of the sites of the campus in this Cornell University photo tour. Explore the Ithaca College Campus Allen Grove Ithaca College, like Cornell University, sits on a hillside overlooking Cayuga Lake, although the campus is farther from the Ithaca Commons. You can explore the campus in the Ithaca College photo tour. Ithaca Quick Facts Nicholas Schooley / Flickr Population (2017): 31,006Total area: 6.1 sq miTime zone: EasternZIP codes: 14850, 14851, 14852, 14853Area codes: 607Cities nearby:Elmira (30 mi), Syracuse (50 mi), Binghamton (50 mi) Ithaca Weather and Climate James Willamor / Flickr Moderate continental climateLong, cold, snowy winters (average high temperatures in low 30s)Average annual snowfall of 66.8 inWarm, humid summers (average high temperatures in high 70s) Transportation paul_houle / Flickr Served by Tompkins Consolidated Area TransitIthaca Carshare, a nonprofit carsharing service, is popular among students and city residentsNo direct access to the Interstate highway systemDowntown Ithaca considered a walkable and bikeable areaIthaca Tompkins Regional Airport is three miles northeast of Ithaca. The airport is served by American Airlines with flights to and from Philadelphia What to See Sara Wight / Getty Images Outdoor attractions: Ithaca Falls, Cascadilla Gorge, Buttermilk Falls State Park, Cayuga Lake, Beebe Lake, Finger Lakes Trail, EcoVillage at Ithaca, Taughannock Falls State ParkArts and entertainment: Cornell Cinema, Cayuga Wine Trail, Hangar Theatre, The Haunt, Ithaca Art Factory, Ithaca Ballet, Oasis nightclub, State Theatre of IthacaHistorical sites: Carl Sagan’s grave, Cornell Plantations, Llenroc House, Paleontological Research Institution’s MuseumNumerous area wineriesIthaca CommonsIthaca Farmers MarketMoosewood RestaurantSciencenter Did You Know? Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion / Flickr Ithaca has its own currency, “Ithaca Hours,” which are widely used as legal tender throughout the townIthaca’s name comes from the Greek island of Ithaca in Homer’s OdysseyNovelist Vladimir Nabokov wrote Lolita at his home in IthacaThe Erie Canal facilitates water access from Ithaca east to New York City and west, through the Great Lakes and Mississippi River, all the way to the Gulf of MexicoWizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum’s wife attended Cornell University, and it is speculated that Ithaca’s yellow brick-paved roads at the time may have inspired the authorIthaca resident and local fountain owner Chester Platt invented and served the first documented ice cream sundae in 1892The first electric street lamps in America were lit on the Cornell University campus in 1875The song “Puff the Magic Dragon was written in Ithaca by Cornell University student Lenny Lipton Ithaca Colleges and Universities Walter Bibikow / Getty Images During the school year, roughly half of all Ithaca residents are students. That combined with the city's beautiful location and excellent dining and cultural opportunities earned it a place among our list of best college towns.