Seneca Street looking towards­­­­ Main Street. 30 gas lamps were used throughout the village in the late 1850s. Today, the streets of downtown Geneva are illuminated by electric gaslight-style lights reminiscent of the old gas lamps.

Geneva is on an obvious upswing. Take a quick jaunt off of Routes 5 & 20 or Route 90 and you will see for yourself why this city was recently named, along with 17 other Finger Lakes communities, as one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People.

Geneva is celebrating the 200th anniversary of its incorporation this year. Over the years Geneva has endured many changes and has thrived on agriculture, rail and water transportation, industrial production and tourism. During World War II, Geneva’s economy flourished due to the numerous servicemen and their families at the nearby Sampson Military Base who flocked to Geneva businesses for goods, services and entertainment. During this time, the rate of marriages doubled, as did the population.

Currently, Geneva is dedicated to preserving its historic architecture and strives to support the needs of the present. There have been tremendous improvements to downtown Geneva over the past couple decades and several new movements toward bringing more cultural arts to the area.

Locals and visitors alike will find all that one needs for a memorable experience in Geneva.


Established: 1806

Location: North end of Seneca Lake, equidistant from Rochester, Syracuse and Ithaca

Population: 14,000

Landmarks: Geneva Armory, Geneva Women’s Club, Geneva Free Library, U.S. Post Office, Smith Opera House

• Hobart & William Smith Colleges (Formerly the Geneva College, it was the first institution in the U.S. to grant a medical degree to a woman, Elizabeth Blackwell in 1849.)
• Finger Lakes Community College
• Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station

Businesses: Around 200 unique downtown businesses specializing in apparel and accessories, gifts, real estate, health and wellness, massage, jewelry, flowers, furniture, auto supplies, hardware, books, music, art, antiques, barber shops and salons, theaters, restaurants and bars.

Ongoing Events: National Trout Derby, Cruisin’ Night, Seneca Lake Whale Watch, Medley of Tastes, Geneva Farmer’s Market

Find Out What Geneva Has to Offer:
Geneva Chamber of Commerce,
Geneva Historical Society,
Geneva Arts Development Council,
Finger Lakes Arts Grants & Services,
The Smith Opera House,

by Kristin Grove
Kristin Grove lives and works in Geneva. She supports downtown businesses and encourages everyone to explore what their downtown has to offer.

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