About our Town

View from Culver Road Preserves

The Town of Ithaca is located at the southern tip of Cayuga lake in Central New York; home to Ithaca College and Cornell University.  The Town includes rural, suburban and urban landscapes and a population of 23,000 people which surrounds the City of Ithaca.  The Ithaca area includes many beautiful natural areas such as Buttermilk, Treman and Taughannock Falls State Parks.

The Town of Ithaca will be a desirable place where any person can live, work, learn, and play, offering a vibrant mix of rural, suburban, and urban features, including treasured natural resources.


We promote quality of life, equity, and safety of all Town of Ithaca residents through planning, innovation, and continual adaptation to change.

The Town strives to:

  • provide responsive services
  • be fiscally responsible
  • protect and preserve its open spaces and water resources
  • implement sustainable initiatives
  • pursue beneficial intermunicipal collaborations.

Town of Ithaca at a glance 

  • Founded March 16, 1821 with the first Town meeting held on April 3, 1821.  
  • Approximately  30.3 square miles (total), 29.1 square miles (land only)  
  • There are approximately 9,000 households with 22,000 residents. 
  • The Town’s annual budget is around $26 million.
  • Currently there are 61 employees in two locations, historic Town Hall at the corner of N. Tioga and Buffalo Streets which was the former Post Office built in 1909, and our Public Works Facility located at 114 Seven Mile Dr.
  • Visit the Town Demographics & Facts page for additional information.

A Little More information

The Town of Ithaca is a mosaic of rural, suburban, and urban landscapes  that surrounds the City of Ithaca. It is a college town, a farm town, a Finger  Lakes community, and a tourist destination renowned for its scenic vistas,  forested hillsides, gorges, waterfalls and Cayuga Lake. The Town is  fortunate to have three State Parks nearby and many small Town parks and  trails. It is a town where institutions of higher learning flourish, where  comparatively stable employment centers reside, and where there is easy  access to outdoor recreational opportunities, cultural events, shopping,  eclectic restaurants, and a thriving arts and music scene. This mix of rural  and small town charm with a cultural vibrancy and a nearby city vibe is  what makes the Town distinctive. It’s what residents value about living here  and what attracts newcomers to visit and stay.  
Ithaca’s reputation for a high quality of life and for being one of the few  expanding economies in upstate New York draw people here. This growth  brings new businesses, new employers, and new ideas. An expanding  population means a broader base to support the arts, culture, and our many  non-profit organizations. The attractiveness of Ithaca has brought many  positive changes but it also brings the challenge of accommodating more  people well and in a sustainable fashion—preserving valuable farmland and  open space, and ensuring that the quality of life that brought people here in  the first place is not jeopardized.

Special Bits and Pieces

Spirit of Tompkins – A Celebration in Portraits

the project was a collaboration of the Discovery Trail, the town of Ithaca (celebrating our bicentennial in 2021) and photographer Robyn Wishna, creating a collection of photos and stories about a shared place and what it means personally to people who agreed to be interviewed. The images and stories aim to remind us of the connections between people and their places. Link

Town of Ithaca’s South Hill

Honoring Indigenous History

Ithaca Welcomes Students – Produced by Stella Frank – An introduction to the area.