Ithaca is a city in the Finger Lakes region of New York. It is the seat of Tompkins County, as well as the largest community in the Ithaca–Tompkins County metropolitan area.
This area contains the municipalities of the Town of Ithaca, the village of Cayuga Heights, and other towns and villages in Tompkins County. The city of Ithaca is located on the southern shore of Cayuga Lake, in Central New York, about 45 miles (72 km) south-west of Syracuse. It is named after the Greek island of Ithaca. Ithaca is home to Cornell University, an Ivy League school of over 20,000 students, most of whom study at its local campus. In addition, Ithaca College is a private, nonsectarian, liberal arts college of over 7,000 students, located just south of the city in the Town of Ithaca, adding to the area's "college town" atmosphere. Nearby is Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3). These three colleges bring tens of thousands of students, who increase Ithaca's seasonal population during the school year. The city's voters are notably more liberal than those in the remainder of Tompkins County or in upstate New York, generally voting for Democratic Party candidates.