20 Best Things to Do in New Haven, CT

New Haven, CT
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New Haven, a coastal city located in Connecticut, is the second-largest city in the area.

Home to the famous Yale University, this college town is brimming with unique attractions for both, residents and tourists.

This college town is home to beautiful parks, picturesque landscapes, rich cultural history and a thriving culinary scene.

Whether you are taking a romantic vacation with your significant other or are simply planning to spend some quality time with your family, New Haven has a lot of interesting things on offer.

Yale University

Yale University
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New Haven is home to Yale University, America’s third-oldest university and was started way back in 1701.

When visiting New Haven, don’t forget to take a walk around the beautiful campus.

In order to tour the campus, you can either download the free audio walking tour or join a free 75-minute student-guide tour.

The student tours offer additional insights about campus life, college traditions and its rich history, making things a lot more interesting.

Full of magnificent modern architecture, libraries and museums, the Yale University campus tour should definitely be on your agenda when visiting New Haven.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
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The Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library is located on the Yale University campus.

Housed in an architecturally interesting glass building, this six story library houses some of the oldest books, manuscripts and literary archives.

One of its most prized possessions includes a copy of the Gutenberg Bible from 1454.

It also houses the Voyinch Manuscript, which contains decorations and illustrations of plant life and is most likely written in a mysterious language.

Admission to this library is free but visitors are only allowed on the ground and permanent exhibition mezzanine floors.

Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History

Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
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If you are travelling to New Haven with kids, don’t forget to visit The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural Science.

This museum was founded way back in 1866 and is still one of the largest museums of Natural History in the world.

Kids will thoroughly enjoy walking through The Great Hall of Dinosaurs and The Age of Reptiles, a 110-foot-long mural.

This museum also boasts of one of the largest collections of fossils in the U.S., which includes permanent exhibits of birds, wildlife, minerals and Native Americans to name a few.

Display at Yale University Art Gallery
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When in New Haven, make sure to spend a couple of hours immersing yourself in art at the Yale University Art Gallery.

This art gallery contains French Impressionist paintings, early Italian paintings, African cultures and modern art.

This art gallery is spread across several interconnected buildings in the Yale University Campus.

It was founded way back in 1832 and is the oldest art museum in the Western Hemisphere.

PEZ Visitor Centre

PEZ Visitor Centre
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PEZ Visitor Centre is the American Base of the famous Austrian candy, PEZ.

It is an absolute must-visit for chocolate and candy lovers.

The PEZ Visitor Centre offers a complete historical tour of the brand.

You spend time checking out the interesting memorabilia in display cases, click pictures with the PEZ-themed motorcycles and even participate in the interactive games and quizzes organized almost every day.

But the past part about visiting this place is being able to see the packaging of the delicious PEZ candies through viewing windows.

Don’t forget to buy some candy as a souvenir from the large collection of products at the in-house store.

East Rock Park

East Rock Park
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With over 20% of the town devoted to open spaces and green areas, it is no wonder that New Haven is full of beautiful parks you ought to check out.

Spread over 427 acres, the East Rock Park on Cold Spring Road is an absolute must-visit.

It is named after a 350-foot mountain ridge, that when climbed offers stunning views of the New Haven, Long Island and Long Island Sound.

You can cycle around the park, watch some exotic and migratory birds, hike up the ridge or simply picnic under the shade of one of the many trees.

While you are at it, you could also pay your respects at the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

Lighthouse Point Park

Lighthouse Point Park
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A great way to enjoy some fresh air and be close to nature is to visit the Lighthouse Point Park.

Built in 1840, the hexagonal-shaped lighthouse, surrounded by a beach and an 82-acre park is a popular weekend hangout spot for the locals.

The Park area is full of picnic tables set up under big, shady trees.

This makes for the perfect location to spend some leisurely time listening to the waves crash against the rocky outcrops.

If you are with kids, don’t forget to check the Lighthouse Point Carousel, which is one of the few working carousels today.

Grove Street Cemetery

Grove Street Cemetery
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If you are a history buff, then the Grove Street Cemetery should surely be on your list when visiting New Haven.

Although a cemetery may not be the most obvious choice on holiday, a stroll through this National Historic Landmark might just be quite enjoyable.

Featuring the graves of 14 former Yale presidents among other notable people, this is one of the oldest cemeteries in the U.S..

Full of beautiful Egyptian architecture, intricate sculptures, and seasonal blooms.

Walking through the Grove Street Cemetery is a unique experience you wouldn’t want to miss out on!

Boulevard Flea Market

Visiting a new place is never really complete without stopping at a local flea market.

Whether you are looking to shop for jewelry, apparel, footwear, or even local souvenir for your friends and family, the Boulevard Flea Market is the place to be.

Since this is a flea market, be prepared to haggle and negotiate the prices.

This is a great market to spend a leisurely afternoon looking for knock-off products that actually look very much like the originals.

After you are done shopping, don’t forget to try out some local delicacies from one of the many food trucks lining the street.

West Rock Ridge State Park

West Rock Ridge State Park
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If you like spending your afternoons going on nature trails and hikes, then make sure to visit the West Rock Ridge State Park.

Located in this park is the West Rock Ridge, a high mountain range in New Haven.

You can hike up the mountain to catch panoramic views of New Haven.

The park also houses Wintergreen Lake.

This lake is surrounded by a 40-minute trail on a scenic path that you must try, especially around sunset.

Apart from this, you can even indulge in canoeing, fishing or horseback riding to name a few.

New Haven Museum

New Haven Museum
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The New Haven Museum is an excellent place to learn about the rich history and culture of New Haven and its surrounding areas.

Apart from four permanent galleries, this museum also features changing-themed exhibits.

The fine arts section of this museum features paintings by local artists.

These paintings are created using a variety of mediums like oil paints, watercolors, ink and charcoal.

The museum also showcases furniture from the 17th and 18th centuries, silverware, glassware, ceramics and textiles.

If you are a history buff, spending a nice afternoon at the museum will surely prove to be a worthwhile and memorable experience.

The Green

The Green
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The Green is a 16-acre urban park, located in the city center.

This park is a National Historic Landmark and is one of the oldest parks in the city.

The Green in New Haven is home to three historic churches –Trinity, United and Centre Church.

The open area and ample greenery make this park one of the best picnic spots to spend time with your family.

The famous New Haven Jazz Festival happens in this park.

During summer, you’d find many musicians and singers organizing their concerts in this park.

The Green is also where the town’s Christmas Tree is put up.

Long Wharf Theatre

If you want to spend some time getting yourself acquainted with the local talent in theater and music, then the Long Wharf Theatre is the place to be.

It is a non-profit regional theater and showcases some incredible plays and musicals by local artists.

It has received several awards, including the Pulitzer Prizes for producing several original plays.

Ely Center of Contemporary Art

Located inside the Yale University Campus, the John Slade Ely House is an English Elizabethan style residence.

It was constructed way back in 1901 for then chairman of Yale School of Medicine, John Slade Ely and his wife, Grace.

Today, it is being used as a community arts center to showcase the artistic creating of budding local artists in the area.

It hosts several exhibitions throughout the year by solo and group artists.

These exhibitions are a great way to understand the local art scene as well as see the beautiful Elizabethan-style house.

Crown

For a unique and artistic eating experience, make sure to pay a visit to the sophisticated urban bar, Crown.

It looks more like an art gallery than a traditional restaurant owing to the back-lit onyx bar, brick walls and leather tiles.

Chef Will Talamelli is well-known for his interesting cocktails and the use of seasonal ingredients.

While you are there, make sure to try the bacon-wrapped pumpkin, which has an expected apple-wood smoked flavor.

This is dish is served with a side of chipotle and honey.

Consiglio's Restaurant

Consiglio’s is a popular 75-year-old restaurant in New Haven.

One of the oldest restaurants in town, it is the perfect place to celebrate special events such as birthdays and/or anniversaries.

The Italian restaurant has an elegant dining room that feels instantly cozy and is ideal for a romantic date.

This restaurant serves some authentic Italian food based on the family traditions and secret recipes.

When you are there, don’t forget to try their famous Veal Saltimbocca, which is served with freshly made fettuccine.

Tikkaway Grill

Another restaurant that is absolutely worth the hype is Tikkaway Grill.

The aim of the restaurant is to demystify Indian food and is perfect for those of you who are hesitant in trying it.

You can start with choosing either a roti wrap, salad bowl or rice bowl.

You can then choose one or two fillings with both meat and vegan options, coupled with a lot of veggies.

Top this up with a warm sauce or curry of your choice.

The staff at the restaurant is pretty efficient and explains the various foods they serve in detail.

This is perfect place to eat Indian food that is extremely tasty without being extra spicy.

Along with their mouth-watering food, don’t forget to try the mango lassi, a popular Indian drink made with curd and mango pulp.

Tikkaway Grill also serves vegan, gluten-free and halal options.

Yale Collection of Musical Instruments

Yale Collection of Musical Instruments
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The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments is a part of the Yale School of Music, located on Hillhouse Avenue.

It was started with Morris Steinert with his collection of historic musical instruments.

Belle Skinner and Emil Herrmann later enlarged the collection of instruments at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments.

This museum houses a large variety of musical instruments such as clavichords, harpsichords, pianos, and organs, as well as historic wind instruments.

This museum also hosts concerts where musicians use instruments from the collection.

Marsh Botanical Garden

Home to a large variety of extensive plants, the Marsh Botanical Garden is a must-see on your visit to New Haven.

Spread over eight acres, this botanical garden features greenhouses.

It offers quite an immersive and informative experience for both visitors and plant-researchers.

Connecticut Children's Museum

Located in Town Green, the Connecticut Children Museum is a great way to spend a day with your kids in New Haven.

Established in 2001, the museum is perfect for kids aged 3 to 9.

It contains over 450 picture books for children.

It is specially designed for children with disabilities.

It has a special path to accommodate children on wheel chair as well as is friendly for kids with hearing and visual impairments.