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New Haven Travel Guide
Get Your Bearings in New HavenWhere to Stay
New Haven has a variety of lodging options ranging from the elegant to the practical. Some of the finest hotels can be found downtown and near Yale University, where the classic ivy-themed décor carries over to the lodging. Standard chain hotels can be found throughout the city, many appropriately located near convention centers. The real gems of New Haven are the bed and breakfast areas found on the coast.
Hot Tips: Combine city life with coastal charm by making the short 10-15 minute drive into town from the seashore.
What to Eat
Nearby New York has a strong influence on New Haven's best restaurants. That includes everything from top-notch pizza parlors to fancy steakhouses. There's plenty of quality, affordable food throughout the city, so you'll have no shortage of options. Wooster Square is ground zero for some of the best Italian cuisine in the city – not to mention fantastic seafood.
Caution: New Haven hosts a lot of conventions, so getting reservations downtown can be surprisingly tricky mid-week.
Hot Tips: Long Wharf has some of the best seafood and is within easy walking distance of the theater district.
Things to See
New Haven is one of America's oldest cities and has plenty of historical sites waiting to be discovered, including Revolutionary era homesteads and the austere architecture of Yale University. There are also several museums downtown including natural history, art galleries, a trolley museum and colonial archives. Just outside the city are excellent hiking trails that tour the scenic coast, especially nice destinations when autumn's scenic colors are in full bloom. The Green is a great place to relax when your business is restricted to the city.
Avoid: If you're on a tight schedule, getting into the city from the coast can be a traffic nightmare. Build in some extra time if you need to be somewhere.
Hot Tips: Don't miss the Peabody Museum of Natural History. It's small but has incredible exhibits, many funded by Yale University.
Places to Party
New Haven has been a marquee destination for live music for decades. Everything from symphony orchestra to rock n' roll is well received and many legendary performers find their way to the local clubs. The bars and pubs around Yale University are lively, fun and bring together a mix of students, locals and visitors. The best bars can be found downtown and most are laid back, casual places.
Caution: Street parking is limited in New Haven; make sure you have a plan B parking garage in mind if driving in.
Hot Tips: Toad's Place is a legendary venue to check out a blues show.
Where to Shop
The antique stores in downtown New Haven aren't repositories for old junk. Some of the furniture, jewelry and crafts come from some of the finest finest Yankee craftsmen of the last three centuries. City-hip art galleries merge the stylish leanings of New York City with classic New England traditions, making for truly unique pieces. There's a healthy fashion district downtown as well as most major chain stores on the outskirts of the city.
Best Local Souvenir: Antique stores tend to have classic nautical-themed weather vanes. The sperm whale weather vane is a New England favorite.
About New Haven
Looking out across Long Island Sound, New Haven is one of America's oldest cities and its first planned community. Settled by English Puritans in the mid-seventeenth century, its illustrious history is peppered with names such as Noah Webster, Nathan Hale, and Eli Whitney. The city is now Connecticut's third largest, and is home to several health, business, and finance companies. Yale University imparts a world-famous cultural and educational presence to the Elm City and graces it with magnificent architecture. The city's charm is particularly evident in tree-lined Wooster Square, the historic Town Green, and the restaurants and shopping of the College-Chapel Street district. Other claims to fame include the premiere of the hamburger in 1895 and the introduction of pizza to the United States (allegiance to local pizzerias Pepe's or Sally's is fierce). Don't miss the exceptional museums or the extraordinary theater productions produced in New Haven. And by all means, try the pizza.