Top New Haven activities
Explore by category
Beyond New Haven
Tours in nearby places
Explore USA tours
Tours in similar places
New Haven trip ideas
Top 15 things to do in ...
Once synonymous with Yale University, New Haven has outgrown its Ivy League origins to become a destination in its own right. Outside the neo-Gothic campus, you’ll find a bustling downtown filled with boutiques and first-rate restaurants, a historic city green, museums and theaters that give New York City a run for its money, and an emerging cultural scene that spotlights local BIPOC talent. With so many things to do in New Haven, you don’t need to be an academic to enjoy all that the city has to offer. Now, what was that about an ivory tower?
New Haven is easily a year-round destination, but you’ll want to avoid graduation and reunion weekends unless you’re visiting for that very reason. (If this is you, be sure to book your accommodation as early as possible, as hotels get booked months in advance.) Summer is quieter with Yalies away, and the short ride to local beaches and seafood shacks make the season even more enticing. You’d do well to avoid the winter unless you’re used to snow—black ice can make even navigating the sidewalks an exercise in peril.
New Haven has its own train station, with direct Amtrak links to New York City and Boston. It’s also connected to Grand Central Terminal via the Metro North commuter line, making it an easy and affordable day trip from the Big Apple. For getting around New Haven, downtown is about a 15-minute walk from the station or a quick city bus ride away. If you have your own transportation, then coming either north or south along I-95 is a piece of cake, although expect a hair-raising turn-off.
Head on over to Wooster Square—New Haven’s very own Little Italy—for a chance to experience one of the city’s most vibrant and historic immigrant communities. And what better way through food? You’ll find shaved ice joints to cool off during the summer months, but the standout here is pizza, known locally as apizza. Order up a fresh and gooey white clam pizza from Pepe’s for the full “only in New Haven” experience—you’ll quickly understand why this iconic pie shop has been an institution for over a century.
US Dollar ($)
EDT (UTC -5)
Yes, New Haven is worth visiting. While many people who visit New Haven are affiliated with Yale University, the town has long since stepped out from the shadow of its famous employer—particularly for art lovers. In addition to world-class Yale-affiliated museums (Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art), you’ll find plenty of local galleries showcasing local talent....More
The Yale School of Drama boasts a litany of famous alumni—from Meryl Streep and Lupita Nyong’o to Frances McDormand and Paul Giamatti—and New Haven remains an excellent place to see Broadway-quality performances at a fraction of the price. Check out upcoming shows at the Yale Repertory Theatre, the Shubert, and the Long Wharf....More
Yes, New Haven is walkable. The city is compact and can be easily navigated on foot. That said, you’ll want to opt for a rideshare and exercise basic caution when out at night, as thefts and muggings have been known to occur, especially outside of the downtown area....More
Yes and no. While the city itself isn’t located on the water, and you won’t get much of a beach feel while in New Haven (no seagulls here), the Greater New Haven area has plenty of coastline. If you’d like to hit the waves, just head on over to East Haven, West Haven, or the nearby town of Milford....More
Yes, New Haven has good nightlife. Yale University has around 15,000 students enrolled in any given year, and with that many young people in town, you can imagine that the weekends can get pretty buzzy. Don’t expect much in the way of ritzy clubs, but you’ll find plenty of bars and pubs, plus an old-school concert venue—Toad’s Place—and even a cigar lounge (The Owl Shop)....More
Start with a visit to a museum; depending on your interests, you can either check out the Yale Peabody Museum for its botany and anthropology collections (plus dinosaur bones) or the Yale Center for British Art to see an impressive display of UK art. Save time for a meal at a historic restaurant (Louis’ Lunch is one standout, although not veggie-friendly), then wind down the night at the theater or the delightfully offbeat Yale Cabaret....More