Things to Do in New Haven: Must-See Tourist Attractions on the Northern Shore of Long Island Sound

If you’re looking for things to do in New Haven, look no further! This historic city is located right on Long Island Sound and offers plenty of attractions for tourists, from the Yale University campus to the impressive array of museums.

things to do in new haven

Why Is New Haven Worth Visiting?

If you’ve ever considered visiting Connecticut, it may be time to start planning your next trip there. New Haven is one of the most popular cities in the state, and there are many reasons why it is worth visiting. Before we get into all the things to do in New Haven, let’s learn a little about its history.

New Haven is located in Southern Connecticut on Long Island Sound, where the Quinnipiac River meets New Haven Harbor. The region has been inhabited since the Ice Age, but was first visited by a party of Puritans in 1637 when it was the home of the Quinnipiac tribe of Native Americans.

The town was renamed ‘New Haven’ after the Puritans established a theocratic government and a nine-square grid plan. In 1664, New Haven became part of the Connecticut Colony. And in 1716, it became a center of learning after the Collegiate School (later renamed Yale College) relocated there from Old Saybrook.

The city has a surprising number of attractions. It’s home to one of the top universities in America and some of the finest architecture on the East Coast. New Haven also has an excellent museum, a lively theater district and some of the best pizza in America.

Things to Do in New Haven – Yale University Campus

Yale University is one of the most well-known universities in the United States. It’s named after its generous donor Elihu Yale, who was an 18th-century British merchant, philanthropist, and slave trader. The campus itself is beautiful. The buildings are all built around wonderful courtyards, which makes it easy to imagine the history that has taken place there.

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One highlight is Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, which is one of the largest libraries of its kind in the world. The library has an incredible collection of rare books, manuscripts, and more. If you’re a fan of literature, this is definitely a place you’ll want to check out.

The university also has an Art Gallery and Peabody Museum that are open to visitors for free. If you’re interested in learning more about Yale’s history, visiting these museums is one of the best things to do in New Haven.

Yale University Art Gallery

The Yale University Art Gallery opened in 1953 and features more than 200,000 works that span all cultures and time periods. Some artists represented include Vincent van Gogh, Georgia O’Keeffe and Pablo Picasso. The museum also contains collections of African art, American decorative arts, contemporary art and ancient art from Asia and Europe. Admission is free.

The Peabody Museum of Natural History

The Peabody Museum has one of the oldest collections of natural science artifacts in America. It was founded in 1866, and it houses fossils from the Jurassic period, Egyptian mummies, and bones from human ancestors who lived millions of years ago. The museum is especially known for its dinosaur collection that includes a large Hadrosaurus skeleton and a Tyrannosaurus Rex skull.

Admission is free for everyone. The museum is closed for renovation until 2024, but if you’re planning to visit after that, it would be worth your time to check it out.

Yale Center for British Art

The Yale Center for British Art is a museum and research institute that contains the largest collection of British art outside the United Kingdom. The museum has more than 70,000 works from the Elizabethan period to the present day, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs and other artifacts. Admission to the museum is free.

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Things to Do in New Haven – Other Attractions

In addition to Yale University, there are plenty of other things to do in New Haven. The city has an excellent theater district with several theaters that offer live performances year-round. And if you’re a fan of pizza, you’ll be happy to know that New Haven is home to some of the best pizza in America.

Have Some Great Pizza

If you’re looking for a good slice of pizza, Sally’s Apizza is the place to go. The restaurant has been serving up pizzas since 1938, and it’s become a New Haven institution. The pizza is thin and crispy, and the sauce is made from fresh tomatoes.

For a more authentic Neapolitan pizza, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana is the place to go. The restaurant was founded in 1925, and it’s been serving up pizzas made with fresh ingredients ever since. The pizza is cooked in a wood-fired oven, and it has a soft and chewy crust.

Relax or Get Active at the City Parks

There are several parks in New Haven where you can relax or get active. Here are some of the most popular.

  • East Rock Park is a good place to go for a hike, and it has stunning views of the city from the top of the rock.
  • Edgerton Park is a great option for kids. The park has a playground, a pond and plenty of green space to run around in.
  • West River Memorial Park is split into two distinct areas, with a wooded section on one side of the river and a marsh on the other side. The marsh hosts many birds, including migratory species.
  • Maltby Lakes is a natural area with several small lakes surrounded by wetlands and forests. It’s great for fishing, birdwatching, picnicking, and hiking.
  • West Rock Ridge State Park is the best place to relax and take in the scenery. The park has a scenic overlook, and it’s a great place to watch the sunset.
  • The New Haven Green is a square park located behind the Yale Old Campus. It’s home to the annual Arts & Ideas festival. South from the park, there’s Shubert Theater where you can catch a good show.
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While it’s not a park, Grove Street Cemetery is another peaceful place to walk around. The beautiful graves of war veterans, Yale professors, and other influential people are a sight to remember.

Ride the Carousel at Lighthouse Point Park

This park is named for its two lighthouses, which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The park has more than 60 acres of land that includes beaches and trails for walking or biking. The Carousel at Lighthouse Point Park is a popular attraction, and it’s the only one of its kind in New England.

Enjoy Your Trip to New Haven!

These are just some things to do in New Haven. Whether you’re visiting for a day or a week, you’ll find plenty of things to keep you busy. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!

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