Over the last twenty years, the Elm City has been transformed from a slum-littered ghetto into a center for arts and culture. The revival has been due in large part to Yale University's improved "town-gown relations" which have included financial incentives for home buyers and vast infrastructure and property investments.
As New Haven's most prominent landmark, the Yale campus is a natural place to start your exploration. Tours cover residential life on campus, the Sterling Memorial Library in all its gargoyled, Gothic glory, and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, which houses such treasures as the original Gutenberg Bible.
After whetting your appetite with the 90-minute tour, choose from a wealth of word-class museums to spend your afternoon. The Yale University Art Gallery, at Chapel and High Street, is the oldest university art museum in the Western Hemisphere. The Yale Center for British Art at 1080 Chapel Street houses the largest collection of British art outside of the U.K., from the Elizabethan period onward. If fossils and dioramas are your style, stop by the Peabody Museum of Natural History at 170 Whitney Avenue. For a taste of avant-garde to complement these ancient treasures, see the exhibits of student work at the Yale School of Architecture Gallery at 180 York Street. And if you're looking for sites off the beaten path, check out the Shoreline Trolley Museum (17 River Street) or the Knights of Columbus Museum (1 State Street).
When MLS (Museum Leg Syndrome) has got you itching for outdoor adventures, New Haven offers more parks, beaches, and lookout points within driving distance of downtown than most other urban areas. Have a picnic on the 16-acre New Haven Green, voted one of the 100 best public spaces in the U.S., or catch one of the many performances and festivals hosted on the Green throughout the year: the New Haven Jazz Festival, Film Fest New Haven, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, or the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. In fall or spring, feast your eyes on the foliage at East Rock, Edgewood Park, West Rock, or Edgerton Park, where running trails and a view of the harbor make the trek out to the city outskirts worth your while. In warm weather, check out the sports fields and public beach at Lighthouse Point, or check out the history of this site as a Revolutionary War battlefield and home to a 90-year-old restored antique carousel.
From world-class museums to woodsy adventures, from Gothic grandeur to modern art, New Haven may be small as cities go, but its offerings are big-time.
832 Chapel Street
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Whalley Avenue and West Rock Avenue
73 Sachem Street
DePalma Court and Chapel Street
165 Church Street
165 Church Street