Locals Love: New Haven Last Updated 5/18

Home of Yale University and America’s best pizza, New Haven is a rarity these days—a modern, vibrant city with a passionate connection to its historic past. Whether they’re students or longtime locals, city residents are proud of its pedigree—both as an internationally recognized educational center and a hub for art, science and history museums. And its energetic, inclusive vibe has created a lively culture of international cuisines and communities. So, if you want to experience New Haven like a local, start with the suggestions below. Then go to Visit New Haven for even more ideas.

How to Get Here

New Haven is just under two hours by train from New York City. You can take Amtrak from Penn Station, or Metro-North’s New Haven line from Grand Central Terminal. There’s even a free weekday shuttle from Union Station to the New Haven Green. Flying in? Tweed New Haven Regional Airport is closest and served by American Airlines. Or if you’re road tripping it, New Haven is right on I-95, which follows the coastline through the state of Connecticut.

Where to Unwind

New Haven offers a lot of choices for accommodations. The Study at Yale is a swanky boutique style option that reflects the academic ambience of this college town. Other walkable downtown hotels include Courtyard by Marriott at Yale, New Haven Hotel, and Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale, all great choices when exploring the city for a night, a weekend or longer. For families, the New Haven Village Suites can be found right off I-95 at Long Wharf (Exit 46) and feature full kitchens and a complimentary breakfast buffet.

Where to Hang Out

One of the liveliest spots in New Haven can be hard to pin down, because its patrons pedal the streets, taking the party with them wherever they go. The Elm City Party Bike is New England's only pedal powered bar and sightseeing tour experience and a fun, social and relaxing way to enjoy the city sights. For a figurative and literal change of pace, check out The Owl Shop, the New Haven legend where you can still smoke a cigar and enjoy a classic cocktail from a fully stocked bar specializing in top shelf libations. Meanwhile, at the Book Trader Café, you’ll find locals enjoying a good read along with fresh house-made food, gourmet coffee, vegan and gluten-free options served daily. And in the heart of downtown New Haven, Pacifico serves its popular sangria and award-winning mojitos alongside extraordinary Nuevo-Latino seafood cuisine and traditional tapas, signature dishes and desserts. 

Where to Play

There aren’t many places you can shop for furniture while experiencing the world's largest indoor ropes course! At It™ Adventure Ropes Course at Jordan’s Furniture, you can channel your inner tightrope walker as you take on the 56-foot tall ropes courses and climb through cargo nets, ride zip lines and so much more. Here are few more great places to play in and around the city of New Haven.

 

Where to Find a Hidden Gem

Looking for somewhere a bit more unusual? The Beinecke Book & Rare Manuscript Library is home to a Gutenberg Bible, original Audubon bird prints and Yale University's literary archives, early manuscripts, and rare books. The robust collections are used to created new scholarship by researchers from around the world. Housed in an unusual 1963 building with translucent marble "windows" and sunken sculpture garden, this library is worth a visit, even if you’re not a bookworm. If it’s music you prefer, The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments is a fascinating journey through nearly 1,000 instruments from different cultures and time periods. Finally, while everyone else is eating pizza at the famed Pepe’s and Sally’s restaurants nearby, head for a slice of history at Modern Apizza. You’ll find this superb New Haven styled pizza place is loved by locals and often overlooked by tourists.

Want More?

Visit New Havenand INFONewHavenare two of the sites locals use to find out what’s on and what’s happening in New Haven. The annual Cherry Blossom Fest in April, the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in June and the Connecticut Open in August are just a few of the great times to visit!