9 Top-Rated Attractions in New Haven

The port of New Haven, at the mouth of the Quinnipiac River, was founded by English Puritans in 1638, and has been famed since 1716 as the seat of Yale University. On the campus are several interesting museums and around the city are a number of parks and natural areas worth exploring. Of particular note are the Peabody Museum of Natural History, The Green, East Rock Park, and Lighthouse Point Park. The city also has a vibrant arts scene, with a variety of theatres, a symphony, and a popular summertime jazz festival.

1 Yale University

Yale University
Yale University

Yale University has a long history which began, to some extent, in the 17th century, although the school was not actually in existence until the early 18th century.Visitors can take a tour of the campus and learn all about the institution. On the university campus are the Peabody Museum, the Art Gallery , the Reinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library,whose principal treasure is a Gutenberg Bible, the Sterling Memorial Library, and the Center for British Art.

Address: 149 Elm Street

Official site: http://www.yale.edu/

2 Peabody Museum of Natural History

Peabody Museum of Natural History
Peabody Museum of Natural History DanCentury / photo modified

The Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University features exhibits on biology, paleontology, botany, geology, and anthropology. Specific permanent attractions include the Great Hall of Dinosaurs, the Hall of Native American Cultures, Daily Life in Ancient Egypt, Hall of Minerals, Earth and Space, Hall of Mammalian Evolution, and Birds of Connecticut. Temporary exhibits offer an ever changing variety of topics.

Address: 170 Whitney Avenue

Official site: http://peabody.yale.edu/

3 Yale University Art Gallery

Yale University Art Gallery
Yale University Art Gallery

The extensive collection at Yale University Art Gallery includes Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek, Italian, European, Asian and African art from many cultures, with impressionist, modernist, and contemporary paintings and sculptures. There are also changing exhibits from a huge selection of master prints, drawings, and photographs.

The Gallery was established in 1832 and is the oldest university art museum in the United States.

Address: 1111 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06510-2301, United States

4 Yale Center for British Arts

Yale Center for British Arts
Yale Center for British Arts ryan_d_cole / photo modified

The Yale Center for British Art displays British paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, photographs, and other pieces, from the Elizabethan period to modern day.

Also located here is the Center's Department of Rare Books with some 30,000 volumes.

5 The Green

The Green
The Green

The Green is a park in the city center which covers 16 acres. Festivals and music events are sometimes held here during the summer months. Located in this area are three historic churches, the First Church of Christ, the Trinity, and the United Church-on-the-Green, all dating to the early 1800s.

Address: 165 Church Street

6 East Rock Park

East Rock Park
East Rock Park dmbigda / photo modified

East Rock Park covers 425 acres and encompasses a 365 foot high, 1.5 mile long rock. From the top there are sweeping views of Long Island Sound and New Haven. Also within the park are the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Indian Head Peak, and Pardee Rose Gardens.

7 Knights of Columbus Museum

Knights of Columbus Museum
Knights of Columbus Museum Svadilfari / photo modified

The Knights of Columbus Museum offers displays on the history of this institution as well as art exhibits on a variety of themes. The facility is 77,000 square feet and features a courtyard and impressive landscaping.

Address: One State Street

8 Lighthouse Point Park

Lighthouse Point Park
Lighthouse Point Park versageek / photo modified

The 1840 lighthouse is not open to the public but the surrounding park area is accessible and picnicking is permitted. The lighthouse itself no longer functions but the landmark structure adds a nice element to the shoreline. Adjacent to the tower is the lighthouse keeper's house. Located within the park is the Lighthouse Point Carousel, an antique carousel housed in a lovely historic building which can also be used for private functions.

Address: 2 Lighthouse Point Park

9 Grove Street Cemetery

Grove Street Cemetery
Grove Street Cemetery rufus / photo modified

The Grove Street Cemetery is known for being "the first chartered burial ground in the United States", with its first resident being buried here in 1797. Today it is a National Historic Landmark and contains the graves of numerous important but lesser known Americans, as well as New Haven residents from the time period.

Where to Stay in New Haven for Sightseeing

The best place to stay in New Haven is downtown, near Yale University. The very compact city center is dominated by the Yale Campus, and many of the main attractions, including the Peabody Museum and the Yale Art Gallery, are located on the university grounds. Just south of the campus are a large number of restaurants and entertainment options. Below are some highly-rated hotels in convenient locations:

  • Luxury Hotels: For a top-end hotel, the recently renovated Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale is a 19-story tower with luxurious rooms and fine views over the city. It is only one block from the historic Yale University campus. A modern and trendy option right on the university's Arts Campus is The Study at Yale. Luxuriously appointed guest rooms and stylishly decorated common areas make for an uncommon hotel experience.
  • Mid-Range Hotels: A great mid-range option is the New Haven Hotel, with well-appointed rooms and a convenient location near the train station, in an up-and-coming neighborhood. This hotel offers an evening reception serving appetizers and beverages. In the same category, the newly renovated Courtyard Hotel, adjacent to Yale University, offers comfortable rooms featuring lovely marble and granite bathrooms. At a slightly better price point, the New Haven Village Suites is a couple of miles out from the downtown area and offers large rooms with kitchens and a free local shuttle within a three-mile radius.

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