A Day Trip to New Haven, Connecticut

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For most people, the first thing that might come to mind when hearing Connecticut is Yale University, Mark Twain, or Gilmore Girls if you’ve binge-watched the show on Netflix or in real-time. Whether you’re a pop culture fan or simply a history buff, The Constitution State offers fun for everyone, and a visit to New Haven happens to be first on the list of places to see. With an amazing selection of unique eateries, shops, historical landmarks, museums, and galleries, New Haven, Connecticut is the perfect place to visit — all year round.

New Haven is about a 2-hour drive from Hoboken and Jersey City. If traveling by train or bus, the ride can range from 2.5 to 3.5 hours each way — especially during rush hour in the Tri-State area. Below are some essential spots to visit in New Haven — Read on for a guide on how to spend a day in New Haven, CT. 

Disclaimer: For the most up-to-date info, please contact places directly. 

Places to Eat

BAR | 254 Crown Street

BAR

{Photo credit: @bar_newhaven}

A staple in the New Haven community, BAR has so much to offer and is truly a multi-faceted venue. It’s a nightclub, restaurant, microbrewery, and popular pizza joint all rolled into one. It has spacious indoor and outdoor seating, a lounge, a dance floor, and more. Serving traditional New Haven-style, thin-crust, brick-oven pizza, BAR’s famous mashed potato pizza is a must-try. After enjoying a mashed potato pizza pie from BAR, we really can’t disagree.

Claire’s Corner Copia | 1000 Chapel Street

Claire’s Corner Copia

{Photo credit: @clairescornercopia}

This adorable and appropriately named vegetarian eatery has been around since 1975 and the owners’ mission is to provide delicious, healthy, ethically, and sustainably sourced food for customers. The restaurant’s origin story is a sweet one that tells the tale of a couple {Claire LaPia and Frank Criscuolo} so in love that they were inseparable and working together was the ideal way to stay close. Both came from Italian-American families that prioritized using clean ingredients in their food to ensure living long and happy lives. The menu is extensive with options for all palates. The Vegan Whole Grain Pancakes and the Farmer’s Frittata are both affordable {$11} and tasty options for breakfast and a Hippie Hummus Wrap {$10} makes for the perfect lunch. Claire’s serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Donut Crazy | 290 York Street

Donut Crazy

{Photo credit: @donutcrazy}

This delicious doughnut shop is family-owned and operated, and creates over 45 varieties of fresh, specialty doughnuts each day at the stores. Opened in 2015, Donut Crazy has expanded to many different parts of south CT. Every month, Donut Crazy comes up with a list of creative and tasty donut flavors, apart from the usual menu options like the Boston creme and glazed. HG Tip: The Cannoli Donut and the Stuffed Maple French Toast are both amazing choices. Food Network even named Donut Crazy’s Cannoli Donut the best donut in Connecticut. The shop also offers breakfast items and coffee to complement your doughnuts. 

Read More: How to Spend a Day in Port Jervis, NY

Things to Do

International Festival of Arts and Ideas | 160 Temple Street, New Haven

The International Festival of Arts and Ideas will take place May 14 – June 27, 2021, and the 200+ events are 80% free. The festival will feature Jacob’s Pillow-awardee choreographer Ronald K. Brown, Indigenous playwright and Forbes “30 under 30″ theater director Madeline Sayet, as well as a high drama, high fashion Hair Art show. The full May and June programming line-up will be posted later this spring when events are open for reservation. The festival is usually held in person, but because of the on-ongoing pandemic, it has been virtually modified.

Skull and Bones | 64 High Street, New Haven

Skull and Bones

Located on the Yale campus, the Skull and Bones building, legend has it, is the home of one of the most famous undergraduate secret societies at Yale University which many elite and powerful people are said to be a part of, including certain former presidents, senators and more. Founded in 1832, the secret society went on to inspire the making of the movie, The Skulls. According to Yale’s website, “In 1992, when the still exclusively male secret society tapped six women along with nine men, the alumni association changed the locks on the doors. After a short standoff and society vote, both men and women were finally admitted.” The Skull and Bones location, a windowless, crypt-like edifice that gives off creepy vibes {also called “The Tomb”}, is now a designated New Haven landmark, one that is accessible to anyone who’d like to see it in person just not from the inside.

Square with Four Circles Art Installation at Temple Plaza | 160 Temple Street

Square with Four Circles

Definitely a trippy sight, Square with Four Circles at Temple Plaza is a cool stop in New Haven. Installed in 2010, Square with Four Circles is a 110 ft tall, multi-dimensional wall painting, created by world-renowned Swiss artist, Felice Varini. The exhibition of the artwork is on view indefinitely. The site of Square with Four Circles includes the pedestrian passageway from Chapel Street into Temple Plaza and the exterior surfaces of the sculptural concrete exit ramp of the Crown Street Garage. The site of the artwork is stationed across the street from New Haven Green and is surrounded by eateries and shops.

See More: How to Spend a Day in the West Village, NYC

The Shops at Yale | New Haven

The Shops at Yale

{Photo credit: @theshopsatyale}

The Shops at Yale offers a one-of-a-kind collection of more than 60 boutiques, national retailers, cafes, casual eateries, award-winning restaurants, and world-renowned theaters, galleries, museums at Yale University in the heart of historic downtown New Haven. Visitors will find stores like Campus Customs and The Yale Bookstore for all your Yale merch, as well as New Haven cultural gems like the Yale Repertory Theatre, The Yale University Art Gallery, the Shubert Theatre, and so much more. 

Yale Center for British Art | 1080 Chapel Street

Yale Center for British Art

{Photo credit: @yalebritishart}

Founded in 1929, the Yale Center for British Art is the largest museum outside of the United Kingdom devoted to British art. The museum is free and open to the public {it is currently closed due to the pandemic}. Located in the last building designed by Louis I. Kahn, the museum is a great place to learn about modernist architecture. Collections include more than 2,000 paintings, 250 sculptures, 20,000 drawings + watercolors, 40,000 prints, and 35,000 rare books and manuscripts. Works on view include masterpieces by Joshua Reynolds, George Stubbs, Thomas Gainsborough, J. M. W. Turner, and John Constable, as well as major artists from Europe and America who lived and worked in Britain.

Yale University | 149 Elm Street

Yale University

The last spot on the list alphabetically should probably be the first stop on your trip, because you can’t go to New Haven and not visit Yale University’s campus, founded in 1701— also the third-oldest university in the USA. Situated in the heart of New Haven and surrounded by delicious eateries, bookstores, and artisanal shops, Yale’s campus is easy to take a stroll throughout. An Ivy League school, Yale is highly-coveted by many prospective students each year but is also a stunning campus. Student-led walking tours of the Yale Campus last an hour and covers history, architecture, and student life. Access to class buildings and dorms is off-limits to non-students and outsiders, especially during the pandemic, but there is still plenty to see. Virtual tours are also available online.

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Yarleen is a lovable Leo and a proud Jersey girl with Cuban roots. She’s an actor and freelance writer with an affinity for poetry, astrology, and fried plantains. Born in Jersey City and raised in West New York, where she currently resides, this Hudson county native can usually be found with an Americano in hand, or any caffeinated beverage really. A St. Peter’s University alum with a degree in Communication and Media Culture, Yarleen was News Editor of her college newspaper, while also reporting for the Hudson Reporter and The Jersey Journal. When she’s not on stage, enjoying a new hobby {currently rollerblading}, or typing away at her laptop, you can catch her running along the waterfront listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers or exploring NYC galleries.