Home to Yale University, this Ivy League city is studded with history

New Haven has a long history dating back to the very beginnings of America. This city by the water is rooted in history, yet growing in the present. The old brick buildings of Yale University contrast with newly modern downtown buildings all centered on a large open green space that dates back to the earliest days of the city. In 1716 Yale University made New Haven home and
has been an integral part of the city’s history ever since. Being a college town, its tree-lined streets are filled with coffee shops, bookstores, museums, and historic old buildings.

If you feel like a stroll through time, a new program called Walk New Haven offers cultural and
history lovers free guides to area neighborhoods. Here are some favorite places to explore
while in New Haven:

Yale Center for British Art

1080 Chapel Street, New Haven

This astounding museum is located in a nondescript building across the street from the larger Yale University Art Gallery. With free admission, the British Art museum is a bargain and even offers public tours to help you understand what you are looking at and why it is important. Inside you will find more than just old paintings – they have over 3,000 photographs, 35,000 rare books, contemporary art pieces, as well as the classics. You may find an original Constable or Turner, drawing by William Blake, or a rare book by Charles Dickens. Focusing on just one country of origin gives this museum a less intimidating feel while treating visitors to a spectacular collection.


Photo courtesy Yale Center for British Art

Photo of a carousel in new haven

Lighthouse Point Carousel

2 Lighthouse Road, New Haven

Relive your childhood while riding this historic carousel located along the boardwalk in New Haven. Whether you love carousels for their artistic carvings, joyful smiles from children going for a ride, or the happy memories it brings you, the carousel is a must-see when in town. The carousel has 72 beautifully carved colorful prancing horses (and even a camel!) dancing under the lights to the music on a 60’ platform and housed in a newly restored building. Dating to
1916, the carousel is a joy to experience as it brings history to life for a new generation. It is open weekends from Memorial Day through Labor day.

Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History

170 Whitney Avenue, New Haven

There’s something fascinating around every corner. The Peabody collection has been accumulating wonders from around the globe and beyond since 1866 and includes a wide array of Earth’s history. From botany to bugs, dinosaurs to diamonds, from an Egyptian mummy to a 1,600 pound Texas meteorite, you never know what you might come across on a visit! Free guided tours are included with admission, or you can schedule a behind-the-scenes tour for a
more in-depth look into this collection of the natural world.

Yale Collection of Musical Instruments

15 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven

Part of the Yale Music Department, the collection is a fascinating tour through some of the most beautiful and unusual musical instruments found around the globe. The museum offers free admission and is located on the Yale campus. You also might even be able to catch an occasional concert performed by talented music students. Inside you could see a glass chord – a 19th century miniature piano-like instrument just 22” wide, a 15th century Italian spinetta, or a 15th century jester’s scepter. From African harps to Japanese kotos, it is a fascinating journey across the globe and covers one item every culture has in common – the love of music.

violin in a music museum

Photo courtesy Yale Collection of Musical Instruments


Photo courtesy Yale Collection of Musical Instruments

Marsh Botanical Garden

265 Mansfield Street, New Haven

This eight acre oasis sits on the campus of Yale University and is available to faculty, students, researchers, as well as free to the general public. Six greenhouses contain tropical, carnivorous, cacti, orchids, and desert plants, and are a warm haven on a cool or rainy day. For home gardeners, the gardens offer an opportunity to see unusual trees in bloom in and around campus and casual naturalistic plantings around the botanical garden. Follow maps and you
might find a white fringe tree, a seven son flower tree, or a cucumber tree. In the greenhouses you might find a carnivorous sundew, mushroom-looking ice plants, or a flowering pereskia cactus. If you enjoy looking at unusual plants, or just discovering a section of this historic campus, the botanical garden would be a welcome stop on any walking tour of the city.

Atticus Bookstore Cafe

1082 Chapel Street, New Haven

While walking around exploring a new city, you’ll probably welcome a little coffee break to sit and recharge your batteries. When in a college town, a bookstore / coffee shop is just the ticket. You can find a good book to read and enjoy a really amazing lunch at local long-time institution Atticus Bookstore. Artisan sandwiches, fresh baked goods, to-die-for skillet dishes, and topped off with perhaps a London Fog, Lavender Latte, bottle of pale ale, or even a prosecco mimosa kit to take to-go and enjoy on a picnic waterside.

USA River Cruises offers several cruises in the Northeast and New England regions of the U.S.

Photo of an espresso at Atticus book store

Photo courtesy Instagram/AtticusCafe